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 Sirat Rasoul Allah

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23- Hawazin

When the Hawazin tribe heard about the conquest Allah had vouchsafed to the apostle, Malik b. Auf gathered them all together, as well as the Thaqif, the Nasr, and the Jusham, and a few men of the Banu Hilal.

Malik determined to march against the apostle of Allah, and he told the people to carry their goods, their wives and their children with them. When they encamped at Autas, the aged chieftain Durayd said, 'This is a good place for cavalry; it is neither too uneven nor too stony, neither too soft nor too hard; but why have we brought the women and children and animals?' Malik said, 'I wanted every man's family and property behind him, that he may fight for them.' Durayd snorted at him in dis­gust. 'Thou art a mere shepherd!' he said. 'Nothing will stop a fugitive in flight. If you conquer, only men with swords and lances will be of use to you, and if you are conquered, your families and property will be as shamed as you.' He added, 'The Kab and Kilab tribes have not joined us, so both bravery and alertness are wanting! If this were to be a day of glory and honour, neither the Kab nor the Kilab would be absent. 0, Malik, you have gained nothing by bringing the most precious possessions of the Hawazin. Take them back to a safe place.' But Malik replied, 'I shall not do so. You are in your dotage and your mind is failing.'

Then Malik ordered his men, 'As soon as you see the enemy, break your swords from the scabbards and rush on the enemy as one man.'

When the apostle heard of the Hawazin massing and decided to march against them he was told that Safwan had a stock of arms and armour. He sent to Safwan, who was still an idolater, saying, 'Lend us thy arms, that we may attack our foes tomorrow. We want only to borrow them, and will return them to thee.' Safwan said 'There is no harm in that,' and gave one hundred coats of mail and sufficient arms for them.

Then the apostle marched out with two thousand Meccans and the ten thousand companions who had gone with him before to the conquest of Mecca . The apostle said, gazing at the greatness of this army of Allah, 'This day we shall not be overcome because our number is small!' They marched to meet the Hawazin.

'When we arrived at Hunayn, we descended into a valley; it was not yet day and the valley was very steep. The enemy had reached the defile before us and lay in ambush for us in every hollow, cranny and side‑track. They were all ready, and attacked us before we even saw them. Only a few of our men had des­cended when they all fell upon us at once, so that our people fled and no man heeded his neighbour.'

The apostle turned aside, and shouted, 'Where do you flee to? Come to me! I am the apostle of Allah!' But it was useless and the camels jostled each other, and the men fled; some of the Emigrants and the Helpers, however, and others of the apostle's family, made a stand with him. Among them were Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali and al‑Abbas.

When the Muslims fled some ill‑disposed Meccans who had accompanied the expedition sneered. Abu Sufyan exclaimed, 'They will run as far as the sea’ and the brother of Safwan said, 'Sorcery will riot suffice today!' But Safwan told him, 'Be silent! I would rather be commanded by a man of the Quraysh than of the Hawazin!'

Al‑Abbas was with the apostle of Allah, holding the bridle of his grey mule. 'As I was at that time a strong man with a powerful voice, the apostle said to me, "Abbas! Shout and remind those who flee where their allegiance lies!" I did so, and the men answered, "We are at thy command." Then every man endea­voured to turn his camel, but could not because of the crush. So they took off their coats of mail, dismounted and fought their way to the apostle.'

When about one hundred men had gathered around him, they rallied and attacked the enemy, and made a good stand. The apostle alighted from his camel, and, seeing how hotly the people fought, said, 'Now at last the battle rages’ A man who took part in the battle told how, while the fight was raging, 'something like a striped black carpet came down from the sky, and settled between us and the enemy. When I looked about, I saw that black ants were strewn around the whole valley; I had no doubt that these were angels. The enemy at once fled.'

Thus Allah put the idolaters to flight, and many were slain. Some idolaters who escaped went to al‑Taif, and they included the leader, Malik; others went to Autas. But a young Believer named Rabia overtook the aged Durayd and took hold of the bridle of his camel, expecting Durayd to be a woman, because he was conveyed in a litter. When he discovered an old man, he said, 'I intend to kill you', and struck him with his sword. But this produced no effect. Durayd said, 'Your mother has armed you badly! Take my sword from behind my saddle, and strike me with it above the spine and beneath the skull. This is how I used to kill men. Afterwards, when you go to your mother, tell her you have killed Durayd; for during many a day I gave protection to the women of your family.'

On that day the apostle happened to pass near a woman around whom the people had assembled. He asked, 'What is this?' and they replied, 'A woman whom Khalid has killed.' Then the apostle said to one of the people, 'Go to Khalid and say, "The apostle of Allah forbids thee to kill child, women or slave." '

The apostle sent an expedition after the fugitives who had gone to Autas and himself marched off to besiege the other fugitives at al‑Taif. The siege was notable for the showers of arrows and red‑hot metal sent down by the defenders; and, after twenty days, the apostle and his army withdrew.

They marched to al‑Jirana and camped there. A deputation came from the Hawazin to discuss the six thousand children and women captives whom the apostle held, and the camels and sheep beyond number. The men of the deputation professed Islam, then said, 'We are of the same root and race as thou’ Be gracious to us, and Allah will be gracious to thee’ Then a man of the Banu Sad clan of Hawazin rose and said, 'You were fostered among the Banu Sad and the nurses who suckled you are now your captives. Be kind and merciful to us; you are the best of all who have been nursed.' The apostle asked, 'Do you love your children and women more than your property?' and they said, 'Is there a choice? Restore to us our wives and children, for we love them more than our property.' He said, 'As far as my portion and that of my family is concerned, it shall be returned to you. When I have ended my noon prayers with the people, arise and say "We ask for the intercession of the apostle with the Muslims, and the intercession of the Muslims with the apostle on behalf of our children and women!" Then I shall grant your request, and intercede for you.'

When the apostle had prayed at noon the Hawazin rose and spoke as they had been instructed: the apostle replied, 'My share, and that of my family, will be given to you.' Then the Emigrants and Helpers gave theirs, but the allied tribes hesitated until the apostle said, 'Whoever still insists on his right to the prisoners, shall (if he now yields the right) receive for every captive six camels taken from the next booty Allah permits us to win.' Then the women and children were restored to the Hawazin.

The apostle asked the deputation from the Hawazin what had become of Malik and they replied, 'He is in al‑Taif.' The apostle said, 'Tell him that if he comes to me as a Muslim I shall restore his family and his property to him and shall present him with a hundred camels.' Malik accepted this offer and made profession of Islam; he became a valuable Believer, and the apostle ap­pointed him to lead three tribes who had embraced Islam. With them, he harried the idolaters.

When the apostle returned the prisoners taken at Hunayn he rode away, but his followers clamoured after him, saying, 'Distribute our shares of the camels and sheep' At last they crowded up to him against a tree, so that his mantle was torn from his body. Then he exclaimed, 'Shame! Restore my cloak to me! By Allah, if you had captured as many beasts as there are trees in Tihama, I would distribute them to you! You have never found me to be grasping, cowardly or false’ And he turned to a camel, and pulled one hair from its haunch; he took it between his fingers, lifted it up, and said, 'I have not retained as much as this hair, beyond my one‑fifth. You must give back even the most worthless articles, because theft will bring shame, fire and disgrace on the day of the resurrection for the man who steals.' Then a Helper produced a bundle of camel hair, saying, 'I took this bundle to make a cushion for the wounded back of my camel.' The apostle replied, 'I make you a present of my share in it!' The man, however, exclaimed, 'If it has come to that, I have no need of it’ and he threw the whole bundle away.

The apostle made gifts to those whose hearts he desired to win, nobles whom he wished to please. To Abu Sufyan he gave one hundred camels, and to Malik, and to Safwan and others. To some, he gave fewer than one hundred. To one man he gave only male camels, and the man was displeased instead of grateful, so the apostle said, 'Take him away, and silence him.' So they gave him camels till he was satisfied. This is what the apostle meant by 'silence him'.

One of the companions complained that a man named Juayl had received no gift, and the apostle of Allah replied, 'I swear by Him in whose hand my life is that Juayl is better than men such as those to whom I have given gifts. The gifts were given to make these men become good Muslims; but in Juayl's belief I have perfect trust.'

When the apostle had distributed his gifts to the Quraysh and to the Arab tribes he had still not given anything to the Helpers. They felt themselves aggrieved, and one man even said, 'The apostle of Allah has reverted to his own tribe.' So the apostle summoned the Helpers to him and said, 'What is this I hear about you? What has taken possession of your minds? Did I not come to you when you strayed, and Allah showed you the right direction? Were you not poor, and Allah enriched you? Were you not enemies and Allah united you?' They replied, 'Yes. Allah and His apostle were merciful to us.' He continued, 'That is no answer.’

They said, 'What shall we answer to thee? To Allah and to His apostle belong kindness and mercy.' He said again, 'If you choose, you may truthfully say, "Thou hast come to us dis­credited, but we believed thee. Helpless, but we helped thee! An outcast, but we sheltered thee! Destitute and we provided for thee!" Are you grieved in your souls because I have used the trifles of this world to gain the hearts of people that may become good Muslims, whereas I have had faith in the strength of your belief? Is it not enough for you to return home with the apostle of Allah, or must you have sheep and camels, too? Had it not been for the arrival of the Emigrants, I swear that I would have become as a man of Medina . Allah have mercy on the Helpers, on their sons, and on the sons of their sons.' Then the people began to weep and said, 'We are satisfied with our share and our portion.' Afterwards the apostle went on the lesser pilgrimage and then returned to Medina

The conquest of Mecca and of the Hawazin began a new era in Islam, and the apostle ‑ now guardian of the holy city ‑ had every claim to paramount power in Arabia . Religious domination was reinforced with social organization, by taxes and tributes levied from unbelievers as well as from the Faithful. Tribes came from as far away as the Yemen , the borders of Syria and Persia , to submit themselves to Muhammad. These submissions, coupled with a succession of punitive expeditions, aroused some unease in the Byzantine empire , and Heraclius was rumoured to have commanded his own feudatory border tribes to assemble to meet the challenge of the apostle.  

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