Ghazawat (Battles) of the Prophet

(1) The Battle of Badr – 17th Ramadan 2 H

 

The glorious Qu’ran and the manner of the Prophet (pbuh) demonstrate that peace is a fundamental principle for Muslim relations with other nations. Fighting is only resorted to as a last option when peace can not be achieved by any other means; where fitna or sedition is rife, because strife is a greater crime than murder, therefore war is an exception to the principles of Islam and fighting is not pursued for the purpose of coercion into the religion but only for God’s sake in order to establish His law in the world. Accusations that Islam was spread at the point of the sword are falsehood and are clearly denied in the following verse of the Qu’ran:

“There is no compulsion in Religion. Truth has become clear from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in Satan and believes in God has taken a firm support that never gives way. And God is All- hearing, All- Knowing.” (Translation of Qur’an 2:256)

Furthermore, God Almighty has decreed that if they (enemies of Islam) incline to peace, then Muslims must reciprocate in a peaceful manner. War is therefore, conditional in this respect, as it is not lawful for Muslims to continue to wage war where the enemy has extended peace as the Qu’ran states:

“But if they incline to peace, then incline to it, and trust in God.” (Translation of Qur’an 8:61)

“..If they withdraw and desist from fighting you, and offer you peace, then God assigns no way to you against them.” (Translation of Qur’an 4:90)

Under Islamic law one may resort to the call of arms in three situations:

  1. Self Defence: All divine religion has permitted fighting in self defence. Which is a principle adopted universally in civil law. As the Qu’ran states:
  2. “And fight in God’s cause those who fight you, and do not transgress, surely God does not love the transgressors.” (Translation of Qur’an 2:190)
  3. War in the Cause of God: Jihad is defined as the “struggle” or “strife” one must carry out against the machinations of Satan in order to succeed in our daily lives. However, in the context of war and self defence it means to fight against those who sway the Muslim away from his religion or prevent him from adhering to it. This fight is waged solely for the freedom to call men to God and to His Religion. “And fight them until there is no more persecution and the religion prescribed by God is fully established.” (Translation of Qur’an 8:39)
  4. Defence of the Oppressed: It is a religious obligation to defend those persecuted for their religious conviction -be they Muslims or non- Muslims. It is this principle of freedom of conviction which is also a principle adopted in modern democratic constitutions. The Qu’ran sanctions the use of the sword under certain circumstances in the cause of religion and not for Islam exclusively, when a house of worship is in danger, be it Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim, a Muslim is enjoined to shed his blood to save it from destruction; “Permission to fight back is given to those who have been oppressed, and surely God is Most Powerful to bring their victory. Those who were expelled from their homes unjustly, only that they say: “Our Lord is God”. Had God repelled one people by means of another, there would have been destroyed cloisters, monasteries, temples, and mosques, in which the Name of God is much mentioned. And surely God will help those who stand in His cause; surely God is All- powerful, Almighty.” (Translation of Qur’an 22:39-40)
  5. “They ask you about fighting in the inviolable month, say, “Fighting in it is a grievous sin, but in the sight of Allah it is more grievous to hinder people from the way of Allah, to disbelieve in Him, to violate the sacred Mosque, and to expel the dwellers from it. Persecution and oppression of believers is graver than killing.” And they will continue fighting you until they turn you away from your religion if they can.” (Translation of Qur’an 2:217)

The battles that ensued in this struggle of the prophet in the cause of Allah were waged only for the freedom to call people to Allah and to His religion. This same freedom is still denied today the world over. But Allah tells us in the Qu’ran how His religion will eventually be established universally:

“Allah is the one Who sent His Messenger with the Guidance and the Religion of truth (ISLAM) to cause it to prevail over all religion, even though the unbelievers may detest it.” (Translation of Qur’an 9:33)

The Battle of Badr

A turning point in Islamic policy was ushered in by the campaign of Abd Allah bin Jahsh in which Amr bin al Hadrami was killed by an arrow from the bow of Abd Allah Al Tamimi, the significance of this was that it was the very first occasion the Muslims had caused blood to be shed. The verses of the Qu’ran concerning the Islamic position on war and fighting were revealed at this time and fighting was permitted from then on, but only against those who tried to force the Muslims to abandon their Religion or those who attempt to hinder the inviting of people to Allah.

As Autumn of the second year after Hijira was nearing, Abou Sufian had set out with an immense Quraish caravan towards Syria. The Muslims had previously attempted to thwart the caravan and capture its booty but had failed by the measure of two days, whereby the caravan had left before they could get to it. This time however, The Prophet had sent messengers to locate and track the position of the Quraish caravan and had than, personally set out in search of it before his messengers returned. The Prophet did not want the Caravan to elude him once again thus; he set out before his messengers could get back.

The Prophet had been made well aware that the Caravan from Mecca was immense, so much so that all the entrepreneurs of Mecca had a vested interest in it. It contained goods to the value of Fifty Thousand Dinars. So he summoned all the Muslims and spoke to them in the following words: “The caravan of Quraish is at a near distance. Prepare your soldiers and strive to capture it. Perhaps Allah may give it to you as spoils.”

However, Abou Sufian was also well informed and knew the plot that the Muslims were undertaking. He knew they had tried to intercept them on their journey North to Syria but had failed and now they would attempt once more on the voyage home. Anticipating the danger, Abou Sufian sent Ghifari (modern day Minister for Propaganda) to Mecca to get help through reinforcements and support from the Meccan elite. As it turned out there was no need for spin or arousal, the Meccans all had interest in the Caravan and did not want to lose any of their hard gained wealth to the treacherous Muslims.

The Prophet meanwhile had marched from Medinah leaving behind his seriously ill but beloved daughter Ruqayyah. Instead of wasting time The Prophet and his companions set off from Medinah on the eight day of Ramadan in the second year of Hijira. He appointed Amr bin Maktoum to lead the prayer in Madinah, and Abou Lubabah whom he recalled from Al Rawha, to govern Madinah in his place during his absence. The Muslim force was proceeded by two black flags; they had seventy camels, three hundred and thirteen men with three to four men to a camel. Eighty three of them were Muhajirun (The Emigrants). Sixty one belonged to Aws, and the rest to Al Khazraj. They marched briskly so as not to let the Quraish escape once again. They reached a place called “Dhafiran” where they encamped. It was here that the news reached them of the opposition and it was not just a caravan guarded by thirty or forty troops but the whole of Quraish and Mecca led by its nobles and elders, who had turned out to protect what it considered was its rightful property. Here the Prophet faced a severe dilemma. The Quraish had clearly mustered an awesome army in defence of its wealth and in short time they would catch up with both its caravan and The Prophets rag- tag Army. If The Prophet returned to Madinah without victory than the Muslims would face greater humiliation and possible revolt from the Jews, hypocrites and the Quraish of Madinah and the Muslims would not be able to spread the word of Allah as commanded.

The Prophet consulted the members of his expedition concerning the news just received. After Abou Bakr and Omar presented their views, Al Miqdad bin Amr stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allah, press forward toward that which Allah has shown you. We are with you. By Allah, we shall never say to you, as the Jews had said to Moses, “Go alone with your Lord and fight with Him for us, while we remain here and await your return.” Rather, we say “Go forth, you and your Lord to fight, for we are fighting with you.” Al Miqdad’s speech was followed by silence. The Prophet said: “Speak out, O men, and give me your counsel.” He was especially anxious to hear Al Ansar’s view who, on the day of Al Aqabah, pledged to protect him as they would their children and women but not to permit any aggression with him outside their own area. When Al Ansar realised that he was waiting for them to speak, Sa’d bin Mu’adh, their leader rose and addressed the Prophet: “Does it seem, O Messenger of Allah, that you are seeking to hear our view” The Prophet answered, “Indeed.” Sa’d said, “We have believed in you, and we have witnessed that what you have brought to us is the truth. We have covenanted with you to hear and to obey. Go ahead with whatever you decide, for we are with you. By Him who sent you as a Messenger, if you lead us toward the sea, we shall enter it with you and not one of us will stay behind. We do not fear that you cause us to face our enemy tomorrow. We shall hold fast to our ground and stand firm or press forward toward the enemy in solid ranks. We hope that Allah will show you such of our deeds as may not disappoint you but that you may be proud of. Lead us forth with Allah’s blessing.” The Prophets reply was instant and full of exuberance, “Go forward and be optimistic; for Allah had promised me one of the two, either the caravan or the Meccan army. By Allah it is as though I see the enemy lying prostrate in the field.!”

The Prophet knew that the Muslims must mobilise all efforts, harden their hearts and wills, and prepare themselves for a battle so fierce that none would emerge victorious from it except those whose hearts were completely possessed by faith in Allah alone.

However, the morning arrived and news came through that the Caravan had altered its path and had surpassed them via another route but The Quraish army was in close proximity. The Prophet discussed with his companions whether or not they should now return to Madinah and not force a showdown with the Quraish army. In this connection, the following verse of the Qu’ran was revealed:

“And when Allah promised you that one of the two hosts would fall to you, you wished that the weaker host should fall to you, but Allah wishes to confirm the Truth by His Word, and to cut the roots of the disbeliever’s.” (Translation of Qur’an 8:7)

Thus, the Muslims decided under the guise of the Prophet to advance to the springs of Badr and wait for the enemy. Al Hubab bin Al Mundhir bin Al Jamuh suggested to the prophet that the army should move to the well and fill their cisterns with water and subsequently fill the well with sand so that the enemy would be starved. At this moment the prophet reiterated his statement that he was just a man and that they were all in this together and they would all have to collectively act together to succeed.

The Battle: 17th Ramadan 2 H.

The Prophet led the Muslims and organised their ranks. As he observed and analysed the opposition his army was poor and thin in resource and number. He than prayed to Allah s.b.t; “O Allah, here is Quraish with all her tribe seeking to attack your messenger, O Allah, give us assistance which you promised. O Allah, if this little army perishes, when will you be worshipped again.” After a while in prayer he returned to his men and declared that “By Him who controls Mohammed’s soul, not one of you today fights and falls but Allah will enter him into paradise.”

The Quraish spies had informed the leaders of Quraish that the small Muslim army had neither provisions nor hiding place, and that there only protection was their swords, albeit determined to kill before falling. The elite of Mecca feared that if they fell to Muslim hands, than the position of Mecca would be compromised as a leading region.

Al Aswad bin Abd Al Asad Al Makhzumi was the first to attempt and bait the Muslims by trying to smash the cistern they had built to store there water. However, Hamzah bin Abd Al Muttalib went out to meet him and struck him a blow with his sword. The blow cut off his leg, and Hamzah proceeded to end his agony with a final blow. Then Utbah bin Rabiah, flanked by his brother Shaybah on one side and his son al Walid bin Utbah on the other, sprang forth and challenged the Muslims to duel. Some Muslim youths stepped forward but when seeing them Shaybah declared “O Mohammed send out our own peers of our own tribe to fight us.” At this, Hamzah bin Abd Al Muttalib, Ali bin Abou Talib and Ubaydah bin Al Harith advanced forth. A duel was fought where Hamzah killed Shaybah, and Ali killed Walid. Than both of them came to assist Ubaydah who had not yet finished off Utbah. When the Quraish army saw this, they advanced in force and so on the morning of Friday, seventeenth of Ramadan; 2 H. the two armies collided.

The manifestation of Divine help that flowed out of the Prophet’s strong soul imparted a stronger power among the Muslim ranks, fortifying their will and resolve and transforming each one of them into the equivalent of two or even ten men in strength. The effect of this divine help also served to reinforce Muslim morale and certainty in the justification of their purpose. The feeling of patriotism, as it is known today, is used to morally justify the cause in modern wars. But neither patriotism nor cause of peace and security can dare to compare with what the Prophet was calling for! For the prophet, it was a matter of one’s communion with ultimate reality. Of union with all being in a bond giving man determining power in the universe, and of blazing for him the path of goodness, blessedness and perfection. What kind of patriotism or cause of peace dares to stand beside the affinity with Allah which puts an end to the persecution of believers for their faith in Him and removes the hindrances of idolatry and polytheism from the path of Allah? If patriotism increases the power of the soul by as much power as corresponds with the values of homeland, and if the love of peace for mankind increases the power of the soul by as much as corresponds with the value of the whole of mankind, how great must have been the power of the soul when it was reinforced by the faith in total being as well as in the creator of total being? Surely it makes that soul capable of moving mountains, of determining the heavenly bodies, of exerting its power and influence supremely over all men endowed with less faith? Moral power doubles and redoubles material power. When, before the battle, this strength was not at its highest because of divisions within the Muslim ranks. Muslim material power suffered in consequence. But the situation changed, and their power increased tremendously under the inspiration of the Prophet. And it was this new resurgence of power by this means that compensated the Muslims for their small number and poor equipment. It was in connection with this spiritual phenomena that the two Qu’ranic verses were revealed:

“O Prophet! Rally th believers to fight, if there are twenty among you who show fortitude, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a hundred of you they will vanquish thousand of the unbelievers, for they are a people who lack understanding. Now Allah has lightened your burden, He knows you are still weak, so if there be a hundred steadfast men among you, they will vanquish two hundred, and if there be a thousand such men they will vanquish two thousand by Allah’s permission. And Allah is with those who show fortitude.” (Translation of Qur’an 8:65-66)

This article has been written under the authority of Dr. Ahmad Zidan the Chairman of the Muslim World Organisation which is based in London, UK. Edited and produced by Imran H Khan

 

(2) The Battle of Uhud: Victory – Not Defeat

The Almighty Allah sent our prophet Muhammad to mankind after a break in the series of messengers at a time when the world was immersed in a deep darkness of ignorance. The Prophet and his companions started spreading the religion and the disbelievers challenged his message and unsheathed their swords to fight him. The Muslims faced them in the battle of Badr and realised a great victory by Allah’s command. The flag of Islam was raised high and the disbelievers returned to Makkah disgraced, everyone mourning the killing of his relative and lamenting over his misfortune.

The defeat was so painful for the disbelievers that they resolved to confront the Muslims again. They spent a whole year amassing as many weapons and men as they could to fight the Muslims. They left Makkah for Madeenah in the third year of Hijrah in order to avenge their defeat during the Battle of Badr.

Upon reaching Madeenah they camped at mount Uhud. Meanwhile some men among the Muslims who were unfortunate enough not to have participated in the Battle of Badr and were enthusiastic about Jihad advised the Messenger of Allah to go out and meet the enemy. The Prophet agreed and all the Muslims likewise were determined to go out and meet them.

After performing Friday Prayers, the Prophet entered his house, and emerged wearing an armoured breastplate, and declared, “It is not appropriate for any Prophet who has once put on his armour to take it off again until Allah has judged between him and his enemy (by granting one victory over the other).”

The Prophet then set out in the company of one thousand men, one third of whom turned back home after travelling part of the way towards Mount Uhud under the influence of the head of the hypocrites; Abdullah bin Ubay. The Prophet proceeded with the remaining men until he camped at the trail of Mount Uhud putting the mountain behind him and facing the idolaters. He assigned some fifty archers under the command of Abdullah ibn Jubair to man a small strategic foothill and commanded them not to leave their position under any circumstances.

On the morning of the following day, the Prophet mobilized his army, inspected their armour, paraded the youths, sent back those of them who were still too young to fight and approved the participation of others. Among those he allowed to participate were Samrah ibn Jundub and Raafi’ ibn Khadeej; they were then but fifteen years old.

The Quraysh, meanwhile, also got ready for the battle. They were three thousand strong; among them were two hundred horsemen led by Aboo Sufyan. Their intention was to put out the light of Allah and mislead His slaves, and the intention of the Muslims – who numbered only seven hundred men – was to attain victory from Allah or achieve martyrdom.

The Messenger of Allah urged his companions to fight and encouraged them to be patient and enduring.

The two armies then confronted each other with unsheathed swords, and a plethora of spears and arrows. Allah then gave permission to His Messenger to fight and the battle commenced in earnest. The Muslims initially gained the upper hand and Allah made them victorious. The disbelievers were exposed. Their standard fell and they turned their backs and fled.

When the archers saw the disbelievers defeated, they thought that there was no way they could make a comeback, and some of them left the position which the Prophet had commanded them to man in search of booty. Their leader reminded them of the Prophet’s order but his reminder fell on deaf ears and they left that strategic foothill.

Khaalid bin Waleed – who was still a kaafir at that time – emerged from behind the mount where the Prophet had positioned the archers; realising that most of the archers had left that strategic position; and killed the remaining ten archers. Thus the Muslims were surrounded by the unbelievers: by their cavalry from behind and their infantry in front. So they encircled them, and a group of the Muslims were defeated while the rest were scattered in disarray. The unbelievers recovered from their initial defeat, returned to their fallen standard and began to cause a disturbance among the broken ranks of the Muslims. And aught befell them but that which was the Will of Allah; and He blessed whom He willed with martyrdom. The Prophet boldly held fast while most of his companions fled away from him while he called to them to come and reap the blessings of the hereafter. Some returned and regrouped around him. The disbelievers too made for the Prophet wanting to kill him. They gashed his face, smashed his teeth with a stone and ruined his helmet, and he fell down into a trench made by Aboo Aamir Al-Faasiq (the Godless). Alee ibn Abee Taalib took him by the hand and Talhah ibn Ubaidillah embraced him, and Mus’ab ibn Umayr was killed defending him.

The disbelievers drew nearer to him, but a group of Muslims numbering about ten protected him valiantly until they were all killed. Then Talhah ibn Ubaidillah fought them courageously until he drove them away but his hand got amputated in the process. Aboo Dujaanah also shielded the Prophet with his back and though arrows were raining down on him he did not move. Then Satan proclaimed at the top of his voice that Muhammad had been killed. This proclamation made the Muslims lose heart and many of them began to turn away. The Prophet then drew near to the Muslims and when they saw him, they gathered around him and followed him to the mountain path where he camped.

Alee ibn Abee Taalib washed the blood from the Prophet’s face and poured water upon his head. When his daughter Faatimah saw that the water only increased his bleeding, she took a piece of straw mat, burnt it and put it on the wound and the bleeding stopped.

The Prophet was so overstrained that when he wanted to mount a rock, he could not until one of his companions aided him. The Muslims became concerned about their fallen brethren, so the Messenger of Allah went to see the martyrs and found that many had been impudently mutilated. He looked for his uncle Hamzah, and found him lying in the wadi (dry river bed), disembowelled with his nose and ears cut off.

The disbelievers also went back to their mounts with their injured and dying victims. Thus was the Battle of Uhud brought to an end, leaving behind seventy martyrs among the Muslims and twenty two perished among the unbelievers; with our victims going to paradise and theirs going to Hell.

Dear Muslims! The Battle of Uhud was a victory for us, not a defeat. The battle is full of lessons and admonitions. Its events are a bright legacy that Muslims inherit generation after generation. Sixty verses were revealed concerning the events of this great battle and they had a great impact on the mind of the Prophet and he continued to refer to them even upon his deathbed.

This religion was only able to reach us as a result of the great and bitter struggle of the Companions and our righteous predecessors. These people underwent huge difficulties and trials for the survival of this religion. Anas ibn An-Nadr was wounded eighty times in this battle and the enemy so mercilessly mutilated him that only his sister could identify him by his fingertips. Sa’d ibn Ar-Rabee’ was stabbed seventy times with spears and arrows. In light of this, stop and think: What have you done for our religion?

The noble companions were by no means the best of this Ummah by virtue of their being the first to embrace Islam, but rather by virtue of their companionship and courage. They sacrificed their lives and bodies for this religion until it reached us in its complete form; some returned with amputated limbs, others with badly torn up bodies, and yet others returned not, leaving behind widows and orphans. Therefore give them their due estimation, thank them for their efforts and invoke Allah’s pleasure on them, for their Lord has expressed His love for them; He is pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him.

Brothers in faith! Acts of disobedience to Allah turn glory into disgrace. Many souls were lost during that battle because of a misdeed. Adam was expelled from Paradise because of a single sin and a woman was condemned to Hell because she starved a cat to death. Therefore obey Allah and worship Him, you will get relief from hardship and do not do any act that may turn your enemy’s weapon against you.

In this decisive battle, Samrah and Raafi’ took part in it and were martyred while they were only fifteen years old. That is an indication that Islam prevailed and has been made great on the strength of the blood of such youths among the companions, and not by wasting time and running after lustful desires. The parents of these admirable youths strove to guide them, and they reaped the fruits of their efforts. But what about us: what have our youths done for their religion? What are their ambitions? What are their concerns? To what do they aspire? How can we attract them to Islam and avert them from bad company? – Those friends who fail you when you need them the most. They pretend to be your friends when you are in prosperity and turn into your enemies when you are in hardship. A prime example of this is how the hypocrites deserted the Sahaabah during their most trying period before the Battle of Uhud. Rather, keep the company of good people, for they guard you in your presence and absence, they strive for your benefit and defend you. Never despair of the reform of your society for success belongs to the righteous. Also do not despair of the mercy of Allah, for the Prophet endured persecution and injury until people entered into the religion of Allah in groups.

The end of all matters is in the hands of Allah; so always pray to Allah. The guidance of mankind is solely in the hands of the Creator of mankind. Consider the case of Aboo Sufyan who was the standard bearer of the kuffar in the Battle of Uhud and yet was seen during the conquest of Makkah saying the Kalimah. Similarly, Wahshee, who killed Hamzah (the Prophet’s Uncle), soon after embraced Islam and later went on to kill the notorious false Prophet Musaylamah the Liar. Be afraid of Allah, lest you be misled, for mankind’s hearts are between two of Allah’s fingers and He turns them about as He likes. Pray to Him for continued steadfastness and strength of heart.

Be also aware that whenever a man falls into sin, repentance always removes them regardless of their multitude and magnitude. Consider the case of Khaalid ibn Al-Waleed who led the disbelievers’ cavalry during the Battle of Uhud and by whose hand many honourable companions were martyred. When Allah opened his heart to Islam, he came to the Prophet and said, “I make one condition: That you forgive me all my past misdeeds.” The Prophet replied him thus: “O Khaalid! Do you not know that Islam negates all that precedes it, and that repentance erases whatever sins one might have committed before?”

Therefore free yourself, my dear brother, from the mire of sins, and repent for good deeds remove the evil ones. Also hold fast to this religion for much blood has been shed in its cause. Further, a man is sometimes tested through his close relations, but one must be patient with whatever they may do, for it was the Prophet’s relatives who came to Madeenah to kill him and they did what most of the other unbelievers would never do by mutilating the Muslim martyrs. Yet, the Prophet forgave them during the conquest of Makkah. Therefore emulate the Prophet, be kind to your kith and kin and overlook whatever they do to you.

Beware also of dissention and controversy for they cause defeat, and do not dispute with one another lest you lose courage and your strength departs and be patient. When ever you are in prosperity do not be lulled into a false sense of security when you commit sins; for sorrow may be disguised beneath a façade of enjoyment. Consider the case of the archers who were delighted when they saw the booty and left their positions in order to get their share of it, hence making the whole army suffer a near defeat as a consequence. No condition is permanent. Therefore be patient in difficulties and thank Allah when you are in contentment.

Prophets were only human beings who suffered just as their fellow human beings suffered; they should not be raised above the position of servitude to Allah so as not to diminish their position. The Messenger of Allah wore his armour, fought along side his companions and Angels Jibreel and Meekaaeel fought for him, and even so his face was cut open and his teeth broken. Allah alone commands all that happens by His Divine Will. Had the Prophet possessed any power for himself then surely not a drop of his blood would have been spilt. Direct all your acts of worship to Allah alone. Humble yourself before Him; He will make your affairs easy for you.

Moreover, Uhud is just a mountain, blessings should not be sought from its soil and pebbles should not be picked up. It was at its side that seventy Muslims were martyred and the Prophet injured. If it had possessed any special benefit, what happened would not have happened. Leave your affairs to Allah, trust Him and take refuge with Him during times of hardship.

It is an ideal of manhood and generosity to appreciate the services rendered for the cause of religion. The ideal was exemplified by the Prophet when he kept the valiant deeds of the Uhud martyrs fresh in his memory until he died. On his deathbed eight years later, he prayed for them as if he was bidding them farewell. So always honour the great men of this religion. Aboo Sufyan said, “I have never seen a person love another person as the companions of Muhammad loved him” Allah says,

If it had been Allah’s will, He himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit to Paradise which He has made known to them.” (Muhammad 47: 4-6)

Fellow Muslims! The only way to attain Heaven is through hardship and toil; the road to it is long and tortuous, filled with trials and difficulties. Only through being humble to Allah during trials does Allah grant one victory. Whenever Allah wants to honour a slave of His, He tests him and He raises his rank according to his humility and submission to Him. Allah has prepared for His believing slaves positions in His Abode of Honour, that can not be attained except through undergoing trials and He has also prepared for them means that can lead them to those positions through different tests. Submit yourself to the will of Allah, and be pleased with what He decrees for you.

One of the righteous predecessors said, “If it were not for trials and calamities (that we have in this world) we would arrive on the Day of Judgement bankrupt.”

Each day of our lives is different, our conditions are always changing; a day of victory and another of defeat; a day of glory, and another of disgrace; a day of good health and another of sickness; a day of wealth and another of poverty. Make use of your worldly blessings to achieve prosperity in your hereafter and know that whoever gives precedence to this world over the hereafter has ruined his chances of success in both of them.

Sheikh Abdul-Muhsin al-Qaasim

(3) The Treaty of Hudaibiyyah

The great victory Allah granted to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Muslims in the form of the Truce.

The caravan with (1,400 of the Companions) set off from Madinah in the beginning of Dhil Qa’dah, A.H. 6. At Dhul Hulaifah they entered the pilgrims robe with the intention of umrah, took 70 camels with collars round their necks indicating that they were sacrificial animals; kept only a sword each in sheaths, which the pilgrims to the Ka’bah were allowed to carry according to the recognized custom of Arabia, but no other weapon. Thus, the caravan set out for the Ka’bah, the House of Allah, at Makkah, chanting the prescribed slogan of Labbaik, Allahuma labbaik.

The Quraish were confounded at this bold step taken by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). If they attacked this caravan from Madinah and stopped it from entering Makkah, this would arouse a clamour of protest in the whole country, however, they took the decision that they would at no cost allow the caravan to enter the city of Makkah.

Immediately on receipt of this information the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) changed his route and following a very rugged, rocky track reached Hudaibiyyah, which was situated right on the boundary of the sacred Makkan territory. Here, he was visited by Budail bin Warqa the chief of the Bani Khuza’ah, Hulays bin Alqamah, the chief of the Ahabish, Urwah bin Mas’ud Thaqafi; followed by the Quraish who had lengthy negotiations with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in an effort to persuade him to give up his intention to enter Makkah. But the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave him also the same reply that they had not come to fight but to do honour to the House of Allah and carry out a religious duty (Hajj).

In the meantime when the messages were coming and the negotiations were going on, the Quraish tried again and again to quietly launch sudden attacks on the Muslim camp in order to provoke the Companions and somehow incite them to war, but every time they did so the Companions’ forbearance and patience and the Holy Prophet’s wisdom and sagacity frustrated their designs. On one occasion forty or fifty of their men came at night and attacked the Muslim camp with stones and arrows. The Companions arrested all of them and took them before the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), but he let them go. On another occasion 80 men came from the direction of Tan’im right at the time of the Fajr Prayer and made a sudden attack. They were also caught, but the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forgave them, too. Thus, the Quraish went on meeting failure after failure in every one of their designs.

At last, the Holy Prophet sent Hadrat Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) as his own messenger to Makkah with the message that they had not come to fight but only for pilgrimage and had brought their sacrificial camels along, and they would go back after performing the rite of pilgrimage and offering the sacrifice. But the Quraish did not agree and withheld Hadrat Uthman in the city. In the meantime a rumour spread that Hadrat Uthman had been killed; but this turned out to be false. Not only did he return but under Suhail bin ‘Amr from the Quraish also arrived a deputation to negotiate peace with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Now, the Quraish no more insisted that they would disallow the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions to enter Makkah. However, in order to save their face they only insisted that he went back that year but could come the following year to perform the umrah. After lengthy negotiations peace was concluded on the following terms:

  1. War would remain suspended for ten years, and no party would indulge in any hostility, open or secret, against the other.
  2. If any one during that period from among the Quraish went over to Muhammad, without his guardian’s permission, he would return him to them, but if a Companion of Muhammad came over to the Quraish, they would not return him to him.
  3. Every Arab tribe would have the option to join either side as its ally and enter the treaty.
  4. Muhammad and his men would go back that year and could come the following year for umrah and stay in Makkah for three days, provided that they brought only one sheathed sword each, and no other weapon of war. In those three days the Makkans would vacate the city for them (so that there was no chance of a clash), but they would not be allowed to take along any Makkan on return.

When the conditions of the treaty were being settled, the whole of the Muslim army was feeling greatly upset. No one understood the expedience because of which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was accepting the conditions. No one was farsighted enough to foresee the great benefit that was to result from this treaty. The disbelieving Quraish looked at it as their victory, and the Muslims were upset as to why they should be humiliated to accepting those mean conditions. Even a statesman of the calibre of Hadrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) says that he had never given way to doubt since the time he had embraced Islam but on this occasion he also could not avoid it. Impatient he went to Hadrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and said: “Is he (the Holy Prophet) not Allah’s Messenger, and are we not Muslims, and are they not polytheists? Then, why should we agree to what is humiliating to our Faith?” He replied: “O Umar, he is surely Allah’s Messenger, and Allah will never make him the loser.” Unsatisfied he went to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself and put the same questions to him, and he also gave him the same replies as Hadrat Abu Bakr had given. Afterwards Hadrat Umar continued to offer voluntary prayers and give alms so that Allah may pardon his insolence that he had shown towards the Holy Prophet on that occasion.

Two things in the treaty were highly disturbing for the Muslims first, the second condition, about which they said that it was an expressly unfair condition, for if they had to return a fugitive from Makkah, why should not the Quraish return a fugitive from Madinah? To this the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: “What use would be he to us, who fled from us to them? May Allah keep him away from us! And if we return the one who flees to us from them, Allah will create some other way out for him.” The other thing that was rankling in their minds was the fourth condition. The Muslims thought that agreeing to it meant that they were going back unsuccessful and this was humiliating. Furthermore, the question that was causing them feel upset was that they had accepted the condition of going back without performing the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah, whereas the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had seen in the vision that they were performing tawaf at Makkah. To this the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied that in his vision the year had not been specified. According to the treaty conditions, therefore, they would perform the tawaf the following year if it pleased Allah.

Right at the time when the document was being written, Suhail bin ‘Amr’s own son, Abu Jandal, who had become a Muslim and been imprisoned by the pagans of Makkah somehow escaped to the Holy Prophet’s camp. He had fetters on his feet and signs of violence on his body. He implored the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that he helps secure his release from imprisonment. The scene only increased the Companions’ dejection, and they were moved beyond control. But Suhail bin ‘Amr said the conditions of the agreement had been concluded between them although the writing was not yet complete; therefore, the boy should be returned to them. The Holy Prophet admitted his argument and Abu Jandal was returned to his oppressors.

When the document was finished, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke to the Companions and told them to slaughter their sacrificial animals at that very place, shave their heads and put off the pilgrim garments, but no one moved from his place. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) repeated the order thrice but the Companions were so overcome by depression and dejection that they did not comply. During his entire period of apostleship on no occasion had it ever happened that he should command his Companions to do a thing and they should not hasten to comply with it. This caused him a great shock, and he repaired to his tent and expressed his grief before his wife, Hadrat Umm Salamah. She said, “You may quietly go and slaughter your own camel and call the barber and have your head shaved. After that the people would automatically do what you did and would understand that whatever decision had been taken would not be changed.” Precisely the same thing happened. The people slaughtered their animals, shaved their heads or cut their hair short and put off the pilgrim garb, but their hearts were still afflicted with grief.

Later, when this caravan was returning to Madinah, feeling depressed and dejected at the truce of Hudaibiyyah, this Surah (Al Fath) came down at Dajnan (or according to some others, at Kura’ al-Ghamim), which told the Muslims that the treaty that they were regarding as their defeat, was indeed a great victory. After it had come down, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) summoned the Muslims together and said: “Today such a thing has been sent down to me, which is more valuable to me than the world and what it contains.” Then he recited this Surah, especially to Hadrat Umar, for he was the one who was feeling most dejected.

Although the believers were satisfied when they heard this Divine Revelation, not much longer afterwards the advantages of this treaty began to appear one after the other until every one became fully convinced that this peace treaty indeed was a great victory:

  1. The Quraish by concluding this agreement with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recognized his sovereignty over the territories of the Islamic State and opened the way for the Arab tribes to enter treaties of alliance with either of the political powers they liked.
  2. By admitting the right of pilgrimage to the House of Allah for the Muslims, the Quraish also admitted that Islam was not an anti-religious creed.
  3. The signing of a no-war pact for ten years provided full peace to the Muslims, it was all due to this treaty that two years later when in consequence of the Quraish’s violating the treaty the Holy Prophet invaded Makkah, he was accompanied by an army 10,000 strong, whereas on the occasion of Hudaibiyyah only 1,400 men had joined him in the march.
  4. After the suspension of hostilities by the Quraish the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had the opportunity to establish and strengthen Islamic rule in the territories under him and to turn the Islamic society into a full-fledged civilization and way of life by the enforcement of Islamic law.
  5. Another gain that accrued from the truce with the Quraish was that being assured of peace from the south the Muslims overpowered all the opponent forces in the north and central Arabia easily. Just three months after Hudaibiyyah, Khaiber, the major stronghold of the Jews, was conquered and after it the Jewish settlements of Fadak, Wad-il Qura, Taima and Tabuk also fell to Islam one after the other. Then all other tribes of central Arabia, which were bound in alliance with the Jews and Quraish, came under the sway of Islam. Thus, within two years after Hudaibiyyah the balance of power in Arabia was so changed that the strength of the Quraish and pagan gave way and the domination of Islam became certain.

These were the blessings that the Muslims gained from the peace treaty that they were looking upon as their defeat and the Quraish as their victory. However, what had troubled the Muslims most in this treaty was the condition about the fugitives from Makkah and Madinah, which the former would be returned and the latter would not be returned. But not much long after-wards this condition also proved to be disadvantageous for the Quraish, and experience revealed what far-reaching consequences of it had the Holy Prophet foreseen and then accepted it. A few days after the treaty a Muslim of Makkah, Abu Basir, escaped from the Quraish and reached Madinah. The Quraish demanded him back and the Holy Prophet returned him to their men who had been sent from Makkah to arrest him. But while on the way to Makkah he again fled and went and sat on the road by the Red Sea shore, which the trade caravans of the Quraish took to Syria. After that every Muslim who succeeded in escaping from the Quraish would go and join Abu Basir instead of going to Madinah, until 70 men gathered there. They would attack any Quraish caravan that passed the way and cut it into pieces, at last the Quraish themselves begged the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to call those men to Madinah, and the condition relating to the return of the fugitives of itself became null and void.

 

(4) The Conquest of Makkah – 20th Ramadan 8 AH / 630 CE

 

According to the terms of the treaty of Hudaybiya, the Arab tribes were given the option to join either of the parties with which they desired to enter into treaty alliance, the Prophet’s or the Quraysh’s. As a consequence Banu Bakr joined the Quraysh, and Khuza’ah joined the Prophet (pbuh).

Banu Bakr, without caring a bit for the conditions of the treaty, attacked Banu Khuza’ah. The Quraysh helped them with men and arms. Pressed by their enemies the tribesmen of Khuza’ah sought the sanctuary of Ka’bah, but here, too, their lives were not respected, and, contrary to all accepted traditions Nawfal, the chief of Banu Bakr, chasing them in the sanctified area – where no blood should be shed – massacred his adversaries.

When the aggrieved party sought justice from their Muslim allies, the Noble Prophet (pbuh), as their leader, demanded an immediate redress for not only violating the treaty but also slaying his men in the sanctified area. Three demands were made, the acceptance of any one of them was demanded:

  1. to pay blood money for the victims of Khuza’ah,
  2. to terminate their alliance with Banu Bakr’ or
  3. to consider the truce to have been nullified.

In the fit of their pride they arrogantly said: “We will neither pay blood money nor terminate our alliance with Banu Bakr, but are prepared to declare the truce as null and void.”

Later Abu Sufyan tried to gloss over the imprudence of his people and came to Medina for a renewal of the truce. He went to the house of his daughter Umm Habibah [radhiallahu anha (RA)] (wife of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). But as he went to sit on the apostle’s carpet she folded it up. “My daughter,” said he, “I hardly knew if you think that the carpet is too good for me or that I am too good for the carpet.” She replied, “It is the apostle’s carpet and you are an unclean polytheist.”

Being disgusted at the curt reply of his daughter, Abu Sufyan stepped out of her room and went to the Noble Prophet (pbuh), but he was well aware of his tricks and did not hold him any assurance. He then approached Abu Bakr [radhiallahu anhu (RA)] but he declined to interfere. He contacted ‘Umar (RA) also to intercede but he made a point-blank refusal. At last he saw ‘Ali bin Abi Talib in this connection, but he also regretted his inability to do anything for him.

Abu Sufyan turned his steps back to Makkah in a state of bitter disappointment and submitted the report of his meeting with his daughter, the behaviour of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Ali (RA) and the meaningful silence of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). The Meccans were dismayed, but did not expect imminent danger.

Preparations for the Attacks on Makkah:

The Prophet (pbuh) ordered preparations to be made for a foray. The expedition was first secret but later on he revealed that it was to the city of Mecca that he wanted to lead his troops. The neighbouring tribes, who were in alliance with the Muslims, were also invited to join the Prophet’s army of ten thousand soldiers.

For twenty-one long years the Quraysh had been perpetrating atrocities on the Muslims. They tortured them, inflicted injuries upon them, dragged them in the mire and on the burning sand of blazing Mecca, in fact, made their very existence impossible. Hard pressed by these shameless acts, the Muslims left their native place in order to seek shelter at Medina. But the revengeful “Makkahns” allowed them no rest even in that city. They attacked them even in their new abode.

After making full preparation, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) proceeded to Makkahat the head of ten thousand soldiers on the 20th of Ramadan 8 AH / 630 CE He encamped at a place known as Marr al-Zahran.

The Quraysh were quite unaware of the development. The Noble Prophet (pbuh) ordered his men to kindle fire on all sides for cooking purposes. The idea behind this was that the Quraysh should be afforded full opportunity to assess the situation correctly in which they were pitchforked and should not endanger their lives by leaping blindly in the battlefield. The Noble Prophet (pbuh) wanted to avoid bloodshed as far as possible and was anxious that the wiser counsel should prevail upon the haughty Meccans and they should weigh the pros and cons of the matter before coming forward for an encounter.

Abu Sufyan visits the Muslims’ Camp:

In the meanwhile, when the Muslims had encamped at Marr al-Zahran, Abu Sufyan and Hakim, one of the nephews of Khadijah, the chief of one of the few local tribes which had remained with the Quraysh, went out to reconnoiter.

Before they got anywhere near the camp, they saw a large white creature looming in the darkness. They were wondering what defensive measures to adopt when the creature stopped beside them. To their surprise it was ‘Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle. He apprised Abu Sufyan of the situation and advised him to accept Islam and persuade his people to surrender before Muhammad (pbuh) as the battle had already been won by him. The ideal for which the Noble Prophet (pbuh) stood had already been gaining adherents and friends from all camps.

The “Makkahns” were a divided house. Numerous amongst them were disgusted with idolatry and had become silent admirers of the teachings of Islam. The idea of One God, the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh), the high standard of morality of the faithful, combined with the exemplary pious life of their noble leader (pbuh), greatly impressed their hearts. ‘Abbas was fully aware of the change of heart of the majority of the Meccans and he succeeded in convincing Abu Sufyan of this state of affairs. It was, therefore, in the best interests of Makkah that Islam should be allowed to take hold of the city without the least resistance and should be accepted as an incontestable truth. Through the intercession of ‘Abbas and the conversion of Abu Sufyan, the way had been paved for this “peaceful conquest.”

General Amnesty:

None could be more anxious to avoid bloodshed than Muhammad (pbuh). He, therefore proclaimed amnesty to the people who had persecuted and tortured him and his followers and had even made several attempts on his life. But he is the “Mercy unto the worlds,” and even his deadliest enemies were to be forgiven. “There shall be no reproof against you this day,” he declared. He asked Abu Sufyan to proclaim: “He who takes refuge in the house of Abu Sufyan is safe: whosoever closes the door of his house, the inmates thereof shall be in safety, and he who enters the Mosque is safe.” It was with this spirit of clemency that the Noble Prophet (pbuh) entered the city of Makkah.

The Prophet Enters Makkah:

After having entered the city, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) offered prayer of thanks to the Almighty God Who, out of His immense grace, had granted him a splendid victory. A tent was pitched for him at a spot where he was obliged to spend his days in a secluded quarter of the Shi’b (small valley), having been excommunicated by his kith and kin. “Wilt thou no alight at thine own house?” inquired his followers. “Not so,” he said, “for have they left me yet any house within the city?”

The great banner was planted at the door of his tent, and he retired to repose therein. He must have recalled to his mind the march of events. It should have been a quaint sight with moments of strange emotions. How he spent his early childhood! How he was commissioned by his Lord to deliver His message to mankind! How mercilessly he was treated by his dear and near, rejected, exiled, but now had the rebellious city at his feet! What boundless Mercy of Allah! His Creator and Master! He must have been absorbed in these thoughts.

The Ka’bah Purified:

But he did not repose long. He got up and proceeded towards Ka’bah, the Sacred House, which is an emblem of the Unity and Supremacy of Allah. It was unfortunately infested with idols. He knocked them down and recited the verse of the Qur’an: “Say, the Truth has come and falsehood gone, verily falsehood is ever-vanishing.” (Qur’an 17: 81)

One by one the stone-gods were dismantled, images and effigies deleted. He then prostrated himself in worship; and, sitting down, sent Bilal to summon ‘Uthman bin Talhah with the key of the Ka’bah. Ascending the steps of the threshold and unlocking the door he ordered that idols should be destroyed and images obliterated. He entered the sacred hall and there again performed devout prostrations. He then returned to the door-way and, standing upon its elevated step, gazed in thankfulness on the thronging multitude below.

It was the 20th of Ramadan, the eighth year of Hijrah, when on the gate of Holy Ka’bah, and with its key held in his hand, he delivered the following celebrated address: “There is no god but Allah alone. He has no associate. He made good his promise that He held to His bondman and helped him and defeated all the confederates along. Bear in mind that every claim of privilege, whether that of blood, or property, is under my heel, except that of the custody of the Ka’bah and supplying of water to the pilgrims. Bear in mind anyone who is slain, even though unintentionally, may be with club or whip, for him the bloodwit is very severe: hundred camels, forty of them to be pregnant. O people of Quraysh! Surely God has abolished from you all pride of the time of ignorance and all pride in your ancestry, (because) all men descended from Adam, and Adam was made out of clay.”

Then he recited to them the verse: “O Mankind! Verily We have created you of a male and a female and We have made you nations and tribes that ye might know one another. Verily the noblest of you with Allah is the most God-fearing of you; Verily Allah is Knowing, Aware.” (Qur’an 49:13)

He further added: “O ye people of Quraysh! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you? They replied: ‘O noble brother and son of noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you! Upon this he said: “I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke unto his brothers: “This day there is no reproof against you,’ Go your way, for you are freed ones.”

This address epitomizes beautifully the essence of Islam. It is a proclamation of the Unity of Allah: There is none worthy of worship except He, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the sole Sovereign and Master of the universe. There is none to share His Power and Sovereignty.

The late Rev. C. F. Andrews, in one of his writings, observes: “One of the greatest blessings which Islam has brought to East and West alike has been the emphasis which at a critical period in human history it placed upon the Divine unity. For, during those Dark Ages both in East and West, from 600 to 1000 A.D., this doctrine was in danger of being overlaid and obscured in Hinduism and in Christianity itself, owing to the immense accretions of subsidiary worship of countless demi-gods and heroes.”

“Islam has been, both to Europe and India, in their dark hour of aberration from the sovereign truth of God’s unity, an invaluable corrective and deterrent. Indeed, without the final emphasis on this truth, which Islam gave from its central position, – facing India and facing Europe – it is doubtful whether this idea of God as One could have obtained that established place in human thought which is uncontested in the intellectual world of today.”

Exerpted from: “The Life of Muhammad”- By: Abdul-Hameed Siddiq

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