It was now nearing the end of the sixth year of the
Hijra and the apostle decided to set out on a pilgrimage to
. This was not a warlike expedition, and it was a month not lawful for
war. The apostle invited the surrounding Arab tribes and the nomad Bedouin
to accompany him, for he feared the Quraysh might either attack him or
prevent him from entering the Kaba. Many Arabs delayed in joining him, so
the apostle went forth with men of the Helpers, the Emigrants, and such
Arabs as had appeared. He took animals suitable for sacrifice, and assumed
the pilgrim garb, so that people might know he had no warlike intentions
and went forth only to visit and honour the Kaba. 'He took seventy camels
for sacrifice and, as the number of his men amounted to seven hundred,
each camel had ten men assigned to it,' one witness recorded, but another
said there were fourteen hundred men.
When the apostle reached Usfan he was told, 'The
Quraysh have heard about thy expedition; and they have brought their
milk‑camels, and dressed themselves in leopard skins, and encamped
at Dhu Tuwa, swearing to Allah they will not allow thee to enter Mecca.
Khalid has, with the cavalry, already occupied Kuraul‑Ghamim.' The
apostle said, 'Woe betide the Quraysh! War has ruined them! How would it
have harmed them to allow me to go my own way and the way of Allah? But I
shall not cease to fight for the word of Allah until it becomes
victorious, or until my throat is cut.' Then he said, 'Who will take us by
a road which will by‑pass them?' and a man of Aslam took them
through a pass which was uneven and stony, until they reached an easier
When the Quraysh cavalry saw that the Muslims
travelled by another road they hastened back to rejoin their people. When
the Muslims reached the pass of al‑Murar the apostle's camel knelt
down, and the people said, 'She is obstinate.' He replied, 'She is not
obstinate; it is not her nature to be so. But He who kept the elephant
holds this camel back, too. If the Quraysh ask this day for anything by
which I may show them my kinship, I shall give it to them.' Then he said
to the people, 'Camp!' and they demurred, saying, 'In this valley there is
no water.' So the apostle pulled out an arrow from his quiver and gave it
to one of his companions, who went down into a dried‑up waterhole
and pierced its bed with the arrow; then so much water gushed out that all
the people drank, and they encamped around.
After the apostle had settled himself comfortably, he
was visited by Budayl and several men of the Khuzaa, who talked with him
and asked him the purpose of his expedition. He replied that he had come
not to wage war but to visit the sacred Kaba as a pilgrim. Accordingly,
they returned to the Quraysh and said, 'You are hasty in your assumptions.
Muhammad has not come to fight, but to visit the Kaba.' The Quraysh
persisted in their suspicions, saying, 'Although he may not have come to
fight, he shall not enter against our will, nor shall the Arabs ever be
able to accuse us of that.' Nevertheless, they sent observers to watch the
apostle, and one of them was a devout Bedouin of the nomad tribes. When
the apostle saw him approach he said, 'This man is one of the pious. Let
loose the sacrificial animals before him, that he may see them!' When the
man saw the animals advancing towards him from the side of the valley,
wearing ornamental garlands and browsing among the salt‑shrubs of
this barren soil, he returned struck with awe to the Quraysh without even
meeting the apostle of Allah and made his report. But they replied, 'Sit
down! Thou art an Arab of the desert and have no knowledge.' Then the
Bedouin became angry and said, 'My tribes did not enter into an alliance
with you for such a purpose as this! Shall men be kept away from the house
of Allah who have come but to honour it? You must either allow Muhammad to
carry out his purpose or I and my tribes will all depart.' They replied,
'Control yourself, and we will obtain favourable terms for ourselves.'
Next they sent Urwa, another of their allies, to the
apostle, and they swore they would accept his report of the matter. The
apostle of Allah spoke to him as before, and told him he had not come to
fight. While he was with the apostle, Urwa paid close attention to the
behaviour of the companions; the apostle did not perform his ablutions
without their hastening to preserve the water, nor spit without their
running to gather up the saliva, and no hair fell from his head but they
snatched it up. When Urwa returned to the Quraysh he said, 'I have seen
the sovereign of Persia in his own country, and the sovereign of Byzantium
in his own country, and the sovereign of Abyssinia in his own country; and
I have not seen the king of any nation honoured as Muhammad is among his
companions! I have seen a people who will never abandon him at any price!
Do therefore as you think fit.'
The apostle of Allah called Uthman and dispatched him
to Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh nobles, to inform them that he had not come
to fight but to make a pilgrimage to the Kaba and honour its sanctuary.
Uthman reached the presence of Abu Sufyan and delivered the apostle's
message, and when he had done this they said to him, 'If you yourself wish
to walk around the Kaba you are at liberty to do so.' But he replied, 'I
shall not do it until the apostle of Allah has done it', so the Quraysh
kept him prisoner and it was reported to the apostle and the Muslims that
Uthman had been murdered.
The apostle then swore, 'We shall not leave until we
have fought these people,' and he called on his followers to swear an
oath. This they did, in the shade of a tree, offering allegiance to the
apostle and vowing not to flee from the battle. Only one man, al‑Jadd,
evaded taking the oath.
Soon, however, news came that the report of Uthman's
death had been untrue. The Quraysh dispatched Suhayl to the apostle with
these instructions: 'Make peace with him on condition that he goes away
now; we cannot let the Arabs say he entered
against our wish.' When the apostle observed Suhayl approaching he said,
'The Quraysh want to make peace, since they have sent that man.'
When Suhayl reached the apostle they spoke long, and
at last a treaty of peace was concluded between them. When all had been
arranged, only the document remained to be written. The apostle summoned
Ali and said,' Write.'
He said, 'Write "In the name of Allah, the
merciful, the compassionate . . . " ', but Suhayl intervened,
saying, 'I cannot accept that. Write "In thy name, o Allah." '
The apostle turned to Ali, and said, 'Write "In thy name, o Allah.
This is a treaty of peace between Muhammad the apostle of Allah and . .
." ' But Suhayl intervened again. 'If I acknowledge thee to be the
apostle of Allah, then I should not have fought thee! Write thy own and
thy father's narne.' So the apostle of Allah said, 'Write "This is a
treaty of peace between Muhammad b. Abdullah and Suhayl b. Amr. They have
agreed not to wage war against each other for ten years, and that their
people shall not wage war against each other for ten years. If Quraysh
fugitives come to Muhammad, he will send them back; but if fugitives come
to the Quraysh from Muhammad, the Quraysh will not give them up. Enmity is
to end and neither deceit nor theft will be permitted between them. Any
man is at liberty to make a treaty of alliance, either with Muhammad or
with the Quraysh." '
It was agreed that the Muslims should give up their
attempt to enter Mecca this year, but that they should have three days'
clear and sole access the following year, so long as they were armed no
more heavily than ordinary travellers.
When the companions of the apostle had marched out
from Medina they had had no doubt that they would enter Mecca, because the
apostle had had a vision; but when they witnessed the signing of this
treaty and what the apostle had been obliged to submit to they were much
Now the apostle of Allah became anxious to fulfil his
pilgrimage in some measure, so, after he had concluded the treaty of
peace, he slaughtered the sacrifices, and had his own head shaved. When
the people saw this they did the same. They were very close to the borders
of the sacred territory.
The apostle began his return march, and during it the
Sura The Victory was revealed to him. 'We have granted thee a
manifest victory, that Allah may forgive thee thy past and future sins,
and complete His favours to thee, and guide thee in the right way.
They who swear homage unto His apostle, swear homage
unto Allah; the hand of Allah is over theirs. Whoever violates his oath,
harms only his own soul; but whoever performs that which he hath
covenanted with Allah, He will give him a great reward.' Then the Sura
refers to the Arabs who lagged behind when the apostle called them to join
him at the beginning of the pilgrimage. 'The Arabs of the desert
who were left behind will say "Our possessions and our families held
us back" ', but this is false, for they rejoiced at the possibility
that you might never return. When you set forth in search of plunder, they
will offer to go with you; you must refuse. Tell them they will be called
to fight against a great nation, and if they obey they will be blessed,
but if they turn their backs, Allah will bring on them a great
chastisement. 'Allah was well pleased with the true Believers, when they
swore faithfulness to His apostle under the tree; He knew what was in
their hearts, and therefore He sent down tranquillity of mind, and
rewarded them with a speedy victory, and they will take many spoils; for
Allah is mighty and wise. . . . He kept the hands of your enemy off from
you, and your hands from them, in the
, although He could have given you victory over them . . . Otherwise you
might have struck down Believers [among the Meccans] whom ye knew not, and
thus incurred guilt unknowingly. . . . Allah has fulfilled the vision of
His apostle: You shall enter the sacred mosque (if Allah wills it) in
security, with heads shaved or cropped, without fear. He knows what you do
Before this, there had been no greater victory in
Islam. War had been rife wherever the people met, but after the treaty it
was stopped and the people felt safe and could meet and enter into
discussion and disputation; thus no intelligent man to whom Islam was
proposed in discussion failed to profess it. In these next two years as
many people adopted Islam as had done since its first beginnings. Perhaps
more. Two years later, instead of the fourteen hundred men who went on the
pilgrimage, the apostle was able to march out with ten thousand men.
When the apostle of Allah was back in Medina a
fugitive from Mecca arrived whose name was Abu Basin The Quraysh sent a
letter with two messengers asking for his return under the terms of the
treaty, and the apostle said to Abu Basir, 'Thou knowest our treaty, and
our religion forbids treachery! Allah will grant deliverance and a happy
outcome to thee and to those who are likewise helpless. Return therefore
to thy people.' Abu Basir pleaded, 'Canst thou force me back to the
infidels to be seduced from my religion?' but the apostle repeated,
'Depart! Allah will grant deliverance.'
Accordingly, Abu Basir went away with the messengers
and when they had gone as far as Dhul‑Hulayfa he sat down on a wall
with them. 'Is your sword sharp?' he asked one of them. 'May I look at
it?' Then Abu Basir drew it out from the man's scabbard and killed him.
The other messenger fled back to the apostle of Allah, who was sitting in
the mosque and greeted him with 'Woe betide thee, what is the matter?' He
replied, 'Thy companion has killed my companion.' Shortly afterwards Abu
Basir arrived with the sword girded on and said to the apostle, 'Thou hast
kept thy promise and Allah has absolved thee! Thou hast duly surrendered
me into the hands of the Quraysh, but I have protected my religion.' The
apostle of Allah exclaimed, 'Here is a man who would kindle a war if he
had men enough’
Abu Basir went away and halted at al‑Is on the
sea‑coast, which was the route the Quraysh took with their caravans
to Syria; and when the Believers in Mecca were told the words of the
apostle, 'He would kindle a war if he had men enough', they went out to
Abu Basir, as many as seventy men. Then they harassed the Quraysh, and
slew every man of them that they could lay hands upon, and waylaid every
caravan that passed near them, so that the Quraysh at last wrote to the
apostle and begged him to allow the raiders to live in Medina as they
desired, so that they would cease to harry the Quraysh, who no longer
wished to have them returned to Mecca. Thus the raiders were accepted in
After this, Muhammad conceived the idea of
summoning the rulers of surrounding states to listen to his teaching. The
appeared to be crumbling, the Christian Church was divided, and the
possibilities seemed worth exploring. He determined to send out official
embassies. At the same time he began to subdue or make alliances with the
surrounding tribes of the peninsula.
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