Chapter 45: The Lapsed `Umrah
When the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah was signed, the Muslims were entitled to visit Makkah after a year from the date of the conclusion of the pact and were to leave Makkah after staying there for three days and performing 'Umrah.1 During these days they could not carry with them any weapon other than the weapon of a traveller (viz. a sword).
A year passed from the date of the conclusion of the pact and the time thus arrived when the Muslims could avail of the facility provided for in the pact, and the Muslim migrants who had abandoned their homes seven years ago for the sake of Islam and had chosen their abode in a foreign land could proceed to Makkah once again to visit pilgrimage of the Ka'bah and also to see their kith and kin.
As such, when the Prophet declared that those persons, who had been deprived of visiting the Ka'bah a year earlier, should get ready for proceeding to Makkah, an unprecedented enthusiasm appeared amongst them and tears of delight trickled down their cheeks. If a year earlier the Prophet had travelled along with 1300 persons the number of those, who accompanied him a year later reached two thousand.
Great personalities from amongst the migrants and the Ansar could be seen among those who got ready to proceed on the journey. They followed the Prophet at all places and took along with them eighty camels which bore marks of sacrifice round their necks. The Prophet put on ehram in the mosque and others also followed him.
Thus two thousand persons clad in ehram and with the word Labbayk (here am I) on their lips proceeded to Makkah. This caravan possessed so much grandeur and dignity, and was so attractive for the Muslims as well as for the idolaters, that it made many idolaters inclined towards the spirituality and reality of Islam.
If we say that this journey was a missionary journey and these persons were in fact an army of Islam we shall not be exaggerating. The spiritual results of this journey appeared soon and the sworn enemies of Islam like Khalid bin Walid, the hero of the Battle of Uhud, and Amr bin As, the politician of Arabia, became inclined towards Islam on observing this grandeur, and soon afterwards embraced this religion.
The Prophet had no confidence in Quraysh on account of their deceit and jealousy. It was probable that they might attack the Prophet and his companions unawares in the region of Makkah and shed the blood of some of them, especially when they (the Muslims) were not carrying any arms other than the weapons of a traveller, because, according to the terms of the pact they could not enter Makkah armed.
To obviate every kind of anxiety the Prophet appointed one of his officers named Muhammad bin Maslamah along with two hundred men who were armed with necessary weapons like coats of mail and lances and had one hundred swift horses with them to move before the caravan and to encamp in the Valley of Marruz Zahran (which is situated near the area of Haram) and to wait there for the arrival of the Prophet. The spies of Quraysh who were watching the activities of the Prophet, reported the matter to the chiefs of Quraysh.
Mikraz bin Hafs met the Prophet in the capacity of the representative of Quraysh and conveyed their objection to him. The Prophet said in reply: "I or my companions will not do any thing contrary to the pact and all of us shall enter the Haram unarmed. As regards this officer and the two hundred men who are equipped with arms they will stay at this point".
By this sentence the Prophet made the representative of Quraysh realize that if they made a surprise attack at night and took undue advantage of the Muslims being unarmed this auxiliary forces which was stationed at the very edge of Haram along with equipment, would rush to their help immediately and would place the arms at their disposal.
Quraysh became aware of the foresight of the Prophet and opened the gates of the city for the Muslims. The leaders of idolaters and their subordinates vacated the city and moved to the nearby mounds and hills, so that they might not face the Prophet and his companions and might observe all their activities from a distance.
The Prophet entered Makkah mounted on his special camel, along with two thousand persons who had encircled him and the sound of their saying, Allah humma labbayk (Here am I. O Lord! Here am I) was resounding throughout the city. The voice of this select gathering was so attractive that all the people of Makkah were impressed by it, and they began to entertain special interest and sentiments for the Muslims in their hearts.
At the same time the unity of the Muslims created a peculiar fear in the hearts of the idolaters. As and when the resounding of the word Labbayk uttered by the Muslims broke of, Abdullah Rawahid who was holding the rein of the Prophet's camel in his hands recited these verses with a sonorous and imposing voice: "O children of blasphemy and idolatry! Vacate the path for the Prophet of Allah. You should know that he is the source of prosperity and goodness. O Lord! I believe in his words and am aware of Your order regarding the acknowledgment of his prophethood".2
The Prophet performed tawaf of the Ka'bah while mounted on his camel. At this stage he ordered that Abdullah bin Rawahid should recite the following special invocation and others should also join him: "There is no god but Allah He is One and matchless. He has acted according to His promise (He had promised that the Muslims would visit the Ka'bah soon). He helped His servant. He made the army of monotheism exalted, and condemned the armies of blasphemy and polytheism to loneliness".
On that day all the centres of pilgrimage and the places where ceremonies of 'Umrah are performed, including the mosque, the Ka'bah, the Safa' and the Marwah were under the control of the Muslims. Ardent and enthusiastic rites at a place, which had been the centre of idolatry and polytheism for a very long period, dealt such a strong mental blow to the leaders of polytheism and their followers that the victory of Prophet Muhammad stood proved throughout Arabia.
Time for noon prayers arrived. It was now necessary that the Muslims should carry out this divine obligation congregationally in the mosque and their mu'azzin (announcer) should loudly pronounce the call to prayers (azan).
As ordered by the Prophet, Bilal, the Ethiopian slave, who had been tortured in this city for a long time on account of his having embraced Islam ascended the roof of the Ka'bah, and, placing his hands on his ears, pronounced in his special tone the sentences, well known to all of us, at a place where declaration of the oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad, had once been the greatest crime according to the infidels of Quraysh.
His voice and the acknowledgments which Muslims repeated after hearing every part of azan reached the ears of the idolaters and the enemies of monotheism, and disturbed them so much that Safwan bin Umayyah and Khalid bin Usayd said: "Praised be god that our ancestors died and did not hear the voice of this Ethiopian slave".
On hearing Bilal pronounce Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great), Suhayl bin 'Amr hid his face with a handkerchief. They did not only feel very uneasy on account of the voice of Bilal, but felt mental torture because of the various parts of azan, which were totally opposed to their hereditary beliefs.
The Prophet began performing sa'i between the hills of Safa and Marwah. As the hypocrites and the idolaters had spread the rumour that the unwholesome climate of Madina had made the Muslims feeble, he resorted to harwalah3 in a part of sa'i and the Muslims also imitated him. After performing sa'i the Muslims sacrificed the camels and ceased to be in the state of ehram and had their hair cut.
The Prophet then ordered that two hundred persons should proceed to Marruz Zahran to look after the weapons and other military equipment so that the persons, previously entrusted this duty, might come to the Haram and perform the rites of 'Umrah.
The rites and ceremonies of 'Umrah came to an end. The Muhajirs went to their homes and met their relatives. They also invited some Ansar to their homes and thus made amends for the services which the Ansar had rendered to the Muhajirs during the period of seven years.
The grandeur and glory of Islam and the Muslims made a deep impression on the minds of the people of Makkah, and they became more acquainted with the mentality of the Muslim community. The chiefs of Quraysh realized that the stay of the Prophet and his companions had weakened the morale of the people of Makkah with regard to their faith in idolatry and enmity with monotheism and had created love and attachment between the two parties.
Hence, when the last moment out of the three days had passed, a representative of Quraysh named Huwaytab came to the Prophet and said: "The period of three days stipulated in the pact for your stay in Makkah has expired and you should, therefore, leave our territory as early as possible".
Some of the companions felt uneasy on account of the bluntness of the representative of Quraysh. However, the Prophet was not a person who practiced delay in acting upon an agreement. The Muslims were, therefore, ordered to depart and they left the region of Haram immediately.
Maymunah (sister of Umme Fadl, wife of Abbas) was so much impressed by the fervour of the Muslims that she told her brother-in-law, Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, that she was prepared to marry the Prophet and considered it an honour for her. The Prophet accepted her offer and thus strengthened his ties with Quraysh. Inclination of a woman towards a man, who was much older than her is in itself a sufficient proof of his spiritual influence.
The Prophet also asked the representative of Quraysh to give him time so that he might perform the wedding ceremonies in Makkah and might also invite all the chiefs of Makkah to participate in the Walimah (feast). However, the representative of Quraysh did not agree to this proposal and said: "We don't stand in need of your food".
The Prophet ordered that the Muslims should leave Makkah by mid-day. He directed only his slave Abu Rafe' to stay there till evening and bring his (the Prophet's) wife with him.4
After the departure of the Muslims, the enemies of the Prophet reproached Maymunah, but, as she had developed spiritual attachment with the Prophet and had, therefore, offered to marry him, their words did not have any effect on her.
Thus the promise, based on the true vision of the Prophet, which he had made with the Muslims a year earlier about the pilgrimage of the Ka'bah and the opening of the gates of Makkah to the Muslims was fulfilled, the following verse was revealed:
Allah made the dream of His Messenger come true for a genuine purpose. If Allah wills, you (believers) will enter the Sacred Mosque in security with your heads shaved, nails cut and without any fear in your hearts. (Surah al Fath, 48:27)
- 1. 'Umrah consists of particular ceremonies which can be performed at any time during the year, as distinguished from, to Haj ceremonies, which can be performed during the month of Zil Hajjah only.
- 2. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 37.
- 3. A type of walking which is more brisk than usual but short of running.
- 4. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. ll, page 372.