The Comming of Allah's Help and Victory
As Relations between Muhammad the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) and the Quraish eased, the tribe of Bani Bar made an alliance with the Quraish whereas the tribe of Khuza'ah allied themselves with the Muslims. The Quraish, after a time of economic deterioration due to the wars that flared up between them and the Muslims, moved to restore its financial strength through trade.
In contrast, the Muslims, under the leadership of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w .) made use of the peace in calling others to Islam and carrying the Message as far as possible. They worked hard to solidify the home front, make the basis of the Islamic state in the Arabian Peninsula firm and see off the last dangerous entity of the Jews by way of the exploit of Khaibar. They contacted the non-Muslim kings and rulers and, as we have just mentioned, called on them to enter Islam.
It was not long, however, fighting broke out between the tribes of Khuza'ah and Bani Bakr reviled the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the presence of a man from the tribe of Khuza'ah. The latter gave him a good beating(87) and that stirred the buried feelings of animosity between the two sides.
The Bani Bakr, with the unreserved military support of the Quraish, attacked Khuza'ah. There were numerous casualties.
The Khuza'ah were shocked and alarmed by its losses and sought the help of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.). They sent Amru bin Salim, one of their leading figures, to him. He told the Prophet all about the treachery of the Quraish and its flagrant aggression on the Khuza'ah. Amru went into the mosque, where the Prophet (s.a.w.) was inside, and recited these lines of verse:
O Lord, I am pleading with Muhammad, by the old alliance between our father and his.
You had been a son and we a father. Then we embraced Islam and never renounced our faith.
Help us and may Allah give you guidance with all your might, call the servants of Allah, they will answer you in great numbers...
Among them is the Messenger of Allah, who committed himself to the faith. If subjected to humiliation, his face darkens with fury. He will come at the head of a division, like a sea, throwing up froth. The Quraish did not keep their word. They have broken the firm covenant with you. They ambushed us in the desert, claiming that I won't dare ask help from anyone.
They are surely humiliated and less in number. "They let us sleep peacefully on the road at the foot of the mountain and massacred us while we were bending and prostrating in prayer."(88)
O Amru bin Salim', the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, 'certainly, we shall help you'. Then he went into his house saying aloud, "May Allah never give me victory over my enemies if I refrain from helping Khuza'ah."
The Quraish heard of the intentions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and became disconcerted and restless. As a bid to emphasize their commitment to the covenant with the Muslims and ward off the wrath of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) they sent Abu Sufyan to see the Prophet (s.a.w.) and have a dialogue with him.
By the time Abu Sufyan arrived at Madinah, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) had full details of the latest steps of the Quraish. He knew how deeply they were worried, so when Abu Sufyan offered to renew the truce the Prophet (s.a.w.) turned a deaf ear to him and refused to listen to his false promises.
Abu Sufyan, upset as he was, thought of asking for the help of the companions of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) to change his position. He called on Abu Bakr, and explained the matter to him, but he refused to help him. He went from there to the house of Umar bin al-Khattab, who likewise, disappointed him.
Abu Sufyan went to the room of his daughter, Um Habibah, the wife of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).There he found that when he wanted to sit down his daughter rolled back the mattress. "This is the mattress of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)," she said to him. "you certainly can't, be seated on it while you are an unclean polytheist."
From there he went to the daughter of the Holy Prophet, Fatimah al-Zahra' (a.s.) who also rebuffed him. When he put forth his problem to Ali (a.s.), Ali (a.s.) said to him:
The Messenger of Allah has set his mind to do something. We can't talk to him about it." Hopelessly and helplessly, he returned to Mecca.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) proceeded to prepare himself for war and ordered the people to get ready. He implored Allah, saying:
O Lord, blind the spies of the Quraish to the news of our arrangements, till we overcome them in their land."(89)
Under the leadership of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.), the Muslim army marched towards Mecca. It was 10,000- strong. When the army reached the outskirts of the city, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) ordered each and every single Muslim to build a fire, so the darkness of the spacious desert turned into bright daylight.
Meanwhile, Abu Sufyan and a small group of his companions were on their way out of Mecca. They were in pursuit of news of the Muslims as they had heard nothing about them for some time due to the blackout on information imposed by the Prophet (s.a.w.). He wanted to reach Mecca without their people's knowledge.
Abu Sufyan and his companions were startled at the sight of the burning fire. They paused looking astonished at the dazzling sight. They tried to guess what the cause of the matter was but they knew nothing for certain.
At the same time, al-Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib was heading towards Mecca searching for a someone from the Quraish to tell him about the approach of the Muslim army in order to make the Quraish seek peace before they were engaged in a war that would certainly lead to their total defeat.
Al-Abbas halted and listened to voices coming to him in the darkness. He recognized that of Abu Sufyan and called out:
Abul-Fadhl? ," Abu Sufyan asked.
Well," al-Abbas said.
May my father and mother be your ransom. What are you up to?"
This is the Messenger of Allah. He has come at the head of an insuperable force. They are ten thousand Muslims".
What do you order me to do?"
Ride behind me on this she-camel. I will ask security for you from the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.).
Abu Sufyan followed al-Abbas on his she-camel and went to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). He asked safety for him from Prophet (s.a.w.). The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
Off you go. He is safe, but bring him to me tomorrow in the morning"(90)
The following morning, al-Abbas took Abu-Sufyan with him to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).
Abu Sufyan", the Messenger scolded him "woe to you! Isn't it time for you to know that there is no god but Allah?"
May my father and mother be your ransom," Abu Sufyan muttered. "How generous, how kind, how merciful, how forbearing you are. By Allah, I thought that if there is another god beside Him, he would have certainly helped us at the battle of Badr".
Abu Sufyan," the Prophet (s.a.w.) replied reprovingly.
Woe on you! Isn't it time for you to know that I am the Messenger of Allah?"
May my father and mother be your ransom. Spare me this one. I have misgivings about it," he told the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.).
Al-Abbas turned to him and said, "Woe to you! pronounce the witness of right before your neck is cut off."
This was how Abu Sufyan pronounced the two testimonies. It was under threat of death that he professed Islam but his heart was still brimming with grudge and evil.
The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) finally said to al-Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him): "Go away now, Abbas, and keep him at the place where the valley narrows, so that the soldiers of Allah should pass by him"(91).
Battalion after battalion, the soldiers of Allah paraded past him, hopeful of the victory of Allah, secure in putting their trust in Allah, shouting their praise to Allah, and reciting in unison 'Allah is Great' and 'There is no god but Allah.' When Abu Sufyan caught sight of the battalion in which included the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), the Muhajirin and the Ansar, he asked al-Abbas about it.
This is the green battalion of the Prophet of Allah", al Abbas told him., "This is the Prophet of Allah and these are the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helper)".
Abul-Fadhl", Abu Sufyan responded, "The power of your brother's son has become very great".
But al-Abbas scolded him saying: "It is the Prophethood".
Well, then," Abu Sufyan said.
Hakim bin Hizan and Budail bin Warqa' came in the presence of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) and recited the two testimonies. They pledged their allegiance to him.
The Prophet of Allah then issued a statement, granting safety to the Quraish. It read in part:
Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan (which was uptown) is safe. Whoever enters the house of Hakim bin Huzam (which was downtown) is safe. Whoever closes the door of his house and does not use force is safe..."(92)
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) sent Abu Sufyan and Hakim to tell the Quraish of the general amnesty.
Then he went to the centre of Mecca as the Muslim army meanwhile surrounded the city from all sides in case the polytheists should try to create any riots.
On this historical day, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) was anxious lest one single drop of blood be shedded. That is why he relieved Sa'id bin Ubadah from the command of one of the military divisions when he threatened the Quraish and said something unseemly. He is quoted to have said:
Today there will be a horrible bloody war. Today women will be taken prisoners."(93)
The Holy Prophet took the standard from him and gave it to Ali bin Abi Talib, who entered Mecca without provoking any one.(94) When the Messenger (s.a.w.) entered the city, he stopped in front of the gateway of the Ka'ba and said:
...there is no god except Allah Who has no equal. He made His promise come true, gave victory to His servant and defeated the parties with no help from whosoever. Let alone, every memorable feat or blood or money claimed are under these feet of mine except the guardianship of the Ka'ba and the watering of the pilgrims."
Then he proceeded to say:
O assembly of Quraish, Allah certainly has made you for get the arrogance of pre-Islamic era and its glorification of forefathers. People are from Adam and Adam is created from dust."
O people! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware."
Holy Qur'an (49:13)
Then he asked them: 'O assembly of Quraish! What do you say? What do you think I will do for you?'
Good", they replied. "You are a kind brother and a kind son of a brother."
I should say what my brother Yusuf had said:
He said: ('There shall be) no reproof against you this day Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of the merciful."
Holy Qur'an (12:92)
"Off you go. You are free."(95)
By these words the Messenger (s.a.w.) won over their hearts, and opened their souls to Islam.
Then he started smashing the idols. He obliterated two pictures on the inside walls of the Ka'ba with the hems of his garment. He ordered the people to destroy what idols they had and recited the following verse:
And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing)."
Holy Qur'an (17:81)
Imam Ali (a.s.) worked shoulder to shoulder with the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) in destroying the idols. The last one that remained was that of the tribe of Khuza'ah. It was on the top of the Ka'ba. The Messenger (s.a.w.) ordered Ali (a.s.) to break it up and he himself carried Ali(a.s.) on his shoulder, who reached for the idol and threw it to the ground and so it broke into pieces.(96) On that day, after noon prayers, the Quraish - all of the Quraish - men and women pledged their allegiance to the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) and promised to obey him.
And so the most challenging fortress of the polytheists, the strongest obstacle in the way of Islam, fell. It was a glorious victory for the Muslims as Mecca joined the rest other cities of Islam.
The Messenger (s.a.w.), after staying 15 days at Mecca, appointed Hubairah bin Shibl al-Thaqafi as its ruler and gave Ma'ath bin Jabal the assignment of teaching its people the Holy Qur'an and fiqh. Then he left and headed for al-Ta'if, to subjugate the last pocket of resistance of the polytheists.
VICTORIES THAT FOLLOWED
Allah bestowed victory on his servants who liberated Mecca. The tribe of Hawazin heard of the glorious, sweeping triumph of the Muslims and made its chief mobilize a tremendous army to face them.
As soon as he heard of the Hawazin's readiness to fight him, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) moved against them at the head of a 12,000 - strong army. But the Hawazin were alert and ready to engage the Muslims. They took their positions at the summit of the Hunain mountains and in the narrowest point of the valley.
The Muslims, upon advancing into the erea, were taken aback by a rain of arrows. Panic struck at them and their ranks were in disarray. They took to their heels leaving the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) with Ali bin Abi-Talib, al-Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib, a group from the tribe of Bani-Hashim, Usamah bin Zaid and Ayman bin Ubaid.(97)
The Messenger of Allah called out to the Muslims: "O people! Come unto me. I am the Messenger of Allah. I am Muhammad bin Abdullah...".(98) But no one answered him.
Before long, the Messenger (s.a.w.) ordered his uncle, al-Abbas, a man with a sonorous voice, to call the Muslims to him and remind them of the pledge they gave to the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.). AI-Abbas called, at the top of his voice, to them:
O assembly of the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helpers)! O the companions of the Surah of al-Baqarah! O those who pledged their allegiance under the tree! where are you escaping? This is the Messenger of Allah..."(99)
It did not take long for the Muslims to return to the battlefield after they had heard the call of al-Abbas. Some of them come back, and rushed to the scene of the battle brandishing their weapons and shouting: "Here we are at your service. Here we are at your service."(100) Soon the fighting tilted in the Muslims' favour. They took to the offensive and they fought bravely and cast their fate in the heartfelt hope of Allah's victory. Their foe ran for their lives, not even to look back.
The defeated polytheists hurried to al-Ta'if, which was inhabited by the tribe of Thaqif. The town was perfectly fortified as the Muslims laid siege to it. The defenders of al-Ta'if rained the Muslims with arrows, causing many casualties and were forced to retreat some distance to tighten their siege.
The month of Dhul-Qi'dah came and the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) left the outskirts of al-Ta'if and headed for Mecca to perform Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). The tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif, however, began to realize that it was time to surrender and sent their leader, Malik bin Awfal-Nadari, to meet the Messenger (s.a.w.) on his way to Mecca. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) had promised to forgive him on a previous occasion, if he would profess Islam. The Prophet (s.a.w.) again kept his word. He forgave him and gave him back his property after he embraced Islam.
Other members of the tribe of Hawazin also began to submit to Islam. Then they sent a delegation of 14 men to the Prophet (s.a.w.) announcing their conversion. He restored their property and set their prisoners free.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) went on with his journey to Mecca. Performing Umrah. He returned to the holy city of Madinah.(101)He had appointed Attab bin Usaid as its ruler and then came back, with the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helpers), to the Madinah. There they progressed in the task of building the Islamic society and the Islamic state and bringing about change they wanted in the light of the all embracing principles of Islam.
EXPEDITION OF TABOOK AND THE MARCH TOWARDS THE ROMANS
At this time, the Messenger (s.a.w.) was informed that the Romans were mobilizing troops to invade the northern parts of the Arabian peninsula which formed the northern territory of the Islamic state.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) decided to take the field himself and gave his orders to mobilize Muslims in Madinah and the neighbouring areas. No Muslim failed to join the army, except, of course, veteran hypocrites and those who professed Islam out of their fear of the Muslims' might, after the liberation of Mecca. They started making up their excuses so that they would not fight the Romans.
The most repeated two reasons they brought forth to justify remaining behind were the sweltering heat and the great distance between Madinah and the Roman territories. The Qur'an condemned and attacked them in the following verse:
...and do not go forth in the heat. Say: The fire of hell is much severer in heat. Would that they understand (it)."
Holy Qur'an (9:81)
The hypocrites, however, did not stop at this but went on urging the people to stay out of the army and made one of their houses as their meeting-place. The Messenger (s.a.w.) heard about their treachery and set fire to the house during one of their meetings. They took to their heels and it proved to be a good lesson for them.
The Muslim army marched forward under the command of the Prophet (s.a.w.). It was 30,000 - strong. It was called "the army of hardships" due to the excessive heat, the great distance between the starting-point and the destination and the scarcity of provisions. But it was a necessary way of putting men through trials to toughen and harden them, and examine the depth of their faith.
Imam Ali (a.s.) was picked by the Messenger (s.a.w.) to remain in Madinah as his deputy during his absence. He told him to administer the affairs of the town. Imam Ali (a.s.) wanted eagerly to take part in the expedition but the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him to stay behind. He said to him:
Are you not satisfied with being my brother and holding in respect to me the rank of Haroon to Musa? But there is no prophet after me."(102)
The army of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) marched until it reached Tabook, a place located on the borders between the Arabian Peninsula and the Roman Empire. Yet many days before the arrival of the Muslim army, the Romans had fled into their own territories because of their overpowering fear of the Muslims.
Seeing this, the Messenger (s.a.w.) decided not to go far into Roman territories and returned to his blessed town. At this point the surah of al-Tawbah was revealed. It exposed the true colours of the hypocrites and their accomplices, uncovered their vile plans and scolded those who did not join the Muslim army out of fear and dolence.
The Messenger (s.a.w.) chose to burn down the mosque of Dhirar which was built by the hypocrites. They had made it a base for hypocrisy and the hostile group which worked to enfeeble the Islamic state.