12.1 A breach of treaty

The treaty of Hudaybiyya did not last, because of hostilities between allies of Mecca and allies of the Muslims in which the Meccans intervened to help their own allies, thus providing the Muslims with an excuse for repudiating the treaty.

After the battle of Mu’ta the Messenger of God stayed in Medina until the month of Rajab (Oct. 629). Then the Bakr clan attacked the Khuzâ`a at a watering place below Mecca called al-Watîr. The quarrel was over a aramî man named Mâlik ibn-`Abbâd. Now the aramî clan was allied with the al-Aswad ibn-Razn. Mâlik went on a trading trip, and while passing through Khuzâ`a territory, the Khuzâ`a attacked and killed him, taking his belongings. So the Bakr clan attacked a Khuzâ`a man and killed him. Just before Islam the Khuzâ`a attacked three sons of al-Aswad who were the most prominent chiefs of the Kinâna tribe.. They killed them at `Arafa at the boundary stones of the sacred territory..

While the Bakr and Khuzâ`a clans were thus at war, Islam came and took everyone’s attention. One of the conditions of the treaty of Hudaybiyya between the Messenger of God and Mecca was that anyone who wanted to enter an alliance with the Messenger of God could do so, and the same with Mecca. The Bakr clan allied itself with Mecca, while the Khuzâ`a allied itself with the Messenger of God.

When the cease-fire came into effect, the Dîl family of the Bakr clan took advantage of it to hit back at the Khuzâ`a for what they did to the sons of al-Aswad. So Nawfal ibn-Mu`âwiya, leader of the Dîl family went out with his Dîl men - although not all the Bakr clan followed him - and attacked the Khuzâ`a by night at their well at al-Watîr, killing one of their men. The Meccans had provided the Bakr men with arms, and in the darkness of the night some Meccan men fought alongside with the Bakr men until they drove the Khuzâ`a into the sacred territory. When they got inside, the Bakr men said, “Nawfal, we are now inside the sacred territory. Be sure to remember your God’” Nawfal replied that he had no god that day. “Take your revenge, Bakr men’ By my life, if you steal in the sacred territory, why not take revenge there.”.. (2:389-90)

12.2 Abű-Sufyân ibn-Harb begs for reconciliation

When the Bakr and Quraysh people ganged up on the Khuzâ`a and killed some of them, breaking the treaty with the Messenger of God.., Budayl ibn-Waraqâ’ came to the Messenger of God in Medina with a group of Khuzâ`a men, and told him what they suffered from the Quraysh and Bakr people; then they went back to Mecca. The Messenger of God said, “You will now see Abű-Sufyân coming to see that the treaty holds and to ask for more time.” Budayl and his companions met Abű-Sufyân in Usfân while he was on his way to the Messenger of God, having been sent to make sure the treaty held and to ask for more time, for they were afraid over what they had done. When Abű-Sufyân met Budayl he said, “Where are you coming from?”, thinking he had gone to the Messenger of God. He answered, “I traveled with the Khuzâ`a along this shore and through this valley.” He denied that he had seen Muhammad. When Budayl got to Mecca, Abű-Sufyân said, “If Budayl went to Medina, he would have fed his camel dates.” So he examined the dung they left and found date seeds and said, “I swear by God that Budayl did go to Muhammad.”

In Medina, Abű-Sufyân went to the compound of the Messenger of God and entered the house of his daughter, Umm-Habîba. He was about to sit on the mat of the Messenger of God, but she folded it up on him. He said, “My daughter, I do not know if you think the mat is too good for me or I am too good for the mat.” She answered, “This is the mat of the Messenger of God, and you are an unclean polytheist. I do not want you to sit on the mat of the Messenger of God.” He said, “By God, you have deteriorated since you left me.”

He then went to the Messenger of God and spoke to him, but he did not answer. Then he went to Abű-Bakr and asked him to speak to the Messenger of God for him, but he refused. Then he went to `Umar, who said, “Should I intercede for you with the Messenger of God? By God, if all I had was a speck I would fight you with it.” Then he went to `Alî, and Fâtima, the daughter of the Messenger of God, was with him, together with their son Hasan, crawling in front of her. He said, “`Alî, you are my closest kin, and I came for a need, and will not return disappointed. Intercede for me with the Messenger of God.” He answered, “Woe to you’ By God, the Messenger of God has resolved to do something we cannot speak of.” So he turned to Fâima and said, “Daughter of Muhammad, will you let this little son of yours give a warrant of protection, so that he will become the master of the Arabs for ever?” She answered that he was not old enough to do so, and that no one could give protection against the Messenger of God.” He then asked `Alî’s advice for his predicament, and he said, “By God, I know of nothing that will help you at all. But you are the leader of the Kinâna people. Go and grant a warrant of protection and go home.” He said, “Do you think that will help me?” `Alî answered, “No, by God, I do not think so, but I don’t see any other course.”

So Abű-Sufyân got up in the mosque and said, “I grant protection,” then got on his camel and went away. When he got to the Meccans, they asked him the news. He said, “I went to Muhammad and spoke to him, but, by God, he did not answer me at all. The same for Abű-Bakr. `Umar was just an enemy. `Alî was the kindest and advised me to do something which I did. By God I don’t know if it will help me or not.” He explained that he gave a warrant of protection. They asked, “Did Muhammad ratify it?” He said, “No.” They retorted, “Woe to you. By God, the man was just playing with you, and your pronouncement is useless.” But he said he could do nothing else. (2:395-7)

12.3 The Muslims march on Mecca

The Messenger of God ordered preparations to be made for an expedition, and had his own family get himself ready. Abű-Bakr went to his daughter `Â’isha who was moving some equipment of the Messenger of God and said, “My daughter, did the Messenger of God order you to get him ready.? She said “Yes, so you should get ready too.” He asked her, “Where do you think he is going?” She said she did not know. The Messenger of God then told the men that he was marching on Mecca, and ordered them to be serious and to prepare. “Don’t let the Meccans see or hear anything until we get there.” So the men prepared... (2:397)

The Messenger of God marched on the 10th of Ramadân (2 Jan. 630) and he and the army fasted until they reached al-Kudayd.. He went on and made camp at az-Zahrân with 10,000 Muslims... The Meccans were completely ignorant of the expedition. They had no news from or about the Messenger of God. Those nights Abű-Sufyân, Hakîm ibn-Hizâm and Budayl went out looking for news from whatever source, when al-`Abbâs met the Messenger of God on the way.

Abű-Sufyân ibn-al-Hârith (not the Meccan leader) and `Abdallâh ibn-abî-Umayya also met the Messenger of God at Nîq al-Uqâb between Mecca and Medina and asked to see him. Umm-Salama spoke to him about them, saying that they were his cousins and in-laws. He answered, “I have no use for them. My uncle’s son has wounded my pride, and the son of my aunt and brother-in-law spoke ill of me in Mecca.” When they heard what he said, Abű-Sufyân, who had his small son with him, said, “By God, he will either let me see him or I will take this son of mine and we will wander on the earth until we die of thirst and hunger.” When the Messenger of God was told this, he felt sorry for them and let them come in and they accepted Islam. (2:400-1)

12.4 Abű-Sufyân ibn-Harb accepts Islam and surrenders Mecca

This story is told by al-`Abbâs ibn-`Abdalmuttalib:

When the Messenger of God camped at Marr-az-Zahrân, I thought, “Woe to Mecca if the Messenger of God enters it by force before they come to him and ask for safety. Otherwise it will be destroyed forever.” I got on the white mule of the Messenger of God and went to the arak trees, hoping to find some woodcutters or milkers or anyone to go to Mecca and tell them where the Messenger of God was and that they should ask him for safety before he entered the city by force. By God, as I was going along with this idea, I heard Abű-Sufyân and Budayl talking together. Abű-Sufyân said, “I have never seen such fires and such a camp as tonight.” Budayl said, “It is the Khuzâ`a who have gone to war.” Abű-Sufyân answered, “The Khuzâ`a are too weak and few to have fires and a camp like this.” I recognized his voice and called him. He asked me what I was ever doing there. I told him, “Woe to you! This is the Messenger of God with his men. And woe to Mecca’” He said, “My father and my mother be your ransom! What shall we do?” I said, “If he defeats you he will cut off your head. So ride behind me on this mule and I will take you to him and ask him to give you safety.”

So he came with me and his companions went back. Every time we passed a fire of the Muslims they challenged us, but when they saw the mule of the Messenger of God and myself on it, they said, “It is the uncle of the Messenger of God on his mule.” When I passed the fire of `Umar, he challenged me, and when he saw Abű-Sufyân he said, “The enemy of God’ Praise be to God who put you in my power without any treaty or agreement.” Then he ran towards the Messenger of God, but I sped the mule and got there faster. I got off and went in to see the Messenger of God and `Umar came right behind and said, “God has put Abű-Sufyân into our hands without any treaty or agreement. So let me cut off his head.” I said, “Messenger of God, I have given him protection.” Then I sat down and held the head of the Messenger of God and said, “By God, no one shall converse with him this night without my being present.” When `Umar persisted, I said, “Gently, `Umar, by God if he were of the Adî clan you would not speak like that. But you are talking that way because he is of the `Abd-Manâf.” He said, “Gently, `Abbâs. By God, your becoming a Muslim was dearer to me than if my father had become a Muslim. The Messenger of God feels the same way.” The Messenger of God said, “Go with him, `Abbâs, to your quarters and bring him to me in the morning.” I did so, and when the Messenger of God saw him in the morning he said, “Woe to you, Abű-Sufyân’ Is it not time you recognize that there is no god but Allâh?” He answered, “You stand for my father and my mother. No one is kinder or more generous and friendly than you. By God, I thought that if there was another god besides Allâh he might help me in some way.” He answered, “Woe to you, Abű-Sufyân’ Is it not time that you recognize that I am the Messenger of God?” He said, “You stand for my father and my mother. No one is kinder or more generous and friendly than you. By God, I still have some doubts.” Al-`Abbâs said, “Woe to you’ Become a Muslim and testify that there is no god but Allâh and that Muhammad is his Messenger before your head is cut off. So he pronounced the testimony of truth and became a Muslim.

I said, “Messenger of God, Abű-Sufyân is a man who loves to brag. So do something for him.” He answered, “Yes, whoever enters the compound of Abű-Sufyân will have safety. And whoever locks his door is safe, and whoever enters the mosque is safe.” When he was about to go, the Messenger of God told `Abbâs to detain him at the gorge, so that he could see God’s army as it passed.

The Arab tribes passed with their standards. Every time one wouldpass he would say, “`Abbâs, which one is this?” If I told him Sulaym, he would say, “I have nothing to do with Sulaym,”.. The same for every other tribe. But when the Messenger of God passed with his green squadron and then the Emigrants and the Ansâr who were covered with armour leaving only their eyes visible, he said, “Glory be to God, who are these?” I said, “This is the Messenger of God with the Emigrants and Ansâr.” He said, “No one could resist them. By God, `Abbâs, your nephew’s kingdom has become mighty.” I said that this was because of his prophetic office, and he agreed.

I told him to hurry to his people. When he came to them he cried at the top of his voice, “People of Mecca, this Muhammad has come to you with a force you cannot resist. Anyone who enters the compound of Abű-Sufyân will be safe. Hind bint-`Utba got up, grabbed his mustache and said, “Kill this fat, greasy man. What a despicable protector of the people’” But he said, “Woe to you’ Do not be deceived by this woman, because you cannot resist the force coming against you. Anyone who enters the compound of Abű-Sufyân will be safe.” They answered, “May God fight you. Your house is not big enough for us.” He said, “And anyone who locks the door of his house will be safe, and so will anyone who enters the mosque.” The then people split up, some going to their houses and some to the mosque. (2:402-5)

12.5 Entry into Mecca, a skirmish, judgement on apostates and poets

The Messenger of God ordered Khâlid ibn-al-Walîd to enter with some men from al-Lît on the lower side of Mecca... Abű-`Ubayda ibn-al-Jarrâ advanced with a column of Muslims who were pouring into Mecca ahead of the Messenger of God. The Messenger of God entered from Adhâkhir on the upper side of Mecca. There a tent was set up for him.

Safwân ibn-Umayya and `Ikrima ibn-abî-Jahl and Suhayl ibn-`Amr had gathered men at al-Khandama to fight. Himâs ibn-Qays, a brother of the Bakr clan, was sharpening and polishing his weapons before the Messenger of God entered Mecca. His wife asked him why. He answered, “For Muhammad and his companions.” She said, “I don’t think they will stop him and his companions at all.” He said, “By God, I hope to make some of them your slaves.”

He went to al-Khandama with Safwân, Suhayl and `Ikrima. When the Muslim companions of Khâlid ibn-al-Walîd met them they gave them battle and killed Kurz ibn-Jâbir and Khunays ibn-Khâlid who were in the army of Khâlid ibn-al-Walîd. They had strayed from the army and taken another road... Salama ibn-al-Maylâ’, one of Khâlid’s horsemen was also killed, together with 11 or 13 polytheists, who were then defeated. imâs ran into his house and told his wife to lock the door.

Before entering Mecca the Messenger of God had told his men not to fight unless they were opposed, except for a few whom he ordered to be killed by name, even if they were found underthe curtains of the Ka`ba. One of them was `Abdallâh ibn-Sa`d, since he had been a Muslim and used to write down revelation for the Messenger of God, but had apostatized, going back to Mecca as a polytheist. (2:407-9)

Al-Bayâwî, commenting on Qur’ân 9:93, says, “When the words came down, ‘We created man from an extraction of clay... Then we made him a new creation’ (23:12), `Abdallâh ibn-Sa`d said, ‘Blessed be God the best creator’, amazed at the wonderful creation of man. Muhammad then said to him, ‘Write that down, because that is what has been revealed’. So `Abdallâh doubted and said, ‘If Muhammad speaks the truth, then I have received revelation just as he has, but if he is lying, then I have spoken as he has spoken.’” Az-Zamakhsharî comments similarly on both these verses.

`Abdallâh fled to `Uthmân, since he was his brother by nursing. `Uthmân hid him until the situation at Mecca was settled and then brought him to the Messenger of God and asked safety for him. It is said that the Messenger of God was silent for a long time, then said yes. After `Uthmân went away, he told his companions who were present, “I was silent waiting for one of you to go and cut off his head.” One of the Ansâr said, “Then why did you not signal to me?” He answered, “A prophet does not kill by pointing.”

Another condemned man was `Abdallâh ibn-Khatal, who had been a Muslim when the Messenger of God sent him with one of the Ansâr to collect sadaqa. When they made camp, he ordered his client-servant, who was a Muslim, to kill a goat for him and cook it. He then went to sleep and woke up to find that the servant had done nothing. So he attacked and killed him, then apostatized. He had two singing girls who accompanied and entertained him. They used to sing songs mocking the Messenger of God; so he ordered them to be killed also.

Another man was al-Huwayrith ibn-Nuqaydh, one of those who used to insult him in Mecca.

Another was Miqyas ibn-Hubâba. The Messenger of God ordered him to be killed because he killed one of the Ansâr who had killed his brother accidentally; he then returned to Mecca a polytheist.

Others were Sâra, a client of a member of the `Abdalmuttalib clan, and `Ikrima ibn-abî-Jahl. Sâra was one of those who were insulting the Messenger of God in Mecca. Ikrima had fled to Yemen. His wife, Umm-Hakîm, however, became a Muslim and asked safety for him and the Messenger of God gave it. She went to look for her husband in Yemen and brought him back to the Messenger of God, and he became a Muslim.

`Abdallâh ibn-Khatal was killed by Sa`îd ibn-Hurayth and Abű-Barza al-Aslamî, who shared in the deed. Miqyas was killed by Numayla ibn- `Abdallâh, a man of his clan. Of the two singing girls, one was killed and the other fled to the Messenger of God and was granted safety. Sâra also got safety, but during the reign of `Umar was trampled by a horseman and killed. Al-Huwayrith was killed by `Alî. (2:409-11)

12.6 Cleaning up the Ka`ba

When the situation in Mecca was settled, the Messenger of God went to the shrine and rode around it seven times on his camel, venerating the corner with a stick held in his hand. When he finished, he called `Uthmân ibn-Talha and took from him the key of the Ka`ba, opened it and entered. He found a dove made of wood, which he broke with his hands and threw away. (2:411-12)

Ibn-Hishâm’s report of Ibn-Isâq is incomplete in this section, and we must turn to Al-Azraqî for some of the following details:[1]

The Messenger of God entered Mecca on the day of the conquest and it contained 360 idols which Iblîs had strengthened with lead. The Messenger of God was standing by them with a stick in his hand saying, “The truth has come and falsehood has passed away. Falsehood cannot endure”. (Q 17:81) Then he pointed at them with his stick and they collapsed on their backs one after the other. When he did the salât of zuhr on the day of conquest he ordered that all the idols which were around the Ka`ba should be collected, smashed and burned. (Azr 1:70)

The Meccans had put pictures in the Ka`ba including two of Jesus son of Mary and Mary. A Ghassân woman joined the pilgrimage of the Arabs and when she saw the picture of Mary in the Ka`ba said, “My father and my mother be your ransom! You are surely an Arab woman!” The Messenger of God ordered all the pictures to be erased except those of Jesus and Mary. (Azr 1:107)

The Messenger of God stood at the door of the Ka`ba and said, “There is no god but Allâh alone; He has no associate. He has kept his promise and helped his servant and defeated the enemy forces himself alone. I hereby abolish all privileges based on inheritance or blood or wealth except for the custody of the shrine and providing the pilgrims with water. Any accidental homicide by a whip or club which appears to be intentional shall be heavily compensated with 100 camels, 40 of which must be pregnant. People of Mecca, God has removed from you the haughtiness of paganism and pride in ancestry. All men are from Adam, and Adam is from the dust.” Then he recited the verse (Q 49:13): “People, We created you from male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. The most noble among you before God is the most pious.” Then he said, “Meccan people, what do you think I will do with you?” They answered, “Something good. You are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother.” He said, “Go. You are released.” (2:412)

12.7 Some pardons and an end to the killings

Ibn-Ishâq relates many stories of enemies of the Muslims who were granted asylum by one or other Muslim friend who interceded with Muhammad and won pardon for them. Apart from these fortunate ones, many old scores were now settled, and Muhammad finally had to put a stop to the bloodshed.

We were with the Messenger of God when he conquered Mecca, and the next day the Khuzâ`a attacked a Hudhayl man who was a polytheist and killed him. The Messenger of God then rose and addressed us, “Men, God made Mecca sacred the day he created the heavens and the earth, and it remains sacred until the day of the resurrection. Anyone who believes in God and the last day is not allowed to shed blood in it or cut trees. This was not lawful to anyone before me and will not be lawful to anyone after me except at this time because of God’s anger at its people. But now it has returned to its former sacred status. So you who are present should tell those who are absent. If anyone tells you that the Messenger of God is killing in Mecca, say, ‘God made it lawful for his Messenger, but not for you.’

“Khuzâ`a people, stop this killing. It is too much, even if it did some good. You have killed a man for whom I must pay compensation. If anyone is killed after this address of mine, his people will have the choice of either the blood of his killer or his blood money.” The Messenger of God then paid the blood money of the man the Khuzâ`a had killed. (2:415-16)

12.8 Expeditions of Khâlid ibn-al-Walîd

The following story about Khâlid’s expedition to the Jadhîma tribe shows the rough character of Khâlid, and the writing may have been prejudiced by his opponents:

When he took possession of Mecca, the Messenger of God sent Khâlid ibn-al-Walîd as a missionary. He did not send him to fight. With him were the Arab tribes of Sulaym and Mudlaj. They subdued the Jadhîma tribe, and when the people saw him they took up their arms. But Khâlid said, “Put down your arms, since everyone has accepted Islam.”

According to one Jadhîma source, “when Khâlid ordered us to lay down our arms, one of our men called Jadam said, ‘Woe to you, Jadhîma people’ This is Khâlid. By God, as soon as you lay down your arms you will be bound, and as soon as you are bound your heads will be cut off. By God, I will never lay down my arms.’ Some of his people laid hold of him and said, ‘Jadam, do you want to shed our blood? Everyone has accepted Islam and laid down their arms. The war is ended and everyone is safe.” Eventually they disarmed him and laid down their own arms at Khâlid’s word.”

As soon as they laid down their arms, Khâlid ordered their hands to be tied behind their backs, then he put some of them to death by the sword. When the news reached the Messenger of God, he raised his arms to heaven and said, “God, I am innocent before you of what Khâlid did.”

The Messenger of God summoned `Alî to look into the affair and abolish pagan practices. `Alî brought them much money sent by the Messenger of God and paid them compensation for the blood that was shed and the loss of their possessions right down to dog food. When he finished paying, `Alî said, “Has anyone not been compensated?” They said, “No.” So he said, “I am giving you the remaining money courtesy of the Messenger of God for things he knows of but you do not.” Then he returned to the Messenger of God and told him what he had done and was praised and thanked. Then the Messenger of God faced the qibla, raised his arms so that his armpits could be seen and said, “God I am innocent before you of what Khâlid has done.” He said this three times. (2:428-30)

Then the Messenger of God sent Khâlid ibn-al-Walîd to the shrine of al-Uzzâ which was in Nakhla. The Quraysh, Kinâna and Muar tribes all used to venerate this shrine... When Khâlid destroyed her he returned to the Messenger of God...

The occupation of Mecca took place on 20 Ramadân in the year 8 (11 January 630). (2:436-7)

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[1]These excerpts are from A. Guillaume, The life of Muhammad, p. 552.