The conquest of Makkah

Background

Islam was now well settled in the hearts of the Muslims who had learnt all about it through experience. Allah had tested their sincerity and motives and they had passed with flying colours. The Quraish of Makkah had persecuted them and battled against them many times. The time was now ripe for the Muslims to enter Makkah and cleanse it once and for all of idol worship and sin. The sacred city should again become the centre of divine blessing for humanity.

The treaty of Hudaibiya gave an option to everyone to enter into an alliance with the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam or to come to a similar agreement with the Quraish. Accordingly, the tribe of Banu Bakr preferred to conclude a pact with the Quraish while Banu Khuza’a entered into an alliance with the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.

Banu Bakr and Banu Khuza’a had a long-standing feud since pre-Islamic days. Now, one of these tribes, aligning itself with the Muslims and the other with the pagans, their mutual hostility was further intensified. After the establishment of the peace treaty, Banu Bakr tried to take advantage of it against the Banu Khuza’a and made a night attack on their enemy. There was a fight between the two in which the Banu Khuza’a lost a number of their men. More importantly, the Quraish helped Banu Bakr with weapons and soldiers breaking their treaty with the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. (1)

When the complaint was brought to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam in Madinah he realised that the Quraish had broken their treaty with him by attacking his allies. He sent a man to Makkah in order to get a confirmation of the affair and also to allow the Quraish to correct the wrong committed by them. He placed three alternatives before the Quraish :

1. They could either pay the blood money for the victims of Banu Khuza’a

2. They could terminate the alliance with the aggressors belonging to Banu Bakr.

3. Failing these they should regard the treaty as having been nullified.

The terms were communicated to the Quraish but in their pride they replied: “Yes, we would prefer measure for measure.” It now became incumbent on the Muslims to correct the wrong done to their allies.The Quraish later regretted their proud reply. They charged Abu Sufyan to renew the treaty. When Abu Sufyan came to Madinah he went to his daughter, Ummi Habiba Radhi Allahu Anha, the wife of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. He wanted to sit on the Prophet’s Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam bed, but she forbade him to do so. He was puzzled and said to her: “Daughter, do you think that the bed is too good for me or I am too good for the bed.” She replied: “The fact is that this is the Prophet’s Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam bed and you are an unclean polytheist. I do not want you to sit on the Prophet’s Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam bed.” (2)

Abu Sufyan approached the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali Radhi Allahu Anhum to discuss the issue but he had to return to Makkah without any positive result.

The story of Hatib Ibn Abi Balt’a Radhi Allahu Anhu

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam asked the Muslims to start making preparations to conquer Makkah but also bade them to keep it a secret. Hatib Ibn Abi Balta’a Radhi Allahu Anhu was a Muhajir who had migrated from Makkah and fought in the battle of Badr. When the Sahabah informed him about the intention to attack Makkah he wrote a secret letter to the Quraish about the intended attack and gave it to a woman to deliver it to Makkah. She set off putting the letter in her head and placed her locks over it. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was divinely informed about this. He immediately sent forth Ali and Zubair Radhi Allahu Anhuma in her pursuit, saying: “Go until you come to the meadow of Khakh, where you will find a woman travelling by camel. She has a letter that you must take from her.”

They went off racing on their horses until they came to the place and there they found the woman going on her camel. They made her dismount and searched her baggage but found nothing. At last Ali Radhi Allahu Anhu said to her: “By Allah, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is not mistaken nor are we. You must bring out the letter or we will search your person.” When she saw that they were earnest she asked them to turn aside. Then she removed the letter from her hair and handed it over to them.

They brought it back to Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. When summoned by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, Hatib Radhi Allahu Anhu said: “0 Messenger of Allah, don’t be hasty with me. I swear to Allah that I have faith in Allah and His Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. I have not abandoned nor changed my faith. I had been attached as an ally to the Quraish and was not one of them. I have family there but no kinsmen who may protect them. Other emigrants with you have their relations among the Quraish who will take care of their families. I thought that as I did not have that advantage I should give them some help so that they would protect my relations.”

Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu sought the permission of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to behead him. But the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam replied, “He was present at Badr. Do you know, Umar, perhaps Allah looked favourably on those who were present at Badr.” To Hatib Radhi Allahu Anhu he said, “Do as you wish as I have forgiven you.” Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu broke down into tears saying : “Allah and His Messenger know better.” (3)

Lessons to learn

The incident regarding Hatib Ibn Balt’a showed that the Islamic society at Madinah was, after all, a community of mortals and had the passions, emotions, hopes and fears of any human society. Its members were virtuous in behaviour but they also made mistakes. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was large-hearted. He pardoned the mistakes of others. He, of course, showed them their mistakes and warned them appropriately.

The incident also showed the truth of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam as it could only have been a prophet who could have known such details of a secret plan.

                                                                                            

Abu Sufyan accepts Islam

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam set out from Madinah during Ramadhaan at the head of ten thousand Sahabah while the Quraish were completely ignorant of the advance of the Muslim army. Abu Sufyan happened to meet the Prophet Sallalahu on the way. He had insulted as well as persecuted the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam in the past. Abu Sufyan spoke to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam for a while and finally converted to Islam. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam forgave him. Abu Sufyan hurried back to Makkah, assembled the Quraish and announced to them: “0 people of the Quraish, this is Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam who has come to you with a force that you cannot resist.” (4)

 

Lessons to learn

The military planning of the Muslim army was so effective that ten thousand Muslim soldiers reached Makkah without the Makkans knowing anything. It showed the level of loyalty within the Muslim community and their obedience to the command of their leader.

General Amnesty

The merciful Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam now forgave all the inhabitants of Makkah. It was the widest amnesty ever granted by any conqueror. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam declared: “He who enters Abu Sufyan’s house would be safe. He who shuts his doors would be safe and he who enters Masjid al-Haraam would be safe.” (5)

Before ordering the troops to enter Makkah he instructed his men to lift their hands only against those who stopped their advance or drew swords against them. He also told them not to lay their hands on any property of the Makkans or to destroy anything.

Triumphant Entry into Makkah

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam entered Makkah on Friday, the 21st of Ramadhaan. His head was lowered in thanks to Allah, his beard almost touching the saddle of his camel and Surah al-Fath was on his lips. He seated Usama Ibn Zaid Radhi Allahu Anhu, the son of his ex-slave, with him on his camel although all the nobles of the Quraish and his own family members were present on the occasion.

The various detachments of the army were formed according to tribal divisions. Thus, even though the Muhajireen, the Ansaar, the Aslamites, the Ghifarites and others were in individual groups they co-ordinated perfectly working like different parts of one engine. This arrangement made a psychological impression on the inhabitants of the city as tribes were more feared than numbers.

He instructed Abbas Radhi Allahu Anhu to detain Abu Sufyan at a specific commanding position to allow him to be in full view of the Muslim army and witness the powerful soldiers of Allah. Each tribe marched by with it’s flag. When the Ansaar and Muhaajireen marched by he was shocked and asked who they were. Abbas Radhi Allahu Anhu told him and he acknowledged that the Prophet had certainly amassed a powerful force. (6)

The main army led by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam entered Makkah from the North. A portion of the army, under Khalid Ibn Walid Radhi Allahu Anhu, entered from the South. A third and fourth contingent of the army entered from the West and closed the escape routes to Jiddah and Yemen.

Safwan Ibn Umayya, Ikrima Ibn Abi Jahal and Suhayl Ibn Amr came up against Khalid Ibn Walid Radhi Allahu Anhu and tried to obstruct the advance of the Muslim forces. There were a dozen casualties or so, but they eventually gave in without any further bloodshed. (7)

Map of the Conquest of Makkah

 

Ka’bah cleared of Idols

Finally, when normality returned to Makkah and the populace settled down, Allah’s Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam went to the Ka’bah. He sent for Uthman Ibn Talha Radhi Allahu Anhu, who was the custodian of the Ka’bah. He took the keys from him and got the door opened. Once, before his migration to Madinah, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had requested him to give him the keys of the Ka’bah, but Uthman not only refused his request but had also been rude to him. With exemplary forbearance the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had then said to him: “Uthman, the day will come when you will see the key in my hands. I would then give it to whoever I desire. Uthman had then retorted: “If the day comes, the Quraish would be humiliated and crushed.” The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had said calmly: “It would be the day when they would be honoured and secured.” It is related that the prediction had so haunted the mind of Uthman that he had come to believe that it would happen exactly as foretold by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. (8)

The Ka’bah had at that time three hundred and sixty idols. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam struck each one, saying:

“Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Verily, falsehood is bound to vanish.”

When the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam came out of the sanctuary he had the keys in his hand. Ali Radhi Allahu Anhu stood up and said: “May Allah have mercy and peace on you! Grant us the right of guarding the Ka’bah along with providing water to the pilgrims.” But the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ignored his request and enquired: “Where is Uthman Ibn Talha?” Uthman was summoned and the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “Uthman, take the keys as they are yours. This is the day of good faith and kindness.” (9)

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ordered Bilal Radhi Allahu Anhu to climb onto the roof of the Ka’bah and give the call for prayer. This was the first time that the chiefs and nobles of the Quraish had heard the call to prayer resounding in the valley of Makkah. Thereafter, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam went to the house of Umm Hani Radhi Allahu Anha, took a bath and offered eight Rakaats of prayer in thanks for the victory Allah had granted to him. (10)

_________________________________________

(1) Ibn Hisham

(2) Ibn Hisham

(3) Bukhari, Zadul Ma’ad

(4) Ibn Hisham

(5) Ibn Hisham

(6) Ibn Hisham

(7) Ibn Hisham

(8) Zadul Ma’ad

(9) Ibn Hisham

(10) Bukhari

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“Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..”
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