CONQUEST OF MAKKA AND ITS AFTERMATH
fifth year of Hijra, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and
blessings, had had a dream or a vision while awake that they
would enter the Holy Mosque of Ka’ba in safety with their
heads shaven or trimmed and without fear. As will be explained
later in this book, they had not been allowed to enter Makka and
made a treaty with the Quraysh at Hudaybiya, the conditions of
which had, at first, appeared unpalatable to the Muslims.
However, the verses revealed after the treaty described
Hudaybiya as a clear victory.
years following the Treaty of Hudaybiya proved that Treaty to
really be a victory. Some leading figures of the Quraysh such as
Khalid ibn Walid and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As became Muslims and
Islam had the opportunity to spread across Arabia. The Jewish
conspiracy was put to an end and through the letters sent to
neighbouring kings, Islam crossed the borders of Arabia into
other lands in four directions.
two years after the treaty of Hudaybiya that Banu Bakr, allied
to the Quraysh, attacked Banu Khuda’a, allied to the Muslims,
and killed some among them. This meant the end of the truce
between the Muslims and the Quraysh. No longer able to resist
the Muslims, Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraysh, came to
Madina to renew the treaty but was not admitted by God’s
Messenger, upon be peace and blessings.1
Messenger was making preparations for war. As always, he was
keeping the affair quite secret and no one, including his wives
and closest friends such as Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, knew where the
campaign would be. When Abu Bakr asked his daughter ‘A’isha,
the wife of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings,
where the Messenger intended to march, ‘A’isha, answered:
‘Father, I do not know either where he will go’.2
However, someone from the Emigrants, named Khatib ibn Abi Balta‘a,
guessed the intention of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace,
and sent a letter to the Quraysh, informing them of the
preparations of the Messenger to come against them. Revelation
about that came to the Messenger, who ordered ‘Ali and Zubayr
to go and take the letter from the woman to whom Khatib had
entrusted it. ‘Ali and Zubayr carried out the Prophet’s
Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, left Madina with
10,000 men. Two years before, he had been able to gather only
1,600 men when he had set out for a minor pilgrimage, which
concluded in the signing of the peace treaty of Hudaybiya. The
peaceful atmosphere brought about by this treaty enabled many to
re-consider Islam and accept it.
Companions did not know of the destination of the campaign until
they were ordered to change their direction toward Makka. When
they approached this holy city, God’s Messenger, upon him be
peace and blessings, ordered that each member of the army should
light a fire. The Makkans used, when they camped somewhere while
journeying in the desert, to light a fire for every tent,4
so they estimated the Muslim army to consist of about 30,000
men. They had been left nothing to do other than surrender. Abu
Sufyan, who had been invited by God’s Messenger to see the
Muslim army, also advised the Makkans to surrender without
offering any resistance.
Messenger, upon him be peace, did not desire any bloodshed. He
divided his army into six columns, each of which was to enter
Makka through a different route. He ordered the commanders to
avoid bloodshed unless they were attacked. In order to prevent
bloodshed and secure a peaceful conquest, he also made this
announcement: Those who shelter in the Ka’ba are safe;
those who shelter in the house of Abu Sufyan are safe, and those
who remain confined to their houses are also safe.5
Prophet of absolute mercy, one who came to secure the happiness
of mankind both in this world and the next, God’s Messenger,
upon him be peace and blessings, entered Makka, bowing on the
back of his mule, as a victorious conqueror. He displayed no
hint of self-pride nor thought of either vengeance or
retaliation. He proceeded toward the Ka’ba in utmost modesty
and absolute gratitude to God, who had made him victorious in
his sacred mission. He stopped at the Ka’ba and asked those
who assembled there: How do you expect me to treat you? ‘You
are a noble man, the son of a noble man’, they answered. God’s
day no reproach shall be on you. God will forgive you; He
is the Most Merciful of the Merciful. You can go away!6
marked the end of polytheism in Makka. While he was toppling
down the idols at the Ka’ba one after the other, he recited:
Say: ‘Truth has come and falsehood has disappeared. Indeed
falsehood is subject to disappearance’.7 And,
almost all of the Makkans, who had been the enemies of Islam
until one day before, acquired the honor of becoming Companions
to God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.
Battle of Hunayn
tribes were awaiting the settlement of the conflict between the
Quraysh and the Muslims, before accepting Islam, saying: ‘If
Muhammad prevails over his people, he would indeed be a Prophet.’
Consequently, when that was accomplished, they began to enter
Islam in throngs. This shocked the pagan idolaters, who
organized a great gathering near Ta’if to concert plans for
attacking God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.
The Hawazin and the Thaqif tribes, who were famous for courage
and throwing arrows, took the lead and prepared a great
expedition for Makka. Informed of their movements through ‘Adbullah
ibn Hadrad, whom he had sent to them, God’s Messenger left
Makka with 12,000 Muslims, among whom there was a confident
enthusiasm due to the new conversions numbering 2,000. In order
to protect Makka from an attack and consolidate the belief of
new Muslims by healing their wounded feelings, God’s Messenger
did not want to meet the enemy within the confines of Makka.
battle was joined at Hunayn, a valley between Makka and Ta’if.
The new converts in the Muslim ranks had more enthusiasm than
wisdom, more a spirit of elation than of faith and confidence in
the righteousness of their cause. The enemy had the advantage of
knowing the ground thoroughly. They laid an ambush in which the
advance guard of the Muslim forces was caught or intentionally
pushed by God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings,
who might have planned to draw the enemy in under the guise of
retreat. However, the retreat was in confusion, under a shower
of enemy arrows. The Prophet, as ever, was calm in his faith and
wisdom in that hour of danger and spurred his horse forward. His
uncle ‘Abbas was on his right and Fadl, the son of ‘Abbas,
on his left. While Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith was trying to stop
him, he was crying: Now war has been kindled. I am the
Prophet, that is no lie. I am the descendant of ‘Abd
called out at the top of his voice: ‘Companions who made the
pledge of allegiance under the acacia tree!’9
Thereupon, from all sides the Companions responded ‘Labbayk’
(at your service!), and rallied to the Prophet, upon him be
peace and blessings. The enemy, who had pushed themselves into
the center of the Muslim army, were surrounded from all sides.
The courage, wisdom and steadfastness of God’s Messenger
changed a seeming defeat into a decisive victory. It was by God’s
help that the Muslims won the day. They completed the victory
with an energetic pursuit of the enemies, capturing their camps,
their flocks and herds, and their families, whom they had
boastfully brought with them in expectation of an easy victory.
routed enemy took refuge in Ta’if. The Muslim victory
persuaded the desert tribes to accept Islam and shortly
thereafter the rebel tribes and Ta’if also surrendered and
Expedition to Tabuk
outcome of the encounter between the Muslims and Byzantines at
Mu’ta had came as a shock to the whole of Arabia and the
Middle East that the Romans failed to gain the upper hand even
though they had outnumbered the Muslims by thirty-three to one.
Ultimately, thousands of people from the semi-independent Arab
tribes living in Syria and its adjoining areas converted to
Islam. To avenge himself for the Battle of Mu’ta and prevent
the advance of Islam, Caesar (the Emperor of the Byzantines)
ordered military preparations to invade Arabia. God’s
Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, who always kept
himself abreast of all developments which had any bearing on his
mission, promptly decided to challenge the Byzantine army on the
battlefield. Any show of weakness on the part of Muslims might
have given a fresh release to the dying forces of Arabian Jahiliya
which had received a crushing blow at Hunayn, and also
encouraged the hypocrites in and around Madina to cause serious
damage to Islam from within. For the hypocrites were in touch
with the Ghassanid Christian prince and with Caesar (the
Byzantine Emperor) himself and had even built a mosque - the
Mosque of Dirar (Dissension) - in the vicinity of Madina which
served as their operational base.
the gravity of the situation, God’s Messenger, upon him be
peace and blessings, publicly appealed to the Muslims to prepare
for war and, as against his usual practice, declared that the
Romans were his target.
It was in
mid-summer. The scorching heat of the season was at its peak,
the harvest season had just arrived, and there was a shortage of
material resources needed to wage a war. What was more, the
enemy was one of the two super powers of the time. Despite all,
the Companions responded ardently to the Prophet’s call and
commenced their war preparations, each Muslim contributing much
more than his financial means warranted. Huge amounts of money
were donated by the wealthy Companions such as ‘Uthman and ‘Abd
al-Rahman ibn al-‘Awf,10 and those who could not be
included in the Muslim army because of the acute paucity of
cavalry and other war provisions wept bitterly, and lamented
their exclusion so pathetically that God’s Messenger was moved
and God praised them in the verse He revealed (al-Tawbah, 9.92).
The occasion, in fact, served as a touchstone for distinguishing
the sincere from the insincere, the true men of faith from the
month of Rajab 9 A.H./631 C.E. God’s Messenger, along with
30,000 soldiers, left Madina and marched as far as Tabuk, quite
close to what was then Byzantine territory in the province of
Syria. The Roman Emperor, who had indeed begun amassing a huge
army, had to abandon the idea of an encounter with God’s
Messenger and withdrew his army because the Messenger arrived
ahead of the anticipated time and well before the planned
concentration of troops had been completed.11
Messenger stayed in Tabuk for 20 days and forced several buffer
states under the hegemony of the Byzantine Empire to pay the
poll tax and live under his rule, and many Christian tribes
chose Islam willingly.12 This bloodless victory also
enabled the Muslims to consolidate their position before
launching a prolonged conflict with the Romans and altogether
shattered the power of both unbelievers and the hypocrites in
1. I. Hisham, 4.31.
2. I. Hisham, 4.39.
3. I. Hisham, 4.41.
4. I. Kathir, al-Bidaya, 4.330; I. Hisham, 6.41-5.
5. I. Kathir, ibid., 4.331-2.
6. I. Sa‘d, 2.142; I. Hisham, 4.55; Tabari, 3.120; Balazuri, Futuh
7. Bukhari, 5.93; Muslim, 3.1408; I. Hisham, 4.59; I. Sa‘d,
8. Bukhari, “Jihad,” 52; Muslim, “Jihad,” 78.
9. I. Kathir, 4.373.
10. Bukhari, “Tafsir,” 18; I. Hisham, 4.161; Tabari, Tarikh,
3.143; “Tafsir,” 10.161.
11. I. Sa‘d, 2.165-8; Tabari, Tarikh, 3.100-11.
12. I. Kathir, al-Bidaya, 5.13.