BACKGROUND OF THE CONQUEST
Islam was now well-settled in the hearts of the Muslims who had, by the time, learned all about it through experience. Allah had also put them to trial to ferret out their minds and motives. On the other hand, the Quraysh of Makkah had prosecuted, persecuted, exiled and battled with the Muslims. In short, they had been guilty of every sin of commission and omission against the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers. The Will of Allah now decreed that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with them) should enter the holy city as its conquerors and cleanse it of the defilement of idol worship and deceit as well as lies and wickedness. Allah decided that the sanctity of the sacred city should again be restored to it so that it might again become the center of divine guidance and blessing for all humanity.
God created circumstances through the breach of faith by the Quraysh themselves who unwittingly provided a valid reason or rather made it unavoidable for the Muslims to lay their hands on Makkah
Allahs are the hosts of the heavens and the earth. [Qur'aan 48:7]
The treaty of Hudaybiyyah gave an option to everyone to enter into alliance with the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) and arrive at a similar agreement with the Quraysh. Accordingly, Banu Bakr preferred to conclude a pact with the Quraysh while Banu Khuzaa entered into an alliance with the Messenger of God (peace be upon him). (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 390)
Banu Bakr and Banu Khuzaa had a long-standing feud since the pre-Islamic days. With one of these tribes aligning itself with the Muslims and the other with the pagans, their mutual hostility was further intensified. In fact, both tribes had made alliances with the two respective parties with no other consideration except to have their revenge upon the other. After the establishment of the armistice, Banu Bakr tried to take advantage of it against Khuzaa and, in league with certain persons, made a night attack on their enemy when it had taken up quarters at a spring. There was a fight between the two in which Banu Khuzaa lost a number of their men.
The Quraysh helped Banu Bakr with weapons while their chiefs, taking advantage of the night, fought Banu Khuzaa along with Banu Bakr. Their combined charge drove Banu Khuzaa into the sacred territory where some of the Qurayshite said to one another: We are now in the sacred area. Mind your Gods! Mind your Gods! But the others replied imprudently: We have no God today. Take your revenge, O son of Bakr, for you may not get a chance again."(Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 419 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 390)
COMPLAINT TO THE Prophet (peace be upon him)
Amr b. Salim al-Khuzaa went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Madinah and informed him how the Quraysh had violated their pledge. He asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to extend his help by virtue of the treaty of alliance between him and Banu Khuzaa. He swore that the Quraysh had annulled the treaty with the Prophet (peace be upon him) by attacking his allies when they were at their well and had not spared their lives even when they were performing prayers. After listening to his complaint, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, You will be helped, O Amr b. Salim.
LAST BID TO SEEK JUSTICE
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then sent a man to Makkah in order to get a confirmation of the affair and also to allow the Quraysh to redress the wrong committed by them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) offered three alternatives before the Quraysh. They should either pay the blood money for the victims of Banu Khuzaa or terminate their alliance with the aggressors belonging to Banu Nifasa or Banu Bakr, but failing these they shall get in return what they had done. The terms were relayed to the Quraysh but in the fit of their pride they replied, Yes, we would prefer measure for measure. The Muslims were thus absolved of their undertaking with the Quraysh and it became incumbent upon them to exact justice for the wrong done to their allies. (39)
EFFORTS FOR RENEWAL OF THE TREATY
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed of the Quraysh reply, he said, I see as if Abu Sufyan has come to you to strengthen the treaty and to ask from me some more time. The events took shape exactly as predicted by the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Quraysh realized the gravity of the situation and felt sorry for the indiscreet reply given by the thoughtless among them. They requested Abu Sufyan to get the treaty ratified and extended once again. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 420 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 395-6)
PROPHET (peace be upon him) PREFERRED OVER PARENTS
When Abu Sufyan came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Madinah, he went into his daughter Umm Habiba (May Allah be pleased with her), a wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He wanted to sit on the Prophet s (peace be upon him) bed but she forbade him to do so. Abu Sufyan was puzzled. He said to Umm Habiba (May Allah be pleased with her), Daughter, I cant see if you think that the bed is too good for me or I am too good for the bed! Umm Habiba (May Allah be pleased with her) replied, The fact is that it is the Prophet s bed and you are an unclean polytheist. I do not want you to sit on the Prophet s bed. By God, said Abu Sufyan, You have been spoiled since you left me.
ABU SUFYAN BEWILDERED
Abu Sufyan went to the Prophet (peace be upon him), but he gave no reply to him. Then he went to Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhu) and asked him to speak to the Prophet (peace be upon him) for him, but Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhu) refused to do so. He tried to prevail upon Umar, Ali and Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with them) to intervene on his behalf but everyone of them either excused himself/ herself or replied that the matter was too grave to be straightened out by him. Abu Sufyan so lost his nerves that when he went to see Fatimah he said pointing to Hasan b. Ali crawling in her front, O daughter of Muhammad peace be upon him, will you let this child act as a peacemaker between the people so that he may be acknowledged as the lord of Arabia forever? My son is too young, replied Fatimah, to make peace between men. And, nobody can persuade the Prophet to reconcile against his will. Ali saw his perplexity and depression. At last, he said to Abu Sufyan. I do not think that anything can help you now. You are the chief of Banu Kinana, so get up and try to smoothen over and restore harmony and then go back to your home. Abu Sufyan felt certain. He inquired, Do you think it would do any good? By God, I do not, replied Ali, but there is nothing else you can do for now. Abu Sufyan then went to the Prophet s mosque and announced, O Men, I have made peace between you. Thereafter he mounted his dromedary and rode off to Mecca. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. ii, pp. 396-7)
When Abu Sufyan told the Quraysh what had happened, they said, You had brought us a report which is good for naught either to us or to you.
AFFAIR OF HATIB B. BALTAA
The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked the Muslims to start making preparations for an expedition but also bade to keep it a secret. Later on, the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed the men who intended to go to Makkah and ordered them to get ready for it. He also said, O God, confound the spies and the informers of the Quraysh so that we may take them by surprise in their land. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 421 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 397)
The Islamic society at Madinah was, after all, a community composed of the mortals and reflected, like any other social groups, the passions and emotions, hopes and fears of the human beings. Its members were virtuous in behavior but sometimes, they are also prone to mistakes. Occasionally, they consider themselves right and proper in doing something not so regarded by others. They maybe justified or not in holding a certain view, but it is always so with every open and free society sustained not by constraints but by mutual confidence among its members. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never tolerated any wrongful act on the part of his companions, but in such cases, he either offered a plea to vindicate them or excused their mistakes. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was large-hearted enough to pardon the mistakes of others, and in doing so he never lost sight of the hardships undergone by his companions or the sacrifices and services rendered by them for the cause of Islam. That a few instances of such indiscretion or lapses have been preserved by the compilers of hadeeth and life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the historians of Islam, is in itself an intrinsic evidence of the integrity and truthfulness of these writers.
One of these instances relates to Hatib b. Abi Baltaa (radiallahu 'anhu). He was one of those Muhaajirun who had migrated from Makkah and had taken part in the battle of Badr. It was related that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed his companions about his intention to attack Mecca, they quietly started making preparation for it. Hatib b. Abi Baltaa wrote a letter to the Quraysh about the intended attack and gave it to a woman for its delivery to the Quraysh. Hatib also promised to give some money to the woman who set off for Makkah after putting the letter in her head and plaiting her locks over it. The Prophet was informed throught revelation about the action of Hatib. He immediately sent forth Ali and Zubayr in her pursuit, saying, Go until you come to the meadow of Khakh, (40) where you will find a woman travelling on a camel who has a letter which you must recover from her. The two went off racing on their horses until they came to the meadow. And there they found the woman going on her camel. They made her dismount and searched her baggage but found nothing. At last Ali said to her, By God, the Messenger of Allah is not mistaken nor are we. You must bring out the letter or we will search your person. When she saw that they were in earnest, she asked them to turn aside. Then she drew out the letter from her tresses and handed it over to them. The letter, brought back to Prophet (peace be upon him), had been written by Hatib b. Abi Baltaa informing the Quraysh about the departure of the Muslim army. When summoned by the Prophet (peace be upon him), Hatib b. Baltaa said, O Messenger of God, dont be hasty with me. I swear to God I that have faith in Allah and His Prophet , and neither have I abandoned nor changed my faith. I had been attached as an ally to the Quraysh and was not one of them.(41) Other emigrants with you have their relations among the Quraysh who will take care of their families. I though that as I did not have that advantage I should give them some help so that they might protect my relatives. Umar sought the Prophet s (peace be upon him) permission to cut off Hatibs head whom he charged as being a hypocrite, disloyal to God and His Messenger (peace be upon him). But the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, He was present at Badr. Do you know, Umar, perhaps God has looked favorably on those who were present at Badr? To Hatib he said, Do as you wish for I have forgiven you. Umar dissolved into tears, saying, Allah and His Messenger know better. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 421. The Sihah also relate the story)
THE WRIT OF AMNESTY
A cousin of the Prophet (peace be upon him) whose name was Abu Sufyan b. al-Harith (42) happened to meet the Prophet (peace be upon him) along the way. He tried to approach the Prophet but was given a cold shoulder by him. Abu Sufyan had insulted as well as persecuted the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Mecca. Feeling distressed and disconsolate at the indifference of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he approached Ali to pour forth his lamentation. Ali advised him to go back to the Prophet and tell him that the brothers of Yusuf (Prophet Joseph) had said to him
By Allah, verily Allah hath preferred thee above us, and we were indeed sinful. [Qur'aan 12:91]
For, continued Ali, the Prophet never likes anybody to exceed him in words, kind and comforting. Abu Sufyan did as directed by Ali and got the reply from the Prophet .
Have no fear this day! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.
Abu Sufyan accepted Islam and was thereafter known for his piety and strength of faith but he was never ashamed of his past misdeeds. He always talked to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with downcast eyes and never dared look into his face.
ABU SUFYAN APPEARS BEFORE THE Prophet (peace be upon him)
Campfires were now lit under the orders of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Abu Sufyan felt aghast as he saw them, and said, I have never seen such fires and such an army before. He came out himself to explore secretly the camp and its people. Abbaas b. Abdul Muttalib had already left Makkah along with his family and joined the Prophet (peace be upon him). He recognized Abu Sufyans voice and called him to say, See, the Prophet is here with his army. What a dreadful morning the Quraysh are going to have! Abbaas then thought that if any Muslim come to know of Abu Sufyan, he would surely be killed. He therefore asked Abu Sufyan to ride at the back of his mule and brought him to the Prophet (peace be upon him). As soon as the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw Abu Sufyan, he said, has not the time yet come, O Abu Sufyan, for you to acknowledge that there is but one God?
My father and mother be your ransom, replied Abu Sufyan. How kind and gentle and noble you are. I think that if there had been another god besides Allah, he would have been of help to me this day. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said again, Woe to you Abu Sufyan, Is it not the time that you acknowledge me as Gods Prophet ?
He answered, My father and mother be your ransom. How kind and clement you are but I have still some doubts as to that.
Abbaas now intervened to say, Abu Sufyan, woe to you, submit and testify that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad peace be upon him is the Prophet of God before you lose your head. Abu Sufyan now recited the article of faith and thus he was converted to Islam. ( Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 403: Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 422)
The merciful Messenger of God (peace be upon him) now forgave the fault of all. It was the widest amnesty ever granted by any conqueror. Now, only he could lay himself open to danger which was bent upon prevailing. The Prophet (peace be upon him) declared: He who enters Abu Sufyans house would be safe, he who shut his door upon himself would be safe and he who enters the sacred mosque would be safe. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 409)
Before ordering the troops to enter Mecca, the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed his men to lift their hands only those who obstructed against their advance or drew swords against them. He also directed them not to lay their hands on any moveable or immovable property of the Meccans or to destroy anything. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 409)
ABU SUFYAN WITNESSES THE ARMY
Before Abu Sufyan returned, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to demonstrate the power of Islam to him. He asked Abbaas to take Abu Sufyan to a place where he could review the marching squadrons.
The army on the move surged like an ocean. Different tribes passed by Abu Sufyan with their tribal colors, and as each marched ahead he asked Abbaas the name of the tribe. And, when he was told about the name of the tribe, he mumbled gloomily. What have I to do with them? Finally the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed with his detachment, with all the troops clad in full armor and appearing greenish-black. It was the regiment of the Ansaar and the Muhaajirun whose eyes alone were visible because of their armor.
Abu Sufyan sighed and asked Abbaas. Good heavens, Abbaas, who are these? When Abbaas told him that they were the Ansaar and Muhaajiroon accompanying the Prophet (peace be upon him), he said. None of them enjoyed this magnificence before. By God, O Abdul Fadl the empire of your nephew has assumed splendid proportions this morning! Abbaas replied, Abu Sufyan, it is the miracle of Prophet hood. Yes, said Abu Sufyan, Thats just it.(43)
Abu Sufyan hurried back to Mecca, assembled the Quraysh and announced to them: O people of the Quraysh, this is Muhammad peace be upon him who has come to you with a force that you cannot resist. Now, he who enters Abu Sufyans house will be safe. God blast you, cried some of the Quraysh, How will your house suffice for us? He added, And who shuts his door upon himself will be safe and he who enters the sacred mosque will be safe. Thereupon, the people dispersed to take shelter in their houses and the mosque.
continues in TRIUMPHANT ENTRY INTO MAKKAH