When their heroes were defeated on the Day of Badr and the remnants of the army returned to Makkah, it was a terrible blow for the Quraysh. Men who had lost their fathers, sons and brothers approached Abu Sufyan and others who had valuable merchandise in that caravan. They wanted the profits to be used for lighting the Muslims again. The merchants agreed to their request. The Quraysh decided to conduct a new war. Poets spurred the people on with their militant verses and provoked fanatical zeal in readiness for battle.
Battle of the Trench
THE BATTLE OF THE DITCH:
The Battle of the Ditch took place in Shawwal 5 A.H. It was a decisive battle but it presented to the Muslims grave trials that they had not previously experienced. Allah says in the Qur'an:
When they came against you from above you and from below you, and when your eyes swerved and your hearts reached your throats, and you thought thoughts about Allah; there it was that the believers were tried, and shaken most mightily. (33: 11)
The Jews instigated these hostilities. People from the Banu'n-Nadir and the Banu Wa'il went to the Quraysh in Makkah, calling on them to fight the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. The Quraysh who had already experienced war with the Prophet were reluctant to get involved again. However, the Jewish delegation painted such a rosy picture of the outcome that they agreed to co-operate.
'We will support you,' the Jews promised, 'until you obliterate him.'
That delighted the Quraysh. They were eager to carry out the Jews' ideas. They gathered their forces and prepared for battle. The Jewish delegation then went to the Ghatafan tribes and invited them to join the Quraysh. After the Ghatafan agreed to join in, they went to other tribes, presenting them with the same plan backed by the Quraysh.
Thus an alliance was formed between the Quraysh, the Jews, and the Ghatafan against the Muslims.
Certain conditions were drawn up. The Quraysh had to gather four thousand fighters and the Ghatafan six thousand, making ten thousand in all. This vast army was to be commanded by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. The Jews agreed to give one year's harvest of Khaybar to the Ghatafan to compensate them for their military expenses.
WISDOM IS THE LOST PROPERTY OF THE BELIEVER:
The Muslims decided to fortify themselves in Madinah and defend the city. Their army numbered less than three thousand so Salman al-Farsi suggested that a ditch should be dug around the city for protection.
'In Persia,' Salman said, 'when we feared invaders, we would dig a ditch around us to keep them at bay.' The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah agreed to his suggestion and a ditch was dug on the exposed side from where they feared the enemy would attack. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah planned the work and assigned forty cubits of digging to each group of ten Muslims. The length of the ditch was about five thousand cubits and its depth varied between seven and ten cubits. Its width was at least nine cubits.
THE SPIRIT OF EQUALITY AND MUTUAL SUPPORT AMONG THE MUSLIMS:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah helped to dig the ditch and encouraged the Muslims working alongside him. Although it was bitterly cold and food was in short supply, the work proceeded smoothly.
Abu Talhah said, 'We complained to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah of hunger and we showed him the stones that we had tied round our bellies to ease the pain. Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah showed us that he had two stones on his belly.'
In spite of all this they were happy, praising Allah and chanting poems. No one complained or expressed any regrets.
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, 'The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went out to the ditch when the Muhajirun and Ansar were digging in the bitterly cold morning air. They had no slaves to do it for them. Seeing their state of fatigue and hunger, he said:
O Allah! True life is the life of the Next World. So forgive the Ansar and the Muhajirun.
In response they said:
We are those who have given homage to Muhammad.
To fight in jihad as long as we have life.
The Muslims came upon a large rock which their picks could not shift. When they complained to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah about it, he took up a pick, saying, 'In the name of Allah.' His first blow broke off a third of the rock and sent sparks flying.
'Allah is greater!' he said, 'I have been given the keys of Syria. By Allah, I see its red castles, if Allah wills.'
He struck at the rock a second time and another third broke off.
'Allah is greater. I have been given the keys of Persia and, by Allah, I see the white castles of al-Mada'in.
With his third blow, he invoked the name of Allah and the rest of the rock shattered.
'Allah is greater!' he exclaimed, 'Allah is greater! I have been given the keys of the Yemen. By Allah, I see the gates of San'a' from here.
A number of miracles were witnessed by the Companions at this time. Once when the ground was too hard to dig in part of the ditch, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for some water, spat into it and prayed a supplication willed by Allah. When he poured the water over the hard ground, it became soft like sand. On other occasions, a great blessing would appear when a small amount of food could satisfy a large number of Muslims or even be sufficient for an entire army of three thousand workers.
"When they came to you from above you and from beneath you"
The Muslims had scarcely finished work on the ditch when the Quraysh and the Ghatafan arrived and pitched camp outside Madinah with ten thousand warriors. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah assembled his three thousand Muslims, keeping the ditch between them and the enemy.
A treaty existed between the Muslims and the Madinan Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, the chief of Banu'n-Nadir encouraged the Jews to break the treaty. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah heard of this, he realised that it was a serious setback and everyone feared the consequences. Some of the hypocrites displayed their hypocrisy openly. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah even considered making a treaty with the Ghatafan, giving them one-third of Madinah's dates in order to make things easier for the Ansar who always bore the greatest hardships during wars.
He rejected that option after Sa'd ibn Mu'adh and Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah advised him to remain firm, upright and resolute before the enemy and to refuse any compromise.
'Messenger of Allah,' they said, 'We and these people all used to associate other things with Allah and worship idols; none of us worshipped nor recognised Allah. They would not eat a single date except through hospitality or purchase. Now that Allah has honoured us with Islam and guided us to it and made us mighty by you and Himself, shall we still give them our property? By Allah, we have no need to and, by Allah, we will not give them anything but the sword until Allah decides between us and them.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the Muslims remained besieged by their enemies but no fighting took place. However, some of the mounted Quraysh galloped their horses up to the edge of the ditch. When they saw the ditch, they Said, 'By Allah, this is a device which the Arabs have never used!'
Then, having found the narrowest part, they beat their horses until they jumped over the ditch into the territory of Madinah. Among them was the famous horseman Amr ibn Abd Wudd who was said to be the equal of a thousand horsemen. He stopped and asked, 'Who will face me?'
Ali ibn Abi Talib sprang forward and said, 'Amr!
You swore by Allah that if a man of the Quraysh offered you two alternatives, you would accept one of them!'
'Yes, I did.'
'I call you to Allah and to His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and to Islam,' Ali said.
'I have no need of that.'
'Then I call on you to encounter me.'
'Nephew,' said Amr to Ali, 'By Allah, I do not want to kill you.'
'But, by Allah,' Ali replied, 'I want to kill you.'
Amr was so furious that he leapt from his horse, hamstrung it, and slapped its face. Then he advanced on Ali who fought back. They circled one another, thrusting and parrying. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) eventually beheaded Amr with a sweeping blow of his sword. The other horsemen rapidly retreated back across the ditch.
A MOTHER ENCOURAGING HER SON TO FIGHT AND GAIN MARTYRDOM:
Before the veil was prescribed, A'ishah, Umm al-Mu'minin, said that she was with the Muslim women in the fortress of Banu Harithah when, 'Sa'd ibn Mu'adh passed by wearing armour so short that his forearm was exposed. He was chanting some verses and his mother called, "Catch up, my son. By Allah, you are late." '
A'ishah continued, 'I said to her, "Umm Sa'd, I wish Sa'd's armour were longer than that."
What A'ishah feared took place. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh was hit by an arrow which severed a vein causing excessive bleeding. He died a martyr in the subsequent battle with the Banu Qurayzah.
TO ALLAH BELONG THE ARMIES OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH:
Their enemies laid siege to the Muslims for about a month. They invaded all the surrounding areas creating great hardship. The hypocrites showed their true colours; some even asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah if they could go into Madinah because they had left their houses unlocked. In reality, they only wanted to flee from the battlefront.
While the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his Companions kept a close watch on the enemy besieging them, Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud from the Ghatafan came up to him to say,
'Messenger of Allah, I have become a Muslim but my people do not know that. Tell me what you want me to do and I will do whatever you wish.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, 'You are the only Muslim there, so stay among our enemies and try to help us in whatever way you can. War is a clever device.'
Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud then went to the Banu Qurayzah and aroused doubts in their minds about their position. He mentioned their alliance with the Quraysh and Ghatafan who were distant tribes, and their antagonism towards the Muhajirun and Ansar who were their close neighbours. He suggested they should not fight alongside the Quraysh and Ghatafan until they had taken some leaders as hostages for security. They answered, 'You have given us good advice.'
When he went to talk to the Quraysh, he told them that the Jews were regretting what they had done and would be asking for some of their leaders to be held hostage as security that the treaty would not be broken. He also said that when they handed them over to the Prophet and his Companions, they would strike off their heads. Then he told the Ghatafan the same story as he had told the Quraysh. The seeds of distrust that he planted in their minds put the two groups on their guard and made them angry with the Jews. A split developed between the allies as a result, and each of them feared the others.
When Abu Sufyan and the leaders of the Ghatafan were ready to fight a decisive battle with the Muslims, the Jews put it off, demanding hostages from both sides first. The Quraysh and Ghatafan were convinced that Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud had told them the truth so they refused to grant the Jews' request. The Jews were also convinced that he had told them the truth. Thus their distrust of each other broke their unity and they split up.
Allah supported His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) by causing a hurricane to blow during the cold wintry nights. It blew down the enemy's tents and overturned their cooking-pots. The men were disheartened. Abu Sufyan got up and said,
'Company of Quraysh! By Allah, we are not in a permanent camp. The horses and camels are dying. The Banu Qurayzah have broken their promise to us and we have heard things about them which we dislike. We have suffered from the harshness of the wind as you can see and we are left without a cooking pot, or a fire. Not even a tent is standing up. Leave now, for I am going.'
Abu Sufyan went to his camel which was hobbled and mounted it. He beat it but did not unhobble it until it was standing.
When the Ghatafan heard that the Quraysh had departed, they also left. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was standing in prayer when his spy, Hudhayfah ibn al-'Yaman, informed him of what had taken place. In the morning the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah left the ditch and returned to Madinah. All the Muslims followed him, laying down their weapons. Allah Almighty spoke the truth:
O you who believe, remember Allah's blessing on you when hosts came against you, and We loosed against them a wind, and hosts you did not see. Allah sees what you do. (33: 9) and, Allah sent back those that were unbelievers in their rage and they attained no good. Allah spared the believers of fighting. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty. (33: 25)
The hardships of war were over and the Quraysh never again returned to fight the Muslims.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, 'The Quraysh will never raid you after this year. Rather you will raid them.
Seven Muslims were martyred on the Day of the Ditch while four idol-worshippers were killed by the Muslims.
ISLAM SPREADS THROUGHOUT MADINAH:
Islam began among the people of the Aws and the Khazraj in Madinah. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh and Usayd ibn Hudayr became Muslims. They were the leaders of their people, the Banu Abdul-Ashhal of Aws. They were convinced of the truth because of the wisdom and kindness of those who had become Muslims before them, particularly by the excellent presentation of Islam by Mus'ab ibn Umayr. All the people of the Banu Abdul-Ashhal became Muslims, and not a household of the Ansar remained in which some men and women had not accepted the faith.
THE SECOND PLEDGE OF AQABAH:
Mus'ab ibn Umayr returned to Makkah the following year and a number of the Muslim Ansar accompanied those of their people making hajj who were still idol-worshippers. The Muslims arranged to meet the Messenger of Allah at Aqabah. When they had finished the hajj, they met in the valley near Aqabah late at night. There were seventy-three men and two women. The Messenger of Allah came with his uncle, al-Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib who was still an idol-worshipper at that time.
The Messenger of Allah talked to them, recited the Qur'an and prayed to Allah and encouraged people to become Muslims. Then he said,' ask for your allegiance on the basis that you protect me as you would protect your wives and children.'
They pledged their allegiance to him. They asked him to promise that he would not leave them and return to his people. The Messenger of Allah gave his promise, 'I am from you and you are from me. I will fight those you fight and will be at peace with those with whom you are at peace.'
He chose twelve leaders from among them: nine from the Khazraj and three from the Aws.
THE HIJRAH TO MADINAH BEGINS:
Once the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had taken this pledge, the Muslims had more security and some from Makkah took refuge with the Ansar. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah ordered his Companions and those Muslims who were with him in Makkah to leave for Madinah, and to join their brothers among the Ansar. He said, 'Allah has given you brothers and an abode where you will be safe.' They soon began to leave Makkah.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, however, remained in Makkah waiting for Allah's permission to emigrate to Madinah.
The emigration of the Muslims from Makkah was not easy. The Quraysh put many obstacles in their way and subjected the emigrants to considerable stress. However, the emigrants were determined to go. They did not want to remain in Makkah. Some, including Abu Salamah, were forced to leave their wives and children behind and to travel alone. Some had to relinquish all they had earned in their lifetime. Suhayb was among those who lost all their wealth.
Umar ibn al-Khattab, Talhah, Hamzah, Zayd ibn Harithah, Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Abu Hudhayfah, Uthman ibn Affan and others emigrated (may Allah be pleased with them) and the emigration continued apace. None were left in Makkah with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah except for those who were imprisoned or awaiting trial, apart from Ali ibn Abi Talib and Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah.
THE QURAYSH'S FINAL PLOT FAILS:
When the Quraysh saw that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had Companions and helpers in Madinah over whom they had no power, they were alarmed about his departure. They knew that if that happened, they would have no means to stop him. So they assembled in the Dar an-Nadwah, the house of Qusayy ibn Kilab which the Quraysh used when decision-making, The Quraysh nobles consulted one another on what to do about the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
They finally agreed that each tribe would provide a young warrior and together they would attack the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, each man striking a blow. That way responsibility for his death would be divided among the tribes and the Banu Abd Manaf would not be able to fight them all.
Allah informed His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of this plot, so he could tell Ali ibn Abi Talib to sleep in his bed wrapped up in his cloak, adding, 'Nothing unpleasant will happen to you.
When the murderous gang gathered at the door intending to attack, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah came out and took up a handful of dust. Allah then instantly removed their sight and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah scattered the dust over their heads while reciting verses from Surah Ya Sin, 'We have covered them so that they do not see,' (36: 9) Someone came to them and said, 'What are you waiting here for'
'Muhammad,' they replied.
'May Allah disappoint you!' he said. 'By Allah, he came out earlier and went about his business.'
When they looked and saw someone sleeping on the bed they did not doubt that it was the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. But in the morning when Ali got up from the bed, they were so embarrassed that they slunk away quietly.
THE HIJRAH OF THE MESSENGER(SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM) OF ALLAH:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went to Abu Bakr to tell him, 'Allah has given me permission to emigrate.'
Abu Bakr exclaimed, 'In company, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah?
'In company,' replied the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, and Abu Bakr wept for joy.
Abu Bakr brought two camels which he had in readiness for the journey and hired Abdullah ibn Urayqit to act as their guide. Over the years, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had developed such a reputation for honesty that the unbelieving Quraysh would deposit their valuables with him, certain that they would be safe. This day he charged Ali with the responsibility for returning all the property to its rightful owners.
THE CAVE OF THAWR:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and Abu Bakr left Makkah secretly. Abu Bakr asked his son, Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr, to find out what people were saying about them in Makkah and he asked 'Air ibn Fuhayrah, his freed slave, to graze his milking sheep in the daytime but to bring them to the each night. Asma' bint Abi Bakr would bring them food.
They went to the Cave of Thawr. Abu Bakr went in first to clean it up and to make sure that it was safe so that nothing could harm the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Once he was satisfied he called him in.
When they were inside Allah sent a spider to spin a web from a bush across the entrance to the cave. It concealed the fact that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and Abu Bakr had only just gone in. Allah also commanded two wild doves to fly down between the spider and the tree. They made a nest there and laid eggs. 'To Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth.' (48: 4)
The idol-worshippers followed the tracks of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah's party, but when they reached the mountain they became confused. They climbed up the hillside passing close to the cave. However, when they saw the spider's web they said, 'If anyone had entered here, there would not be a spider's web across the opening. Then, they rode on. Abu Bakr saw the idol-worshippers coming. In alarm he said, 'Messenger of Allah, if one of them steps forward, he will see us.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, 'Why worry about two when Allah is the third!'
Allah says in the Qur'an, /... the second of the two; when the two were in the Cave, when he said to his companion, "Grieve not. Allah is with us." '(9: 40)
When the Quraysh realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had escaped, they offered a hundred camels to anyone who handed him over, dead or alive. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah remained in the cave for three days and then left with 'Air ibn Fuhayrah who guided him along the coastal route.
Suraqah ibn Malik ibn Ju'sham was eager to get the reward offered for the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. He was tracking his footsteps when his horse stumbled and he was thrown off. He refused to give up so he mounted again and rode on. His horse stumbled a second time and he fell again. Determined to capture his quarry, he rode on once more. Just as he caught sight of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, his horse stumbled a third time. Its feet sank into the sand and Suraqah fell. Then he watched as dust rose from the ground like a sandstorm in front of him.
When Suraqah saw that happen, he knew that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was under the protection of Allah. He realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah would certainly have the upper hand over his enemies. He called out, 'I am Suraqah ibn Ju'sham. Wait for me so that I can speak to you. By Allah, I will not harm you.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said to Abu Bakr, 'Ask him what he wants from us.'
'Write a document for me which will be a warrant of security.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked 'Air ibn Fuhayrah to write it and Suraqah kept the piece of leather (or bone) on which it was written for many years. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, looking ahead to the day when the Persian empire would crumble, said to Suraqah, 'How will you feel when you are wearing the bracelets of Chosroes?'
And indeed that event took place. When Persia was conquered, the bracelets, belt and crown of Chosroes were brought to Umar. He summoned Suraqah ibn Malik and put the royal insignia on him.
Although Suraqah offered the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah provisions for his journey to Madinah, they were not accepted. He only asked, 'Conceal our presence.'
A BLESSED MAN:
During their journey the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah's party passed the tent of Umm Ma'bad al-Khuza'iyyah who had a goat which was giving no milk during the drought. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stroked its udder, invoked the name of Allah and prayed for a blessing. Milk flowed. He gave Umm Ma'bad and his Companions milk to drink until they were satisfied. Then he drank last of all. The ewe was milked a second time and her milk filled a vessel. When Abu Ma'bad returned home, his wife told him what had happened, exclaiming, 'BY Allah, it could only have been a blessed man who passed by us.'
When she described the angelic stranger, he said, 'By Allah, I think it is the man whom the Quraysh are seeking.'
MADINAH RECEIVES THE MESSENGER(SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM) OF ALLAH:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his party continued their journey to Quba' which is on the outskirts of Madinah. It was Monday the 12 of Rabi' al-Awwal and this date marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
When the Ansar heard that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had left Makkah they waited for him even more eagerly than people who are fasting wait for the new moon of the 'Id. Every day after the Morning Prayer they went to the outskirts of Madinah to look for him. They stayed there until the heat of the summer sun forced them to seek shade. They would go back into their houses feeling very disappointed.
On the day that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah arrived, the people had just gone back into their houses. The Jews had taken note of what was going on and the first person to see him was indeed a Jew. He shouted as loudly as he could to announce to the Ansar that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had arrived. Everyone went out to greet him. He and Abu Bakr, who was about the same age, were sheltering under a palm-tree. Only a few of them had seen the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah before so most of the people in the crowd were unable to distinguish between him and Abu Bakr. Realising their confusion, Abu Bakr stood up to shade him with his cloak from the sun, thus making it clear who was the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
The Muslims were overjoyed at the arrival of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. It was the best thing that had ever happened to them. The women and children chanted, 'This is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who has come! This is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who has come!' In their delight, the girls of the Ansar recited:
The full moon shines down upon us from Thaniyat al-Wada'.
We must all give our thanksgiving all the while praising Allah
You whom Allah sends among us,
what you bring, we will obey
You've ennobled Madinah.
Welcome now! Guide us to His way!
Anas ibn Malik al-Ans a boy at that time, said, 'I saw the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah the day he entered Madinah. I have not seen a better or more radiant day than when he came to us in Madinah.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah spent four days at Quba' where he established a mosque. On Friday morning, he set off again. At noon he stopped among the Banu Salim ibn Awf where he prayed the Jumu'ah. This was the first Jumu'ah in Madinah.
The Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
THE MESSENGER(SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM) OF ALLAH'S DREAM:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah dreamt that he entered Makkah and did tawaf around the Ka'bah. His Companions in Madinah were delighted when he told them about it. They all revered Makkah and the Ka'bah and they yearned to do tawaf there.
The Muhajirun had even greater affection for Makkah. They had been born there and had grown up in the city. They loved it deeply but had been driven away from it. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told them of his dream, they started to prepare for the journey to Makkah. Hardly anyone wanted to stay behind.
MAKKAH VISITED AT LAST:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah left Madinah for al-Hudaybiyyah in Dhu'l-Qa'dah, 6 A.H. He intended to perform 'umrah in peace. He was accompanied by fifteen hundred Muslims dressed as pilgrims for 'umrah in order to show people that they had come to visit the Ka'bah out of respect for it. They took with them animals for the sacrifice.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent out a scout in advance to inform him about the reaction of the Quraysh. When he was near 'Usfan the scout returned and reported, 'I left Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy gathering an army against you to prevent you from reaching the Ka'bah.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah continued to travel until he reached the furthest part of al-Hudaybiyyah. He pitched camp although there was little water. The people started to complain to him of thirst. He took an arrow from his quiver and told them to put it in the waterhole. Immediately it began to gush with water and continued to flow until they had all quenched their thirst.
The Quraysh were extremely alarmed when they heard that the Muslims were at al-Hudaybiyyah, The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah decided to send one of his Companions to them and summoned Uthman ibn Affan. He was sent to inform the Quraysh that they had not come to fight but had come for 'umrah, and that he should call them to Islam. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah instructed him to visit the believing men and women of Makkah, to give them the good news of victory and tell them that Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, would make His religion victorious in Makkah and it would no longer be necessary for them to conceal their belief.
Uthman went to Makkah and conveyed the message to Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh noblemen.
When Uthman had finished delivering the message, they said, 'If you yourself wish to do tawaf of the House, go ahead.'
'I will not do it,' he said, 'until the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has done tawaf.'
Uthman was in Makkah longer than the Muslims had expected and the rumour spread that he had been killed. Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for a pledge of allegiance. He sat beneath a tree and the Muslims promised that they would fight with him to the last man. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah took his own hand and said, 'This is for Uthman.' Later they heard that Uthman had not been murdered and he came back safely.
The Pledge took place under an acacia tree in al-Hudaybiyyah and is referred to in the Qur'an Allah revealed, 'Allah was pleased with the believers when they were pledging their allegiance under the tree.'(48: 181
The deadlock between the Quraysh and the Muslims continued until four envoys came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who said to each one, 'We did not come to fight anyone. Rather we came to perform 'umrah.'
But the Quraysh remained stubborn and refused to allow them to proceed.
One of the envoys, 'Urwah ibn Mas'ud ath-Thaqafi, went back to his people and said, 'O people! By Allah, I have been in the presence of kings - from Chosroes, and Caesar to the Negus - and by Allah, I have never seen any king whose people respected him as much as the companions of Muhammad respect Muhammad.' He described to them what he had seen.
TREATY AND TRUCE; WISDOM AND FORBEARANCE:
The Quraysh then sent Suhayl ibn Amr. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah saw him coming, he remarked, 'It is clear that they want peace since they have sent this man.' He told his Companions to prepare a draft agreement.
He called for Ali ibn Abi Talib and told him, 'Write: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.'
'By Allah,' Suhayl said, 'we do not know who this "Merciful" is. Rather write, "in Your name, O Allah" as you used to write.'
The Muslims said, 'By Allah, we will only write, "in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate." ' The Prophet said, 'Write, "In Your name, O Allah." '
Then he said, 'Write, "This is what Muhammad, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has agreed." '
'By Allah,' retorted Suhayl, 'if we accepted that you were the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, we would not have prevented you from reaching the House of Allah nor fought you. Rather write, "Muhammad ibn Abdullah."'
The Prophet said, 'I am the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah even though you do not believe me. Write, "Muhammad ibn Abdullah." '
He asked Ali to erase what he had written but Ali Said, 'By Allah no, I will not erase it.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, 'Show me the place,' and he erased it himself. Then he said, 'This is what the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah agrees provided that you give us leave to perform tawaf of the Ka'bah.'
Suhayl Said, 'By Allah, we will not allow the Arabs to say that we submitted to pressure. It will have to be next year.' It was also written: 'On the condition that if any of our men, even if he has your religion, comes to you, you will return him to us.'
The Muslims said, 'Glory be to Allah! How can we return someone to the idol-worshippers after he has become a Muslim'
While they were thus engaged, Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl came on the scene fettered by chains. He had escaped from Makkah, and threw himself down among the Muslims.
Suhayl looked at his son and commented, 'Muhammad, here is the first man that you have to return under this treaty.'
'We have not finished the document yet,' countered the Prophet.
'Then, by Allah, I will never agree to anything.' 'Let me keep him,' said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. 'I will not allow you to keep him.'
'Let him go for my sake.'
'I will not.'
'O Muslims!' said Abu Jandal, Am I to be returned to the idol-worshippers when I have come to you as a Muslim? Do you not see what I have suffered?' He had been severely tortured for his beliefs. However, the Prophet returned him as his father had demanded.
The two parties agreed to abandon war for ten years. During that period everyone would live in peace. Both sides would be safe and would refrain from fighting one another. Whoever came to Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) from the Quraysh without obtaining the permission of his guardian would be returned to them, but whoever came to the Quraysh from those with Muhammad need not be returned to him. Whoever wanted to enter into an alliance and agreement with Muhammad could do so and whoever wanted to enter into an alliance and agreement with the Quraysh would also be free to do so.
THE MUSLIMS' DISTRESS:
When the Muslims saw the terms of the truce and what it meant to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, they were very distressed. The effect on them was so great that Umar ibn al-Khattab asked Abu Bakr angrily, 'Did not the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah say to us that we were going to go to the Ka'bah and perform tawaf?'
'Yes. But did he tell you that it was going to be this very year!'
Abu Bakr assured him, 'You will go there and you will do tawaf.'
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had finished drawing up the treaty, he sacrificed a camel and then shaved his head. This was a difficult time for the Muslims because all their hopes had been dashed. They had left Madinah with the firm intention of entering Makkah and doing 'umrah. Now they felt beaten and crushed. However, when they saw that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had made the sacrifice and shaved his head, they rushed to follow his example.
A HUMILIATING PEACE OR A CLEAR VICTORY?
Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah broke camp and returned to Madinah. On his journey back, Allah confirmed that the truce of Hudaybiyyah was not a set-back but a victory:
Surely We have given you a clear victory, that Allah may forgive you your former and later sins, and complete His blessing on you and guide you on a straight path and that Allah may help you with a mighty help. (48: 1-3)
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, 'Is this a victory then, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah!'
He replied, 'Yes'.
OUTCOME OF THE TREATY:
Not long after the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had returned to Madinah, a man named Abu Basir Utbah ibn Usayd came from Makkah to join the Muslims. The Quraysh sent emissaries to fetch him back. They said, 'Under the terms of the treaty which you made with us you must hand him over.' So the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah allowed them to take Abu Basir with them. But on the way back to Makkah, he escaped from them and fled to the coast. Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl also escaped and joined Abu Basir. Then everyone who had become a Muslim and who had suffered persecution from the Quraysh joined Abu Basir until they comprised a group numbering seventy. They set themselves up on a trade route. Whenever they heard that a caravan of the Quraysh had left for Syria, they way laid it, killed the merchants and took the goods they were carrying.
The Hudaybiyyah treaty gave the idol-worshippers and Muslims an opportunity to mix. The idol-worshippers soon came to appreciate the good qualities of the Muslims. Before a year had passed, many of them had become Muslims, and the Quraysh leaders were worried about their influence.
They sent to the Prophet, begging him by Allah and by kinship, not to return the men to Makkah but to keep them in Madinah. From then on whoever of them came to him from Makkah was safe.
These moves indicated that the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah in which the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had accepted all the Quraysh conditions had been beneficial after all. The treaty had been a decisive step in gaining further victories for Islam and in spreading the faith throughout the Arabian peninsula with great speed. It led to the conquest of Makkah and the opportunity to invite the kings of the world - Caesar, Chosroes, Muqawqis and the Arabian princes - to accept Islam. Allah the Great revealed:
Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing which is better for you; and it may happen that you will love a thing which is worse for you. Allah knows, and you know not. (2: 216)
KHALID IBN AL-WALID AND AMR IBN AL-AS ACCEPT ISLAM:
Khalid ibn al-Walid, general of the Quraysh cavalry and the hero of great battles, was among those who accepted Islam. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called him the 'Sword of Allah'. He fought bravely in the way of Allah and was the conqueror of Syria. Amr ibn al-As, another great commander and subsequently the conqueror of Egypt, also became a Muslim. Both of these strong leaders came to Madinah after the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah.
Inviting the Kings and Rulers to Islam
Peaceful conditions followed the treaty of Hudaybiyyah and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah wrote letters to foreign sovereigns and to Arab chieftains, inviting them to accept Islam. He took great care to select a suitable messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) for each king and the letters were painstakingly prepared. He was told that foreign kings would not accept any letter without a seal so he had a silver signet ring made on which was inscribed, Muhammad, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.'
Among the kings he contacted were the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, the Persian emperor, Chosroes Parvez the Negus, King of Abyssinia, and Muqawqis, King of Egypt.
Heraclius, the Negus and Muqawqis received their letters with respect and gave courteous replies. Heraclius wanted to know more about the Prophet and dispatched to find out all they could. Abu Sufyan happened to be in Ghazzah on a business trip and he was presented to the king. Heraclius proved to be an intelligent examiner who knew the history of religion and the qualities and behaviour of the Prophets. He had studied how nations reacted to them and how and when Allah would send them. Abu Sufyan was truthful in his answers in the tradition of the early Arabs who considered it beneath their dignity to tell a lie.
When Heraclius heard Abu Sufyan's answers, he was certain that Muhammad was the Prophet of Allah. He said, 'If what you say is true, he will come to possess the place on which my two feet are standing. I knew that one was due to come forth but I did not think that he would come from you. If I knew that I could reach him, I would set out to meet him. If I was with him, I would wash his feet.'
He summoned the Roman generals to the castle and commanded that the doors be shut. Then he went to them, declaring, 'O Romans! If you want success and right guidance and to establish and strengthen your kingdom, give homage to this Prophet.'
They disliked what he was saying and tried to leave but they found that the doors were locked. When Heraclius saw their reaction, he despaired of their faith. He said, 'Return those people to me,' and to them he repeated, 'What I said before was to test your faith. Now I have seen it.'
They prostrated before him and were pleased with what he had said.
Heraclius had preferred his kingdom to Islam. Wars and battles continued between him and the Muslims during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar when he lost both his kingdom and his power.
THE NEGUS AND MUQAWQIS:
The Negus and the Muqawqis were most courteous to the envoys sent by the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. The Muqawqis sent him gifts, including two slavegirls. One of them was Mariah, the mother of Ibrahim, the son of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
When Chosroes, the emperor of Persia, read the letter, he tore it up indignantly, 'How dare this person who is my slave write to me like this!' he demanded. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah heard about Chosroes' reaction, he replied, 'Allah will shatter his kingdom .'
Chosroes commanded Badhan, his governor in Yemen, to bring the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to him. Badhan delegated the task to Babawayh. When Babawayh came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah in Madinah, he said, 'The King of Kings, Chosroes, wrote to King Badhan commanding him to send out men to bring you to him. He has sent me to fetch you.
However, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told him that Allah had given Shirawayh power and he would kill his father Chosroes. And indeed that was the truth. Allah shattered the Sassanid kingdom which had existed for four hundred years, and gave the Muslims power over it. He guided the Persian people to Islam.
The Expedition to Khaybar
REWARD FROM ALLAH:
Allah - glory be to Him and may He be exalted! promised those who had made the Pledge at Hudaybiyyah the reward of coming victory as well as booty. The Qur'an says:
Allah was well pleased with the believers when they were pledging allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down Tranquillity upon them, and rewarded them with a near victory and many spoils to take; and Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. (48: 18-19)
The Conquest of Khaybar was to be the first of these victories. Khaybar, seventy miles north-east of Madinah, was a Jewish colony with citadels and was the headquarters of the Jewish garrison. It was the last and most formidable Jewish stronghold in Arabia. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah wanted to be secure on that front because the Jews spent much of their wealth on stirring up the neighbouring Arab tribes to wage war against the Muslims.
AN ARMY OF BELIEVERS:
On his return from al-Hudaybiyyah, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stayed in Madinah during the month of dhu'l Hijjah and for part of Muharram. At the end of Muharram, he set out for Khaybar. While travelling, one of the Companions, Amr ibn al-Akwa' recited these verses:
By Allah, were it not for Allah, we would not have been guided nor given sadaqah, charity, nor prayed.
If people treat us unjustly or try to attack us we resist.
Send down tranquillity and make us firm against the enemy.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah advanced with his army which numbered fourteen hundred men including two hundred cavalry. Those who had lagged behind on the al-Hudaybiyyah expedition were refused permission to take part in the expedition. Twenty women accompanied the party in order to care for the sick and wounded and to prepare food and supply water during the fighting.
On the way, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for food but only some dried up barley was brought. He asked for it to be moistened, then he and all those who accompanied him ate it. When he was approaching Khaybar, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah prayed for the benefits that would come from conquering the colony and sought refuge from its evil and the evil of its people. When he went on an expedition against a people, he would not attack until morning. When, if he heard the adhan from the locality, he held back, it was a sign that there were believers among the inhabitants. But if he did not hear the adhan, he would attack. The adhan was not heard the next morning so the army advanced. They met the early workers of Khaybar carrying their spades and baskets but when they saw the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the army, they cried, 'Muhammad with his army!' and fled. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, 'Allah is great! Khaybar is destroyed! When we arrive in a community, it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.'
A VICTORIOUS GENERAL:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his army overpowered the fortresses of Khaybar one by one. The first fortress to be conquered was that of Na'im. The Jews defended well against the Muslims but Ali ibn Abi Talib eventually crushed them. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had said, 'Let the standard be taken by a man who loves Allah and His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and he will conquer this fort.'
All the great Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) vied for this honour, as each of them hoped to be the standard-bearer. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called Ali ibn Abi Talib, whose eyes were inflamed, to him and he applied spittle to his eyes while praying for his success. Ali's eyes were soon cured and he received the standard. He said, 'I will fight them until they are like us.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, 'Go ahead and invite them to Islam. Tell them the obligations they owe to Allah. By Allah, if one man is guided to the faith by you it is better for you than having red camels.'
When Ali came near the fort, Marhab, the famous Jewish war-lord, appeared reciting verses about his bravery. They fell upon one another immediately. Ali's sword ran through Marhab's helmet, splitting his head in two. A great victory was gained through his death.
THE SLAVE'S REWARD:
A black Abyssinian slave was tending sheep for his Jewish master when he saw the Jews taking up arms. He was told that they were going to fight the man who claimed to be a Prophet. The slave was curious. He took his sheep right up to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and asked, 'What is it that you say, and what do you invite people to?'
'I invite people to Islam; that is, you testify that there is no god but Allah, that I am the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and that you worship only Allah.'
'What will I get if I testify and believe in Allah!' 'You will enter Paradise if you die with this faith.' The slave accepted Islam and then asked, 'Prophet of Allah! I hold these sheep in trust. What should I do with the flock?'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, 'Abandon them in the field near the fort. Allah will make sure that they reach their master.'
The slave did as he was told and the sheep returned to their master. The Jew then discovered that his slave had become a Muslim. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah urged his people to fight for the sake of Allah. When the battle between the Muslims and Jews was under way, the black slave was among the Muslims who were fighting and were martyred. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah came to his Companions to say, Allah has blessed this slave and brought him to Khaybar. I saw two houris by him even though he had never prostrated to Allah.'
THE BEDOUIN'S REWARD:
A Bedouin also came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and accepted Islam. He then went to accompany the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah in the campaign. Some of the Companions were asked to take care of him.
When, on the expedition to Khaybar, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah captured some booty, he allocated a share to the Bedouin who was some distance away grazing the Muslims' flocks. When he came and was given his booty, he asked, 'What is this?'
'A share which the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has allotted to you.
He then took it to the Prophet and asked, 'What is this, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah?'
'A portion of the booty which I have allotted to you .'
'I did not follow you for this,' he said, 'I followed you so that I might be shot with an arrow here,' and he pointed to his neck,' and die and enter Paradise.'
'If that is what you want,' the Prophet told him,
'Allah will confirm it.'
In a later battle the Bedouin's dead body was brought to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
'Is it the same man?' he asked.
'He was true to Allah and Allah made his wish come true,' said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who shrouded him with his own cloak. Then he recited the funeral prayer over him. His words included, 'O Allah, this is Your slave who went out as a Muhajir in Your way. He was killed as a martyr and I am a witness for him.'
CONDITIONS FOR REMAINING IN KHAYBAR:
The Jews of Khaybar were besieged in their fortresses. Fighting continued for days. At last they asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah for terms of peace. He allowed them to stay in Khaybar on condition that they gave to the Muslims in Madinah half of all the crops and fruit they produced on their farms. Each year the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah used to send Abdullah ibn Rawahah to Khaybar where he divided the produce in half and let the Jews choose the half they wanted. 'On this the heavens and earth stand' was the Jews' comment on his sense of justice.
During the Khaybar expedition, an attempt was made to poison the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. A Jewess, Zaynab bint al-Harith, the wife of Sallam ibn Mishkam, presented him with roasted mutton, having enquired what joint he liked best. When she was told, 'shoulder,' she put a quantity of poison in it and took it to him. When he tasted it, he realised immediately that it was poisoned and spat it out.
He summoned the Jews who gathered round and asked them, 'Will you be truthful about something I will ask of you?'
They said, 'Yes.
'Did you put poison in this mutton?'
'What made you do it?'
'If you were false,' they said, 'we would get rid of you. But if you are really a Prophet, the poison would not harm you.
Zaynab was then brought to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. She confessed, 'I wanted to kill you.
He answered, 'Allah would not give you power over me.
His Companions asked, 'Shall we kill her?'
'No,' he said, and she was set free.
However, when Bishr ibn al-Bara' ibn Ma'rur, who had also eaten some of the mutton, died a painful death, Zaynab was killed.
After the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had conquered Khaybar, he went on to Fadak and then to Wadi'l-Qura. He invited the Jews to Islam, telling them that if they became Muslims, their life and property would be safe and they would be rewarded by Allah. The Jews of Wadi'l-Qura decided to fight the Muslims but were soon forced to surrender.
The Jews handed over their possessions and the Muslims took them as booty. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then divided things up between his Companions, leaving the land and property in the Jews hands.
When the Jews of Tayma' learnt that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had defeated the people of Khaybar, Fadak and Wadi'l-Qura, they offered him peace terms which he
accepted. They were allowed to keep their land and property. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then returned to Madinah.
The Expedition to Mu'tah
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent al-Harith ibn Umayr al-Azdi with a letter to Shurahbil ibn Amr al-Ghassani, provincial governor of Busra, under the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius. Shurahbil ordered that al-Harith be bound and then he had him beheaded. It was unknown for a king or a prince to have an ambassador or envoy put to death. Immense danger would face envoys and ambassadors in the future if Shurahbil was allowed to get away with this action. It also humiliated the sender of the message itself. This man who had exceeded the limits had to be punished .
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah heard what had happened, he decided to send a military force to Busra. It was in Jumada al-'Ula in 8 A.H. when three thousand men under Zayd ibn Harithah left Madinah. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had appointed Zayd, his freed slave, as their commander and the army contained many of the leading Muhajirun and Ansar.
The Prophet said, 'If Zayd falls, then Ja'far ibn Abi Talib is in charge. If Ja'far falls, then Abdullah ibn Rawahah will take over.'
The Muslims bade the soldiers a fond farewell. A long and arduous journey faced them as well as an enemy backed by the strongest empire of the world.
The Muslims advanced to Ma'an where they heard that Heraclius was at al-Balqa' with a hundred thousand Roman troops and an equally strong force drawn from Arab tribes. The Muslims camped at Ma'an for two days while deciding what to do.
Then they said, 'Let us write to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to inform him about the strength of the enemy. Either he will send us reinforcements or he will command us to go ahead and we will obey his order.'
However, Abdullah ibn Rawahah made a speech of encouragement. 'People! By Allah! You are reluctant to go towards the very thing you came out to search for martyrdom. We are not fighting the enemy on the strength of numbers nor of our power. We will fight them with the religion Allah has honoured us with. Come on ! We will win either way, be it victory or martyrdom.' So they set off again to face their enemy.
When they were on the outskirts of al-Balqa', the Roman and Arab forces advanced towards them. As the enemy drew nearer the Muslims took up positions in a village called Mu'tah and this was where the battle was fought.
Zayd ibn Harithah (may Allah be pleased with him) who carried the standard of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, fought bravely until he was martyred. Then thirty-three-year-old Ja'far took the standard and fought until he was hemmed in by the enemy. He jumped off his horse, hamstrung it and fought on foot until his right hand was sliced off. He took up the standard in his left hand but that too was cut off. He then bore the standard between his arms but eventually he fell down dead. He had received ninety wounds on his chest, shoulders and arms from spears and swords, but no injuries were found on his back.
After Ja'far was killed, Abdullah ibn Rawahah held the standard aloft. He got off his horse and advanced on foot. His cousin came up to him with a meat-bone saying, 'Strengthen yourself with this. You have had nothing to eat during these battles of yours.' He took the bone, ate only a little and then threw it away. He picked up his sword again and fought bravely until he was killed.
KHALID(R.A.), A WISE GENERAL:
The Muslims agreed that Khalid ibn al-Walid (may Allah be pleased with him) should take up the standard. He was a wise and courageous leader, famous for his knowledge of military tactics. He withdrew the Muslim army southwards while the enemy withdrew to the north. Night fell. He thought it best to avoid confrontation and any further fighting in the dark. Both forces, tired from fighting, chose the safe option. The Romans had heard of Khalid's technical skills and decided not to pursue the Muslim army. They were so disheartened that they did not resume the fighting the next day and the Muslims were spared.
While the Muslims were fighting at Mu'tah, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah described the battle scene to his Companions in Madinah. Anas ibn Malik said that he announced the death of Zayd, Ja'far and Ibn Rawahah to them before he had received the news. He said, 'Zayd took the standard and fell. Then Ja'far took it and fell. Then Ibn Rawahah took it and fell.'
The tears were trickling down his face as he spoke. He added, 'The standard was taken by one of the swords of Allah (meaning Khalid) until Allah gave the Muslims their victory.
He also said that Allah gave Ja'far two wings In place of the two hands he had lost, With them he could fly in the Garden of Paradise wherever he wished. Thereafter he was called Ja'far at-Tayyar (the Great Flier'), or Dhu'l-janahayn ('The One with Two Wings').
COME-AGAINST NOT RUNAWAYS:
When the returning army was near Madinah, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the Muslims went out to meet them. It was the first time a Muslim army had returned without winning a decisive victory. Some people started to throw dust on the soldiers, shouting, 'You runaways! You fled from the path of Allah!' But the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told the people, 'They are not runaways, but come-agains. They will come again to battle if Allah wills.
The Conquest of Makkah
THE CONQUEST OF MAKKAH - PREPARATIONS:
When Islam was well established in the hearts of the Muslims, Allah decided that the time had come for His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and his community to enter Makkah. They would purify the Ka'bah so that it would be a blessed place of guidance for the whole world. They would restore Makkah to its previous status and the sacred city would offer security for all people once again.
A BROKEN TREATY:
In the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyyah it was laid down that anyone who wanted to enter into a treaty and alliance with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah should be able to do so; and anyone who wanted to enter into a treaty and alliance with the Quraysh should also be allowed to do so. The Banu Bakr entered into an alliance with the Quraysh while the Banu Khuza'ah entered into one with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
Long-standing hostility existed between the Banu Bakr and Banu Khuza'ah. The coming of Islam had put a barrier between the people as they had become engrossed in its affairs. The Peace Treaty enabled the Banu Bakr to settle an old score against the Banu Khuza'ah. One night the Banu Bakr attacked the Banu Khuza'ah when they were camped by a spring and killed some of their men. A skirmish developed and the Quraysh helped the Banu Bakr by providing weapons.
Some Quraysh leaders also fought with the Banu Bakr secretly by night, and the Khuza'ah were driven into the Haram. Some of the Quraysh said, 'We have entered the Haram. Mind your gods!' Others replied thoughtlessly, 'There is no god today, men of Banu Bakr. Take your revenge! You may never have another chance!
Amr ibn Salim al-Khuza'i went to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah in Madinah and recited some verses to him about the alliance between the Muslims and the Khuza'ah. He asked for help, saying that the Quraysh had violated the agreement. His tribe had been attacked at night, he maintained, and men had been killed in Ruku and Sajdah, while performing prayers.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah assured him, 'You will be helped, Amr ibn Salim!' He then sent a man to Makkah to get confirmation of the attack and to offer the Quraysh the chance to redress their offence. Their reply was impulsive and they ignored the likely consequences.
THE QURAYSH ATTEMPT TO RENEW THE TREATY:
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah heard their answer, he said, 'I think you will see Abu Sufyan coming to strengthen the treaty and to ask for more time.'
That happened. The Quraysh were so concerned about what they had done that they charged Abu Sufyan with the task of getting the treaty ratified.
Abu Sufyan came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah in Madinah and also went to visit his daughter, Umm Habibah, the wife of the Prophet. However, when he went to sit on the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah's carpet, she rolled it up from under him.
Puzzled, he said to her, 'My daughter, I do not know whether you think the carpet is too good for me or whether I am too good for the carpet.'
She replied, 'This is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah's carpet and you are an unclean idol-worshipper. I do not want you to sit on his carpet.'
'By Allah, ' Abu Sufyan retorted. 'You have been spoiled since you left me.'
ABU SUFYAN FAILS:
Abu Sufyan went to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, but he did not receive any answer. Then he went to Abu Bakr and asked him to speak to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah for him but he refused. He tried to win over Umar, Ali and Fatimah but they all said that the matter was too serious for them to get involved. Abu Sufyan became confused about what to do.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked the Muslims to start preparing for an expedition but he asked them to keep it a secret. Later he announced that he was going to Makkah and ordered them to get ready.
He said, 'O Allah! Impede the informers of the Quraysh so that we can take Makkah by surprise.' He left Madinah with ten thousand men in Ramadan 8 A.H. and advanced as far as Marr-az-Zahran where they set up camp. Allah concealed this information from the Quraysh, so they waited in uncertainty.
On the way, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah happened to meet his cousin, Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith ibn Abdul-Muttalib. He ignored him because he had suffered insults and persecution from Abu Sufyan. The cousin complained to Ali that he had been ignored. Ali said to him, 'Go to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and say to him what the brothers said to Yusuf, "By Allah, Allah has preferred you to us and we were indeed sinful. "(1 2: 91 ) The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah never likes anyone to show more mercy than he.
Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith did as 'Ali (R.A.) advised and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, 'Have no fear this day. Allah will forgive you. He is the Most merciful of the merciful.
Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith accepted Islam and was known for his piety. He did not raise his head ever again in front of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah because he felt so ashamed of his past behaviour.
ABU SUFYAN IBN HARB ACCEPTS ISLAM:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was commanding the army and he ordered the campfires to be lit. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, who was spying out the ground for the Quraysh, said: 'I have never seen so many fires or such an army.
Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib had already left Makkah with his wife and children as a Muslim Muhajir and had joined the Muslim army. He recognised Abu Sufyan's voice and called to him, 'See, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah is here with his army. What a terrible morning the Quraysh will have!'
He made Abu Sufyan ride on the back of his mule, fearing that if a Muslim saw him, he would kill him. Al-Abbas took him to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who said, 'Woe to you, Abu Sufyan! Has not the time come for you to acknowledge that there is no god but Allah'
Abu Sufyan replied, 'How kind and gentle you are! By Allah, I think that if there had been another god besides Allah, he would have helped me today.'
'Woe to you, Abu Sufyan! Is it not time that you recognised that I am the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah!'
Abu Sufyan replied, 'May my father and mother be your ransom! How kind and generous you are! But by Allah, I still have some doubt as to that.'
Al-Abbas intervened, 'Woe to you, Abu Sufyan! Become a Muslim and testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah before you lose your head.' Then Abu Sufyan recited the articles of faith and became a Muslim.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was generous in granting amnesty to everyone so that no one in Makkah need be killed that morning. Only those who courted danger ran any risk of losing their life. He declared, 'Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan is safe. Whoever locks his door is safe. Whoever enters the mosque is safe.' The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told his army not to use arms against anyone when they entered Makkah unless they met opposition or resistance. He directed the army not to touch property or possessions belonging to the people of Makkah and nothing should be destroyed .
ABU SUFYAN'S INFLUENCE:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah decided to demonstrate the power of Islam to Abu Sufyan. He asked Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib to take Abu Sufyan to where the marching squadrons would pass by.
The Muslim squadrons passed by like a surging sea with the different tribes bearing their standards. Whenever a tribe passed by, Abu Sufyan would ask Abbas about it and, when he heard the name of the tribe, he would mumble gloomily, 'What have I got to do with them?' Finally the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah passed by with his squadron in full, gleaming green armour. It was the regiment of the Muhajirun and the Ansar. Only their eyes were visible because of their armour.
Abu Sufyan said, 'Glory be to Allah! Abbas, who are these?'
'This is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah with the Muhajirun and Ansar, ' he answered.
'No one has any power or resistance against them, ' said Abu Sufyan. 'By Allah, Abul-Fadl, the authority of your brother's son has certainly increased.'
Abu Sufyan, 'Abbas said, 'This is not a kingdom, it is prophethood.'
Abu Sufyan replied, 'Then it is wonderful.'
He stood up and shouted at the top of his voice, 'O men of the Quraysh! This is Muhammad with a force you cannot resist. He has ten thousand men of steel. He says that whoever enters my house will be safe.'
The men shouted back, 'Allah slay you! What good is your house to us?'
Abu Sufyan added, 'And whoever locks himself indoors is safe and whoever enters the mosque is safe.' So the people dispersed and went into their homes or into the mosque.
A HUMBLE VICTORY:
On the morning of Friday, 20 Ramadan, 8 A.H., the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah entered Makkah with his head bowed. When he realised the honour of the conquest Allah had bestowed. upon him, he felt so humble before Allah that his chin almost touched the back of his camel. He was reciting Surat al-Fath as he rode into Makkah in victory. He raised the standard of justice, equality, and humility. Behind him rode Usamah ibn Zayd, the son of his freed slave, rather than any sons of the Banu Hashim or of the Quraysh leaders, even though they were present.
One man, trembling with awe on the Day of the Conquest, was told, 'Be at ease. Do not be afraid. I am not a king. I am only the son of a woman of the Quraysh who used to eat meat dried in the sun.'
MERCY NOT SLAUGHTER:
When Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah in the squadron of the Ansar passed by Abu Sufyan he called out, 'Today is a day of slaughter. Today there is no more sanctuary. Today Allah has humbled the Quraysh.'
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah's squadron came near Abu Sufyan, he complained;, 'Messenger of Allah, did you not hear what Sa'd said?'
'What was that!' said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, and Abu Sufyan repeated what Sa'd had called out.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah disliked Sa'd's comments and replied, 'Today is a day of mercy and forgiveness when Allah will exalt the Quraysh and raise honour for the Ka'bah.'
He then sent for Sa'd, took the standard from him and gave it to his son Qays. This meant that the standard did not really leave Sa'd because it only went to his son. But Abu Sufyan was satisfied and Sa'd was not too upset.
A small skirmish broke out between Safwan ibn Umayyah, 'Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl and Suhayl ibn Amr, who came up against the companions of Khalid ibn al-Walid. Twelve of the idol-worshippers were killed when they tried to stop the advance of the Muslim forces. The rest gave in without further bloodshed. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had told his men when they entered Makkah, 'Do not fight anyone unless they attack you.'
PURIFYING THE HARAM:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah got down from his camel when everything had calmed down. He went to the Ka'bah first and performed Tawaf. Around the Ka'bah were three hundred and sixty idols. With a stick he was carrying he began to push them over, saying, 'The truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Falsehood is ever vanishing. (17: 81) 'The truth has come and falsehood originates not nor brings again.' (34: 49) The idols collapsed one by one, falling onto their faces. Pictures and statues were found in the Ka'bah and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah ordered that they should also be destroyed.
A DAY OF PIETY:
Having performed Tawaf, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called Uthman ibn Talhah who had the key of the Ka'bah. The doors were unlocked and he went in. He had asked Uthman for the key before the Hijrah to Madinah but he had received a rude answer and insults. He had shown tolerance by answering, Uthman, one day you will see this key in my hand. I will then put it where I wish.
Uthman had retorted, 'The Quraysh will be destroyed and humiliated on that day.'
'No, ' said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, 'Rather it will be a day of prosperity and security for the Quraysh.' His words made such an impression on Uthman ibn Talhah that he came to believe the prediction would eventually take place.
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah came out of the Ka'bah, Ali ibn Abi Talib stood up holding the key of the Ka'bah in his hand. He said to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, Grant us the guardianship of the Ka'bah along with providing water for the pilgrims.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked,
'Where is Uthman ibn Talhah?
Uthman was summoned and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said to him, 'Here is your key, Uthman. Today is a day of piety and good faith. Keep it forever as an inheritance. Only a tyrant would take it from you.'
ISLAM: TAWHID AND UNITY:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah opened the door of the Ka'bah. The Quraysh had filled the mosque, and were waiting in rows to see what he would do. Holding the door frame, he said,
There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partner. He has made good His promise. He has helped His servant and He alone has put all allies to flight. Every claim of privilege, property or bloodline are abolished by me today except for the custody of the Ka'bah and providing water for the pilgrims.
O people of the Quraysh ! Allah has abolished the haughtiness of the Jahiliyyah and its veneration of ancestors. People all spring from Adam, and Adam came from dust.' Then he recited this verse, 'O mankind, We have created you male and female, and appointed you races and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (49: 13)
In the meantime, Fatimah, a woman of the Banu Makhzum had been apprehended for theft. Her community went to Usamah ibn Zayd, hoping that he could persuade the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to intercede on her behalf. When he spoke to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah about it, however, he was put to shame.
'Do you dare to speak to me about one of the Hudood, the limits laid down by Allah !' the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked him.
Usamah beseeched him, 'Pray for my forgiveness, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah!'
That evening the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah made a speech. After praising Allah, he said, 'The people before you were destroyed because when one of their noblemen stole, they ignored the offence but when one of the poor people stole, they administered the hadd (prescribed punishment). By the One who holds my life in His hand, if Fatimah bint Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off.
Then he ordered that the woman's right hand be cut off. She genuinely repented of her sin and went on to marry and lead a normal life.
PAYING HOMAGE IN ISLAM:
A large crowd gathered in Makkah to accept Islam and to pay homage to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. He received them on Mount Safa where they took the oath of allegiance. They promised to obey Allah and His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) to the best of their ability.
When the men had pledged their faith, the women took the oath, including Hind bint Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan. She was veiled and tried to disguise herself because of what she had done to Hamzah, but the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah recognised her bold talk. 'Forgive what is past and Allah will forgive you, ' she said to him.
My life is with you and my death will be among you'
When Allah opened up Makkah to His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam), and he was back in his own homeland and city of birth once more, the Ansar said among themselves, 'Allah has given him power over his homeland and city so he will probably stay here and not return to Madinah.'
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked them what they were talking about. No one else knew about the conversation. At first they were too shy to tell him but eventually they confessed what they had said.
He assured them, 'I seek refuge with Allah! I will live with you and I will die among you.'
REMOVING ALL VESTIGES OF IDOLWORSHIP:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent groups of his Companions to destroy the idols standing round the Ka'bah. All of the idols were broken including al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat. He sent a crier to announce in Makkah, 'Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should destroy any idol in his house.' He also sent representatives to the surrounding tribes telling them to destroy their idols.
Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah assembled the Muslims in Makkah and declared that the city would be a sanctuary forever. He said, 'It is not lawful for anyone who believes in Allah and the Hereafter to spill blood in the city nor to cut down a tree. It was not lawful for anyone before me nor shall it be lawful for anyone after me.' The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then returned to Madinah.
OUTCOME OF THE CONQUEST OF MAKKAH:
The conquest of Makkah had a tremendous impact on the Arabs. It showed that Islam was the religion of Allah and paved the way for the whole of Arabia to accept the faith. From far and wide people came to pay their respects to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and to accept Islam at his hands. Allah spoke the truth:
“When comes the help of Allah and victory and you see people entering the religion of Allah in throngs” (Surah al-Nasr 110: 1-2).
The Battle of Hunayn
Once Islam was attracting so much popular attention, its enemies made a final attempt to check its expansion. It was the Arabs' last arrow in their quiver against Islam and the Muslims.
The Hawazin regarded themselves as the greatest tribe after the Quraysh. There had always been rivalry between the two. When the Quraysh submitted to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah in Makkah, the Hawazin became the undisputed champions of the idol-worshippers.
Malik ibn Awf an-Nasri, the Hawazin chief, called for war against the Muslims and the tribe of Thaqif supported him. They agreed to advance against the Muslims taking their property, women and children with them so that everyone would fight to the last in defence of his family and possessions.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah set out with two thousand Muslims from Makkah, including those men who had only recently accepted Islam and some who had not yet accepted the faith, and ten thousand who had set out with him from Madinah. It was the strongest force mobilised so far to defend the honour of Islam. Some Muslims even boasted, 'We will not be defeated today for lack of numbers.'
THE VALLEY OF HUNAYN:
The Muslims advanced to the valley of Hunayn before dawn on 10 Shawwal 8 A.H. The Hawazin were already in the valley, concealed in its ravines. The Muslims were terrified when the Hawazin suddenly loosed volleys of arrows, then appeared, unsheathing their swords, to attack as one man.
Many Muslims fled, none paying attention to anyone else. It was a critical moment. A complete rout of the Muslims was in sight. They were unlikely to put up any resistance after what had happened. In addition, a rumour spread among the people that the Prophet had been killed, just as had occurred in the Battle of Uhud, and the Muslim forces retreated still further.
THE HAWAZIN ARE DEFEATED:
Allah had chastised the Muslims for boasting about their strength and had made them taste the bitterness of defeat after the sweetness of victory. They had to remember that both come from Allah. Then the peace of Allah seemed to descend once more. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had stayed firm on his white mule; he had not shown any fear. Some of the Muhajirun and Ansar had remained with him. Al'Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib was holding the bridle of his mule when the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called out:
'I am the Prophet and there is no denying it. I am the son of Abdul-Muttalib, '
When a squadron of idol-worshippers advanced towards him, he took a handful of dust and threw it at the distant enemy lines. They were blinded by it.
When he saw his own men in confusion, he said, 'O Abbas! Shout: Men of Ansar! Comrades of the acacia tree!'
They heard the call and answered, 'At your service! At your service!'
Abbas(R.A.) had a loud voice which carried well. The soldiers rushed back towards him, dismounting from their camels and taking up their swords and shields. When a large group of them had gathered round the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, they bore down on the enemy and battle began. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stood up in his stirrups and his people took heart. Both sides fought bravely and a group of handcuffed prisoners was brought to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and Allah sent down His angels to help. They filled the valley and the Hawazin were defeated. This is referred to in the Qur'an:
Allah has already helped you on many fields, and on the day of Hunayn, when your multitude was pleasing to you, but it availed you naught, and the land for all its breadth was straitened for you, and you turned about, retreating. Then Allah sent down His Tranquillity upon His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and upon the believers, and He sent down legions you did not see, and He chastised the unbelievers; that is the recompense of the unbelievers. (9: 25-6)
The Tabuk Expedition
THE TABUK EXPEDITION:
The Arabs had never thought of fighting or attacking the Romans. They probably considered themselves to be not strong enough for that task.
The Romans, however, remembered the Mu'tah expedition and were still a threat. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah decided to lead a Muslim army into Roman territory before the Roman armies crossed the Arab borders and threatened the heart of Islam.
The Tabuk expedition took place in Rajab, 9 A.H. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah led the expedition in intense heat, when the dates were ripe and the shade of the trees was pleasant. It was a long journey through arid deserts towards a vast enemy army. He had made the position clear to the Muslims in advance so that they could make preparations for the journey. It was a difficult time because the Muslims were experiencing a severe drought.
The hypocrites made various excuses not to accompany the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. They said they feared the enemy or the intense heat. They were reluctant to perform jihad and had doubts about the truth. Allah Almighty said of them: 'Those who were left behind rejoiced in tarrying behind the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and were averse to struggling with their possessions and their selves in the way of Allah. They said, "Go not Forth in the heat." Say. "The Fire of Jahannam is hotter did they but understand!" '(9: 81)
THE COMPANIONS' RESPONSE TO JIHAD:
In preparing for the expedition, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had encouraged the wealthy to spend in the way of Allah. Some provided mounts for those who had neither provision nor mount, expecting a reward from Allah.
Uthman ibn Affan spent one thousand dinars on the 'Army of Distress' and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah prayed for him.
THE ARMY TRAVELS TO TABUK:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah set out for Tabuk with 30,000 men from Madinah. It was the largest Muslim army ever to set forth on an expedition.
When they reached al-Hijr, the land of Thamud, he told the Companions that it was a country of those who were being punished for their sins.
'If you enter the houses of those who did wrong, enter tearfully, fearing that what befell them might also befall you.' He added that they must not drink any of al-Hijr's water nor use it for ablutions. Because the soldiers had no water they complained to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. He prayed to Allah and a dark cloud brought rain so that everyone could quench their thirst and store sufficient water for their needs.
THE MESSENGER(SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM) OF ALLAH RETURNS TO MADINAH:
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah reached Tabuk, the Arab amirs on the herders called on him and made treaties of peace. They also paid to him the jizyah tax. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah guaranteed their borders, the security of their territories and their caravans and ships travelling by land and sea. Letters to this effect were delivered to all parties.
Then came the news that the Romans had withdrawn from the border towns. They had decided not to encroach on Muslim land. The Prophet could see no reason to pursue them into their own territory as his goal had already been achieved.
He stayed at Tabuk for about two weeks and then travelled back to Madinah.
THE TRIAL OF KA'B IBN MALIK:
Among those who had stayed behind at the time of this expedition were Ka'b ibn Malik, Murarah ibn ar-Rabi' and Hilal ibn Umayyah. They were among the first Muslims and had been thoroughly tested in Islam. Murarah ibn ar-Rabi' and Hilal ibn Umayyah had been present at Badr and it was not their nature to not take part in the battle. The situation was only part of the Divine wisdom, so they would really examine themselves and be a lesson for all Muslims in the future. Such failings are usually because of procrastination, weak will and over-reliance on means.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah forbade anyone to speak to them. All the Muslims obeyed him and people avoided them. They had to endure that trial for fifty days. Ka'b ibn Malik would attend prayers with the Muslims and visit the markets but everyone ignored him. But his suffering only increased his faith in Islam.
The wives of these three were also affected by the measures and no one was allowed to go near them either.
A further test came when the influential King of Ghassan heard what was happening in Madinah. He invited Ka'b ibn Malik to his court in order to honour him and lure him from Islam. But when the King's messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) delivered the invitation to Ka'b he threw it into the fire. Allah's examination was over and none of the three had failed the test. A revelation came from Allah to illustrate how their example would hold for all time. They had not deserted their faith but had found refuge and safety with Allah. The Qur'an says:
Allah has turned towards the Prophet and the Muhajirun and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty, after the hearts of a party of them almost swerved aside; then He turned towards them; surely He is Gentle to them, and he turned to the three who remained behind, until, when the earth became straitened for them, for all its breadth, and their souls became straitened for them, and they thought that there was no shelter from Allah except in Him, then He turned towards them, that they might also turn; surely Allah turns, and is Compassionate. (9: 117-18)
TABUK: THE LAST EXPEDITION
The expedition to Tabuk, in Rajab 9 A.H., was the last in the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah's campaign. In all, the Muslims had fought in twenty-seven battles and taken part in sixty forays and expeditions. No conqueror had ever achieved such success with so little loss of life. Throughout the campaign a total of only one thousand and eighteen from both sides had been killed. Only Allah knows the number of those whose lives were spared in gaining security for the Arabian peninsula. Eventually it was so safe that a woman pilgrim could travel all the way from Hirah to Makkah without fearing anyone except Allah.