When the survivors of the defeated Quraysh at Badr to Mecca gathered to speak with Abu Sufyan. They said, 'Muhammad has the best men, so help us to fight him so that we may avenge those we have lost.' In order to do this it was agreed that everyone who had had a share in the caravan should put his profits towards the cost of a new army, which would be three times as big as the one at Badr. Among those who joined the new army was an Abyssinian slave called Wahshi; who was known for his accuracy with the spear. His master, Jubayr ibn al-Mut'im, said to him, 'Go with the army and if you kill Hamzah,
the uncle of Muhammad, in revenge for my uncle's death, I will set you free when Hind, Abu Sufyan's wife, heard about this she sent a Wahshi to say that she would clothe him in gold and silk if he would carry out his master's wish, for she, too, wanted Hamzah dead because he had both her father and brother.
While the Meccans made their plans, the Prophet's uncle, 'Abbas, one the few Muslims still living in Mecca, sent a letter of warning to the Prophet (pbuh) in Medina. He told him that Quraysh were setting out with a huge army for Uhud, a place just outside Medina. On receiving this timely warning the Prophet (pbuh) gathered his companions around him to discuss what they should do. He thought it would be better to wait for the enemy inside city rather than go out to meet them, because it would be easier to defend Medinahfrom inside the city walls. But the young Muslims were go out and face Quraysh. They said, '0 Prophet of Allah, lead us out against our enemies, or else they will think we are too cowardly and too weak to fight them.
' One of the rulers of Medina, 'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, however, agreed with the Prophet (pbuh) and advised him to remain in the city, saying, 'Whenever we have gone out to fight an enemy we have met with disaster, but none has ever come in against us without being defeated.'
But when the Prophet (pbuh) saw that the majority were in favor of going out to meet Quraysh, he decided to do so, and after the Friday prayer he put on his armor.
The Muslims then set out with one thousand men in the direction of Mount Uhud which overlooks Medina. The enemy was camped on the plain below the mountain where they were laying waste the crops of the Muslims.'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy was angry that the Prophet (pbuh) had not followed his advice and after going part of the way, turned back for Medina, taking one third of the entire army with him. This left the Prophet (pbuh) with only seven hundred men to meet the enormous Meccan army, which numbered three thousand.
The remainder of the Muslims went on until they reached the mountain of Uhud.
There the Prophet (pbuh) ordered them to stand in ranks in front of the mountain, so that they would be protected from behind. He then positioned fifty archers on top of the mountain, giving them the following order: 'Keep the Meccan cavalry away from us with your arrows and don't let them come against us from the rear, whether the battle goes in our favor or against us. Whatever happens keep to your places so that we cannot be attacked from your direction, even if you see us being slain or booty being taken.' When the Muslims were in position, the Prophet (pbuh) held up his sword and said, 'Who will use this sword with its right?' This was a great honor and many men rose to claim it, but the Prophet (pbuh) decided to give it to Abu Dujanah, a fearless warrior. Then the battle commenced. The Muslims were well organized and had the advantage, because although Quraysh had more than four times as many men, they were tired from their journey and thus not ready to fight.
As a result, the Muslims were able to make a surprise attack, led by Abu Dujanah, who was wearing a brilliant red turban. As the fighting increased the Quraysh women, led by Hind, began to beat their drums to urge their men on. They called out poems to encourage their men to be brave. 'If you advance, we hug you, spread soft rugs beneath you; if you retreat, we leave you. Leave and no more love you.'
Abu Dujanah said: 'I saw someone urging the enemy on, shouting wildly, and I made for him, but when I lifted my sword against him he screamed and I saw that it was a woman; I respected the Apostle's sword too much to use it on a woman.' That woman was Hind. As usual, Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle, fought with great courage, but while leading the Muslims in a fierce attack, which nearly defeated the Meccans, he was suddenly and cruelly struck down by the slave Wahshi. Later, Wahshi told how it happened: 'I was watching Hamzah while he was killing men with his sword. I aimed my spear until I was sure it would hit the mark and hurled it at him.
He came on towards me but collapsed and fell. I left him there until he died, then I came and took back my spear. Then I went back to the camp because I did not want to kill anyone but him. My only aim in killing him was to gain my freedom.'
The Quraysh warriors were soon scattered and forced to retreat. It looked as though they had been defeated! Seeing this, forty of the fifty Muslims archers on top of the mountain ran down from their position to collect booty, for the Quraysh army had left many of their belongings behind. The archers rushed to take what they could, forgetting the Prophet's orders. Khalid Ibn al-Walid, Commander of the Quraysh cavalry, saw what' happening and quickly turned his men around and ordered them to attack the Muslims from behind. The Muslims were taken completely by surprise. The Quraysh then began attacking from both sides at once. Many Muslims were killed and instead of winning they began to lose the battle.
To add to the confusion,
it was rumored that the Prophet (pbuh) had been killed. When the Muslims heard this they were at a loss to know what to do. Then a man named Anas called out, 'Brothers! If Muhammad (pbuh) has been killed what will your lives be worth without him? Don't think about living or dying. Fight for Allah. Get up and die the way Muhammad (pbuh) died!' and on hearing these words the Muslims took courage.
There had been several cavalry attacks on the position held by the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions and the Prophet's cheek had been badly gashed. As the Meccans closed in again he called out, 'Who will sell his life for us?' At this, five Ansar got up and fought until they were killed, one by one.
Their places were soon taken, however, by a number of Muslims who drove off the attackers. Amongst the defending Muslims was Abu Dujanah who put his arms around the Prophet (pbuh) and made himself into a human shield. Throughout the remainder of the battle he held on to the Prophet (pbuh), but as the fighting drew to a close he suddenly let go.
Abu Dujanah was dead, killed by the many arrows in his back that had been aimed at the Prophet (pbuh). With the defeat of the Muslims, Quraysh were at last avenged. As they left the field of battle Abu Sufyan called out to his men, 'You have done well; victory in war goes by turns-today in exchange for Badr!' When he heard this, the Prophet (pbuh) told 'Umar to answer him, saying, 'Allah is Most High and Most Glorious. We are not equal. Our dead are in Paradise and your dead are in Hell!' The Muslim soldiers then followed the departing Quraysh part of the way to make sure they were not going to attack Medinah.
After the enemy had left, the Prophet (pbuh) made his way around the Battle-field to see the extent of the Muslim losses. Many of the most faithful Muslims had been killed. Among the dead, the Prophet (pbuh) found the body of his closest friend and uncle, Hamzah, who had been killed by the slave, Wahshi. At the sight of this, the Prophet (pbuh) said, 'There will never be a moment as sad for me as this.
' Hamzah's sister, Safiyya, came to pray and ask forgiveness for her brother, saying 'We belong to Allah and to Allah we are returning.' After the Prophet (pbuh) had prayed over the many dead, he said, 'I tell you that no one has been wounded in Allah's cause but Allah will remember him and on the Day of Resurrection will raise him from the dead. Look for the one who has learned most of the Koran and put him in front of his companions in the grave.' They were buried where they had fallen as martyrs.
Of them Allah says:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"Do not think that those, who were killed for Allah's sake are dead. Nay, they are alive. With their Lord they have provision. Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those that have not yet joined them because they have nothing to fear or grieve over".(Koran iii.169-170)
It is said that the Prophet (pbuh) swore that no Muslim who had died for his beliefs would want to come back to life for a single hour,
even if he could own the whole world, unless he could return and fight for Allah and be killed a second time. The Muslims realised that their defeat had been caused by their disobedience to the Prophet (pbuh). The Koran tells us that the Muslims had been tested by Allah at Uhud and had failed but that Allah forgave them for their weakness.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"Some of you there are that desire this world, and some of you there are that desire the next world. Then He turned you from them, that He might try you; and He has forgiven you; and Allah is bounteous to the believers". (Koran iii.145)
People living nowadays should learn from the lessons learned by the early Muslims at Uhud. Disobedience to the Prophet (pbuh) and love for the things of this world caused their defeat. The same can happen to us as well. Even if we have no battle like Uhud to fight,
we can still die for Allah's sake by fighting what is bad in ourselves. When the Prophet (pbuh) came back from a battle he said to his men, 'We have returned from the lesser war to the greater war.' He meant by this that the struggle that goes on within every human being to become a better person is the more difficult battle.
The Battle Of The Trench
When the Prophet (Pbuh) first arrived in Medinah, the Jews who were living there had welcomed him. The Prophet (Pbuh) had returned their greeting, as he wished to be on good terms with them. An agreement was also reached between the Muslims and the Jews, which gave the Jews the freedom to practice their religion and which also set out their rights and their duties. Among these duties was that in the case of war with Quraysh, the Jews would fight on the side of the Muslims.
Despite this agreement, however, some of the Jewish tribes, who resented the Prophet's presence in Medinah, soon began to cause trouble amongst the Muslims.
They tried to set the Muslim Emigrants from Mecca and the Ansar against each other. The troublemakers were given many warnings but they continued to be a nuisance. In the end, the Muslims had no choice but to drive them from Medinah. A new agreement was offered those Jews who remained but the trouble did not end there. One of the Jewish tribes, the Bani Nadir plotted to murder the Prophet (Pbuh) but their plan was discovered and they, too, were exiled from the city. Knowing that they could not defeat the Muslims themselves, some of the leaders of the exiled Jews secretly went to Mecca to enlist the help of Quraysh. Knowing what the Meccans would like to hear, they pretended to believe in the same things. They said that they thought that the old Arab tradition was better than the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) and that they believed that the Quraysh religion of worshipping many idols was better than the Prophet's with only one God. Then the Jews told them that if all the Arab tribes attacked Medinah,
the Jews inside the city would help to defeat the Prophet (Pbuh) and Islam once and for all.
The leaders of Quraysh were pleased to hear all this and seizing on what seemed to them a very good opportunity, agreed to the plan and began to gather together a formidable army. In the meantime in Medinah, only one Jewish tribe, the Bani Quraydhah, refused to betray the Muslims.
Eventually the Muslims learned of the preparations being made for war in Mecca and of the plotting of the Jews within Medinah itself. The betrayal of the Muslims by the Jews did not surprise the Prophet (Pbuh), who said of them: 'The hearts of the Jews have become closed to the truth. They have forgotten what Moses taught them long ago that there is only one God.'
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"The likeness of those who are entrusted with the Law of Moses, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying books.
Evil is the likeness of the people who deny the revelations of Allah. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk". (Koran lxii.5)
The Muslims wondered how they could defend Medinah. They heard that Abu Sufyan was coming to attack them with an enormous army which included many other Arab tribes, as well as Quraysh. What were they to do with only a single week to prepare? The Prophet (Pbuh) and his men knew that it would be impossible for them to fight off all these tribes! The only thing they could do was to stay inside the city and try to defend it as best they could. Now among the people of Medinah was a Persian named Salman, who had to live in the city some time before the Prophet's arrival there. As a convert to Christianity he had traveled to Medinah after Christian sages had told him that a Prophet would be born in Arabia. On arriving at Madinah he was, however, sold into slavery by the merchants with whom he had traveled. Later he became a Muslim, gained his freedom and became a member of the Prophet's household.
When the people gathered to discuss a plan of action against the approaching enemy, Salman was present and it was he who suggested that they should dig a trench around the city. The Prophet (Pbuh) thought this a good idea, so the Muslims set to work, although it was in the middle of winter. They worked day and night, digging the trench as quickly as possible. The Prophet (Pbuh) himself carried rocks and when the men were tired he gave them the will to carry on. Someone later recalled how beautiful he looked, dressed in a red cloak with dust upon his breast and his dark hair nearly reaching his shoulders. There was little food at this time and the men were often hungry as they worked.
On one occasion, however, a little girl gave some dates to the Prophet (Pbuh), which he spread out on a cloth. The men were then called to eat and the dates kept increasing in number until everyone had been fed. Even after everyone had eaten their fill, the dates continued to increase so that there were more than the cloth could hold.
Similarly, there is the story of the lamb, that has come down to us from one who was there: 'We worked with the Apostle at the trench. I had a half-grown lamb and I thought it would be a good thing to cook it for Allah's Messenger. I told my wife to grind barley and make some bread for us. I killed the lamb and we roasted it for the Prophet (Pbuh). When night fell and he was about to leave the trench, I told him we had prepared bread and meat and invited him to our home. I wanted him to come on his own, but when I said this he sent someone to call all the men to come along. Everyone arrived and the food was served. He blessed it and invoked the Name of Allah over it. Then he ate and so did all of the others. As soon as one lot were satisfied, another group came until all the diggers had eaten enough, but still there was food to spare.
On March 24, 627 A.D, Abu Sufyan arrived with more than ten thousand men. The Muslims numbered only three thousand.
Quraysh and their allies surrounded Medinah but between the two armies was the long, wide trench.
The Prophet (pbuh) and his men stayed behind this trench for nearly a month defending the city against their more powerful enemy. Many times warriors tried to cross the trench and enter the city, but each time they were pushed back by the Muslims. The Muslims were afraid that if any did manage to cross over, the Jews inside Medinah would join forces with them and the Muslims would be beaten. The Jewish tribe of Bani Quraydhah, who had stood by the, agreement with the Muslims, were pressed by a Jewish emissary from the enemy, to break their promise. Eventually they agreed to do so and when the news of this reached the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions they were greatly troubled. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, the leader of the tribe of Aws, was sent by the Prophet (pbuh) with two other men to find out if this were true. When they arrived in the part of Medinah where the Jews lived,
they found that it was even worse than they had previously thought.
Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, whose tribe was closely allied with the Bani Quraydhah, tried to persuade their leader not to break the treaty with the Muslims, but he refused to listen. This meant that the Muslims could not relax their guard for one moment, for they were now threatened not only by the enemy beyond the trench, but by the Bani Qurayzah, within the walls of the city.
Things became more difficult for the Muslims day by day. It was extremely cold and food began to run out. To make matters worse, the Bani Qurayzah began openly and actively to join forces with the other Jews and cut off all supplies to the Muslims, including food. The enemies of Islam then planned how to capture Medinah.
The situation looked desperate and the Prophet (pbuh) prayed to Allah to help the Muslims defeat their enemies. That very night a sandstorm blew up which buried the tents of Quraysh. The storm continued for three days and three nights making it impossible for the enemy to light a fire to cook a meal or warm themselves by.
On one of these dark nights the Prophet (pbuh) asked one of his men, Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yaman, to go on a dangerous mission. The Prophet (pbuh) told him to make his way across the trench to the enemy camp where he should find out what they were doing. With much difficulty Hudhayfah crossed the trench and made his way to a circle of Quraysh warriors talking in the darkness. He sat near them, but as there was no fire, no one noticed him. He then heard Abu Sufyan's voice: 'Let us go home!' he said. 'We have had enough. The horses and camels are dying, the tents keep blowing away, most of the equipment has been lost, and we can not cook our food. There is no reason to stay!'
Shortly after hearing this Hudhayfah made his way quickly and quietly back across the trench and the next morning the Muslims rejoiced to find that what he had overheard had come true-Quraysh and their allies had gone away!
The siege of Medinah had ended in a great victory for Islam. But this was not to be the end of the difficulties, for the Archangel Gabriel the Prophet (pbuh) and told him that he should punish the Bani Qurayzah for betraying him and the Muslims.
On hearing this, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the Muslims to march against the Bani Qurayzah as they hid in their fortress. The Muslims besieged them for twenty-five days until they finally gave in. On surrendering, they asked the Prophet (pbuh) to let someone judge their case, and he agreed. He also allowed them to choose who would give the ruling. The man chosen to judge the Bani Qurayzah was Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, leader of the Aws, a tribe which had always protected the Qurayzah in the past. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh who had himself been wounded in the battle, decided that the Jews should be tried by their own Holy Law, according to which anyone who broke a treaty would be put to death. As a result all the men of the Bani Qurayzah were executed and the women and children made captive.
If the Jews had succeeded in their pact, Islam would have been destroyed. Instead from that day on, Medinah became a city where only Muslims lived.
Very soon after peace had been restored to Medinah, Sa'd ibn Mu'adh died of his wounds. It was said that the Archangel Gabriel came in the middle of that night and said to the Prophet (pbuh) '0 Muhammad, who is this dead man? When he arrived, the doors of heaven opened and the Throne of Allah shook.' The Prophet (pbuh) got up as soon as he heard this, but found that Sa'd was already dead. Although he had been a heavy man, the men who carried his body to the grave found it quite light. They were told that the angels were helping them. When he was buried, the Prophet (pbuh) said three times 'Subhan Allah!' (Glory be to Allah!), and 'Allahu Akbar!' (Allah is Most Great!). When asked why he did this, he replied, 'The grave was tight for this good man, until Allah eased it for him.' This is one of the rewards that Allah gives to martyrs and good Muslims.
The Treaty Of Hudaybiyah
Ouraysh had tried to destroy Islam but had failed. The number of Muslims grew and their armies increased from three hundred at the battle of Badr, seven hundred at the battle of "Uhud, to three thousand at the battle of the Trench. After the annual fast of Ramadan, the Prophet (pbuh) had a dream, which indicated that the Muslims should go to Mecca for the pilgrimage. One thousand and four hundred Muslims got ready to go with him on the Lesser Pilgrimage called 'the `Umra'. They were dressed in white and went unarmed to show Quraysh that they had come to make the pilgrimage and not to fight. When Quraysh heard that the Prophet (pbuh) was on his way, they sent troops with Khalid Ibn al-Walid to stop the Muslims from entering the city. To avoid meeting this small army the Prophet (pbuh) changed his route and led the men through rugged mountain passes. When they reached easier ground he told them, 'Say, we ask Allah's forgiveness and we repent towards Him 'At Hudaybiyah,
south of Mecca, the Prophet's camel knelt down and refused to go any further. The Muslims thought she was either stubborn or tired, but the Prophet (pbuh) said: 'The same power that once stopped the elephant from entering Mecca is now stopping us!' He then ordered them to make camp, which they did, although they all hoped they would travel on to the sacred Ka'bah the following day.
On setting up camp, the believers were dismayed to find that the springs were almost dry. When he heard this the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) instructed a man called Najiyah to take the bowl of water in which he had performed his ablutions, pour it into the hollows where the small amount of spring water lay, and stir it with his arrows. Najiyah did as he was told and the fresh water gushed up so suddenly that he was hardly able to get out of the way in time.
Messengers were sent to Quraysh to tell them that the Muslims had come only for the pilgrimage,
to worship Allah at the Holy Ka'bah, and that they wanted to enter the city peacefully. But Quraysh took no notice. Finally, the Prophet's son-in-law, 'Uthman Ibn Affan, a wise and respected man, was chosen to go, and the Muslims settled down to wait and see what news he would bring back. After they had waited a long time, the Muslims became very worried. At last they decided that he must have been killed. A state similar to that of Revelation then came upon the Prophet (pbuh). He gathered the Muslims around him under an acacia tree and asked them to swear their allegiance to him, which they did. This pact, which is mentioned in the Koran, became known as the Treaty of Radwan (which means Paradise). Shortly after, `Uthman Ibn Affan returned and the Muslims were relieved to see that no harm had come to him. Some Meccan warriors tried to attack the Muslim camp but were captured and brought before the Prophet (pbuh), who forgave them when they promise to stop attacking the Muslims. Soon after this, official messengers came from Quraysh and talks began for a peaceful settlement.
A man called Suhayl ibn 'Amr was sent by the Meccans to work out a treaty. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked 'Ali to write 'In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful', on the top of the page, Suhayl objected, saying 'Write only: bismik Allahumma (in Thy name, 0 Allah). I don't know him as al-Rahman (the Most Gracious), al-Rahim (the most Merciful).' The Prophet (pbuh) agreed and dictated: 'This is a treaty between Muhammad the Messenger of Allah and Suhayl ibn 'Amr.''Stop!' cried Suhayl, 'I don't believe that you are Rasulallah (the Messenger of Allah). If I thought you were Allah's Messenger, I wouldn't be fighting against you, would I?' Calmly, the Prophet (pbuh) agreed that he should be referred to in the treaty as Muhammad', son of 'Abd Allah. The Muslims were very upset at this, and 'Umar furiously cried out, 'Are you not Allah's Messenger, and are we not Muslims? How can we accept such treatment when we are right and they are wrong? This will make people laugh at our religion!
But the Prophet (pbuh) knew what was best and the Treaty of Hudaybiyah was signed.
In this treaty the two sides agreed to stop fighting for a period of ten years. It was also agreed that the Muslims should go back to Medinah immediately but that they could return the following year for the pilgrimage. This pilgrimage would last three days. In addition, the treaty allowed Muslims wishing to leave Islam and return to Mecca to do so.
It also permitted Meccans to leave and become Muslims provided they had the permission of their guardians. The Muslims agreed to send any Meccan who did not have their guardian's permission back to Mecca.
Suhayl's son had come with his father with the idea of joining the Prophet (pbuh) but when the treaty was signed he was, of course, forced to return to Mecca. He cried bitterly. The Prophet (pbuh) said, '0 Abu Jandal, be patient and control yourself. Allah will provide relief and find a way out for you and others like you.
The majority of the Muslims were very disappointed when they heard the terms of the agreement and thought that it should not have been accepted. They did not realize that this was in fact a great victory for the Prophet (pbuh), which Allah would later confirm in a Revelation. The agreement made sure that the following year they would enter Mecca peacefully, and in time would result in Muslims becoming stronger and more respected throughout Arabia. At the time the treaty was signed the Muslims could not have foreseen that the number of people who would travel to Medinah to become Muslims in the following year would be greater than in all the years before. Before the Muslims departed, they followed the Prophet's example of making sacrifice and either shaving or cutting their hair. Even though they were unable to visit the sacred mosque, their pilgrimage was accepted by Allah because it had been their true intention.
On the return journey to Medinah,
the 'Victory' chapter of the Koran was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh). It begins:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"Surely We have given thee (0 Muhammad) a clear victory, That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin That which is past and that which is to come, And may complete His blessings upon thee, And may guide thee on the right path, And that Allah may help thee with mighty help". (Koran xlviii.1-3)
Now most of those who left Mecca to join the Prophet (pbuh) without the consent of their guardians and were turned back by him as agreed, Did not in fact return to Mecca, but lived instead in groups along the seashore. Then they were joined by others who had left Mecca but these groups began to endanger Quraysh caravans which were passing by and disrupted their trade because of this, Quraysh told the Prophet (pbuh) that if he wanted to take these new Muslims, they would not ask for them to be returned. The young men, therefore, joined the Prophet (pbuh) and the people in Mecca and Medinah grew more at ease with one another.
The young men from the seashore were shortly followed by those Muslims who were still living in Abyssinia, and soon the numbers of believers in Medinah had doubled.
About this time, Khalid Ibn al-Walid, the great warrior who had defeated the Muslims at Uhud, set out from Mecca for Medinah. Along the way he met 'Amr Ibn al-'As, the clever speaker who had pursued the Muslims when they fled to Abyssinia. 'Amr, who had attempted to find asylum in Abyssinia, had just returned from that country, the Negus having urged him to enter Islam. He asked Khalid, 'Where are you going?' Khalid replied, 'The way has become clear. The man is certainly a Prophet, and by Allah, I am going to become a Muslim. How much longer should I delay?' 'Amr Ibn al-As answered, 'I am travelling for the same reason. So they both traveled on to Medinah to join the Prophet(pbuh). The two men were, however, worried about meeting the Prophet (pbuh) because of having fought against the Muslims in the past.
Therefore, 'Amr came before Allah's Messenger he said, 'O Prophet, will my past faults be forgiven and no mention made of what has gone before?' The Prophet (pbuh) replied, 'Amr, Islam wipes away everything that happened before, as does the hijrah.'
A year after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (pbuh) was able to lead two thousand pilgrims on the 'Umra. Quraysh vacated Mecca and watched the rites from the hills above the city. The agreed period of three days was observed, after which the Muslims returned to Medinah.
The peace which the Treaty of Hudaybiyah guaranteed for ten years meant people could travel from all over Arabia to visit the Prophet (pbuh) and a great many came to declare their Islam. Also, during this period the Prophet (pbuh) decided that the time had come for his message to be taken to other countries, so he sent trusted companions with letters, telling of his message, to the leaders of the most powerful nations of the day.
It is recorded that he said, Allah has sent me as a mercy to all men, so take the message from me that Allah has mercy on you.' It is also recorded that some time before, when the Prophet (pbuh) was digging before the Battle of the Trench, three flashes of lightning had blared forth from a rock he had been striving to remove. These flashes had shown him the fortresses of the civilizations to the South, East, and West which were soon to come into Islam.
Now at the time the Prophet (pbuh) sent out his message. Abu Sufyan and some other members of Quraysh were trading in Syria, a province of the Eastern Roman Empire (later to be called Byzantium). Also, at about this time the Emperor Heraclius, ruler of this Empire, had a dream, and sadly told visitors to his court in Syria: 'I saw our Empire fall and victory go to a people who do not follow our religion.' At first he thought this must refer to the Jews and he even had it in mind to kill all the Jews living under his rule but then an envoy from the governor of Basra arrived with a message for the Emperor: 0 Emperor Heraclius.
there are some Arabs in the city who are speaking of wonderful happenings in their country', and he then told of what he had heard about the Prophet (pbuh).
On hearing this Heraclius commanded his soldiers: Go and find me someone who can tell me more about this.' The soldiers, however, did not find those who had been talking about the Prophet (pbuh), but instead found Abu Sufyan and some of his companions and brought them before the Emperor.
Heraclius asked, 'Is there anyone among you who is a close relative of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?' Abu Sufyan replied, 'I am.' So the Emperor addressed all the questions to him, thinking he would know the Prophet (pbuh) best. He said, 'Tell me what is the Prophet's position in your tribe" Abu Sufyan said, 'he is a member of our most respected family. Did anyone before him say the kinds of things he says?' the Emperor went on. 'No.' was the reply.' And was he ever accused of lying or cheating?
Never. And then the Emperor asked: 'And what about his ideas and opinions, and his powers of reasoning?' 'No one has ever had cause to doubt him or find fault with his reasoning', replied Abu Sufyan. 'Who follows him, the proud or the humble?' 'The humble.' 'Do his followers increase or decrease?' 'They increase', said Abu Sufyan, 'none of his followers leave him.' The Emperor then turned to other matters and asked: 'If he makes a treaty, does he keep it?' 'Yes', Abu Sufyan replied. 'Did you ever fight against him?' inquired the Emperor. To which Abu Sufyan answered: 'Yes. Sometimes we won, sometimes he won, but he never broke his word in any agreement.' The emperor then asked: 'What does he say people must do?' 'To worship one God', said Abu Sufyan. 'He forbids people to worship as their fathers worshipped, and says they must pray to Allah alone, give alms, keep their word, and fulfil their duties and responsibilities.' Abu Sufyan had spoken the truth even though he was an enemy of the prophet (pbuh),
and did not become a Muslim until the very end of his life. But he was afraid to lie before the members of his caravan who were also there with him. The meeting ended with these words from the Emperor: 'I see from this that he is indeed a prophet. You said that his followers do not leave him which proves they have true faith, for faith does not enter the heart and then go away. I knew he was coming and if what you say is true, he will surely conquer me. If I were with him now, I would wash his feet. You may leave now.'
It was not long after this that the messenger, Dihyah, arrived at the Syrian court bearing the Prophet Mohammed's letter which said, 'If you accept Islam you will be safe and Allah will give you a double reward. If you do not, you will have to live with results of your decision.' Heraclius grabbed the letter. He was so upset he could hardly control himself. He said to Dihyah, 'I know your master is a true prophet of Allah. Our books tell of his coming.
If I were not afraid that the Romans would kill me,
I would join Islam. You must visit Bishop Daghatir and tell him every thing. His word is more respected among the people than mine.' So Dihyah related the message to the Bishop and when he heard it, Daghatir said, 'Yes, your master whom we call Ahmed is mentioned in our scriptures.' He then changed from his black ropes into white ones and went and spoke to the people gathered in the church. 'O Romans, a letter has come to us from Ahmed, in which he calls us to Allah. I bear witness that there is no Divinity but Allah and that Ahmed is his slave and messenger.' (Ahmed is another name for the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).) But on hearing this the crowd grew angry and attacked Daghatir, beating him until he was dead.
Heraclius was afraid that the same thing would happen to him, so he spoke to his generals from a balcony saying, 'O Romans! A man has written to me calling me to his religion I believe he is truly the prophet we have been told to expect. Let us follow him so that we can be happy in this world and the next.
' The Romans cried out in anger when they heard this, so Heraclius quickly said, 'I was only pretending; I wanted to see how strong your faith was. I am pleased to see that you are true to your religion.' Heraclius then suggested that they attack or give land to the Muslims in order to maintain peace, but the Romans refused. Realizing that he could do no more, and knowing that one day Islam would conquer Syria, Heraclius left the province and returned to Constantinople, the capital of Eastern Roman Empire.
As he rode away he turned around to look back and said, 'Goodbye for the last time, O land of Syria!' Meanwhile, another of the Prophet's messengers arrived at the palace of Chosroes, the Shah (or king) of Persia, where he was told by the royal guard: 'When you see the Shah, you must bow and not lift your head until he speaks to you.' To this the Prophet's messenger replied, `I will never do that. I bow only to Allah.' 'Then the Shah will not accept the letter you bring',
they said. And when the time came for the messenger to see him, the Shah was indeed very surprised to see the man holding his head high and refusing to kneel respectfully before him like everyone else. Nonetheless, the Shah still read out the letter:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful
"From Muhammad, Messenger of Allah to Chosroes, Shah of Persia. Peace be upon those who follow the truth, who believe in Allah and His Prophet and who testify that there is no divinity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. I ask you in the Name of Allah, because I am His Messenger, to warn your people that if they do not accept His Message, they must live with the consequences. Become Muslim and you will be safe. If you refuse to tell them you will be to blame for the ignorance of your subjects".
The Shah was furious when he read this and tore the letter into little pieces. When the messenger returned to Arabia and told the Prophet (pbuh) what Chosroes had done,
the Prophet (pbuh) said, 'May Allah also tear his kingdom into little pieces.' And several years later it happened just as the Prophet (pbuh) had said it would. As with Syria and Persia, a messenger was also sent to the Negus (or King) of Abyssinia, with the following letter:
"Peace. Praise be to Allah, the King, the All-Holy, the Peacemaker, the Keeper of Faith, the Watcher. "He is Allah, there is no divinity but He, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the All-peaceable, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the All-sublime. Glorified be Allah from all that they associate with Him".(Koran lix.23)
And I testify that Jesus, son of Mary, is the spirit of Allah and His Word which He cast to Mary the Virgin, the good, the pure, so that she conceived Jesus. Allah created him from His Spirit and His Breath as He created Adam by His Hand and His Breath. I call you to Allah, the Unique, without partner, to His obedience, and to follow me and to believe in that which came to me,
for I am the Messenger of Allah. Peace be upon all those who follow true guidance.
The King of Abyssinia was a very wise man, and was thought by the world to be a good Christian. He had, of course, already heard of the Prophet (pbuh) and his religion from the Muslims who had sought refuge in his country years before. He was deeply moved by the letter and when he came down from his throne it was not just to show his respect but also to declare that he was already a Muslim. He answered the Prophet's letter with one of his own. "To Muhammad the Prophet of Allah from the Negus al-Asham, King of Abyssinia. Assalamu aleikum 0 Prophet of Allah wa rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu.
There is none like Him who has guided me to Islam. I received your letter, O Messenger of Allah. Some of your followers, as well as your cousin Ja'far, still live here. I believe you are truly the Messenger of God and reaffirm the pledge of allegiance I made to you some time ago before your cousin Ja'far, at whose hand I joined Islam and surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds.
A fourth messenger had, in the meantime, traveled by boat to Alexandria to meet the Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, who was a Coptic Christian. In his letter, the Prophet (pbuh) invited the Muqawqis to accept Islam, because Christian who believed in the message of Jesus should also believe in him, for he had come with the same message from Allah. It read:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful,
"From Muhammad, son of 'Abd Allah to the great Copt.
Peace be upon whoever follows the Truth. I beseech you to accept Islam. Become a Muslim. Allah will reward you twice.
If you refuse, you will carry the blame for not allowing your people to share in this blessing". The Muqawqis showed respect for what the letter said. He treated the messenger well, and sent many presents with him for the Prophet (pbuh), but he did not become a Muslim. Although only Abyssinia responded to the Prophet's call to Islam,
all was not lost, for a few years later Persia, Syria and Egypt all became Muslim countries.
Entry Into Mecca
Despite the improved relations between Mecca and Medinah after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, the ten-year peace was to be broken by Quraysh who, with their allies, the Bani Bakr, attacked the Khuza'ah tribe. Now Khuza'ah were allies of the Muslims and when the Prophet (pbuh)heard of the attack he immediately ordered his men to prepare for war. When they were ready he told them that their destination was Mecca and, as he did not want any fighting within the walls of the city, he told them they must move quickly and take the enemy by surprise. In this way the Meccans would not have time to prepare for war and, being surrounded would have to surrender. The Muslims would then be able to take the city without injury or loss of life to anyone.
When the Muslim army, which numbered ten thousand, set out for Mecca it was the month of Ramadan in the eighth year of the Hijrah.
Many of the men kept the fast, even though they were not obliged to because they were travelling. Everyone was jubilant because they were going to Mecca, especially as some of them had not seen their homes in the city for eight long years. In the meantime, the Prophet's uncle, al-'Abbas, had decided that the time had come for him and his wife to leave Mecca and join the Prophet (pbuh) in Medinah. They did not, however, have to go far as after a distance of only twenty-five kilometers they came across the Muslim camp. When the Prophet (pbuh) saw them he said, 'Uncle, your emigration is the last emigration. My prophecy is the last prophecy.' Al-'Abbas then joined the army and his wife went on to the safety of Medinah.
Night fell and the Muslims made fires to light their camp. The Meccans, looking out of the city, were amazed to see the many fires, and Abu Sufyan went all over Mecca trying to find out whose camp it was. Suddenly he saw al-'Abbas riding towards him from the direction of the fires.
He was returning as a messenger of peace from the Prophet (pbuh) and said to Abu Sufyan, 'The Muslims have come with a large army.
They do not wish to fight, only to enter the city. It would be better to surrender and not fight. Come under my protection and meet the Prophet (pbuh).' Abu Sufyan agreed, and got up behind al-Abbas, who was riding the Prophet's white mule. It was still night as they entered the Muslim camp. Each time they passed a fire, someone would call out, 'Who goes there?' None of them recognized the stranger as the leader of their enemy but all knew al-'Abbas and so let them through. As they passed by 'Umar, however, he immediately recognized Abu Sufyan and yelled out, 'Abu Sufyan! The enemy of Allah!' He ran after them intending to kill his enemy but al-'Abbas made the mule go faster. They reached the Prophet's tent just before 'Umar who rushed in after them quite out of breath. 'Umar begged the Prophet (pbuh),
'0 Messenger of Allah, let me end the life of Abu Sufyan, this enemy of Islam, who has led the Quraysh armies in their attacks on us!' Al-'Abbas interrupted, saying, 'I have sworn to protect him during his time here whereupon the Prophet (pbuh) told his uncle to take Abu Sufyan to his tent for the night.
In the morning Abu Sufyan was taken to the Prophet (pbuh) who said, 'Abu Sufyan! Have you not yet realized that there is no divinity but Allah?' To this Abu Sufyan replied, 'If there had been another he surely would Have helped me by now.' 'Shame on you, Abu Sufyan', responded the Prophet (pbuh), 'it is time you realize that I am truly Allah's Messenger.' After a moment or two, Abu Sufyan, who remembered how 'Umar had not been allowed to kill him, replied: 'I can see you are a generous and forgiving man but I still cannot be sure of that.' At this, al-'Abbas, who had been standing nearby turned to him and said: 'Believe as I do now.' Abu Sufyan stood quietly for a moment, then in a calm, clear voice swore in front of everyone,
there is no divinity but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.'
The Prophet (pbuh) then told Abu Sufyan to go back to Mecca and tell the people that the Muslims would enter the city the next morning. Before he left, however, al-'Abbas suggested to the Prophet (pbuh) that as Abu Sufyan was a proud man, it would be good to give him an honorable position. The Prophet (pbuh) took this advice, saying to Abu Sufyan, 'Tell the people that when we enter, anyone seeking refuge in your house will be safe.' This was a great honor for Abu Sufyan.
In addition, the Prophet (pbuh) told him to assure the Meccans that those who remained in their own homes or at the Ka'bah would also be protected.
Abu Sufyan returned quickly to the city. He made straight for the hill Hagar had climbed in her search for water and from which the Prophet (pbuh) later spoke, and called upon Quraysh to come to him. Abu Sufyan then spoke to the people, '0 people of Mecca,
the fires we saw all around us were the camp fires of Muhammad and his men. He has come with a strong army and there are too many for us to fight. It is best, therefore, to surrender. Anyone who stays in my house, or in his own home, or at the Ka'bah will be safe.'
Early next day, the Muslims entered Mecca from all sides. They had been ordered to cause no harm unless anyone tried to stop them entering. When the Prophet (pbuh) arrived, he got off his camel, bowed down on the ground and thanked Allah for this victory. When the unbelievers saw this, they knew that the Prophet (pbuh) had come in peace. People began leaving their homes and running towards the Ka'bah. When they arrived there, they found the Prophet (pbuh) performing the ritual encircling of the Ka'bah, the tawaf on his camel, surrounded by the Muslims. When he had finished, he said, 'There is no divinity except Allah and He has no partner. Men and women of Quraysh be not proud for all are equal; we are all the sons of Adam, and Adam was made of dust.
' Then he recited this verse to them:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes so you may know each another. Surely the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is All-knowing, All-aware". (Koran xlix.13)
After this he said to them: 'O Quraysh, what do you think I am going to do to you?' The people thought carefully before answering because they knew that according to the laws of war they could all be taken prisoner. They also knew, however, that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was generous, so they replied, 'You will treat us as a kind nephew and a generous brother would.'
To this he replied with the words used by the Prophet Joseph when his brothers came to Egypt: 'God forgives you and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.' Later the Prophet (pbuh) went to the hill of Safa and there the crowd followed him and surged forward,
taking his hand one by one, to declare themselves Muslim. He then turned to the Ka'bah and, pointing his staff at the three hundred and sixty-five idols which were placed there, recited from the Koran:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
". Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Lo! Falsehood is ever bound to vanish". (Koran xvii.81)
At this, each idol fell over onto its face. Together with his followers the Prophet (pbuh) then proceeded to purify the Ka'bah, after which he ordered Bilal to climb on top of it and perform the call to prayer. Since then the call to prayer has been heard five times a day in Mecca.
The Ka'bah, the House of Allah, has served the purpose for which it was built by Abraham thousands of years ago, as a sanctuary for the worship of Allah, our Creator, and Mecca continues to be the spiritual centre of Islam.
On the day Mecca was conquered,
the Prophet (pbuh) addressed the people saying: 'Allah made Mecca holy the day He created heaven and earth and it is the Holy of Holies until the Resurrection Day. It is not lawful for anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day to shed blood therein, nor to cut down trees therein. It was not lawful for anyone before me and it will not be lawful for anyone after me.
Indeed it is not lawful for me except at this time, only Allah's anger against his people makes it permissible. Mecca has now regained its former holiness. Let those here now go forth and tell others.'