The Conquest of Makkah

Effects of the Previous Campaign

After the Campaign of Mu'tah, the Muslim army led by Khalid ibn al Walid returned to Madinah neither victorious nor vanquished, but happy to be able to return at all. Their return affected the Byzantines, the Muslims of Madinah, and the Quraysh in the most diverse ways. The Byzantines were glad that the Muslim army, despite its small size compared to their one or two hundred thousand had withdrawn; and they gave thanks that the war did not last long. Regardless of whether the satisfaction of the Byzantines was due to the cessation of a war so fierce that nine swords had fallen apart in Khalid ibn al Walid's hand, or to that of a war fought with such strategy that untold forces were thought to reinforce the Muslim army, the tribes living in the outskirts of al Sham were left stupefied in admiration of the Muslim exploit. Farwah ibn `Amr al Judhami, commander of a Byzantine army division, was at the same time chieftain of one of those tribes. Soon after Mu'tah, he proclaimed his conversion to Islam. He was arrested by order of Heraclius and accused of high treason; however, he was told that Heraclius would let him go free if he were to repent and return to Christianity. Indeed, he was promised the return to his position as army commander. Farwah refused and insisted on following the faith of Islam and was hence put to death. As a result of his execution, Islam spread widely among the tribes adjoining al `Iraq and al Sham under Byzantine suzerainty.

 

Spread of Islam in the North

The chaos and insecurity attending the Byzantine Empire further encouraged the people to convert to the new faith of Islam. Its situation was truly chaotic. Entrusted by the emperor with paying the members of the armed forces their wages, one of Heraclius' governors discharged the soldiers with the announcement that the emperor had no money. Adding insult to injury, he said: "My Emperor has neither money nor food to distribute among his dogs." It was natural that such men would become disillusioned regarding Heraclius and his state and that the new order of Islam would shine with more brilliant light in their eye. It is no wonder that such men felt more inclined to it and thus followed the new guidance to divine truth. The foregoing explains, though necessarily only in part, the conversion to Islam of thousands from the tribe of Sulaym, under the leadership of al `Abbas ibn Mirdas; of the tribes of Ashja` and Ghatafan, the old allies of the vanquished Jews of Khaybar; and of those of `Abs, Dhubyan and Fazarah. Thus, it may be said that the campaign of Mu'tah caused the consolidation of the Muslim front north of Madinah all the way to the frontiers of al Sham.

The effect of that Campaign upon the morale of the Muslims in Madinah, however, was different. We may recall that as soon as Khalid and the army returned to Madinah without the proofs of victory, they were called deserters. Many soldiers and commanders felt so humiliated that they stayed at home in order not to be seen and insulted in public. The campaign of Mu'tah gave the Quraysh the impression that the Muslims and their power had now been destroyed and that both their dignity and the fear they previously inspired in others had all but disappeared. This made the Quraysh incline strongly to the conditions prevalent before the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. They thought that they could now launch a war against which the Muslims were incapable of defending themselves, not to speak of counter-attacking or making retaliation.

 

Quraysh's Violation of Her Treaty

The Treaty of Hudaybiyah prescribed that any non-Makkans wishing to join the camp of Muhammad or that of the Quraysh may do so without obstruction. On the basis of this provision, the tribe of Khuza'ah joined the ranks of Muhammad, and that of Band Bakr joined the Quraysh. Between Khuza'ah and Banu Bakr a number of old unsettled blood feuds had to be suspended on account of the new arrangement. With the Quraysh now believing that Muslim power had crumbled, Band al Dil, a clan of Banu Bakr, thought that the occasion had come to avenge themselves aganist Khuza'ah. In this, they were encouraged by Quraysh, especially by `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl and others who furnished them with arms and equipment. While Khuza'ah tribesmen were camping one day near a well of theirs called al Watir, Banu Bakr launched a surprise attack against them. The Khuza'ah party fled to Makkah and took refuge in the house of Budayl ibn Warqa', complaining that the Quraysh and their Band Bakr allies violated their treaty with the Prophet. After running in full haste toward Madinah, `Amr ibn Salim al Khuza'i related to Muhammad and the Muslims in the mosque what had happened and asked for assistance. The Prophet of God answered

"Certainly, 0 `Amr ibn Salim, we shall come to your rescue." Another group of Khuza'ah tribesmen followed him to Madinah together with their Makkan host, Budayl ibn Warqa', and confirmed their predecessor's report. Realizing that this flagrant violation by the Quraysh of their treaty was forcing his hand to conquer Makkah, the Prophet sent word to the Muslims all over the Peninsula to mobilize at once. The objective, however, he kept as a secret.

 

Quraysh's Fears

The wise elders of Quraysh realized the danger to which `Ikrimah and his youthful companions had exposed Makkah for their action was a clear violation of the Hudaybiyah Treaty. Should Muhammad decide to avenge his Khuza'ah allies against the Makkans, the holy city would be exposed to the strongest danger. What should they do? It occurred to them to send Abu Sufyan to Madinah to reaffirm the peace treaty and seek a prolongation of its two-year term to ten. Abd Sufyan, chief statesman and leader of Makkah, proceeded to Madinah to conduct negotiations. On his way there, he met Budayl ibn Warqa' and his companions near `Usfan, and feared that Muhammad might have preceded him to this place with an army bent on revenge, thus making his mission all the more difficult. Budayl denied that he had seen Muhammad before, but the shrewd Abu Sufyan could tell from the refuse of Budayl's horse that he had recently been in Madinah. He therefore decided that upon arrival to Madinah, he had better see his daughter, Umm Habibah, the Prophet's wife, rather than Muhammad himself.

 

The Failure of Abu Sufyan's Efforts

Umm Habibah knew well the Prophet's emotions regarding the Quraysh, though she did not know of his plans for Makkah. Such was the case with all Muslims in Madinah. Entering into his daughter's quarters, Abu Sufyan was about to sit upon the mattress of the Prophet when Umm Habibah moved it away. When he asked her whether she had done so in order to save her father from the mattress or the mattress from her father, she replied: "This is the mattress of the Prophet of God May God's peace and blessing be upon him. You are an associationist and hence impure. You may not therefore be allowed to sit on the Prophet's mattress." Abu Sufyan was enraged by this reply and left the house, saying to his daughter, "By God, after you left my house, you must have become utterly mad." His strategy exposed, he proceeded to see Muhammad. The Prophet, however, refused to give him an audience. Abu Sufyan decided to go to Abu Bakr and ask him to intervene with the Prophet. Again, his request was turned down. He then approached `Umar ibn al Khattab, who rejected him with the harsh rebuke: "Do you expect me to intervene with the Prophet of God for you? By God, if nothing is left for me but the sand of the desert, I will still fight you." Abu Sufyan went to `Ali ibn Abu Talib and talked to him in the presence of his wife Fatimah. `Ali spoke to him gently and apologized that nobody could change the mind of Muhammad once it was made up. Finally, the mighty delegate of Quraysh begged Fatimah to allow him to use her son, al Hasan, in his search for support among the people of Madinah as a means of convincing Muhammad to prolong the peace. Fatimah answered that nobody could dissuade the Prophet of God by this method. As the gates closed in the face of Abu Sufyan one after another, he returned to `Ali and sought his advice. `Ali replied that he knew of no measure which would alleviate the situation. He told him, however, that since he was the chief of Banu Kinanah, he could invoke his own tribal connections for a while and quickly return home. `Ali informed Abu Sufyan that he did not think even that measure would work but that Abu Sufyan could turn to it faute de mieur. Abu Sufyan went to the Mosque and there proclaimed on behalf of his tribe his willingness to make peace with the people. He then mounted his horse and returned to Makkah. His heart was full of sorrow and his pride badly wounded, partly by his own daughter and partly by the rejection of those who, prior to their emigration from Makkah, had longed for the least bit of consideration or compassion from the great and mighty leader.

Abu Sufyan returned to Makkah and reported to his people the frustration of his efforts. He informed them of his proclamation in the Mosque of Madinah and of Muhammad's refusal to come to any terms of peace. The Makkans chastised him for allowing himself to be so contemptuously treated and continued their deliberations on the fate of their city.

 

Muslim Preparations for War

It was Muhammad's plan not to give the Quraysh the time to prepare for war. Armed by his confidence in Muslim power and in God's assistance, he sought to surprise the enemy before they could build up their defenses. His aim was to conquer without bloodshed. He therefore first commanded the people to get ready and informed them of his plans for Makkah later. He asked the Muslims to hurry and prayed that Quraysh would not find out his plan before it was too late.

While the Muslim army prepared to leave Madinah, Hatib ibn Abu Balta'ah wrote a letter informing the Quraysh about the Muslim move and gave it to a woman called Sarah, a client of some members of the house of Banu `Abd al Muttalib. He commanded her to take it to Makkah and to hand it over to the Quraysh leaders. Hatib was one of the foremost Muslims. How then could he now turn informant for the enemy? Apparently, there are sides of the human soul which remain weak despite the great strength achieved by other sides, and man remains forever at the mercy of his weaknesses despite his conscious effort to overcome them. At any rate, Muhammad, soon learned of Hatib's attempt and sent `Ali ibn Abu Talib and al Zubayr ibn al `Awwam to intercept the messenger. The latter was arrested and her horse and saddle searched, but no letter was found. `Ali threatened her that unless she produced the letter voluntarily, he would be forced to search her own person and to unveil her body in the process. When the woman realized how serious `Ali was, she unloosened her pigtails, brought out the letter and handed it over to `Ali. The woman was returned to Madinah, and Hatib was called to account. In his own defense, Hatib said: "0 Prophet of God, by God I swear that I am still a believer in God and in His Prophet. My faith has not changed by one jot or title. But I am a man here in the Muslim camp devoid of relatives, family or clan, whereas in Makkah, I have children, family, and relatives whom I want no evil to befall." Upon hearing his reply, `Umar ibn al Khattab asked the Prophet's permission to strike his neck on the grounds that he had apostatized. The Prophet answered: "0 `Umar, perhaps God has looked favorably on the men who fought at Badr and has permitted them to do whatever they wish; for their merit with God is truly great." Hatib was one of those who fought at Badr. In this connection, the following verse was revealed: "0 Men who believe, do not take My and your enemies as friends. Show such people no amity." [Qur'an, 60:1]

 

The Muslims' March on Makkah

The Muslim army proceeded from Madinah to Makkah bent upon conquering that city and seizing the sanctuary which God had declared a place of peace, security, and religious sanctification to all mankind. This army had more men than Madinah had ever seen before, since the tribes of Sulaym, Muzaynah, Ghatafan, and others had joined the Muhajirun and the Ansar in such numbers and with such armaments that the wide expanses of the desert were filled with them. As the force moved forward it covered the desert from horizon to horizon and no end of it could be seen. They moved fast, and at every station many more tribes joined their ranks and added to their armaments and equipment. Every soul was filled with the faith of Islam and entertained no doubt that God's help will bring them victory. Muhammad led this army at the forefront. His greatest concern was to seize the holy house without shedding any unnecessary blood. By the time the army arrived at al Zahran, four miles from Makkah, its number had reached ten thousand. Until then, the Quraysh knew nothing about it, and its leaders continued to consult with one another, to agree and to disagree regarding the measures to be taken by them to meet Muslim anger. Al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib, uncle of the Prophet, withdrew from the conversation of the Quraysh leaders, took all members of his family, and went out in the direction of Madinah. At al Juhfah he met Muhammad and converted to Islam. [Some biographers relate that al 'Abbas met the Muslim army at Rabigh. Others assert that al 'Abbas had reached Madinah before Muhammad resolved to march against Makkah, that he converted to Islam in Madinah and accompanied the Muslim army on its march. This latter view, however, is refuted by the historians as a fabrication injected into the biography of Muhammad in order to please the 'Abbasi rulers during whose reign the biographies of the Prophet were first written down. The refutation of the historians is confirmed by the fact that if the claim were true, al Abbas, as the last notable of Makkah to join the ranks of Islam, would have been the first to be visited by Abu Sufyin for the purpose of extending the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. It would seem that despite his defense of his nephew when the latter was at Makkah, al 'Abbas did not join Islam. A1 'Abbas was a Makkan tradesman and, like all other tradesmen of the city, feared the disastrous consequences Islam would bring to his business.] It is rather likely that a group of the Banu Hashim heard a rumor regarding the Prophet's new expedition and sought to join him before the battle began. Two other Makkans came to join the ranks of the Muslims at Niq al `Uqab, both cousins of the Prophet: Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib and `Abdullah ibn Abu Umayyah ibn al Mugbirah. The Prophet, however, refused to grant them their request, replying to Umm Salamah, who approached him on their behalf, that he had no need for either cousin. The first had previously injured the Prophet, and the second, the Prophet's brother-in-law, had broadcast all sorts of libels and calumnies about him. When a report of the Prophet's decision reached the ears of Abu Sufyan, he swore that either Muhammad would grant him this permission or he would take his son and strike out aimlessly into the desert and perish of thirst and hunger. Muhammad felt compassion toward him and his son, and permitted them to be received within the Muslim ranks. They entered his audience and were converted to Islam.

Al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib saw that the armies of his nephew were disturbingly preponderant in power and numbers. Although a Muslim, he felt quite apprehensive for what might befall his own native city should this hitherto unrivalled army advance on it with hostile intention. After all, the city he had just left behind was full of his own people, friends and relatives, and he did not consider those relationships terminated by his entry into Islam. Perhaps he intimated some of these fears to the Prophet when he asked, "What would the Prophet do in case Quraysh asked for a guarantee of its own security?" And perhaps Muhammad was pleased that al 'Abbas had broached the subject with him. It might even be conjectured that the Prophet thought of using al 'Abbas as a delegate to the Quraysh that his apprehensiveness might be transmitted to the Makkans. Such measure would prevent the shedding of blood and enable the Muslims to enter Makkah without war. The sanctity of the city would thus be saved and its picture in the Arab mind as a place of security, refuge, and peace would be preserved. In fact, al 'Abbas was soon sent back to Makkah, riding on the Prophet's own white mule. When he approached the locality of al Arak, al 'Abbas looked for anyone from Makkah, be it a lumberman or herdsmen, with whoa) he might send a message informing the Makkan leadership of the Muslim's preponderant armies and advising them to come out to meet the Prophet and reconcile themselves to him before he should take Makkah by storm.

 

Abu Sufyan's Audience with the Prophet

The Quraysh, for their part, felt gravely apprehensive ever since the Muslims arrived at al Zahran. They sent Abu Sufyan, Budayl ibn Warqa', and Hakim ibn Hazzam, the relative of Khadijah, to reconnoiter the field and assess the danger. While riding in the area on the Prophet's white mule, al `Abbas overheard a conversation between Abu Sufyan and Budayl ibn Warqa'. To Abu Sufyan's exclamation that he had never seen any lights or encampments as wide and great as those which he had just beheld that night, Budayl answered that the said lights and encampments must belong to Khuza'ah tribe, now aroused to do battle. Abu Sufyan rejected this view of Budayl, affirming that Khuza'ah was known to 'be much fewer in number and much poorer than to afford all such lights and camps. Overhearing the voice of Abu Sufyan and recognizing it for what it was, al `Abbas called out to him using his title "Abu Hanzalah". Abu Sufyan, who recognized the voice, answered by using the title of al 'Abbas, "Abu al Fadl". Al `Abbas said: "Watch out, O Abu Sufyan ! What you see is the Prophet of God leading his people. Woe to the Quraysh tomorrow morning, when his armies storm their city." Abu Sufyan answered: "Oh the misery of it! What shall we do?" Al `Abbas invited him to mount on his mule, sent his companions back to Makkah and returned with him to the Muslim camp. As the Muslims recognized the mule of the Prophet, they let it pass unhurt with Abu Sufyan on its back. It ran between rows of thousands of Muslims who had built enormous bonfires. As the mule passed by the fire of `Umar ibn al Khattab, `Umar recognized Abu Sufyan and surmised that al `Abbas was about to take Abu Sufyan under his protection. He hurried to the tent of the Prophet and asked the latter to permit him to strike the neck of Abu Sufyan. Al `Abbas entered the tent of the Prophet saying: "O Prophet of God, I have extended my protection to this man on account of the urgent need of this hour of the night." After what must have been a hot discussion between `Umar and al `Abbas, Muhammad said: "O `Abbas, take your guest to your tent and bring him over in the morning."

On the next day, Abu Sufyan was brought to the Prophet and, in front of a court composed of the elders of the Muhajirun and al Ansar; the following conversation took place. Addressing himself to Abu Sufyan, the Prophet said: "Is it not time for you to know that there is no God but God, O Abu Sufyan?" Abu Sufyan answered: "How great, noble, and generous you are, O Prophet of God! By God I swear that if God had an associate, such had ample time to prove himself. But he didn't." The Prophet said: "Woe to you, 0 Abu Sufyan, is it not time for you to learn that I am the Prophet of God?" Abu Sufyan answered: "How great, noble and generous you are, O Prophet of God! While I entertain no more doubt that God has any associate, I am still not so sure about this claim." At this point, al `Abbas intervened and asked Abu Sufyan to convert to Islam and to witness, before he was put to death, that there is no God but God and that Muhammad is the Prophet of God. Faced with the threat, Abu Sufyan converted and recited the confession of faith. Al `Abbas then turned to the Prophet God's peace be upon him and said: "O Prophet of God, Abu Sufyan is a proud man. Would you not grant him some privilege?" The Prophet answered: "Yes, indeed! Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan shall be secure; whoever remains in his own house shall also be secure; and whoever enters the Mosque shall be secure."

 

The Historians' Estimate of These Reports

The veracity of the foregoing event is agreed upon by all historians and biographers. Some of them question whether these events took place accidentally or by previous arrangement. They point to the fact that when al `Abbas sought the Prophet, he meant to travel to Madinah, but we find him confronting the Muslim army at al Juhfah. They also point to the fact that Budayl ibn Warqa’ and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb left Makkah in order to reconnoiter, whereas we do know that the same Budayl had gone to Madinah and related to the Prophet how he encountered Khuza’ah on the road and learned from the Prophet that the Banu Khuza’ah had become the Prophet’s allies. How, then, is this consistent with the view that Abu Sufyan had left Makkah without prior knowledge that Muhammad and his army were already on the road to Makkah? Some historians therefore suggest that some prearrangement, whether little or much, must have taken place before these events unfolded, and that it was under some such prearrangement that al `Abbas went out to meet Muhammad. They point out that such an arrangement between Makkans and Muslims is implicit in the meeting of al `Abbas and Abu Sufyan in the night. Abu Sufyan stood in need of no argument to convince al `Abbas that Quraysh had no more means to stop Muhammad, especially since he had been in Madinah seeking to extend the term of the Hudaybiyah Treaty without success. These historians and biographers suggest that Abu Sufyan must have thought that if he could cooperate with the Prophet and prepare for the Muslim conquest of Makkah, his position of leadership in Makkan society would be safeguarded. That such a prearranged agreement did not go beyond Muhammad and the few persons concerned, the evidence of `Umar's request to kill Abu Sufyan eloquently proves. At any rate, it is conjecture for us to judge. But we certainly may decide, and do so with utmost conviction, that regardless of whether these events took place incidentally or by previous arrangement, they prove beyond doubt Muhammad's skill, sure insight, and precision in winning the greatest victory of Islamic history without war or bloodshed.

 

The March on Makkah Continued

The conversion of Abu Sufyan did not dissuade Muhammad from taking all necessary precautions before entering Makkah. Although understood that victory is a gift of God granted to whomsoever He pleases, it is still true that God does not grant His gift except to those who prepare for it perfectly and who avail themselves of every possible precaution to achieve it. Only in this way can it be explained why the Prophet ordered that Abu Sufyan be held at the gate of the valley in the outskirts of Makkah. He deemed it desirable that Abu Sufyan watch the Muslim armies at close range and describe them to his people accurately. But he was careful not to give the enemy any time to mobilize an army or to prepare any kind of opposition before the Muslims had entered the city. As the tribes passed by Abu Sufyan, he was in no way so much impressed as by the "green company" in which Muhammad stood surrounded by the Muhajirun and al Ansar. So close were their ranks and so well equipped that all one could see was a solid mass of iron. After they passed, Abu Sufyan said to al `Abbas : "O Abu al Fadl, no force can stand in the face of this. By God, the dominion of your nephew has become truly great." He then rushed toward Makkah calling to his people at the top of his voice: "O men of Quraysh, here comes Muhammad with an army such as you have never seen before. Put up no resistance. Whoever enters into my house shall be secure; whoever remains in his own house shall be secure; and whoever enters the Mosque shall be secure." Muhammad advanced with the army until he reached Dhu Tuwa. From there he realized that Makkah lay in front of him devoid of any army to give him battle. He stopped his forces, stood over this mount, and bent himself in prayers and thanksgiving. He was grateful to God that he had enabled him to conquer the first theatre of revelation. The sanctuary of the holy House was now to be opened to all the Muslims in peace and security. At the same time, Abu Quhafah who had not yet been converted to Islam like his son, asked a granddaughter of his to take him over to the mount of Abu Qubays. Being blind, he asked his granddaughter what she saw once they got to the top. She answered, "A black mass is all I see." He said, "That must be the cavalry." She said, "By God the black mass is spreading out." He said, "The cavalry must have been given orders to march over Makkah, Take me quickly to my home." Before they reached Makkah, however, the Muslim cavalry had entered the city and intercepted him on the road.

 

Deployment of the Muslim Forces

Muhammad praised God and thanked him for the conquest of Makkah. Nonetheless, he continued to take every precaution. He had divided the army into four groups and commanded them all not to engage in any fighting or shed any blood except in cases of extreme emergency. He gave the command of the left wing to al Zubayr ibn al 'Awwam and ordered him to enter Makkah from the north. He gave the command of the right to Khalid ibn al Walid and ordered him to enter Makkah from the south. He gave the command of the Madinese to Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah and ordered him to enter Makkah from the west. As for Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah, he gave him the command of the Muhajirun and ordered him to enter Makkah from the north near Hind Mountain and joined his own company to the Muhajirun. While about to march, Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah was heard saying: "Today is the day of battle, the day of the great war, the day when all taboos will be lifted." Had he been permitted to proceed, this general would have violated the Prophet's commandment that no blood should be shed in Makkah. Hence, as soon as the Prophet learned of his attitude, he relieved him of the command of the forces and appointed his son, Qays, to replace him. The son was less active than the father on account of his voluminous size, but he was of a far more gentle disposition. The armies entered and occupied Makkah without opposition. Only the front assigned to Khalid ibn al Walid put up any resistance. That area, the south of Makkah, was populated by the most hostile and antagonistic members of Quraysh. Many of them were among the attackers of Khuza'ah who, together with their Banu Bakr allies, had violated the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. Not moved by the call of Abu Sufyan, they prepared for battle. Those of them ready to fight were led by Safwan, Suhayl, and `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl. When Khalid's army entered their quarter, they showered it with arrows. Khalid, however, quickly dispersed them, losing two of his men and killing thirteen of the enemy, according to one version, and twenty-eight according to another. It is even said that the two soldiers missing from Khalid's army were not lost in battle but had strayed into the wilderness and lost their way. Safwan, Suhayl, and `Ikrimah took to flight as soon as they realized the futility of their stand, leaving their own men whom they had incited to resistance at the mercy of Muslim arms. Standing with a group of Muhajirun on a Makkan height and surveying the various quarters of the city he had just conquered without violence, Muhammad noticed toward the south the shining of swords in battle with the local inhabitants. The Prophet became angry and repeated his command that there should be no fighting. He was soon told the facts of the case and accepted God's judgment in the matter.

 

The Muslims Enter Makkah

The Prophet camped on a height opposite the mountain of Hind and in the proximity of the graves of Abu Talib and Khadijah. He was asked whether he wanted to rest in his old house in Makkah and answered, "No! They have leveled it." The Prophet then retired to his tent grateful to God for this glorious and victorious return, and for bringing to its knees the cruel city which had tortured and banished him. For a moment, he turned his gaze toward the valley of Makkah as well as to the surrounding hills. He recalled that in those hills he often found refuge from the persecution of Quraysh; that one of them, Hira', was the scene of his periodical retreats. Vividly, he represented to himself the moment when, in the cave of that same mountain, the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed; he could hear the holy words resound in his ears

"Read! Read in the Name of your Lord, Who created man from a clot! Read! For your Lord is the Most gracious. He has taught man to read and to write! He has taught man that which he does not know!" [Qur'an, 96:1-5]

The Prophet was naturally attracted by the view of Makkah spread out in expanding circles before him between these hills, at the center of which stood the sanctuary and its holy House. Muhammad, moved by the sight of Makkah and by the remembrance of God's revelation, let tears fall from his eye as he thanked God, praised Him, and witnessed that there is no truth and no power except in Him. He felt that his task as leader was coming to a natural conclusion. So agitating were all these feelings that he was unable to settle down to rest or, indeed, even to restrain himself within the tent. Mounting his she camel, al Qaswa', he rode toward the Ka'bah where he circumambulated the House without dismounting. He then dismounted and called upon `Uthman ibn Talhah to open the Ka'bah for him. Muhammad stood at the door surrounded by the many worshippers who had found their way to the holy House. He delivered a speech to the people present in which he said, quoting the Qur'an

"O men, We have created you from male and female and constituted you into peoples and tribes that you might know and cooperate with one another. In the eye of God, highest among you is the most virtuous. God is omniscient and all wise." [Qur'an, 49:13] He continued: "0 Men of Quraysh, what do you think I am about to do with you?" "Everything good," they answered, "for you are a noble brother and a noble nephew of ours." Muhammad went on: "Rise, then, and go. For you are free."

With this word, Muhammad gave a general amnesty to all Quraysh and all the Makkans.

 

The Prophet's General Amnesty

Oh, the beauty of pardon and forgiveness on the part of the mighty and powerful! How great is the soul of Muhammad which rose above hatred and above revenge, which denied every human feeling and ascended to heights of nobility man had never reached before! There were the Quraysh among whom were people whom Muhammad well knew had plotted to kill him, had persecuted him, and inflicted upon him and his companions all kinds of injury and harm, who fought him at Badr and at Uhud, who blockaded him in the Campaign of al Khandaq, who incited the Arab tribes to rise against him, and who would even then tear him apart if only they had the power. There, the whole of Quraysh stood totally under Muhammad's hand, indeed under his feet, totally subject to his command. Indeed, their very life depended upon the first word emerging from his lips. All these thousands of men, of Muslims in battle array, stood on the ready waiting for that one word to wipe out the whole of Makkah and its people within minutes. Muhammad, however, was no less than Muhammad! He was no less than the Prophet of God! No alienation, antagonism, or hostility could find any permanent abode in his heart. His heart was absolutely free of injustice, of malice, of tyranny or false pride. In the most decisive moment, God gave him power over his enemy. But Muhammad chose to forgive, thereby giving to all mankind and all the generations the most perfect example of goodness, of truthfulness, of nobility and magnanimity.

 

Cleansing the Ka'bah of Its Images

When Muhammad entered the Ka'bah, he saw that its walls were painted with pictures of angels and prophets. His eyes fell upon a picture of Ibrahim holding the divination arrows and a pigeon made out of twigs. He seized the pigeon, broke it into pieces and threw it to the ground and, looking at the picture of Ibrahim, he said: "Accursed be the Makkans ! They have made our ancestor an idolater and a diviner. What does Ibrahim have to do with divination arrows? He was neither a Jew nor a Christian nor yet an associationist, but a hanif, and a Muslim." On the walls of the Ka'bah, the angels were pictured as beautiful women. Turning to them, Muhammad denied that angels had any such bodily forms, that they were either male or female. He commanded the obliteration of all pictures and images. Attached with lead to the walls of the Ka'bah were the idols which the Quraysh worshipped as the associates of God; the idol Hubal stood in the center of the Ka'bah. Muhammad designated every one of these idols with his stick and recited the verse of the Qur'an

"Say, the truth is now manifest. Falsehood is truly confuted. And it is right that it should be." [Qur'an, 17:81]

The idols were then torn down and broken, and the holy House was purified. That which Muhammad had called for during the last twenty years was now accomplished before the first day of the conquest of Makkah was over. That which Makkah had opposed most strongly was now a fact of history. The destruction of the idols and the wiping out of paganism in the holy sanctuary was now completed before the very eyes of Quraysh. The Makkan idols, the objects of reverence and worship inherited from the ancestors, crumbled to bits under the hammering blows of Muhammad.

 

Al Ansar's Fears and the Prophet's Reassurance

As the Ansar of Madinah witnessed all this, and as they saw Muhammad on top of al Safa mountain invite the Makkans to embrace Islam, they feared he might now abandon Madinah and reestablish himself in his native city. Some of them inquired of one another, seeking to reassure themselves whether or not this was the case. Their apprehension was not out of place. Victor in his own hometown where stood the sanctuary, the holy House of God and center of worship, it was quite likely that the Prophet would now make Makkah his capital. Muhammad had hardly finished his prayer and preaching when he inquired concerning their fears. When, after long hesitancy, they intimated to him their concern, the Prophet said: "Never, by God! I have covenanted to join you in life and death. I shall remain true to my covenant." Evidently, neither relatives, nor native city, nor even the holy sanctuary itself could dissuade Muhammad from honoring a pledge he once gave to those who stood by him at his hour of need. His word given at the conclusion of the Covenant of `Aqabah was to be honored in exemplary faithfulness and loyalty, and the occasion proved to be just what the moral teacher needed. When the Ka'bah was purified of its idols, the Prophet ordered Bilal to mount to its top and from there to recite the adhan, to give the call to worship. The Muslims gathered and, led by Muhammad, performed the prayer. From that time until today, for fourteen long centuries without interruption, Bilal as well as his countless successors have recited the adhan calling men to prayer five times a day from that same spot on top of the Ka'bah. For fourteen long centuries since that day, Muslims all over the globe have worshipped God and invoked His blessing upon His Prophet, their face turned toward this holy House which Muhammad cleansed on that day of its images and idols and reconsecrated to the One Almighty God.

Quraysh, resigned to its fate, felt reassured by Muhammad's general pardon. They watched the Muslims go about their city with great surprise, not without a measure of fear and caution. Seventeen Makkans were excepted from Muhammad's general amnesty and were ordered executed even if found clutching to the coverings of the Ka'bah. Some of them went into hiding and others ran away from the city altogether. They all stood convicted of atrocious crimes they had committed. One of these men was `Abdullah ibn Abu al Sarh who once converted to Islam and wrote down the revelation for Muhammad, but who then apostatized, returned to Quraysh, and there spread tales about his falsification of the revelation. Another convict was `Abdullah ibn Khatal who converted to Islam, killed one of his clients, apostatized, and commanded his two slave women, one of whom was called Fartana, to castigate Muhammad in song. Both save women were indicted and ordered executed with their master. Another was `Ikrimah- ibn Abu Jahl, the most persistent enemy, who could not accept the Muslim conquest of Makkah and put up strong resistance in the face of Khalid ibn al Walid on the southern front.

 

Pardon Extended to the Convicts

As soon as he entered Makkah, Muhammad ordered that no blood should be shed and that only the seventeen people would receive their just punishment. While some of the seventeen condemned hid, others ran away from Makkah with their families. As the situation settled down and the news of the Prophet's clemency and all embracing forgiveness became fully known and appreciated by all, some companions dared to think that even the condemned could also be forgiven. `Uthman ibn `Affan, brother-in-nursing of Ibn Abu al Sarh, approached the Prophet in this regard and sought an order for the safe passage of his protege. Muhammad was silent for a long time sunk in thought, but he then consented to grant forgiveness. Umm Hakim, daughter of al Harith ibn Hisham and the wife of `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl who ran away to Yaman, converted to Islam and sought pardon for her husband directly from Muhammad. She was granted it. She then went to Yaman and returned with her husband. Muhammad also forgave Safwan ibn Umayyah who accompanied `Ikrimah on his escape toward the sea and thence to Yaman. Both had been caught just before their ship was to sail. Muhammad also forgave Hind, wife of Abu Sufyan, who chewed the liver of Hamzah, uncle of the Prophet, after his martyrdom at the Battle of Uhud. Indeed, most of the men condemned to death had been forgiven. Only four were executed

al Huwayrith who tempted Zaynab, the Prophet's daughter, when she returned from Makkah to Madinah; two Muslims guilty of murder in Madinah who escaped to Makkah and apostatized; and one of the slave women of Ibn Khatal who used to castigate the Prophet in song. The other slave woman ran away, but was brought back and later forgiven.

Reconsecration of Makkah: The City as Inviolate

Following the conquest of Makkah, the Khuza'ah tribe discovered a Hudhayl tribesman in their midst who was still a pagan and killed him. Upon hearing the news, the Prophet was so angry that he delivered a speech in which he said: "O men, God made Makkah a holy place on the day heaven and earth were created. Makkah is therefore holy, holy, holy to the end of time. No man believing in God and the Day of Judgment may therefore shed any blood or destroy any tree in its precincts. Makkah has never been desecrated by anyone before me and it shall never be desecrated by anyone after me. Only for the brief hour of conquest and because of God's wrath upon its people, it was permitted to me to enter it with arms. But now Makkah fully enjoys her previous holiness. Let the present inform the absent. Whoever argues with you that the Prophet of God fought in Makkah, answer him that God had desanctified the city for His Prophet but not for anyone else, and surely not for you, 0 Tribesmen of Khuza'ah ! All killing must stop, for it is evil crime and brings no advantage when indulged in. You have killed a man, and I shall have to pay his bloodwit to his people. Henceforth, the heirs of a victim shall have the choice between executing the murderer or receiving bloodwit." Muhammad immediately paid the bloodwit of the Khuza'ah tribesman to his people. By his disposal of the case in this manner and his general proclamation concerning murder and retaliation, Muhammad struck a further example of clemency and justice. The force of Islam's appeal to the Makkans became irresistible, and they began to convert. The town crier proclaimed: "Whoever believes in God and the Day of Judgment will destroy on this day every idol and vestige of paganism in his home." The Prophet commissioned some Khuza'ah men to repair the walls of the holy city, thereby giving further proof of his respect for it. Under the circumstances, the love and esteem for Muhammad could only increase. Muhammad told the Makkans that he loved them the most, that they were the highest in his regard, and that he would have never left them had they themselves not rejected and banished him. With this praise, the Makkans' esteem for Muhammad broke all bounds.

Abu Bakr brought his own father, Abu Quhafah, the old blind man who went up to the mount of Abu Qubays guided by his daughter to find out what was happening before the Muslims entered the city, and placed him in the presence of the Prophet. When seeing him, Muhammad reproached Abu Bakr for bringing the old man over and said that it was he, Muhammad, that should have come to Abu Quhafah. Paying no attention to Abu Bakr's rejoinder that it was his father's duty to come to the Prophet and not vice versa, he asked the man to sit by him, wiped his face for him and invited him to enter into Islam. Abu Quhafah converted and became an ardent Muslim. Through this noble behavior of the Prophet, this magnanimous conduct, Muhammad succeeded in winning over a people who had nursed for him the strongest hatred. Thereafter, the Makkans revered the person of Muhammad, embraced Islam, and wholeheartedly subjected themselves to his rule.

 

Ibn al Walid and the Tribe of Jadhimah

Muhammad resided in Makkah fifteen days during which he organized its affairs and instructed its people in Islam. During this period, he sent forth delegations to call men peaceably to Islam to destroy the idols without shedding any blood. Khalid ibn al Walid was sent to Nakhlah to destroy al `Uzza, goddess of Banu Shayban. His task accomplished, ibn al Walid proceeded to Jadhimah. There, however, the people took up arms at his approach. Khalid asked them to lay down their arms on the grounds that all people had accepted Islam. One of the Jadhimah tribesman said to his people: "Woe to you, Banu Jadhimah! Don't you know that this is Khalid? By God, nothing awaits you once you have laid down your arms except captivity, and once you have become captives you can expect nothing but death." Some of his people answered: "Do you seek to have us all murdered? Don't you know that most men have converted to Islam, that the war is over, and that security is reestablished?" Those who held this opinion continued to talk to their tribesmen until the latter surrendered their arms. Thereupon, ibn al Walid ordered them to be bound, and he killed some of them. When he heard of the news, the Prophet lifted his arms to heaven and prayed: "0 God, I condemn what Khalid ibn al Walid has done." The Prophet gave funds to `Ali ibn Abu Talib and sent him to look into the affairs of this tribe, cautioning him to disregard all the customs of pre-Islam. Upon arrival, `Ali paid the bloodwit of all the victims and compensated the property owners for their damages. Before leaving, he surrendered the rest of the money which the Prophet had given him to the tribe just in case there were any other losses which may have escaped notice at the time.

During the two weeks which Muhammad spent in Makkah, he wiped out all the traces of paganism in the city. All the offices attached to the holy House were abolished except two

the sidanah which the Prophet assigned to `Uthman ibn Talhah, his children, and progeny after him till the end of days, and the siqayah, which he assigned to his uncle al `Abbas. Thus Umm al Qura [I.e., Makkah. -Tr.] embraced Islam and raised high the torch of genuine monotheism, illuminating the whole world for generations and centuries to come.