Chapter 48: The Conquest of Makkah
Besides being one of the greatest events of the History of Islam, the conquest of Makkah throws light on the sacred aims and objects of the Prophet and his sublime morals.
In this period of history the good faith and sincerity of the Prophet and his companions with regard to all the clauses of the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah, which was signed by them, becomes clear and, over against it, the perfidy and breach of trust on the part of Quraysh in connection with abiding by the terms of the pact also becomes evident.
The study of this part of history proves the skill and prudence of the Prophet and the wise policy adopted by him to conquer the last and the most solid stronghold of the enemy. It appears that this Divinely appointed man had spent a part of his life in one of the greatest military academies, because he planned the victory like an experienced commander in such a way that the Muslims achieved this greatest success without the least labour and hardship.
However, the love of the Prophet for humanity and his concern for the safety of the lives and property of his enemies is also evidenced from this period of history. As we shall observe soon, this great man, exercising unusual foresight, ignored the crimes of Quraysh after achieving victory and proclaimed general amnesty. Here are the details of this event:
In the 6 A.H., a pact was concluded between the chiefs of Quraysh and the Prophet of Islam and was ratified by both the parties. According to the third clause of the pact, Quraysh and the Muslims were free to make agreements with such other tribes as they liked.
In the light of this clause, the tribe of Bani Khuza'ah made an agreement with the Muslims and the Prophet undertook to protect their water, land, lives and property. The tribe of Bani Kananah, who were old enemies of their neighbouring tribe, Bani Khuza'ah, made an agreement with Quraysh. The matter was concluded by a peace pact according to which maintenance of a general peace throughout Arabia for ten years (and, according to another version, for two years) was agreed upon.
According to the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah, the two parties were not to rise against each other and were also not to instigate the allies of the one to rise against the allies of the other. Two years passed after the conclusion of this pact, and both the parties spent this time in peace and in the years following the pact, the Muslims went freely for the pilgrimage of the Ka'bah and performed their religious rites in the presence of thousands of idolaters belonging to the enemy camp.
In the month of Jamadi-1 of the 8 A.H., the Prophet sent 3000 strong soldiers under the command of three brave officers of Islam, towards the frontiers of Syria, to punish the Roman authorities for their killing unprotected Muslim missionaries in a dastardly manner. The Muslim warriors saved their lives in this expedition and not more than three of their commanders and a few soldiers were killed, but they did not return with the victory which was expected of the mujahids of Islam and their operation was not dissimilar to the condition of strike and run.
The publicity of this news encouraged Quraysh and they began to think that the military strength of the Muslims had weakened and they had lost the spirit of bravery and self-sacrifice. They, therefore, decided to disturb the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
In the first instance they distributed arms amongst the people of Bani Bakr and instigated them to conduct a night attack on Bani Khuza'ah, who were the allies of Muslims, and to kill some of them and arrest others. They were not, however, contented even with this, and a unit of Quraysh participated in the night attack on Bani Khuza'ah. Thus they violated the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah and converted the two years' old peace and tranquillity into war and bloodshed.
The result of this night attack was that some of the people of the tribe who were in their beds, or were offering prayers, were killed and others were made prisoners. A few of them abandoned their houses and took refuge in Makkah which was considered to be a place of peace amongst the Arabs. The refugees who had come to Makkah went to the house of Budayl bin Warqa'1 and related the pitiable tale of their tribe to him.
In order that the news of their victimization might reach the ears of the Prophet they sent 'Amr Salam, the chief of their tribe, to him. On arriving in Madina he went straight to the mosque and stood before the people. He recited, in a special tone, some heart-rending verses indicating the oppression suffered by the tribe of Bani Khuza'ah and their imploration for help and reminded the Prophet to honour the agreement made with them.
He requested the Prophet to help them and to avenge the blood of the oppressed. In the end of his verses he said: "O Prophet of Allah! While some of us were at the bank of the water of Wateer and others were offering prayers the idolatrous Quraysh, who had signed a non-aggression pact covering a period of ten years, fell upon our unprotected and unarmed people at midnight and massacred them". He repeated this verse: "They massacred us while we were Muslims", many times to arouse the sentiments and the spirit of swordsmanship of the Muslims.
The stirring verses of the chief of the tribe had their effect. The Prophet turned to 'Amr in the presence of a large number of Muslims and said: "O 'Amr bin Salam! We shall assist you".
This decisive reply gave a wonderful peace of mind to 'Amr, because he became sure that the Prophet would very soon avenge the fate of Bani Khuza'ah upon Quraysh, who were the real cause of the tragic event. However, he could not imagine that this task would bring about the conquest of Makkah and the end of the oppressive rule of Quraysh.
Soon afterwards Budayl bin Warqa' came to the Prophet along with a group of the people of Bani Khuza'ah to seek help. He informed him of the co-operation of Quraysh with Bani Bakr about the striking and killing the men of Bani Khuza'ah, and then they proceeded to Makkah.
Quraysh regretted very much what they had done, and realized that they had provided a very dangerous pretext to the Muslims and had committed an act which violated the very spirit of the pact and its terms. With a view to pacifying the Prophet and to seek the confirmation and strengthening of the ten years' pact, (and according to one version) for its extension,2 they sent their leader, Abu Sufyan, to Madina so that he might hide their crimes and transgression by all possible means.
He proceeded to Madina and on the way he met Budayl, the leader of Bani Khuza'ah, at a place called Asfan situated near Makkah. He enquired from Budayl whether he had been to Madina and had informed Muhammad of the recent developments. Budayl replied that he had gone to see his oppressed kinsmen and to console them, and had not at all been to Madina. Saying this he proceeded to Makkah. However, Abu Sufyan broke the dung of his camel and found in it the stones of the palm-dates peculiar to Madina. He, therefore, became sure that Budayl had gone to Madina to see the Prophet.
Abu Sufyan arrived in Madina and went straight to the house of his daughter, Umme Habibah, the wife of the Prophet. He wanted to sit on the mattress used by the Prophet, but his daughter folded it up. Abu Sufyan said to his daughter: "Did you not consider the bedding fit for me or your father fit for it? " She replied: "This bedding is specially meant for the Prophet and as you are an unbeliever, I didn't wish that a person who is an unbeliever, and unclean should sit on the bedding of the Prophet".
This is the logic of the daughter of a man, who worked against Islam for a long period of twenty years, brought about revolutions, and perpetrated massacres on this account. However, as this honourable lady had been nurtured in the cradle of Islam, the school of monotheism, her spiritual ties were so strong that she subordinated all her inner inclinations and filial sentiments to her religious fervour.
Abu Sufyan felt very uneasy regarding his daughter's behaviour, who was his only refuge in Madina. He left his daughter's house and went to the Prophet and spoke to him about the extension and strengthening of the Peace Pact. However, he had to face the silence of the Prophet which showed his indifference to the proposal.
Abu Sufyan contacted some companions of the Prophet so that he might approach him again through them and thus achieve his object. But these contacts too did not prove fruitful. At last he went to the house of Ali and spoke to him thus:
"You are the man nearest to me in this city, because you are my kinsman. I, therefore, request you to intercede with the Prophet on my behalf ". Ali replied: "We don't at all interfere in matters in which the Prophet has taken a decision".
Having been disappointed from Ali's side, he turned to Lady Fatimah Zahrah, the wife of Ali and daughter of the Prophet, and saw that her two sons Hasan and Husayn were nearby. In order to arouse her sentiments, he said to her: "O Prophet's daughter! It is possible that you may direct your children to provide refuge to the people of Makkah and to become the chiefs of Arabia, till the earth and time exist". Zahrah, who was aware of the evil intentions of Abu Sufyan, said at once: "This matter rests with the Prophet, and my children don't enjoy any such position at present ".
He turned to Ali again and said "Dear Ali! Guide me in this matter". Ali replied: "There is no way out, except that you should go into the mosque and proclaim security for the Muslims". He said: "If I do so, will it be of any use?" Ali replied: "Not much, but I can't think of anything else at present".
Abu Sufyan, who was aware of the truthfulness, uprightness and purity of Ali, went to the mosque and put his suggestion into practice. He then left the mosque and proceeded to Makkah. In connection with the report which he gave to the chiefs of Quraysh about his performance at Madina, he also mentioned the advice given by Ali and said:
"As suggested by Ali, I went into the mosque and proclaimed security for the Muslims". Those present said to him: "Ali's suggestion was nothing more than a jest because the Prophet didn't pay any heed to your providing security to the Muslims and a one-sided declaration is useless". Then they held more meetings to find out some other means to pacify the Muslims.3
The entire life of the Prophet shows that he always endeavoured that the enemy should surrender before truth and never thought of taking revenge on him or of annihilating him.
In many battles, in which the Prophet either participated personally or dispatched a group for fighting, his object used to be that the plot of the enemies might be frustrated, their unity might come to an end and their men should disperse.
It was because he knew very well that if obstacles in the path of propagation of Islam were removed, the forceful logic of Islam would make its impression in a free environment and if the very persons, whose assemblage and forming factions prevented the penetration and propagation of Islam, were disarmed and ceased to be in a state of war and did not entertain in their minds the hopes of gaining victory over Islam, they would willy-nilly be attracted towards Islam and would naturally become its supporters and friends.
Hence, many vanquished nations which were defeated by the military strength of Islam and later pondered over its sublime teachings, in an environment distant from confusion and tumult, got attracted towards it and occupied themselves in the propagation of the religion of monotheism.
At the time of the conquest of Makkah, this phenomenon made its appearance in its most perfect form. The Prophet knew that if he conquered Makkah, disarmed the enemy, and made the environments peaceful, the persons, who were his sworn enemies at that time would soon become the faithful believers of Islam. It was, therefore, necessary to defeat and overcome the enemy but not to annihilate him and also to avoid bloodshed as far as possible.
In order to achieve this sacred object (overpowering the enemy without bloodshed), the principle of taking the enemy by surprise should be followed and he should be attacked and disarmed before he thinks of collecting force and defending himself.
The principle of surprise attack on the enemy could, however, be acted upon only when all military secrets of the Muslim army remained secure and the enemy did not know whether the Prophet had decided to attack or was only thinking about it. It was also necessary that the enemy should not become aware of the activities and tactics of the army of Islam.
The Prophet ordered general mobilization to conquer Makkah and to subjugate the most firm stronghold of idolatry. His aim was to topple down the oppressive government of Quraysh which was the greatest impediment in the advancement of Islam. He also prayed to Allah that the spies of Quraysh might not become aware of the activities of the Muslims.
In order to maintain perfect secrecy all the routes leading to Makkah were watched by the Muslims appointed for the purpose and strict control was exercised on the traffic.
The soldiers of Islam had not yet moved when the Archangel Jibreel informed the Prophet that a simpleton who occupied his place in the ranks of the Muslims had written a letter to Quraysh and had entrusted it to a woman named Sarah to deliver it to them on payment of wages, and in that letter some military secrets of Islam including their imminent attack on Makkah had been disclosed.
Sarah was a singing-girl of Makkah who at times also sang dirges in the mourning parties of Quraysh. After the Battle of Badr her business in Makkah slackened, because on account of a large number of important personalities of Quraysh having been killed in that battle, Makkah was completely engulfed in grief, and there was no occasion for musical and pleasure-seeking parties. Furthermore, in order that the anger and grudge of Quraysh should survive and their desire to take revenge might not die away, singing of mournful songs was strictly prohibited.
For the reasons mentioned above Sarah came to Madina after two years of Badr. When the Prophet asked her whether she had embraced Islam she replied in the negative. Then the Prophet asked her as to why she had come to Madina. To this she replied:
"From the view point of origin and lineage I belong to Quraysh. However, some of them have been killed and some others have migrated to Madina. After the Battle of Badr my business slackened and I have come over here out of need". The Prophet then ordered immediately that necessary food and dress might be provided to her. Sarah was treated so kindly by the Prophet, but, on receiving ten Dinars from Hatib bin Abi Balta'ah, she undertook to spy against Islam and to carry to Quraysh his letter containing information regarding the preparedness of the Muslims to conquer Makkah.
The Prophet summoned three brave soldiers and asked them to proceed to Makkah, arrest the said woman wherever they saw her and take the letter from her. The persons to whom this task was entrusted were Ali, Zubayr and Miqdad. They arrested the woman at a place called Rauzat Khakh and checked her luggage minutely but did not find anything. The woman also strongly denied that she was carrying any letter from Hatib. Ali said: "By Allah! Our Prophet never tells a lie. You must surrender the letter, or else we shall recover it from you by all possible means".
In the meantime Sarah realized that Ali was a soldier who would not give up the search until he had carried out the orders of the Prophet. She, therefore, requested him to keep aloof. Then she took out a small letter from the inner folds of her hair and surrendered it to Ali.
The Prophet was very much perturbed to find that such a thing had been done by a Muslim, who had a long record of service and was eager to assist Islam even in very critical times. He, therefore, called Hatib and asked him to explain his position. He swore by Allah and the Prophet and said: "Not the least instability has taken place in my faith.
However, as the Prophet of Allah is aware, I am living alone in Madina and my children and kinsmen are suffering pressure and torture in Makkah at the hands of Quraysh. My object in sending the report in question, therefore, was that Quraysh might diminish the torture to which my people are being subjected".
The excuse offered by Hatib shows that, in order to obtain information about the secrets of the Muslims, the chiefs of Quraysh subjected their kinsmen residing in Makkah to torture and made their deliverance conditional upon that they should obtain necessary information from their relatives in Madina.
Although the excuse offered by Hatib was not well-founded, the Prophet accepted it on account of various considerations, including his long past services for the cause of Islam, and set him free. When Umar sought permission from the Prophet to cut off Hatib's head, he replied: "I am setting him free because he participated in the Battle of Badr and was one day the object of Divine blessing"
However, to ensure that such an incident might not be repeated, the first nine verses of Surah al-Mumtahinah were revealed:4 O You who believe! Choose not My enemy and your enemy for friends ......
In observance of the rule of surprise attack, the time of departure, the itinerary and the purpose of the expedition were not made known to anyone till orders for marching were given by the Prophet. Such orders were given on the 10th of Ramadan 8 A.H., although instructions had been issued earlier to the Muslims of Madina and its suburbs to keep themselves alert.
On the day the Prophet left Madina, he appointed a person named Abu Ruhm Ghifari to act as his representative there and reviewed his army in the vicinity of Madina. When he had covered some distance from Madina he asked for water at a place named Kadid and broke his fast and also ordered all others to do so. Most of them broke the fast, but some persons refrained from doing so under the impression that if they performed jihad while fasting they would become entitled to greater recompense.
These simple-minded persons did not realize that the same Prophet who had given orders regarding fasting during the month of Ramadan had also given orders now for breaking the fast, and if he was the guide towards prosperity and truth, both of his orders were for the good of the people and there was no discrimination in his orders. The Prophet was displeased to learn that some persons had abstained from complying with his orders and said: "These people are sinners and rebels".5
Seeking of such precedence and lead over the Prophet is a sort of deviation from truth and shows lack of faith of these people in the Prophet and in his religion. Hence, the Holy Qur'an has reproached such people and says:
O You who believe! Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Messenger, and be careful of your duty to Allah. (Surah al-Hujurat, 49:1).
Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib was one of those Muslims who were residing in Makkah. He was staying there under the advice of the Prophet and used to inform him about the decisions taken by Quraysh. He demonstrated his Islam after the Battle of Khayber, but his relations with the chiefs of Quraysh remained intact.
He decided to leave Makkah as a last Muslim family to settle in Madina. During the days when the Prophet was proceeding to Makkah, Abbas left for Madina and met the Prophet on the way at a place called Ju'fah. Presence of Abbas proved to be very useful for the conquest of Makkah and resulted in the benefit to both the parties. It is possible that if he had not been present, the conquest of Makkah might not have been accomplished without resistance by Quraysh.
Hence, it is not improbable that his departure from Makkah to Madina was under instructions from the Prophet so that he might play a conciliatory role in the event.
The brilliant past of the Prophet, his pleasing manners and his truthfulness and righteousness were very well-known to the members of his family and to his kinsmen in general and all his relatives knew that he had led an honourable life and had never committed any sin or aggression or spoken anything false. Hence, from the very first day of his general call, almost all the members of the family of Bani Hashim responded to his call and gathered round him like moths round a candle.
One of the unbiased British orientalists, considers this fact to be a symbol of the purity and piety of the Prophet and says: "Every person, howmuchsoever careful and cautious he may be, cannot hide the particulars of his life from the members of his family and his near relatives. If Muhammad had possessed bad mentality and character these things would not have remained hidden from his kinsmen and they would not have been attracted to him so soon''.6
However, there were a few persons amongst Bani Hashim also who declined to express faith in him. Besides Abu Lahab the names of two such persons viz. Abu Sufyan bin Harith and Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah may be mentioned in this behalf. They displayed enmity and obstinacy against him and they not only did not express faith in him but also became an impediment in the path of truth and hurt the Prophet's feelings.
Abu Sufyan was the son of Harith, the uncle of the Prophet and was also his foster brother. Before the appointment of the Prophet to the prophetic mission, Abu Sufyan loved him very much but became inimical to him thereafter. Abdullah was the brother of Umme Salma and the son of 'Atika, the aunt of the Prophet and daughter of Abdul Muttalib.
However, the publicity of Islam throughout the Arabian Peninsula made these two persons decide to leave Makkah and join the Muslims. While the Prophet was on his way going to conquer Makkah, they met the army of Islam at a place known as Thanyatul 'Uqab or Nabqul 'Uqab.
Inspite of their persistent requests the Prophet declined to meet them. And even when Umme Salma interceded affectionately, the Prophet rejected her recommendation and said: "It is true that Abu Sufyan is my cousin, but he has annoyed me much. And the second man is the same person who made foolish requests to me7 and has been preventing others from embracing Islam".
Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, who was acquainted with the temperament of the Prophet and the method of arousing his sentiments, said to the two persons: "Go and sit before the Prophet and utter the same sentence which the brothers of Joseph uttered while offering apology".
While offering apology the brothers of Joseph had said:
"By Allah, He has given preference to you over us and we have sinned". And Joseph on hearing these words forgave them saying: "No one will blame you this day! Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy".8
Then the Commander of the Faithful added: "If you recite the first sentence he will certainly give you a reply in the second sentence, because he is a person who is not at all willing that anyone should be more affable than him". They acted as advised by Ali and the Prophet also forgave them like Joseph. Both of them then put on the requisite dress for jihad and remained steadfast in their faith till the end of their lives.
To make amends for his past Abu Sufyan recited a laudatory poem, the first verse of which is, "By your life! The day on which I carried the standard on my shoulder so that the army of Lat (an idol in Makkah) might be victorious over the army of Muhammad, I was like a perplexed night-traveller who gropes in the dark, but now is the time when I should be under the auspices of the guidance of the Prophet.
Ibn Hisham writes9 that the Prophet's cousin Abu Sufyan bin Harith sent a message to the Prophet saying: "If you don't accept my faith (i.e. conversion to Islam) I shall hold the hand of my young child and walk away into the desert". And in order to arouse the kind sentiments of the Prophet, Umme Salma said: "I have heard you saying time and again that 'Islam covers the past'. On this basis the Prophet received both the persons in his presence.10
Marruz Zahran is a few kilometres away from Makkah. The Prophet led his ten thousand strong army most skillfully up to the borders of Makkah so that Quraysh and their spies and agents did not become aware of its movement. In order that the residents of Makkah might surrender without any resistance, and that big fort and sacred centre should be conquered without bloodshed the Prophet, in order to create fear in the hearts of the Makkans, ordered that the Muslims should kindle fire at the elevated places. He also ordered, to intimidate the Makkans still more, that every person should kindle a fire independently so that the fire and the flames might make all the adjoining hills and high places glow up.
Quraysh and their allies had gone into deep slumber. However, the flames which had given all the elevated places the shape of a mass of fire and whose light was reaching the houses of the people of Makkah created fear and anxiety in their hearts and attracted their attention to the high places.
In the meantime the chiefs of Quraysh, like Abu Sufyan bin Harb and Hakim bin Hizam, came out of Makkah for investigation and busied themselves in observation and exploration.
Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, who was accompanying the Prophet thought that if the army of Islam was resisted by Quraysh many persons from amongst Quraysh would be killed. He therefore, decided to play a part which might be beneficial to both the parties and to persuade Quraysh to surrender.
He mounted the Prophet's white mule and proceeded to Makkah in the dead hours of night, so that he might inform the chiefs of Quraysh, through the thorn-pickers and wood-carriers, about the siege of Makkah by the army of Islam, and to make the numerical strength and war-like spirit of the Muslims known to them, and let them realize that they (Quraysh) had no alternative but to surrender. From a distance, however, he heard the following conversation between Abu Sufyan and Budayl Warqa':
Abu Sufyan: I have not so far seen such a great fire and such a big army.
Budayl bin Warqa': They are the people of the tribe of Khuza'ah, who have prepared for war.
Abu Sufyan: "Khuza'ah are too few to kindle such a great fire or to make such a big army."
At this moment Abbas interrupted their conversation and called Abu Sufyan and said: "O Abu Hanzalah!''11 Abu Sufyan immediately recognized the voice of Abbas and said "O Abul Fadl,12 what do you say?" Abbas said: "By Allah! All this commotion has been created by the warriors of the Prophet of Allah. He has come towards Quraysh with a very strong army and it is not at all possible for Quraysh to resist him".
The words of Abbas made Abu Sufyan tremble severely. In that state of fear he turned to Abbas and said: "May my parents be your ransom! What is the remedy?" Abbas replied: "The remedy lies in that you should accompany me to the Prophet and seek security from him, otherwise the lives of all Quraysh are in danger".
Then he made him sit on the pillion of his mule and proceeded to the camp of the army of Islam. The other two persons (Budayl bin Warqa' and Hakim bin Hizam), who had come with Abu Sufyan for investigation, returned to Makkah.
Now, as can be observed, Abbas acted for the benefit of Islam and made Abu Sufyan so much afraid of the strength of the Muslims that he could not think of anything other than surrender. And his most important action was that he did not let Abu Sufyan return to Makkah but brought him to the Muslim encampment in the dead hours of night and thus isolated him from all sides. Had he returned to Makkah it was possible that he might have been influenced by the extremist elements and might have made a passive resistance for a few hours.
The Prophet's uncle was mounted on the particular mule of the Prophet and Abu Sufyan was accompanying him. He made him pass from between the masses of fires and the large army consisting of infantrymen and mounted soldiers. The sentries recognized Abbas as well as the particular mule belonging to the Prophet and, therefore, made way for him.
While they were still on their way Umar's eyes fell on Abu Sufyan sitting on the pillion of Abbas, and he wanted to kill him (Abu Sufyan) at once. As, however, the Prophet's uncle had provided him protection, he (Umar) desisted from doing so. Eventually Abbas and Abu Sufyan reached the tent of the Prophet. The Prophet's uncle sought permission and then entered the tent.
There a very serious dispute took place between Abbas and Umar in the presence of the Prophet. Umar insisted that Abu Sufyan being an enemy of Allah should be killed immediately whereas Abbas said that he had provided him protection. The Prophet silenced them by asking Abbas to keep Abu Sufyan in a tent during the night and to bring him in the morning.
When the day dawned Abbas brought Abu Sufyan before the Prophet. The Muhajirs and the Ansar were then around the Prophet. When the Prophet's eyes fell upon Abu Sufyan he said: "Has the time not yet arrived when you should acknowledge their there is no god but Allah?" Abu Sufyan said in reply: "May my parents be your ransom! How forbearing, generous and kind you are towards your kinsmen! I have now realized that if there had been a god other than Allah he would have done, till now, something for our benefit."
When the Prophet saw that he had acknowledged the Oneness of Allah, he added: "Has not the time yet arrived when you should know that I am Allah's Prophet." Repeating the former sentence, Abu Sufyan said: "How forbearing, generous, and kind you are towards your kinsmen! At present I am reflecting about your Prophethood".
Abbas felt annoyed at Abu Sufyan's expressing doubt (about the Prophethood of Muhammad and said: "If you don't embrace Islam, your life is in danger. You should, therefore, testify to the Oneness of Allah and to the Prophethood of Muhammad as early as possible". Abu Sufyan followed the advice and joined the ranks of Muslims.
Abu Sufyan embraced Islam on account of fear, and such faith did not at all conform with the aim of Islam, but in this case it was expedient that Abu Sufyan should join the Muslims, in whatever manner it might be, so that the greatest obstacle in the path of the Makkans embracing Islam might be removed, because he and those like him (i.e. Abu Jahl, 'Ikrimah, Safwan bin Umayyah etc.) were the persons who had created fear and terror since long and none could pick up courage to think about Islam or to show inclination towards it. Even if apparent embracement of Islam by Abu Sufyan was not beneficial for him, it was very beneficial and useful for the Prophet of Islam as well as for those persons who were his kith and kin.
Even then the Prophet did not release Abu Sufyan, because he was not confident about his activities till Makkah was conquered. He, therefore, gave directions to Abbas that, for reasons to be mentioned later, he should keep him confined within a narrow pass of a valley. Abbas turned to the Prophet and said: "Abu Sufyan is ambitious of social status and now that matters have taken such a turn you had better confer some position on him".
Notwithstanding the fact that during a long period of twenty years, Abu Sufyan had done the greatest harm to Islam and the Muslims; the Prophet, keeping some higher interests in view, conferred a position on him and uttered the following sentence which is indicative of the greatness of his soul:
"Abu Sufyan is authorized to assure the people that whoever takes refuge within the precincts of Masjidul Haram or lays down arms on the ground and declares his neutrality or confines himself to his house or takes refuge in the house of Abu Sufyan (and, according to one version, in the house of Abu Sufyan or in the house of Hakim bin Hizam) shall remain safe from molestation by the army of Islam''.13
The grand army of Islam had reached close to Makkah. However, the Prophet desired that he should conquer the city without any resistance or bloodshed and the enemy should surrender without any conditions.
Out of the factors, besides camouflage and surprise, which helped much in achieving this object, one was that Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, went to Makkah as a gesture of goodwill to Quraysh and brought Abu Sufyan to the Islamic camp and the chiefs of Quraysh could not take a final decision in the absence of Abu Sufyan.
When Abu Sufyan submitted himself to the unmatched greatness of the Prophet of Islam and expressed his faith in him, the Prophet decided to take the maximum advantage from his presence to intimidate the idolaters. He, therefore, asked Abbas to detain him in the narrow pass of the valley so that the units of the newly-formed army of Islam might march past him with all their equipment, and he should observe the military strength of Islam and then on return to Makkah, he might inform Quraysh about the strength of the army of Islam and keep them from resistance.
Some of the units of the army of Islam were as mentioned below:
1. A strong regiment of one thousand soldiers of the tribe of Bani Salim under the command of Khalid bin Walid which held two standards. One of these standards was being carried by Abbas bin Mirdas and the other by Miqdad.
2. Two battalions of five hundred warriors under the command of Zubayr Awwam who had a black standard in his hand. The majority of the soldiers of these two battalions consisted of the Muhajirs.
3. A strong battalion of three thousand soldiers of the tribe of Bani Ghifar under the command of Abuzar Ghifari, who was carrying the standard.
4. A strong battalion of four hundred soldiers of the tribe of Bani Salim under the command of Yazid, son of Khusayb, who was carrying the standard.
5. Two battalions consisting of five hundred men belonging to the tribe of Bani Ka'b under the command of Busr bin Sufyan, who was also carrying the standard.
6. A one thousand persons strong regiment of Bani Muzaynah which bore three standards. These standards were in the hands of No'man bin Maqran, Bilal bin Harith and Abdullah 'Amr.
7. A regiment consisting of eight hundred persons belonging to Bani Juhaynah, with four standards which were being carried by Ma'bad bin Khalid, Suwayd bin Sakhra, Rafe' bin Makith and Abdullah Badr.
8. Two groups consisting of two hundred persons from the tribes of Banu Kananah, Banu Layth and Hamzah under the command of Abu Waqid Laythi, who was carrying the standard.
9. A battalion consisting of three hundred persons belonging to the tribe of Bani Ashja', which carried two standards. One of these standards was being carried by Ma'qal bin Sanan and the other by Na'im bin Mas'ud.
When these units passed by Abu Sufyan, he immediately enquired about their particulars from Abbas and the latter gave him the reply. The thing which added to the grandeur of this organized army was that when the commanders of the units came before Abbas and Abu Sufyan they pronounced Takbir (Allahu Akbar) thrice with a loud voice and thereafter the soldiers also pronounced it thrice with loud voices by way of the greatest Islamic rite. This Takbir resounded in the valleys of Makkah in such a manner that the friends were greatly impressed with the discipline of Islam and the enemies were filled with extreme fear and terror.
Abu Sufyan was waiting impatiently to see the unit in which the Prophet had taken his place. Hence, every time a unit passed by him he asked Abbas whether Muhammad was present in it. Abbas continued to reply in the negative till their attention was attracted by a great force consisting of about five thousand soldiers in which two thousand warriors were wearing coats of mail and the company commanders were carrying many standards at specified distances.
The name of this unit was Katiba-i Khazra' i.e. the Green Army. Its soldiers were armed to the teeth. Their entire bodies were covered with arms and nothing except their bright eyes could be seen. Swift Arabian horses and red-haired camels could be seen in this unit in abundance.
The Prophet could be seen in the middle of this unit riding his particular camel. Distinguished personalities had encircled him and he was conversing with them.
The grandeur of this unit overawed Abu Sufyan. He involuntarily said to Abbas: "No force can resist this army. O Abbas! The kingdom of your nephew has flourished to a great extent". Abbas replied reproachfully: "The source of the strength of my nephew is the Prophethood bestowed upon him by Allah, and it has nothing to do with outward and material power."
Abbas had so far performed his role admirably well and had impressed Abu Sufyan with the military strength of the Prophet. At this moment the Prophet considered it expedient to set Abu Sufyan free so that he might go to Makkah before the arrival of the units of the army of Islam, inform the people of the unusual strength of the Muslims and also tell the Makkans about the means of their safety, because merely frightening the people without showing them the path to safety could not enable the Prophet to achieve his object.
Abu Sufyan arrived in the city. The people who had spent the night in great anxiety and fear and had not been able to take any decision in his absence, encircled him. With a distressed face and a trembling body, and while he was pointing towards Madina, he said:
"Units of the army of Islam, whom it is not possible for anyone to resist, have besieged the city and will be entering it within a short time. Their leader, Muhammad, has given me a promise that the life and property of everyone who takes refuge in the mosque or in the precincts of the Ka'bah, or lays down his arms on the ground and confines himself to his house as a mark of neutrality, or enters my house or that of Hakim Hizam, will be respected and will remain secured.
With this message Abu Sufyan weakened the morale of the people so much that even if some persons had been thinking of offering resistance, they abandoned the idea. Thus all the preliminaries, which had been settled the previous night, owing to the steps taken by Abbas, proved fruitful and the conquest of Makkah and that too without any resistance on the part of Quraysh, seemed imminent. The terrified people took refuge in various places and, as a result of the wise plan of the Prophet, the sworn enemy of Islam rendered a great service to the Muslim army.
In the meantime Abu Sufyan's wife, Hind, incited the people to resist, and abused her husband. Nothing could, however, be done now and all the cries and appeals were useless. However, some extremists like Safwan bin Umayyah, 'Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl and Suhayl bin 'Amr (the champion and special representative of Quraysh for the conclusion of the Peace Pact of Hudaybiyah) swore that they would prevent the army of Islam from entering the city. Some persons were deceived by their words and they with swords in their hands, blocked the path of the first unit of the army of Islam.
Before the forces of Islam reached the main roads of the city of Makkah, the Prophet summoned all the commanders of the army and said to them: "It is my earnest desire that Makkah should be conquered without any bloodshed. Killing of non-combatant persons should, therefore, be avoided.
However, ten persons namely 'Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, Habbar bin Aswad, Abdullah bin Sa'd Abi Sarah, Miqyas Subabah Laythi, Huwairath bin Nuqayd, Abdullah Hilal and four women who have been guilty of murder or other offences or have sparked off the war should be killed for their offences immediately, whenever they are captured".14
This order was notified to all the soldiers through their commanders. Notwithstanding the fact that the mental attitude of the people of Makkah towards the Prophet was very clear, he did not ignore military precautions at the time of entry into Makkah. His plan was as follows:
All the units forming one line reached Zi Tuwa (an elevated point from where the houses of Makkah as well as the Ka'bah and the Masjidul Haram can be seen), while the Prophet was encircled by a regiment consisting of five thousand soldiers. When the Prophet's eyes fell on the houses of Makkah, tears of joy gathered in his eyes and as a mark of thanksgiving for the victory which he had gained without any resistance on the part of Quraysh, he, while riding the camel, bent himself so much that his beard touched the saddle fixed on the back of the camel.
As a precautionary measure, he divided the army and sent a part of it from the upper side and another part from the lower side of Makkah. He did not content himself with only this and also sent units by all the routes which led to the city.
All the units entered the city without any fighting and the gates of the city were opened for them, except the unit which was commanded by Khalid bin Walid. At the instigation of 'Ikrimah, Safwan and Suhayl, a group of persons resorted to fighting and displayed resistance by shooting arrows and using swords. However, when twenty-eight of them were killed, the instigators went into hiding and the others fled.15
Once again Abu Sufyan unknowingly rendered assistance to Islam in this incident. He was still very much over-awed and knew that resistance was only harmful. To prevent bloodshed he shouted and addressed the people thus: "O Quraysh! Don't endanger your lives, because fighting against the organized army of Muhammad is useless. Lay down your arms and sit in your houses or take refuge in the mosque and the precincts of the Ka'bah, for in that case your lives will be safe".
The words of Abu Sufyan had the desired effect and some persons confined themselves to their houses whereas others took refuge in the mosque.
The Prophet saw the flashes of the swords of the unit of Khalid from a point named Azakhir and, being aware of the cause of conflict, said: "Allah's Will is above everything".
The camel of the Prophet entered the city with great dignity and grandeur from the highest point of Makkah (Azakhir). He alighted in Jahoon by the side of the grave of his dear uncle, Abu Talib, and a special tent was pitched for him. Although the people insisted that he might stay in the house of someone, but he declined.
The city of Makkah, which had been the centre of idol worship for a very long time, surrendered before the army of Islam and all the points of the city came under the control of the Muslim soldiery. The Prophet took rest for some time in the tent.
Thereafter he mounted a camel and proceeded to the Masjidul Haram for pilgrimage and tawaf (circumambulation) of the Ka'bah. He had put on military dress, was wearing a helmet on his head and the Muhajirs and the Ansar encircling him reflected his greatness.
The reins of the camel of the Prophet were being held by Muhammad bin Maslamah, and the Muslims and some of the idolaters had lined up on his route. Some of them were astonished and over-awed whereas others were expressing their joy. For some good purposes the Prophet did not alight from his camel and arrived in Masjidul Haram mounted on it and halted opposite the Black Stone. Instead of kissing the Black Stone he pointed towards it with a special stick which he was carrying in his hand and uttered Takbir.
Imitating the Prophet, his companions, who were gathered round their illustrious leader uttered Takbir with a loud voice.
The voice of Takbir reached the ears of the idolaters of Makkah, who had taken refuge in their houses or at elevated places. A strange tumult prevailed in the mosque and the hue and cry of the people prevented the Prophet from performing tawaf peacefully.
The Prophet made a sign to the people to remain quiet. Perfect silence prevailed immediately and all those within and outside the mosque began looking at the Prophet. He began performing tawaf and during the first round of tawaf, turned towards the three big idols named Hubal, Isaf and Na'ilah which had been installed above the gate of the Ka'bah. He knocked them down with a stick or a spear which he was carrying in his hand and recited this verse:
Say: Truth has come and falsehood has been banished and falsehood is certainly doomed to banishment. (Surah Isra, 17:81)
As ordered by the Prophet, Hubal was broken to pieces before the very eyes of the idolaters. When this big idol, which had ruled over the minds of the people of the Peninsula for a very long time, was toppled down, Zubayr said to Abu Sufyan jestingly, "Hubal, the big idol, has been broken".
Abu Sufyan said to Zubayr with great displeasure, "Desist from saying so. If Hubal had been able to do something we would not have met this fate". He had realized that their destiny was not in the hand of this idol.
The Prophet completed his tawaf and sat for some time in a corner of the mosque. In those days Uthman bin Talhah was the custodian of the keys of the Ka'bah and this office of his was hereditary. The Prophet asked Bilal to go to Uthman's house and bring the key of the Ka'bah from him. Bilal conveyed the Prophet's message to the custodian.
However, his mother prohibited him from surrendering the key and said, "Custodianship of the Ka'bah is our hereditary honour and we should not lose this honour". Uthman caught the hand of his mother and took her into a closet and said, "If we don't give the key voluntarily, you should rest assured that they will take it from us forcibly''.16
The custodian unlocked the Ka'bah and the Prophet entered the Ka'bah. Usamah bin Zayd and Bilal and the custodian himself followed him in. As ordered by the Prophet the gate of the Ka'bah was closed and Khalid bin Walid stood outside it to restrain the people from swarming towards the gate.
The inner walls of the Ka'bah were full of pictures and the figures of the Prophets. As ordered by the Prophet, the walls were washed with the water of the well of Zam Zam and the pictures were rubbed off.
The Prophet ordered the gate of the Ka'bah to be opened. Then, placed both of his hands on the wooden frame of the gate and the people could see his sacred and luminous face, he addressed them thus: "Praised be Allah, Who has fulfilled His promise and helped His servant and routed the enemies"'.
The Almighty Allah had promised the Prophet through revelation that He would make him return to his birth-place:
(Muhammad) Allah who has commanded you to follow the guidance of the Qur'an will certainly return you victoriously to your place of birth. (Surah al-Qasas, 28:85).
By saying, "Allah has fulfilled His promise" the Prophet made a mention of the correctness of that Divine promise and once again demonstrated his truthfulness.
Complete silence prevailed over the precincts of the mosque and outside it. The people, holding their breath, were thinking different things. At this hour the people of Makkah were reminded of the cruelty, oppression and injustice which they had perpetrated and various other thoughts came to their minds.
The people, who had risen a number of times to fight bloody battles against the Prophet, had wounded and killed his friends and companions, and had decided to conduct a night attack on his house and to cut him to pieces, were now in his control and he could take any sort of revenge on them.
These people, while mentioning the big crimes committed by them, were saying to one another: "He will certainly put us to the sword or will kill some of us and detain others and will make our women and children prisoners".
They were absorbed in different satanic thoughts when suddenly the Prophet broke the silence and said, "What are you saying and what are you thinking about me?"
The astonished and frightened people, keeping in mind the past favours of the Prophet, said with broken voice: "We are not thinking of anything about you except kindness and good.
ess. We consider you to be our honourable brother and the son of our honourable brother."
When the Prophet, who was inherently kind and forgiving, heard these emotional sentences from them, he said in reply: "I too say to you the same thing, which my brother Yusuf said to his unkind brothers i.e., "Have no fear this day! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful".17
The thing which made the people of Makkah hopeful, besides these words, was the adverse reaction of the Prophet to the words of one of his own officers, who was reciting the following slogans at the time of his arrival in Makkah.
"Today is the day of battle. Today your lives and property are treated to be lawful (for Muslims)."
The Prophet was annoyed by these unusual slogans and, in order to punish the officer concerned, gave directions that the standard might be taken away from him and he might be dismissed from the office of 'Commander'. Ali was appointed to take away the standard from him and according to another version that officer's own son was appointed as commander in his place and he took away the standard from his father.
This officer was Sa'd bin Ubadah, the chief of the Khazraj tribe. Demonstration of this kindness (for the Makkans) before the very eyes of the people of Makkah made the defeated people somewhat hopeful that general amnesty might be granted. And then the safety of those who took refuge in the Ka'bah or in the house of Abu Sufyan or confined themselves within their houses and shut the doors thereof had already been guaranteed through Abu Sufyan.
While granting general amnesty the Prophet addressed the people of Makkah thus: "You have been my very unreasonable countrymen. You refuted my prophethood and turned me out of my house. And when I took refuge in a far-off place, you rose to fight against me. However, inspite of all these crimes of yours, I forgive all of you and make you free and declare that you may go after the pursuits of your life."
The time for noon prayers arrived. Bilal, the official mu'azzin of Islam, went on the roof of the Ka'bah and announced, with loud voice, the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad, making it reach the ears of those present in the general gathering. The obstinate idolaters were saying all sorts of things. One of them said: " Such and such person was lucky, because he died earlier and didn't hear azan". In the meantime Abu Sufyan said: "I won't say anything in the matter, because the information department of Muhammad is so skilful that I am afraid that these very particles of sand in the mosque may inform about our conversation."
This obstinate old man, who did not sincerely believe in Islam till the end of his life, considered Divine knowledge and procurement of realities from Divine revelation to be at par with the spying and espionage of the tyrants of the world and mixed them up with each other.
However, the fact is that Divine knowledge is received by a Prophet through an angel and the information received bythe politicians is something quite different from this and is collected through persons appointed for the purpose.
The Prophet offered the noon prayers. Then he called Uthman bin Talhah and, returning the key of the Ka'bah to him, said: "This position belongs to you and will remain safe in your family!" And nothing else could me expected from the Prophet of Islam - the Prophet, who takes orders from Allah and conveys the people:
Allah commands you to return the things entrusted to you to the rightful owners. (Surah al-Nisa, 4:58)
he should certainly precede others in returning such a big trust. He does not trample upon the rights of the people means of military strength. Hence he announces in open terms: "Custodianship of the key of the Ka'bah is the admitted right of the son of Talhah and nobody shares this right with him."
Hence, he cancelled all the offices related to the Ka'bah, except those which were useful to the people (e.g. custodianship of the key, covering of the Ka'bah with a mantle and supplying water to pilgrims of the Ka'bah).
In order that the near relatives of the Prophet should know that their relationship with him had not only not removed the burden from their shoulders but had made their responsibility heavier, he exhorted that they would not be allowed, because of their relationship with him, to violate the laws of Islam or to take any undue advantage of their kinship with the head of the State.
In the speech which he made in a gathering consisting of the members of the families of Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Muttalib, he condemned every discrimination and laid stress upon the necessity of justice and equality between all classes, and said:
"O Children of Hashim and Muttalib! I have been sent to you by Allah as His Messenger and the ties of love and kindness between you and myself are also unbreakable. You shouldn't, however, think that only relationship with me will ensure your salvation on the Day of Judgement.
All of you should understand that my friend from amongst you and others is he who is pious and virtuous, and my connection with those, who come before Allah with a heavy burden of sins is cut off. I shan't be able to do anything for you on the Day of Judgement. (On that day) I and you will be responsible for our respective actions".18
There was a large and magnificent gathering at Masjidul Haram, around the Ka'bah. The Muslims, the idolaters, the friends and the enemies, were sitting side by side with one another and the grandeur of Islam and the greatness of the Prophet presented a grand spectacle in the mosque.
Tranquillity prevailed over Makkah and the time had now come when the Prophet should show the real features of his invitation to the people, and should complete the mission, which he had commenced twenty years ago, but had not been able to finalize it owing to the slackness of the idolaters.
The Prophet himself was an inhabitant of the same environments and knew fully well the ailments of the Arab society and their remedy. He knew the reason for the decline of the people of Makkah. Hence, he decided to look into the social ailments of the Arab society and to remedy them fully.
We reproduce here some of the directions of the Prophet of Islam. Each of them is intended to remedy a particular ailment.
The question of self-glorification on account of one's family, household or tribe was one of the deep-rooted ailments of the Arab society and the greatest pride for a person was that he should belong to a branch of a well-known tribe like Quraysh.
The Prophet condemned this imaginary basis of superiority. He said, "O people! Allah has abolished from amongst you, under the tenets of Islam, the bases of pride of the Age of Ignorance and self-glorification on account of lineage. All are the descendants of Prophet Adam and Adam was created with clay. The best person amongst you is he who refrains from sin and disobedience".
In order to make the people understand that the criterion of superiority is only piety, he, in one of his sermons, divided all human beings into two groups, and declared only pious persons to be entitled to honour and superiority. By means of this division and classification, he nullified all imaginary standards of rank and position and said: "Before Allah, people consist of only two groups; one of those groups is that of the pious people, who are honourable before Allah, and the second group is that of the transgressors and the sinners, who are abject and humble before Him".
The Prophet knew that the Arabs considered being of Arabian descent to be a great honour for themselves; they were proud of being of Arabian lineage. This spirit was like a contagious disease in them. To remedy this ailment and to do away with the conception of this superiority he turned to the people and said:
"O people! Being an Arab is not the criterion of your personality or a part of your being, but only a mode of expression. The genealogical pride is not of any use to a person who does not carry out his duties properly, and it does not make amends for deficiency in his performances".
Is it possible to find a more eloquent and a more expressive statement than this? The real proclaimer of freedom did not content himself with the foregoing sentences but to confirm the equality of the men and the communities added:
"All persons have been equal in the past and are also equal at present like the teeth of a comb and an Arab does not enjoy any superiority over a non-Arab, nor is a red-coloured person superior to a black one. The criterion of superiority is piety".
By this statement he removed all sorts of improper distinctions and unlimited restrictions amongst the nations of the world and performed in those earlier times the duty, which the present 'Declaration of Human Rights' or the 'Charter of Human Freedom and Equality' have not been able to perform inspite of all the hue and cry about them.
Owing to internal wars and continued bloodshed the people of Arabia had become a revengeful nation and they were constantly at war with one another. After assuming complete control over the Peninsula, the Prophet took up this social problem, and it was necessary that he should remedy this ailment to ensure the safety of the Islamic State.
He found the remedy of this ailment in asking the people to ignore the entire bloodshed which had taken place during the Period of Ignorance, and to treat all such dossiers as sealed. In this manner he prevented bloodshed which disturbed peace and order, and made the people forget transgression, plundering and murder, which could result in claims of blood-money or in confrontation. To achieve this end he declared: "I reject all claims relating to life and property and all imaginary honours of the past, and declare them to be baseless".
A part of what the Prophet said on that day related to the unity of the Muslims and the rights which a Muslim has on his brother Muslim. His aim in mentioning these advantages was that by maintaining such ties of friendship and unity, as well by honouring the rights enjoyed by the Muslims over one another, the non-Muslims might be inclined towards Islam and might join the ranks of the Muslims.
Here is the text of his remarks: "A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and all the Muslims are brothers of one another and constitute one hand as against the non-Muslims. The blood of every one of them is equal to that of others and even the smallest among them can make a promise on behalf of others''.19
There is no doubt about the fact that the Prophet was a great model of kindness and forgiveness, and in spite of the strong sentiments of the extremist group he granted general amnesty. However, there were a few persons, who had been guilty of serious offences and crimes, and it was not appropriate that in spite of all their felonies they should move freely amongst the Muslims, because it was quite possible that taking undue advantage of the forgiveness, granted to them, they might have plotted against Islam.
Some of them were killed at the hands of Muslims in the streets or in Masjidul Haram and two such persons took refuge in the house of Umme Hani, the sister of Ali. Ali, fully armed, besieged her house. On coming face to face with an unidentified officer, she introduced herself immediately and said: "In the capacity of a Muslim woman, I have given asylum to two persons and the asylum provided by a Muslim woman is respected like that provided by a Muslim man".
At this moment, in order to make himself known to her, Ali pulled off his helmet from his head. The sister saw the brother whom the vicissitudes of time had separated from her for so many years. Her eyes were immediately filled with tears and she put her arms round Ali's neck. Thereafter both of them went before the Prophet and he too treated the asylum provided by Umme Hani to be respectable.
Abdullah bin Sa'd bin Abi Sarah, who embraced Islam but became apostate later, was one of the ten persons who were to be killed. He too escaped death on the intercession of Uthman.
'Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, who had sparked off battles which followed Badr, ran away to Yemen. However, he too was forgiven on the recommendation of his wife. Safwan was the son of Umayyah, who had been killed in the Battle of Badr. Besides his other crimes and felonies he had hanged a Muslim in Makkah in broad daylight, to take revenge for the treatment meted out to his father. Fearing punishment, he decided to leave the Hijaz by sea, especially because he had come to know that his name was also included among the aforesaid ten persons.
'Umayr bin Wahab requested the Prophet to forgive Safwan. The Prophet accepted his recommendation and, as a token of protection given to Safwan, gave 'Umayr the turban which he was wearing at the time of his arrival in Makkah. 'Umayr went to Jeddah with that turban and brought Safwan to Makkah.
When the Prophet's eyes fell on the greatest criminal of the time, he said to him with great magnanimity: "Your life and property are guaranteed. However, it will be better if you embrace Islam". He requested for two months time to think over the matter. The Prophet said: "I am prepared to give you four months time instead of two months, so that you may choose this religion with thorough understanding". The period of four months had not yet passed when he embraced Islam.20
A glance at the time given by the Prophet to Safwan vindicates a positive reality which is opposed so obstinately by the selfish orientalists. The reality is that the chiefs of polytheism enjoyed perfect freedom in the matter of embracement of Islam.
It was not only that no coercion was exercised in this matter, but effort was made that the Divine religion should be adopted by them after careful reflection and study and not on account of fear and intimidation.
The important and instructive events related to the conquest of Makkah have already been narrated. However, there are two other important events, which are mentioned below:
After the oath of allegiance taken at 'Aqabah,21 the Prophet formally took for the first time an oath from the women to perform these duties: Not to associate anyone with Allah as His partner; not to commit breach of trust; not to indulge in corrupt practices; not to kill their own children; not to associate with their husbands, the children, who actually belong to others; not to oppose the Prophet in any matter.
The ceremonies of the above oath were on these lines.
As ordered by the Prophet a vessel full of water was brought to him, and he mixed some perfume in it. Then he put his hand into it and recited the 12th verse of Surah al-Mumtahinah. Thereafter he rose from his seat and said to the women: "Those who are prepared to take the oath of allegiance to me on the said conditions should put their hands in the vessel and formally declare that they would faithfully abide by these conditions".
The cause of taking this oath was that there were many amongst the women of Makkah, who led a loose life and if a promise from them to lead honourable life had not been taken, it was possible that they might have continued their immoral activities, secretly.
One of them was 'Hind', the wife of Abu Sufyan and the mother of Mu'awiyah, who had a dark past. Being extremely rude she imposed her will on her husband Abu Sufyan; and even on the day on which he was inclined towards peace, she was inciting the people to resort to fighting and bloodshed.
It was due to the instigation of Hind that war broke out in the field of Uhud and the Prophet had to sacrifice seventy lives, including that of Hamzah, to quench it. And this savage woman cut the side of the dead body of Hamzah with unusual cruelty and taking out his liver cut it into two with her teeth.
The Prophet had no alternative but to take the oath of allegiance from this and other such women, publicly. When the Prophet, while reciting the text of the agreement, read the clause, 'not to commit breach of trust', Hind, who had fully covered her head and face, rose from her place and said:
"O Prophet of Allah! You are ordering women not to commit breach of trust. What am I to do? My husband is very miserly and exacting master and for this reason I have been embezzling his property in the past". Abu Sufyan rose from his seat and said: "I make lawful for you whatever you have taken in the past but you must make a promise that you will not steal in future".
The Prophet recognized Hind on account of the remarks of Abu Sufyan, and said to her: "Are you the daughter of 'Utbah?" She replied; "O Prophet of Allah! Yes. Forgive our sins so that Almighty Allah may bless you". When the Prophet uttered the sentence: "Not to commit fornication" Hind rose from her place again and uttered a sentence to exonerate herself, whereby she divulged to him unintentionally what was in her mind. She said: "Does a free woman commit fornication? "
From the psychological point of view such defence was in itself a sort of unveiling of one's conscience. As Hind knew herself to be a woman of that type, and was certain that on hearing the above mentioned sentence (from the Prophet), people would look up towards her, she at once enquired, by way of precaution, whether a woman who was not a slave-girl could be guilty of fornication. However, some persons, who had illicit connection with Hind during the period of ignorance, wondered and laughed at her denial, and their laughter and her own defence became all the more the cause of her disgrace.22
Scrutinizing the contents of this oath makes the duties of a Muslim woman abundantly clear. It is also evident from it that in this case the Prophet did not obtain any promise from women regarding defence, whereas in the oaths obtained at 'Aqabah and under the tree (at Hudaybiyah) the most essential clause which he exacted was the one relating to the defence of Islam and protection of the Prophet.
A large number of idol-temples were situated around Makkah. They were the objects of respect for many tribes. In order to uproot idol-worship from the region of Makkah the Prophet sent battalions of soldiers to different directions to destroy the idol-temples situated there. It was also announced in Makkah itself that whoever happened to have an idol in his house should break it immediately.23
Khalid bin Walid proceeded, at the head of a battalion, to the territory of the tribe named Jazimah bin Amir to invite them to Islam. The Prophet ordered him not to shed blood and not to engage in a battle. He also sent Abdur Rahman bin Awf with him as his assistant.
During the Age of Ignorance the tribe of Bani Jazimah had killed Khalid's uncle and Abdur Rahman's father while they were returning from Yemen and had plundered their property, and Khalid nursed a grudge against them on this account.
When he came face to face with the people of Bani Jazimah, he found all of them armed and ready to defend themselves. The commander of the battalion then said aloud: "Lay down your arms on the ground, because the period of idol-worship is over and Makkah has fallen, and all the people have surrendered before the army of Islam".
The chief of the tribe expressed the opinion to his men that they should hand over their arms and surrender before the army of Islam. One person out of them was intelligent enough to realize that the intentions of the commander of the army were not good. Addressing the chiefs of the tribe, therefore, he said: "The result of surrendering will be captivity and thereafter death".
Eventually the opinion of the chiefs was acted upon and the arms were made over to the soldiers of Islam. In the meantime the commander of the battalion ordered, in a perfectly cowardly manner and in violation of the clear instructions of Islam that the hands of the men of the tribe should be tied on their backs and they should be kept in detention. Later, in the morning, some of them were executed under the orders of Khalid and the others were set free.
The news of the dreadful crime committed by Khalid reached the Prophet and he was extremely annoyed. He immediately appointed Ali to go to the said tribe and to pay them the damages of war and the blood-money after a very careful computation. Ali reckoned their losses so minutely that he paid the price of even a wooden vessel in which the dogs of the tribe drank water and which were broken during their encounter with Khalid.
Then he called all the afflicted chiefs and asked them whether the entire war damages and the blood-money of the innocent victims had been fully paid and all of them replied in the affirmative. Thereafter, keeping in view the fact that they might possibly have sustained some loss of which they might not be aware, Ali gave them some money gratuitously and then returned to Makkah and submitted his report to the Prophet. The Prophet praised Ali for his performance and facing the Qibla raised his hands and said by way of supplication: "O Allah! You are aware that I am disgusted with Khalid's crime and I never ordered him to wage war".24
While making compensation for their losses the Commander of the Faithful also kept in view the spiritual and moral harm sustained by them and gave money to those persons, who had become terror-stricken by Khalid's attacks and consoled them. When the Prophet came to know about the righteous behaviour of the Commander of the Faithful, he said 'O Ali! I am not going to exchange this performance of yours with a large number of red-haired camels.25
O Ali! you have gained my pleasure. May Allah be pleased with you! O Ali! You are the guide of the Muslims. Lucky is he, who loves you and follows your path, and unfortunate is he, who opposes you and deviates from your path.26 Your position to me is the same as it was of Harun to Musa, except that no Prophet will come after me".27
This was not the only offence which Khalid committed during his pretended Islamic life, for he committed a still graver offence during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Briefly, the facts are that after the death of the Prophet some tribes apostatized or, to state more correctly, did not formally recognize the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and declined to pay zakat. The Caliph sent various groups of men in different directions to punish the apostates.
Khalid bin Walid attacked the tribe of Malik bin Nuwayrah, on the pretext that those people had apostatized. Malik and all the members of his tribe were ready to defend themselves and were saying: "We are Muslims and shouldn't, therefore, be attacked by the army of Islam". Khalid, however, disarmed them by practicing deceit and killed the chief of the tribe, Malik bin Nuwayrah, who was a Muslim, and also molested his wife.
Does this dark dossier of Khalid justify that we should call him 'Saifullah' (the Sword of Allah) and should consider him to be one of the senior officers of Islam?
- 1. Budayl was one of the venerated and aged personalities of the tribe of Khuza'ah who resided in Makkah. He was then 97. (Amali Tusi, page 239)
- 2. Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, page 792.
- 3. Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, pp. 780-794; Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, pp. 389- 397 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 102.
- 4. Ibn Hisham. vol. II, page 399 and Majma'ul Bayan, vol. IX, pp. 269 - 270
- 5. Wasailush Shi 'ah (Book on Fasting);Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 90.
- 6. Heroes and Hero Worship by Thomas Carlyle.
- 7. AII his requests have been narrated in Surah Isra, 17:90 - 93.
- 8. Surah Yusuf, 12:91-92.
- 9. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 402.
- 10. Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 114.
- 11. The patronymic of Abu Sufyan.
- 12. The patronymic of Abbas.
- 13. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, pp. 400-404; Majma'ul Bayan, vol. X, pp. 554 - 556; Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, pp. 816-818 and Ibn Abil Hadid, vol. XVII, page 268, quoting from Mughazi-i Waqidi.
- 14. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 409.
- 15. Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol II. pp. 825 - 826.
- 16. Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, page 833.
- 17. Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol.II, page 835 and Bihar, vol. XXI, pp.107 and 133.
- 18. Biharul Anwar, vol. I, page III.
- 19. For reproducing these extracts our sources are: Rawzah-i Kafi, p. 246; Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, p. 412; Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, p. 836; Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, p. 5; Sharh-i Ibn Abil Hadid, vol. XVII, p. 281.
- 20. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 417.
- 21. In the oath of allegiance taken at 'Aqabah before the Prophet's migration, three women were also included amongst more than seventy persons who took the oath.
- 22. Majma'ul Bayan, vol. V, page 276.
- 23. Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 140.
- 24. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 430.
- 25. Khisal, vol. II, page 125.
- 26. Majalis-i Ibn Shaykh, page 318.
- 27. Amali Suduq, page l05.