Chapter 3: Policies of the Prophet at times of Conflict

Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam gained the love of the world and the love of his enemies in particular. This when he set an example in the finest of morals by freeing ten thousand prisoners who had previously been working to kill and destroy him and his companions . . . Lord Hadleigh

An Overview

The Apostle of God was able, to unite antagonistic, opposing and warring factions who were taken by their own egotism, nationalism, factionalism or tribalism, in a very short span of time. This was because these people recognized that the governance of the Apostle of God was consultative, compassionate, clement and merciful, and that even the most avowed of his enemies could live under its banner in complete peace and wellbeing, provided they laid down their arms. Indeed, they could live as leaders and chieftains since the Apostle had said to them: 'Testify that there is no deity but God and that I am the Apostle of God and you will be Kings.'

It was in this way that the Apostle was able to unite those warring tribes of Arabia as well as the various peoples of diverse nations. The issue was not one of color, race, nationalism, or artificial geographical boundaries and the like, but rather the issue was one of a general Islamic fraternity. Furthermore, even if a person were not a Muslim the Apostle of God would take him under his wing. For example, when the Apostle liberated the city of Mecca the majority of the people did not enter Islam but the Apostle did not coerce a single one of them to accept Islam and he granted amnesty to the wrongdoers amongst the unbelievers. What he did was to let the people sense that Islam was a better option for them than the pre-Islamic customs - better for their honor, for their property, for their persons and for their authority.

Chroniclers have mentioned that when the Apostle of God liberated Mecca he put a young man named Itab in place to govern the city and provided for him a modest stipend of four dirhams (approximately two measures of silver) daily. The Apostle of God said to him: 'Act well towards those who act well and overlook those who act wrongly.'

This was one of the reasons for the transformation of this city, from being a city of tyrants, rebels, infidels, murderers and criminals, one which had made war on the Apostle of God for twenty years, into an extremely civil city, at the hands of Itab. This was because they knew that if they acted wrongly he would overlook it and if they acted well he would act well towards them. By virtue of this constitution the city of Mecca did not rebel against the Apostle of God afterwards despite the fact that he had placed no army or security force there. Rather he had captured people's hearts with his compassion, his grace, his love and his beneficence.

When the Apostle of God came to power he said: 'Islam waives whatever came before it' 128, meaning that whoever has previously done something wrong such as spilling blood or plundering or making war or joining with the Polytheists against the Apostle will be forgiven when they enter Islam.

When the Apostle of God liberated the city of Mecca he was asked: 'O Apostle of God, will you not stay in your own house?', for the Apostle used to have a house in Mecca. He said: 'Do I have a house?' This means that the Apostle gave up his rights to the house that the Infidels had confiscated before his arrival in Mecca. He realized that the unbeliever who had taken his house was sure to have let other people stay in that house; tenants or family or the like, and that if he were to take back his house it would mean that he would have to evict those people. The Apostle did not seek to exercise even this much of his rights in case someone said: 'When the Apostle of God took control of Mecca we were living in this house and he evicted us from our dwelling and abode.'

Imam Ali did the same thing when he was pledged in as the Caliph some twenty-five years after the death of the prophet. He did not take back the land of Fadak, which was his and his sons' personal property as the inheritance of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra despite the fact that from the day he was pledged in as Caliph, it was within his power to do so. This is mentioned in the book Nahj al-balaghah (The Path of Eloquence, a collection of Imam Ali's sayings).

Imam Ali was not such a worldly person that he had any need for rich furnishings and mansions and palaces and fine horses and camels and the like. He took a farsighted approach and tried to see how to unite the Muslims under the banner of Islam and how to win their hearts. Had he taken back Fadak then certainly those who had been benefiting from the lands, during the time of reign of the third ruler Othman ibn Affan, would be deprived of that benefit and would say: 'It would have been better for us had Ali not come to power.'

It is related in the traditions that an infidel who warranted death was brought before the Apostle of God. The angel Gabriel descended and said: 'O Apostle of God, your Lord conveys you a greeting of peace and says: 'Forgive this person for he is noble.' So the Prophet said to the man: 'You are forgiven so go as you please.' The man said: 'Why, O Muhammad?' The Apostle said: 'Because Gabriel has told me that you are noble and God loves the noble.' This became the reason for the man entering Islam. The Prophet had appreciated the nobility in this man and for this reason forgave him even though he was a polytheist and had committed crimes deserving death.

The Prophet Muhammad wanted to draw the people to what is best for them in this world and in the hereafter, he did not want to adhere to dictatorship or authoritarianism, or wealth and position, like other rulers, kings and Caesars do. Islam is underlined by a system of equal opportunities and respects professionalism and expertise, and therefore when it assumes power, its policy would be to forgive and forgo of acts perpetrated before, and take into account the role and impact of expertise on the society's future.

The Islamic government has certain functions:

“ The preservation of social justice so that no-one transgresses against another.

“ The protection of the Muslim land from enemies.

“ Facilitating the nation's progress in all areas of life - order, health, employment, manufacturing and agriculture, culture and education, economics, virtue, piety, faith etc.

The ruler in Islamic lands is not to be a dictator. As Imam Ali said: 'He is not to be a ravenous lion,' meaning that he will take people's property and freedoms and stifle their breaths and limit their movements. In the Islamic regime the people's property, honor, lives, and their freedoms including those of the non-Muslims who live in the Islamic lands are guaranteed security, peace, prosperity and well-being.

It is related that the Apostle of God sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to a community of unbelievers who subsequently professed Islam but Khalid nonetheless killed a number of them. When reports of this atrocity reached him, the Apostle raised his hands to the heavens and said:

“ O God, I distance myself from what Khalid has done. O God, I distance myself from what Khalid has done. O God, I distance myself from what Khalid has done. “

When Khalid came to the Apostle of God, he said: 'O Apostle of God, they only professed Islam as a ruse and a plot and falsely.' The Apostle said to him: 'Did you dissect their hearts (to see whether Islam had entered their hearts as a ruse and a plot?)'

Then Apostle of God gave Imam Ali an amount of money and said to him: 'Go to them and give them compensation for their dead.' So Ali came to them and gave them solace and gave them compensation for the animals that had been killed and gave compensation for the fear experienced by the women and for things that had been lost such as the halters of camels.

One of the chroniclers reports that when Odayy ibn Hatam saw that the Apostle of God had gained control of the area he fled from the Hijaz to Syria and was opposed to the new established government. Then one of his friends wrote to him and said: 'O Odayy, Muhammad is a Prophet and is not a king. The Prophet is merciful, kind, beneficent, consults (with others) and he is reasonable, determined and forward thinking so there is no need to flee so return to the land.'

Odayy decided to return because he trusted that friend. When he returned he stood outside the Prophet's mosque. When the Prophet emerged Odayy saw an old woman come in front of the Prophet to ask him something and the Prophet stopped for her with all kindness and answered her question and solved her problem. Odayy said to himself: 'This is not a king and this is not the behavior of sultans, kings or princes. This is the behavior of Prophets and those connected with heaven.'

It was due to this that love for the Prophet entered the heart of Odayy and he stepped forward to the Prophet and introduced himself. When the Prophet recognized him he honored him, treated him well, and greeted him with a smile and kindness and honor, and took him to his house. He entered the house of the Prophet and entered Islam at his hand when he saw the openheartedness of the Prophet and his fine morals. Then when he came out, his friend asked him: 'How did you enter Islam?' He said: 'I entered Islam because I saw the morals of the Prophets and the attributes of the Apostles in him.'

The Islamic rule of law should not only be just, but should also be beneficent. Islam has no place for torture or confiscation of wealth, and nor for executions and imprisonment, except under extraordinary circumstances; and its ruling is the same as that of the eating of carrion or the drinking of wine as is detailed in Islamic jurisprudence, which are normally expressly forbidden except when, under exceptional circumstances, not to do so would endanger one's life, such as if in a desert or such like one was dying of hunger and nothing was available but carrion. Then a person would be allowed to eat only the minimum amount to save him from death, but not to eat to be satiated.

When the people saw that Islam is merciful and that it does not execute, confiscate, torture, imprison or banish they were naturally attracted to it. The Prophet of Islam and Imam Ali adopted this policy even when they were in position to be severe and violent. Instead, they preferred to be kind and clement and forgiving even towards the criminals as can be found in many well-known accounts.

The Islamic government should also have a paradigm for granting freedoms to Islamic political parties and enhancing the progress of the people and should not interfere in the affairs of the people - not in their commerce, their agriculture, their manufacturing, their travelling, their dwelling, in expressing their opinions, in their free association, in their writings and teachings. Were the Islamic government to be a paradigm to this extent, today it would surely have attracted the eyes of the world to its excellent qualities just as the eyes of the world are still attracted to the achievements and characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali.

In the Eyes of His Opponents

It is related that Abdullah ibn Abbas said: 'A group of infidels, who had formed a pact by swearing to oppose the Prophet, met at sunset at the Kabah1 and said to each other:

'Send word to Muhammad and speak to him and argue with him until you leave him no excuse. So they sent someone who said to him: 'The nobles of your tribe have met so that they may address you so come to them.'

The Messenger of God came to them, while he was concerned for them; that they be guided and it was heavy upon him that they suffered by virtue of being non-believers, so he sat with them.

They said: 'O Muhammad, we have sent for you so that we may address you. By God, we do not know of a man of the Arabs who has done to his tribe what you have done. You have insulted our forefathers, criticized our religion, slandered our gods, discredited our dreams, and shattered our unity. No mean deed remains, which you have not done to us. If you have come with this speech seeking wealth then we will gather wealth for you until you are the wealthiest amongst us. If you seek rank with it then we will make you our chief. If you seek kingship then we will make you a king. If the Jinn that have possessed you have overcome you then we will pay for treatment until you are relieved of it. If you want a wife then we will marry you to the most beautiful girl of all the Arabs.'

The Messenger of God said to them: 'It is not like you say. I have not come to you with what I have come with, seeking wealth or honor or kingdom, but God has sent me to you as a Messenger and has sent down to me a book and has ordered that I be a herald of glad tidings and a warner. I have delivered the messages of my Lord and given you good counsel. If you accept what I have brought then that will be to your good fortune in this world and the next, but if you reject then I will wait for the command of God and until He judges between me and you.'

They said: 'O Muhammad, if you will not accept what we have offered, then you know that there are none whose land is less constrained than ours or with less water or with a more difficult life, so ask your Lord who has sent you with what he has sent you to take away these mountains from us which confine us so that our land may be flat and let your Lord make rivers like those of Syria erupt in the land and let Him send your forefathers including Qusayy ibn Kilab, who was a master of truth, back to us so that we may ask him whether what you say is true or false. If they confirm you are truthful and you do as we ask then we will believe you and by this we will recognize your station in the sight of God and that he has sent you as a Messenger as you say.'

The Messenger of God said: 'It is not with this that I have been sent to you. I have only come to you from God with what He has sent me for and I have delivered to you that which I have been sent with. If you accept then it will be to your good fortune in this world and the next and if you reject then I will wait for the command of God and until He judges between me and you.'

They said: 'If you will not do this then choose between the following. Ask your Lord to send an angel who will confirm what you say and will repel us from you, and if not, then let Him make for you gardens and palaces and treasures of gold and silver which will relieve you of what we see you seeking; for you stand in the markets seeking a livelihood like the rest of us. By this we can recognize your virtue and station from your Lord if you are a messenger as you claim.'

The Prophet said: 'It is not for me to do this, I do not ask from my Lord but He is the one who has sent me as a bringer of tidings and as a warner and if you accept then that will be to your good fortune in this world and the next, and if you reject, then I will persevere by the command of God, and until he judges between me and you.'

They said: 'Then bring the sky down upon our heads as you have claimed that your Lord can do if he wishes.'

The Prophet said: 'That is for God, if He wishes to do that with you then He will.'

They said: 'O Muhammad, then your Lord did not know that we were going to sit with you and ask you what we have asked you so that He might teach you what you should do to divert us, or inform you what He would be doing to us if we do not accept what you have been sent to us with. We have heard that a man in al-Yamamah named ‘al-Rahman’ teaches this to you. By God, we will never believe in this 'al-Rahman' ever. We have warned you O Muhammad, by God, we will not let you be for what you have done to us until we destroy you or you destroy us.'

Then the Messenger of God rose and left them to return to his family, with sorrow and sadness for them. Then Nadr ibn Harith ibn Kaldah got up and said, “O Quraysh! By God, you are gripped with an issue that you have not found a solution for. While Muhammad was a young man he was the most pleasant amongst you, the most truthful in speech, and the most trustworthy of all amongst you . . . he was so until you started to see the grey hair in his beard, and then he came with what he has come to you with. You said he is a sorcerer, but by God, he is not so, for we have seen the sorcerers and we know their traits and tricks. Then you said he is a poet, whereas we have heard the poems and their various categories. Then you said he is crazy, but by God, he is not mad for we have seen madness . . . O Quraysh! Look into this affair of yours, for by God a matter of great importance has descended upon you.

Conducts and Strategies of Battle

The Prophet used to consult his companions in battle and meeting the enemy and the choice of positions. One of the companions related: 'I have not seen anyone who consults his companions more than the Messenger of God.' He used to stay in the rear guard when marching to urge on the weak ones and to seat behind him those who became detached from the main force. He was most attentive to his companions during marching.

If he wished to make an excursion he would keep it a secret and make a diversion so that the killing would be kept to a minimum. He would send out reconnaissance and advance parties and post sentries.

Whenever he faced the enemy he would stop to pray to God and ask for His succor. He and his companions would invoke the name of God much and lower their voices.

When the blows intensified the others would take him as a shield. As mentioned in Nahj al-Balaghah, Imam Ali says: 'In the heat of the battle we would shield ourselves with the Messenger of God for no-one was closer to the enemy then he was.'

He was always the closest to the enemy among his men. The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali is quoted as having said: 'The Apostle of God forbade the use of poison against the Polytheists.'2

The Messenger of God and his companions passed near by the lands of Ashja and the Damrah tribe on the way to a sortie. There was already a state of truce between Damrah and him.

The companions said to the Messenger of God: 'O Messenger of God, the Damrah are near to us and we fear that they will cross us on the way to Medina or assist the Quraysh against us, so should we attack them.'

The Messenger of God said: 'Not at all, they are the most respectful of the Arabs to their parents and the best in maintaining the bonds of kinship and most honest in fulfilling their promises.'

If he sent out a troop he would enjoin upon them fear of God and say: 'Go in the name of God and fight those who deny God. Do not mutilate and do not betray and do not kill children, women, and old men.'

He would also say: 'Go in the name of God and in the way of God and upon the religion of the Apostle of God. Do not plunder and do not mutilate and do not be treacherous and do not kill old men or children or women. Do not cut down trees except when forced to do so. And if any man of the Muslims, be he of low or high rank, give respite to any of the Polytheists then he has sanctuary so that he may hear the word of God. If he then follows you then he is your brother in faith and if he refuses then send him away in safety, and seek the aid of God.' 3 During battle he would give his men special code words and signals so that they would be known when they spoke.

He used to order the commanders of his troops to invite the enemy to Islam and migration4, or Islam only so that they would be like the Bedouins who did not have a share in the spoils of war, or to ask them to pay the Jizyah tax. If they agreed this would be accepted from them. If not, then he should seek help from God and fight them.

If he won on the day he would send out a herald and gather all the booty. He would begin with the things that had been pillaged and would return them to their rightful owners. Then he would take out a fifth (khums) of what was left and would use it for the benefit of the Muslims as instructed by the Almighty. Then he would use some of the rest for those who did not have a normal share like the women and the children and the servants. Then he would distribute the remaining bulk equally amongst the army: a horseman would get three shares, one for himself and two for his horse and the foot soldier would get one share. He would treat the strong and the weak alike in the share of the spoils except in the share of public estates.

With the Prisoners of Battle of Badr

When the prisoners of the battle of Badr5 were brought forth, the Messenger of God divided them amongst his companions and said: 'Treat the prisoners well.'

Abu Aziz ibn Omeir ibn Hashim the brother of Masab ibn Omeir was amongst the prisoners. He had been carrying one of the banners of the Quraysh. After he was freed he said: 'I was a captive in the hands of some of the Ansar6, when they brought me from Badr. When they prepared their food they used to favour me with the bread and they would eat dates. Bread was scarce whereas dates were the staple. This was because of what the Messenger of God had instructed about our treatment. If one of the Ansar came across even a crust of bread he would pass it to me but I would feel ashamed and return it to him. Then he would return it to me and would not touch it. Also they had very few camels and they would seat me upon a camel and they themselves would walk beside it.

When the night descended upon them and some of the companions were given the task of securing the bonds of the prisoners, the bonds of al-Abbas7 were made tight. The Prophet heard him complaining and because of this he could not sleep. When the Ansar heard about this they set al-Abbas free for they understood that the Prophet would be satisfied other than with this and they asked him to let them waive his ransom.

The Messenger of God took seventy prisoners on the day of Badr and ransomed them according to their wealth. Generally the people of Mecca were literate and the people of Medina were not. Whoever did not have any ransom money, would be sent ten youths from Medina so that he could teach them to read and write instead.

The Messenger of God set free al-Muttalib ibn Hantab and Saifi ibn Abi Rafaah and Abu Izzah al-Jamahi. He only took their oaths that they would not aid anyone against him. Abu Izzah was a needy person who had daughters. He said: 'O Messenger of God, you know that I do not possess any wealth and that I am in need and I have children so set me free.' The Messenger of God did so after taking his oath not to aid anyone against him.

Ransom of His Son-in-Law

The Messenger of God also freed Abu al-As ibn al-Rabiah, the husband of his (step) daughter Zainab after she had sent ransom for him. The ransom that she sent included a necklace, which had been given to her by her mother Khadijah on the night of her wedding. When the Messenger of God saw the necklace he remembered his faithful wife Khadijah and was moved to tears. Then he turned to the Muslims and said: 'If you see fit, let Zainab's husband go free and send back the ransom that she has sent for doing so.'

By this he did not impose his opinion upon them despite the Quran having said:

The Prophet has more authority over the believers than they do over their own selves (33):6.

In doing so he expressed the freedom available within Islam and set out its wise policies. The Muslims said: 'Yes O Messenger of God, may we and our wealth be sacrificed for you.' So they returned what Zainab had sent and set free Abu al-As without ransom and the Messenger of God thanked them for this.

The Messenger of God had obliged Abu al-As and he promised the Prophet to give Zainab freedom of movement; so when Abu al-As went to Mecca, the Messenger of God sent Zaid ibn Harithah and another man of the Ansar and said to them: 'Wait at the bottom of Yajaj until Zainab passes by then accompany her here to me.' So they set out towards Mecca and this was one month after the battle of Badr.

When Abu al-As reached Mecca he ordered her to join her father so she prepared herself and left for Medina. On the way she was attacked by Habbar ibn al-Aswad who attacked her with his spear while she was in the howdah. She was with child and as a result she miscarried and later died of the injuries she had sustained. The Messenger of God ordered that he be killed but they were not able to seize him. On the day of the liberation of Mecca, Habbar fled to the hills then returned in disguise. When he stood before the Messenger of God he entered Islam and the Messenger of God accepted his Islam and forgave him.

Prohibition of Torture and Mutilation

Mukraz ibn Hafs arrived to pay the ransom of Suheil ibn Amr who had been taken prisoner by Malik ibn al-Dakhsham. He was ransomed for four thousand Dirhams.

Ibn Ishaq8 mentions one of the companions as saying: 'O Messenger of God, let me tear out the incisors of Suheil ibn Amr so that his tongue will loll out and he will not be able to make speeches against you anywhere ever again.' The Prophet said: 'I will not have him mutilated, for God would then mutilate me even though I am a Prophet.'

In another account it is said that the Messenger of God said: 'He just might act in a way for which we would not blame him.'

Returns Evil with Good

Two sons of Abu Sufyan9 took part in the battle of Badr - Handhalah and Amr. Handhalah was killed and the Messenger of God took Amr as prisoner.

Abu Sufyan was offered the opportunity to pay ransom for his son Amr. He said: Am I to pay out of my money as well as out of my blood? They have killed Handhalah and now I am to pay ransom for Amr. Let him remain with you. You can hold him for as long as you want.' Meanwhile, Saad ibn al-Numan the brother of the Bani Amr ibn Awf left Medina to make a supererogatory pilgrimage (umrah) to the holy Kabah in Mecca. Abu Sufyan attacked him and held him prisoner in lieu of his son Amr. This was despite the fact that the Quraysh had made a promise not to stand in the way of anyone who came to Mecca as a pilgrim.

The tribe of Amr ibn Awf went to the Messenger of God and informed him of their news and asked him to hand over Amr ibn Abu Sufyan so that they could secure the release of their brother. The Messenger of God agreed and he was sent to Abu Sufyan who in turn set free Saad.

Gives His Foes the Choice of Peace

When the Messenger of God first entered Medina he made a peace treaty with the Bani Nadeer tribe as he did with the rest of the Jewish tribes with condition that they would not fight him nor he would fight with them and he accepted these terms. When the Messenger of God fought at Badr and defeated the Polytheists they said: 'By God, he certainly is the Prophet whom we find described in the Torah.'

When he fought at Ohud and the Muslims were defeated they were seized with doubts and they broke their treaty. They went to the Quraysh and formed an alliance and a pact with them that they would stand united against Muhammad.

Then Gabriel descended and informed the Prophet of this. In order to expose the antagonistic intentions that the Bani Nadeer held against the Muslims, he went out to them on a Saturday during the month of Rabi-I and prayed in the mosque of Quba along with Imam Ali and few of his companions. Then he approached them and spoke to them of a loan to pay some reparations (there was a loan agreement in force between them) and they agreed to make the loan.

Then some of them spoke in secret to others saying: 'Never again will you find him in such a situation.' He was beside a wall of one of their houses. They said: 'Who will climb onto this house and throw this rock on him and kill him and relieve us of him?' Amr ibn Jahhash volunteered saying: 'I will do it.' Salam ibn Mushkam said: 'Do not do it, God will surely inform him of what you intend. It is a breach of the treaty that is between us and him.'

Then Gabriel came and informed the Messenger of God of the news and thus he returned to Medina. Then his companions caught up with him and said: 'You left O Messenger of God, and we did not realize it.'

He said: 'The Jews sought to betray me and God informed me of this so I left.' Then he sent a messenger to the Jews ordering them to leave their homes. Their houses were in a nearby village called Zahrah, towards al-Far district. He gave them ten days to leave.

The news reached Ibn Obayy10 and he sent a messenger to the Jews telling them not to leave their homes and promising them the assistance of his people and reinforcements from the Jewish clan of Bani Qureidhah and their allies the clan of Bani Ghatfan. They sought this.

So the Messenger of God went out to them and prayed the afternoon prayer in the courtyard of the Bani Nadeer tribe. Imam Ali carried the banner and Ibn Omm Maktum was left in charge of Medina. When they saw the Messenger of God, they took refuge in their fortresses with arrows and stones. Then the clan of Qureidah left them, and Ibn Obayy betrayed them. Then the Messenger of God laid siege to them for twenty-one nights.

God put terror into their hearts and they eventually decided to leave Medina without fighting. The Messenger of God said to them: 'Leave the city and you will save your blood and whatever your camels can carry except for weapons.' So they left with their women and their children playing the pipes and banging tambourines having laden six hundred camels with their property. People even tore out the doors of their houses and loaded them onto camels. Then they destroyed their houses with their own hands and left. Some of them went to Khaybar and others went to Syria and some went to al-Hirah.

His Magnanimity

During one excursion, the Messenger of God rested under a tree by the side of a river. Then the river flooded and came between him and his companions. He was seen by one of the Polytheists who said to his companions: 'I will kill Muhammad.' So he approached and threatened the Messenger of God with his sword and said: 'Who will save you from me?' The Messenger of God said: 'My Lord and yours.'

Then Gabriel blew him from his horse and he fell. The Messenger of God stood up, took the sword and sat on the man's chest and said: 'Who will save you from me?'

The man said: 'Your goodness and generosity.' So the Messenger of God left him. The man stood up and went to his people and said: 'I have just come from the best of people.' Many people entered Islam because of him. In another account it is said that when he sat on his chest he said to him: 'Will you testify that there is no deity but God and that I am His messenger?' the man said: 'I promise that I will not fight you nor will I be with any people who fight you.' So he let him be on his way. Then the man came to his people and said: 'I have just come from the best of people...'

His Care for his Companions

The Messenger of God used to travel in the rear guard so that he could help the weaker of his companions and carry those whose mounts had faltered and were no longer able to bear a burden. On the way back from the Patched Banner excursion he met with Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari who had lagged behind the rest and he said to him: 'What is wrong O Jabir?'

Jabir, pointing to his camel said: 'This has made me slow.' The Messenger of God approached the camel and ran his hand over it and it became strong and began making advances to the Messenger of God's she camel. Then he said to Jabir: 'O Jabir, will you sell me this camel of yours.' He said: 'Rather I will gift it to you.'

He said: 'No but sell it to me.' So the Messenger of God offered an ounce of gold when he said: 'Are you satisfied O Jabir.' Jabir said: 'I am satisfied O Messenger of God, the camel is yours.' The Messenger of God said: 'It is mine and you may ride it until we reach Medina.' Then he said to Jabir: 'Are you married O Jabir?' He said: 'Yes O Messenger of God.'

He said: 'Was she a divorcee or a virgin.' He said: 'A divorcee.' Then Jabir sighed deeply and said: 'O Messenger of God, on the day of (the battle of) Ohud my father was (fatally) wounded and I was left in charge of seven of my sisters so I married a woman who could take care of them.'

The Messenger of God was concerned and it showed in his face and he said praising what Jabir had done: 'You have done well O Jabir.'

Then the Messenger of God asked about his father's debts and Jabir informed him. Then the Messenger of God said to him: 'When you enter Medina and want to clip your date palms and take the dates then let me know.'

Jabir relates: 'So I entered Medina and told my wife of what had been said to me by the Messenger of God and she said with joy: 'You must obey.' In the morning Jabir took the camel to the door of the mosque then sat nearby. The Messenger of God came to the mosque and saw the camel and said: 'What is this?' 'O Messenger of God, this is Jabir's camel.' said some of his companions. He said: 'And where is Jabir himself?' So Jabir was called upon and the Prophet said to him: 'Take the camel for it is yours.' Then he summoned Bilal and said to him: 'Give Jabir an ounce of gold.'

Jabir relates: So I went with him and he gave me an ounce.

He Goes Hungry

The Messenger of God used to bind stones upon his stomach because of hunger.

Imam Ali relates: 'We were with the Prophet digging the moat before the battle of the Khandaq when Lady Fatimah came with a crust of bread. She gave it to the Prophet who said: 'O Fatimah, what is this?'

Lady Fatimah said: 'I baked a loaf of bread for Hasan and Husayn and I have brought you this crust. The Prophet said:

'This is the first food to enter your father's stomach for three days.'

Foe Turned into Friend

The Messenger of God sent some horsemen to Najd led by Muhammad ibn Musallamah. They captured a man of the Banu Hanifah named Thamamah ibn Othal who had previously killed some Muslims. They brought him to Medina and tied him to a pillar in the mosque. (In another account it is said that they left him in a room adjoining the mosque.)

The Messenger of God went to see him and said to him:

'What is your situation O Thamamah?' He said: 'It is good O Muhammad. If you kill me you will kill a person of noble blood. If you let me go you will find me grateful. Or, if you want money then ask whatever you want.'

The Messenger of God said to his companions afterwards: 'Set Thamamah free.'

So Thamamah went to an oasis near the mosque and washed himself then he entered the mosque and said: 'I testify that there is no deity but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger. O Muhammad, I swear to God, no face on earth was more detestable to me than yours but now it has become the most beloved of faces to me. No way was more detestable to me than your way and now your way has become the most beloved of ways to me. No land was more detestable to me than your land but now your land has become the most beloved of lands to me. Your horses took me when I was going to Mecca for pilgrimage so what do you think?' The Messenger of God gave him glad tidings and ordered him to go to the pilgrimage. When he arrived in Mecca someone said to him: 'Have you become rejuvenated?'

He said: 'No but I have entered Islam with Muhammad the Messenger of God and from now on not a grain of wheat will come to you from al-Yamamah unless the Prophet gives permission.'

Al-Yamamah was an agricultural area that was depended upon by the Meccans. Thamamah left for his lands and prevented cargo from reaching Mecca until the Quraysh suffered. They wrote to the Messenger of God calling upon their bonds of kinship with him so that he would write to Thamamah to let them carry food to Mecca. Messenger of God did this.

Tolerated the Enemy of the State

While the Messenger of God was returning from his campaign against Bani Mustaliq tribe, a dispute had occurred between Jahjah ibn Masud al-Ghifari of the Muhajirun and Sannan ibn Wabr al-Jahani of the Ansar. Abdullah ibn Obayy, who was a hypocrite from the Ansar said: 'When we return to Medina the mighty will surely drive out the weak.' By the 'mighty' he meant himself and by the weak he meant 'the Prophet Muhammad'. By declaring this slogan Abdullah ibn Obayy tried to use the dispute to bring about a commotion in the Muslim community and break its unity.

As a result of the said slogan, the Ghifari called upon the Muhajirun and the Jahani called upon the Ansar (to fight one another with the help of their respective factions - this would have meant the first inter-Muslim clash). The Messenger of God said: 'Is it to be the call of the Jahiliyyah (the Times of Ignorance) while I am still among you?' Zaid ibn Arqam told the Messenger of God of what Abdullah ibn Obayy had said and the chapter of the Quran named 'The Hypocrites' was revealed in this regard.

Abdullah, the son of Abdullah ibn Obayy disassociated himself from his father and came to the Messenger of God and said: 'O Messenger of God, you are the mightiest and he is the meanest. I swear that if you wish we will drive him out O Messenger of God.' He waited for his father near to Medina and said: 'Do not enter the city until the Messenger of God grants you permission to enter.'

The father complained of his son to the Messenger of God who sent word for him to let him enter. He said: 'Now the permission has come so you may enter.' He also said: 'I have heard O Messenger of God that you wish to kill my father and I fear that if you order someone other than me to do so that I will not be able to let the killer of my father walk in the land without killing him and by this entering the hellfire because of killing a believer for an infidel. The Ansar know that I am the most dutiful of them to his father. But, O Messenger of God if you intend to kill him then order me to do so and I will bring you his head.'

The Messenger of God said words of kindness to him and told him to accompany his father in a fine manner as long as he was amongst the Muslims.

His Adherence to the Peace Treaty of Hodaybiyah

Amongst several others, one of the conditions of the treaty of Hodaybiyah was that if anyone left Quraysh and migrated from Mecca to Medina to join the Prophet Muhammad and his Muslim followers without the permission of his guardian, then he would have to be returned to the Quraysh. However, if one of the followers of the Prophet wanted to go back to the Quraysh in Mecca he should be allowed to do so. The Prophet had in principle accepted this condition, as well as other conditions of the treaty and was ready to sign the peace deal.

However some of the companions objected to this and said:

'Glory be to God, how can we send a man back to the Polytheists when he has come to us as a Muslim.' At this stage, suddenly, Abu Jandal ibn Suheil ibn Amr entered the gathering shackled. He had escaped from his father's prison in lower Mecca and put himself in the hands of the Muslims. He had committed no crime other than choosing Islam over Polytheism.

His father Suheil said: 'O Muhammad, this is the first person I demand that you return to me.' The Prophet said: 'We have not finished the document yet.' He said: 'Then I will never make peace with you ever.'

The Prophet said: 'Let him remain under our protection.' He said: 'I will not.'

The Prophet said: 'No, let it be so.' He said: 'I will not.'

In order to save the deal, Mukraz, a member of the Quraysh delegation that had come to negotiate and sign the pact, said:

'Yes, we give him over to your protection.' But Suheil refused this completely and made the whole peace treaty depend upon his son being delivered to him.

When Abu Jandal saw that he was to be returned to his father he said: 'O Muslims, am I to be returned to the Polytheists after I have come to you as a Muslim. Do you not see how I have been treated?' He had been tortured severely because of his belief in God. Some of the Muslims said: 'We will not return him.'

The Apostle of God stood up and took him by the hand and said: 'O God, you know that Abu Jandal is sincere, so relieve him and grant him a way out.' Then he approached the people and said: 'He is safe, and he will return to his father and mother. I wish to fulfil the conditions of the Quraysh.' Then he turned to Abu Jandal and said: 'O Abu Jandal, have patience and think of the afterlife. God will surely grant you and the rest of the Muslims with you relief and a way out. We have made a peace treaty with the Quraysh and given them our word and they have given us theirs. We will not act treacherously with them.'

Among the Blessings of the Treaty of Hodaybiyah

When the Apostle of God returned to Medina, Abu Basir ibn Oseid ibn Harithah al-Thaqafi, who was a new convert, escaped from the Polytheists of the Quraysh. They sent two men in pursuit of him who came to the Apostle of God and reminded him of the treaty. So he sent Abu Basir up to the two men.

They left and reached as far as Dhu al-Hulayfah where they stopped to eat some dates they had with them. Abu Basir said to one of the men: 'I see that your sword is a good one.' The man said: 'It is indeed, by God. I have tried it out more than once.'

Abu Basir said: 'Let me look at it.'

Then he overpowered him and struck him until he died and the other man fled to Medina and entered the mosque. When the Apostle of God saw him he said: 'This man is terrified.' The man said: 'Abu Basir has killed my companion and I was nearly killed.'

Then Abu Basir came and said: 'O Prophet of God, God has fulfilled your covenant. You returned me to them and God delivered me from them.' The Prophet said: 'He starts a war whenever there is anyone with him.' When Abu Basir heard this he knew that the Apostle of God would return him to them again. So he left with five men who had come with him as Muslims, and ended up between al-Ays and Dhil-Murrah regions in the lands of Juheinah on the road that the caravans of the Quraysh took.

Abu Jandal ibn Soheil and seventy riders who had entered Islam also escaped from Quraysh and they joined up with Abu Basir as did every Muslim that left the Quraysh until their numbers reached three hundred fighters all of them Muslims. Every time they heard of a caravan of the Quraysh leaving for Syria they would intercept it and take their property.

The Quraysh sent Abu Sufyan to the Apostle of God begging him to send word to Abu Basir al-Thaqafi and Abu Jandal and their men for them to come to him. Relinquishing one of the most important articles of the treaty of Hodaybiyah, which was designed to prevent and discourage Muslim converts to join the Prophet Muhammad, on behalf of the Quraysh Abu Sufyan said to the Apostle of God: 'Whoever leaves us for you then hold onto him without blame upon you.'

Then those who had advised the Apostle of God not to return Abu Jandal to his father realised that obedience to the Apostle of God was better for them under all circumstances. They realized that this was the greatest victory so far for Islam. Previously there were clashes and a sense of animosity between the Muslims and the infidels, but now that there was a truce and the war was over and the people were secure, whenever they met they would discuss their ideas and beliefs and whenever anyone spoke of Islam and others reasoned and understood Islam they would embrace it as a way of life. During the next two years more people entered Islam than had already become Muslims in the previous years.

Kindness to Captives

When Imam Ali conquered the Jewish fortress of Khaybar, among the captives he took was Safiyyah the daughter of Huyyay ibn Akhtab. He summoned Bilal and put her in his custody and said to him: 'O Bilal, only give her over to the Apostle of God until he does as he sees fit with her. Bilal took her and on the way to the Apostle of God they passed by the dead and Safiyyah almost died of grief. When the Apostle of God heard of this he said to Bilal: 'Have you been stripped of mercy O Bilal?'

Then he offered her Islam and she accepted and he freed her, and he offered to marry her, which she accepted. She was a well-mannered woman and whenever she wanted to mount a camel and the Apostle of God bent to help her mount she would refuse. He saw a green mark near to her eye and asked her about it. She said: 'O Apostle of God, before you came to us I saw in a dream the moon and it was as if it had left its place and descended into my lap. I told my husband this and he struck my face and my eye became green. He said: 'This means nothing other than that you desire the 'King of the Hijaz' i.e. the Prophet.

The Protectorate

When Imam Ali had conquered the important fortresses of Khaibar and killed Marhab and his brother Yasir and up to one hundred other Jewish braves while they had only killed fifteen of the Muslims, the Jews were frightened and sought refuge by way of secret tunnels in the last castle that remained in their hands wherein was their wealth and their foodstuffs.

The Apostle laid siege to the castle and one of the Jews went to him and said: 'O Muhammad, will you grant me the security of myself, my family and my possessions and sons if I show you how to conquer the castle?'

The Apostle of God said: 'Yes you are safe.'

He said: 'You should order that this place be dug for it is where the water of the castle runs. Then you must block the channel and the castle will be without water and they will surrender.' The Apostle of God refused his suggestion and said: 'God will bring about another way.'

When the siege tightened on the Jews and they realized that they would not be able to resist or fight, their leader Ibn Abil-Haqiq sent word to the Apostle of God that they wished to negotiate and asked whether he could descend and speak with him.

The Apostle of God agreed and Ibn Abil-Haqiq descended and made a treaty with the Apostle of God on condition that none in the fortress would be harmed and that the fighters would leave Khaybar, with their woman and children and they would leave the land, animals, wealth and weapons to the Apostle of God.

The Jews Enter Islam

When the people of Khaybar descended from their forts under the peace treaty and prepared to leave the land, they came to the Apostle of God with a proposal and said: 'O Muhammad, let us remain in this land and you will have one half of the crop for we know the land best and have lived here longest.'

The Apostle of God agreed on the condition that if he wished to expel them he could and if he wished that they remained, they would remain. When the crops matured, he sent Abdullah ibn Rawahah to collect the half share from them. When he came he gave them an evaluation for the crop and said: 'Either you take the crop and give us half the price or we take the crop and give you half the price.'

The Jews said: 'This is justice; by this the heavens and the earth were established.' After this they entered Islam because of what they had seen of the justice of Islam and the ethics of the Apostle of God.

It is said that when the wealth of Khaybar was divided up the Muslims were satiated and they found a comfort hitherto unknown. One of them said: 'We never ate our fill until we conquered Khaybar. Another said: 'When Khaybar was conquered we said: 'Now we will eat our fill of dates.'

Forgiveness Not Revenge

When a state of calm reigned and the Apostle of God had finished with Khaybar, the Jewess Zainab - daughter of al-Harith ibn Salam ibn Mushkam, the niece of Marhab gifted the Apostle of God a roast sheep. She had asked: 'Which part of the sheep is most liked by the Apostle of God. They said to her: 'The shoulder.' So she put a great deal of poison there and also poisoned the rest of the sheep.

Then she brought the sheep to him and placed it before him. The Prophet took the shoulder and took a bite from it and then spat it out. Bishr ibn Barra ibn Mamur was with him and he also took a bite and swallowed it.

The Apostle of God said: 'Lift your hands, for the shoulder of this sheep is telling me that it has been poisoned.' Then the Jewess was summoned and she confessed. The Apostle of God said to her: 'What made you do this?'

She said seeking an excuse for what she had done: 'You did something to my people that I could not forgive. So I thought: 'If he is a Prophet he will be informed, and if he is a king then we will have been relieved of him.' The Apostle of God overlooked her transgression. Then when she saw the conducts and morals of the Apostle of God she entered Islam and said: 'Now I know that you are a Prophet of God and I bear witness to you and who is with you that I will follow your religion. I bear witness that there is no deity but God and that you, Muhammad, are the Apostle of God.'

A Jew's Word was Enough

The Apostle of God remained in Medina after his return from Khaybar until the month of Shawwal in the seventh year of the Hijrah. During this time he sent some sorties to consolidate the security of Medina and to warn those who still considered attacking the Muslims and also to deliver the message of Islam and explain its high-minded rules and teachings to them.

One such sortie was that of Osamah ibn Zaid. The Apostle of God sent him with some horsemen to a Jewish village, which was named al-Harqah, to invite them to Islam. A Jewish man named Mardas ibn Nuheik approached the horsemen saying: 'Peace be upon you. I testify that there is no deity but God and that Muhammad is the Apostle of God.' But when Osamah ibn Zaid passed by him he speared Mardas and killed him.

When Osamah returned to the Apostle of God and told him of this the Prophet said: 'You killed a man who testified that there is no deity but God and that I am the Apostle of God?'
Osamah said: 'O Apostle of God, he only said that to save himself from death.' The Apostle of God said: 'You did not lift the cover from his heart! You neither accepted what his tongue was saying nor did you know what was in his mind!'

In this regard God revealed:

And do not say to those who offer you a greeting of peace: you are not a believer (4):94.

Then the Apostle of God sent compensation to the family of Mardas ibn Nuheik.

The Bearer of the White Banner

The Apostle of God had sent al-Harith ibn Omeir al-Azdi with a letter to the king of Busra the absolute ruler of greater Syria in which he invited him to Islam. When he stopped at Mutah the king's agent Sharhabil ibn Amr al-Ghasani arrested him and when he knew that he was the Prophet's messenger to the king he went against the prevailing customs of the time and killed him. No other messenger of the Apostle of God was killed despite the vast number he sent from Medina to kings and leaders after the treaty of Hodaybiyah.

When the news of the death of al-Harith reached the Apostle of God he was very saddened, and gathered the Muslims and told them that al-Harith had been killed as well as the group of missionaries. They made haste and left Medina and made camp at al-Jarf. The Apostle of God led them in the noon prayer, and then gave a sermon and advised them saying: 'I enjoin upon you the fear of God. Fight in the name of God and in the way of God. Fight those who disbelieve in God, and do not use treacherous means and do not plunder. Do not kill children or women or old people, and do not cut down any date palms or trees and do not destroy any buildings.'

Then the Apostle of God raised a white banner and handed it to Jafar ibn Abi Talib whom he appointed as the commander of the squadron, and said: 'When you meet your enemy, the Polytheists then invite them to one of three things and whichever of them they choose then accept it from them and stay your hands from them: Invite them to Islam and if they agree then accept it from them and leave them be. Then invite them to leave their abode for the abode of the Muhajirun. If they accept, then inform them that they have the rights and responsibilities of the Muhajirun (the emigrants)11. If they enter into Islam and prefer to remain in their abode then they will be treated as the Bedouin Muslims; God's rule will be in force amongst them but they will have no rights over the spoils or booty until they fight alongside the Muslims. If they refuse (these two options) then call them to pay the Jizyah tax12and if they do so then accept it from them and stay your hands from them. If they refuse all this then seek the aid of God and fight them. '

The Prophet Forgives the Traitor

The Apostle of God told the Muslim community that he was going to Mecca and ordered them to prepare for the journey. He said: 'O God, keep the spies and news from the Quraysh so that we can surprise them in their lands.' Hatib ibn Baltaah wrote a letter to the people of Mecca informing them that the Apostle of God was coming to them and gave the letter to a woman whose name was Sarah, giving ten Dinars for her to take the letter to the people of Mecca.

Sarah was the servant of Abu Amr ibn Sayfi ibn Hisham. She had come to the Apostle of God from Mecca to Medina. The Apostle of God had said to her: 'Have you come as a Muslim?' She said: 'No.'

He said: 'Have you come as an imigrant?' She said: 'No.'

He said: 'What have you come for?'

She said: 'You have been my family and patrons. But my patrons have gone and I am in dire need. So I have come to you so that you may give to me and clothe me and provide a mount for me.'

He said: 'Where do you stand amongst the young Polytheists?' She had been a singer, who used to sing for the fighters of Quraysh to boost their morale, during their battles with the Prophet.

She said: 'They have not asked me for anything else since the battle of Badr.' So the Apostle of God urged the Bani Abdul-Muttalib to clothe her and provide her with a mount and with funds, which they did. While the Apostle of God was preparing to conquer Mecca, Hatib came to her and gave her the letter and ordered her to take it by a little known route. When Sarah left with the letter, Gabriel descended upon the Apostle of God and told him of this.

The Apostle of God summoned Imam Ali and said to him:

'One of my companions has written a letter to the people of Mecca telling them of our plans. I have already asked God to hide our news from them. The letter is with a woman who has taken it by a different road. So take your sword and catch up with her and take the letter from her. Then let her go and return to me with it. Then he summoned al-Zubeir and said to him: 'Go with Ali ibn Abi Talib on this errand.' So they went and when they caught up with her al-Zubeir said to her: 'Where is the letter you have with you?' But she denied it and swore an oath and wept.

Al-Zubeir said turning to Imam Ali: 'I do not see that she has a letter with her O Abu al-Hasan, so let us return to the Apostle of God and inform him of her innocence.'

Imam Ali said: 'The Apostle of God informs me that she has a letter with her and orders me to take it from her and you tell me that she has no letter with her!'

Then he drew his sword and stepped towards her and said:

'By God you will either produce the letter or I will strike your neck with this sword.' When she saw this earnestness she said: 'If I must do this then at least turn your face away from me O Son of Abu Talib.' So he turned his face from her and she opened her veil and took out the letter from her hair. Then Imam Ali took it and went with it to the Apostle of God.

The affair of Hatib, being as it was, warranted that public opinion be turned against him so that others who were considering acting in a similar manner would be prevented. Perhaps for this reason we see that the Apostle of God ordered that congregational prayers be held and then he ascended the pulpit and took the letter in his hand and said: 'O people, I have asked God to keep information about us from the Quraysh, but a man from amongst you has written to the people of Mecca and told them of our news. So let the owner of the letter rise or revelation will expose him.'

No-one rose so he repeated it and then Hatib ibn Abi Baltaah rose and said: 'O Apostle of God, I wrote the letter but I have not become a hypocrite after my Islam nor have I become a doubter after my certainty.' The Apostle of God said: 'Then what made you write the letter?'

Hatib said seeking an excuse: 'O Apostle of God, I have a family in Mecca but I do not have a tribe that will defend my family, so I wanted to have influence with the people there so that God might defend my family and property. All of the Muhajirin have a tribe there to defend their families and wealth.'

So the Apostle of God excused him and forgave him and said to his companions: 'Do not say anything but kind words to him.' One of the companions said: 'O Apostle of God, let me strike the neck of this hypocrite. He has betrayed God and His Apostle.' The Apostle of God said: 'Leave him.' And he stopped him from attacking Hatib.

Then God revealed the following verses about Hatib:

O ye who believe, do not take my enemy and your enemy as allies offering them your love

until the verse:

Of no profit to you will be your relatives and your children on the Day of Resurrection: He will judge between you, and God sees well all that you do (60): 1-3.

Hatib was forgiven despite his treacherous behaviour of betraying some of the most sensitive secrets at times of war, thus blatantly undermining national security.

Before Entering Mecca

Then the Apostle of God ordered al-Abbas to hold Abu Sufyan - one of the prominent leaders of Quraysh, who instigated many wars against the prophet, where the valley narrowed at the front of the mountain where the soldiers of God would pass by him. This he did and the tribes passed by him under their banners.

Al-Abbas relates: 'Every time a tribe passed by, Abu Sufyan would say to me: 'O Abbas, who are they?'

I would say: 'Salim.'

He would say: 'What have I to do with Salim'

Then another tribe would pass by and he would say: 'O Abbas, who are they?'

I would say: 'Muzaynah.'

He would say: 'What have I to do with Muzaynah'. Not a tribe would pass but he would ask me about them and I would inform him of them and he would say: 'What have I to do with such and such a tribe.'

Then the Apostle of God passed by with his detachments including the Muhajirun and the Ansar with eyes of steel.

I said: 'That is the Apostle of God with the Muhajirun and the Ansar.' He said: 'No-one has any capability or power over them.' Then he said: 'I swear, O Abu al-Fadl, the kingdom of your nephew has become great indeed.' I said: 'O Abu Sufyan, this is the Prophethood, (not kingdom).'

Abu Sufyan said: 'Indeed.' Then I said: 'Your people are safe.'

The banner of the Ansar was with Saad ibn Ibadah and when he passed by Abu Sufyan he said to him: 'Today is the day of slaughter, today the women will be captured. O tribes of Aws and Khazraj, this is your revenge for the day of the mountain (Ohud).' Abu Sufyan heard him and kept it to himself until the Apostle of God passed by him when he said: 'Do you know what Saad ibn Ibadah has said? He has said such and such.'

The Apostle of God said: 'What he has said is of no consequence.' Then he sent someone to Saad and took the banner from him and passed it to Imam Ali and said: 'Enter with kindness.' Imam Ali took the banner and began to proclaim: 'Today is the day of mercy, today the honour of the women will be protected.' Then the Apostle of God turned to Abu Sufyan and said to him: 'O Abu Sufyan, proceed to Mecca and let them know of the sanctuary.'

So Abu Sufyan went, until he reached the Quraysh and shouted at the top of his voice: 'O people of Quraysh, here is Muhammad who has come with such force that you cannot contend with. Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan has sanctuary and whoever enters the sacred quarter around the Kabah has sanctuary.' They said: 'God slay you! Your house will not save us.' He said: 'And whoever bolts his door has sanctuary.' So the people left for their houses and for the mosque and the Apostle of God proceeded and entered Mecca from the heights.

Conduct of Islam upon Victory

When the Apostle of God appeared at the pass of Adhakhir, he entered Mecca from that direction. A tent of leather was pitched for him by the grave of his uncle Abu Talib. He refused to reclaim his house or the houses of his companions in Mecca that had been confiscated by the Polytheists.

This was after he had ordered the detachments of his companions and the commanders of his army to surround Mecca completely and to enter by all the entrances and roads which led to the city from high and low so that they would block any possibility of opposition. He ordered them to stay their hands from fighting and only to fight those who fought them.

He also gave a banner to Abu Ruweihah al-Khathami and ordered him to proclaim amongst the people of Mecca:

'Whoever enters under the banner of Abu Ruweihah has sanctuary.' This was in addition to the three other points of sanctuary mentioned. So the people were reassured and threw down their weapons and entered their houses in safety without anyone being made captive or blood being spilt.

Then the Prophet visited the Holy House and when he had finished his circumambulation of the Kabah he went to the mountain of al-Safa and ascended it. It is said that he sat in a corner of the mosque such that he looked at the House. He began to praise God and pray. Then he called for the custodian of the Kabah who at that time was Othman ibn Talhah. He had locked the door when he heard that the Apostle of God had entered Mecca.

He refused to hand over the key so Imam Ali stood up to him and took the key from him and presented it to the Apostle of God. He ordered that the door be opened and he entered and he saw that there were two images inside. He called for a cloth and made it wet and then erased the images. Then he prayed two cycles of prayer between the two pillars upon the red marble. Then he approached the corners of the House and said 'Allahu Akbar' at each corner.

Then he went to the door of the Kabah and the Quraysh had filled the mosque in rows awaiting to see what he would do with them, assuming - according to the customs of the age of ignorance - that they would be subject to the sword and that they would be exterminated to the last man. But it was not to be like this, for Islam is the way of honor and virtue and the Prophet is the Apostle of mercy and humanism. He took hold of the pillars of the door and made the now famous speech.

The Apostle of God began his speech by praising and extolling God, and said: 'There is no deity but God, no partner has He. He fulfilled His promise and aided His servant and He alone defeated the confederates.'

Then he said: 'Every great deed, or wealth, or claim of blood, or foul deed or feud that existed in the Age of Ignorance are beneath my two feet now. As for the custodianship of the House and the task of watering of the pilgrims, they are returned to their rightful owners. Mecca is sacred by the sanctification of God. None other before me has been allowed free reign therein, and I have only been allowed free reign for a short time on one day. Mecca is sacred until the final hour comes. Trees therein are not to be cut and animals are not to be hunted . . '

Then he said: 'O people, let those present inform those who are absent that with Islam, God has taken away the arrogance of the Jahiliyyah and the boasting about lineage and tribe. All of you are from Adam and Adam is from clay.'

Then he recited the Quranic verse:

O people, We have created you of male and female and made of you peoples and tribes so that you might know one another. Surely the most noble amongst you in the sight of God is the most pious (49): 13.
Then he said: 'The best of the servants of God are those who fear God. Arabic is not a father and sire. but is a tongue which speaks and if a person's actions do him down, his lineage will not save him.'

Then he turned to the people of Mecca and said: 'What foul neighbors to a Prophet you were. You belied and expelled and tortured my followers and me. Then you were not satisfied until you came to my lands to fight me. Now, O people of the Quraysh, what do you say? What do you think I shall do with you?

They said: 'We think only good and we say only good. You are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother and you have defeated us.' The Prophet said: 'I will say to you what Joseph peace be upon him said to his brothers:

There is no blame upon you this day, God will forgive you and He is the Most Merciful (12): 92.

Go for ye are at liberty.’

The people left as if they had been raised from their graves, and entered into Islam. God had put the people of Mecca under the Apostle of God's power but because he freed them, the people of Mecca were to become known as the Tulaqa or “those who have been freed”.

With the Custodian of the Kabah

Then the Apostle of God sat in the mosque. Imam Ali came to him bringing the key to the Kabah. Then al-Abbas stood up and asked the Apostle of God to give him the key. At this point the Quranic verse was revealed:

Verily God orders you to return all things held in trust to their rightful owners (4): 58.

So the Apostle of God ordered Imam Ali to return the key to Othman ibn Talhah. When he did so, Othman ibn Talhah, who did not expect that the key would be returned to him, said: 'O Ali, you took it from me by force and now you return it to me with kindness?' Imam Ali said: 'Yes, for God Almighty has sent down a revelation about you in the Quran and has said:

Verily God orders you to return all things held in trust to their rightful owners (4): 58.

When 'Othman ibn Talhah heard this he accepted Islam and the Prophet ratified his position as custodian himself. It is also related that Othman ibn Talhah said: 'In the Jahiliyyah we used to open the Kabah on Mondays and Thursdays. One day the Prophet approached and sought to enter the Kabah with some people. This was before he migrated to Medina. But I locked the door and abused him. He treated me with kindness and said: 'O Othman, perchance you will one day see this key in my own hand to do with as I will.

I said: 'That is the day when the Quraysh are destroyed and humiliated.' He said: 'On the contrary, they will live and be honored.' Then he entered the Kabah and his words were such that made me think that they would come true.

When the day of the conquest of Mecca came he said: 'O Othman, bring me the key.' But I refused to bring him it. So Ali took it from me and gave it to him. When he had completed his prayers and his visit to the House he returned it to me and said: 'O Othman ibn Talhah, God has given you custody of His House (the Kabah) so eat from that which comes to you from this House as is customary.'

As I was leaving he called me and said: 'Did not what I say come to pass?'

Then I remembered what he had said to me in Mecca before the Hijrah and I said: 'Indeed. I bear witness that you are the Apostle of God.'

Forgive Your Archenemies

The Apostle of God had taken the oath of the Muslims not to slay in Mecca anyone other than those who fought them, with the exception of a few who were harming the Prophet and those who entered Islam with him, and who were inciting war and fighting against him and preventing the people from the way of God and the truth. These included the likes of Habbar ibn al-Aswad who had attacked Zainab the (step) daughter of the Apostle of God when she was migrating and terrorized her which caused the miscarriage of her child and an illness of which she died. Another of them was Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl who was one of the inciters of wars and those who fanned the flames of dissent against the Muslims. There were also two songstresses who used to sing mocking the Apostle of God and incited the Polytheists against him on the day of the battle of Ohud. These people went into hiding.

News reached Imam Ali that two of them who were the relatives of Omm Hani the sister of Imam Ali had sought sanctuary with Omm Hani and she had granted it to them in her house. Imam Ali went to her house wearing an iron helmet, which masked his face and called: 'Send out those you are protecting.' The two men were terrified and Omm Hani feared for their safety. Omm Hani went out to him not knowing who he was and said: 'O servant of God, I am Omm Hani the daughter of the uncle of the Apostle of God and the sister of Ali ibn Abi Talib so leave my house.

Imam Ali said: 'Send them out.'

She said: 'I swear that I will complain to the Apostle of God about you.' Imam Ali took off the helmet and she recognized him and approached him and said: 'May I be your sacrifice, I swore to complain of you to the Apostle of God.'

He said to her: 'Go and make good your oath. He is at the top of the valley.' So she came to him distressed and when the Apostle of God had heard her story he said: 'Welcome O Omm Hani, we give sanctuary to those you have given sanctuary to.'

As for Habbar, he fled then he accepted Islam and he was pardoned.

The Apostle of God was asked for pardon for Sarah and one of the lady singers, which he granted and they entered Islam.

As for Ibn Abi Sarh, he entered Islam and was brought by Othman who asked the Apostle of God for pardon which was granted. He had entered Islam before this then he migrated to Medina where he turned away from Islam and returned to Mecca.

Most of the people that the Apostle of God had called for their deaths were given sanctuary after other people interceded on their behalf so they came out from their hiding places. Then they came to the Apostle of God and entered Islam and he accepted their Islam and pardoned them.

One of these people were Safwan ibn Omayyah who had fled. Omeir ibn Wahab al-Jumahi sought sanctuary for him from the Apostle of God, which he granted and he gave him the turban, which he had been wearing when he entered Mecca.

Omeir caught up with Safwan as he was about to set off to sea and he stopped him and said: 'O Safwan, remember God lest you perish. I have brought the sanctuary of the Apostle of God.' Safwan was sceptical, and said: 'Go away and do not speak to me.'

Omeir who wanted to convince him said: 'O Safwan, I tell you that the most virtuous of people and the most pious of people and the best of people is your cousin. His might is your might and his honor is your honor and his wealth is your wealth.'

Safwan: 'I fear for myself from him.'

Omeir said to him: 'He is not as you imagine, he is more clement and noble than that.' Safwan was convinced when Omeir showed him the Apostle of God's turban which he had sent as a sign of his sanctuary. So he returned with him and when they stood before the Apostle of God Safwan said: 'This man claims that you have granted me an amnesty.' The Prophet said: 'He has spoken truly.'

He said: 'Then give me two months to make up my mind.' The Prophet said: 'You have four months.' Also among those who sought and were granted amnesty by the Apostle of God was [the prophet's prominent adversary] Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl whose wife Omm Hakim daughter of al-Harith ibn Hisham sought amnesty for him. She informed him: 'I have come to you from the most pious and best of people. Do not throw yourself into perdition for I have sought amnesty for you and it was granted.' So he went with her to the Apostle of God and accepted Islam at his hands then he said: 'O Apostle of God, show me the best of what you know so that I may learn it.'

He said: 'Say: 'There is no deity but God and Muhammad is the servant and Apostle of God, then strive in the way of God.'

With His would be Assassin

It is reported that Fadalah ibn Omeir ibn al-Mulawwah sought to kill the Apostle of God while he was walking round the Kabah - the symbolic House of God in the holy city of Mecca. When he drew near to him the Apostle of God said:

'Is it Fadalah?' He said: 'Yes.' The Prophet said: 'What are you contemplating about?' He said: 'Nothing, I was contemplating about God.' The Prophet laughed and said: 'Ask God for forgiveness.' Then the Prophet put his hand on Fadalah's chest and the latter's heart became calm. Fadalah used to say: 'I swear that no sooner had he raised his hand from my chest than he was the most beloved to me of all God's creation.' It was through such noble morals and fine conduct that the people came to accept Islam in droves.

Abandoning the Prophet's Teachings

Among those who were sent by the Apostle of God after the conquest of Mecca to invite the people to God was Khalid ibn al-Walid who was sent to the Judheimah tribe as a missionary and not to fight them.

When Khalid and his men stopped at a well of the Judheimah tribe at al-Ghumeisa', the Judheimah took up their weapons and said: 'O Khalid, we have not taken up our weapons against God and His Apostle while we are Muslims. So look carefully. If the Apostle of God has sent you as a raider then here are our camels and our flocks for you to fall upon.'

Khalid said: 'Leave your weapons.' They said: 'We fear that you will take us for the feud of the Jahiliyyah when God and His Apostle have laid the feuds of the Jahiliyyah to rest.'13 Khalid and his men left them and stopped close by. Then he attacked them with his horsemen and killed and captured some men. Khalid ordered that they be bound then he put them to the sword.14

Treachery and Making Amends

When Khalid had betrayed the Judheimah their messenger came to the Apostle of God and informed him of what Khalid had done to them. The Apostle of God raised his hands to the heavens after he had ascended the pulpit and told the people of what Khalid had done and said: 'O God, I distance myself from what Khalid ibn al-Walid has done.' He repeated this declaration three times, and wept.15

Then he summoned Imam Ali and gave him some gold that he had with him and said: 'O Ali, go to the Judheimah and look into the matter and satisfy them for what Khalid has done.' Then he raised his feet and said: 'O Ali, let the judgements of the Jahiliyyah be under your feet.' When Imam Ali reached them he judged according to the judgement of God Almighty and when he returned to the Prophet, the Apostle of God said: 'O Ali, tell me of what you have done.'

Imam Ali said to him: 'O Apostle of God, I went there and gave the compensation for every blood spilt, and for every foetus lost, and for all property [that was damaged or looted]. I found I had a surplus so I compensated them for their dogs' water pots, . . . and for the fear their women felt and the terror their children had (as a result of the attack) and for the things that they may be aware of as well as for those they may not. Then I still found I had a surplus so I gave to them so that they would be pleased with you O Apostle of God.'

At this the Apostle of God who looked well pleased said: 'O Ali, you gave to them so that they would be pleased with me, may God be pleased with you.'

Then he said: 'O Ali, you to me have the station of Aaron had to Moses except that there would be no prophet after me. O Ali, you are the guide of my nation. The truly blessed is he who loves you and follows your way and the truly wretched is he who hates you and neglects your way until the Day of Judgement.'16

  • 1. Kabah is the symbolic House of God located in the holy city of Mecca, which was first built by the Prophet Adam. On instruction from the Almighty, Prophet Abraham had renovated the House. Some of the most important rituals of Hajj are performed in the Grand Mosque that encompasses the Kabah, which includes circumambulation around it.
  • 2. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 19, p. 177, Hadith 23.
  • 3. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 19, p. 177, Hadith 21.
  • 4. That is, to migrate to the Muslim land with Centers of Excellence to learn more about Islam.
  • 5. This is the first main battle that took place between the Muslims and the polytheists of Mecca.
  • 6. The Ansar, literally meaning 'the supporters', are those people of Medina who supported the Prophet in his cause and received him and the Muhajirun (those who migrated) from Mecca.
  • 7. He was the uncle of the prophet.
  • 8. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H/ 768 A.D.) a classical biographer of the Prophet Muhammad.
  • 9. As one of the leaders of Quraysh, Abu Sufyan spearheaded the wars and campaigns against the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family.
  • 10. He was the chief hypocrite in Medina and often hurt the Prophet.
  • 11. This was for them to go to the 'Centres-of-Excellence' to learn about the teachings of Islam.
  • 12. And hence they could live under the protection of Muslims.
  • 13. In the Pre-Islamic Era (known as the Jahiliyyah or the Age of Ignorance) members of the Judheimah tribe had killed al-Fakih ibn al-Mughirah, the uncle of Khalid, who had been coming from the Yemen with a trade caravan when the former took what they had and killed him. On the day of the conquest of Mecca, the Apostle of God made a speech and said: 'All wealth, every great deed, or blood, or foul deed or feud that existed in the Age of Ignorance are beneath my two feet now.'
  • 14. Aalam al-Wara, p 112.
  • 15. Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 2, p 241.
  • 16. Bihar al-Anwar; vol. 21, p.142-143, Amali al-Saduq, p. 173.