The Conquest of Makka

In the fifth year of Hijra, God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, had had a dream or a vision while awake that they would enter the Holy Mosque of Ka'ba in safety with their heads shaven or trimmed and without fear. As will be explained later in this book, they had not been allowed to enter Makka and made a treaty with the Quraysh at Hudaybiya, the conditions of which had, at first, appeared unpalatable to the Muslims. However, the verses revealed after the treaty described Hudaybiya as a clear victory.

The two years following the Treaty of Hudaybiya proved that Treaty to really be a victory. Some leading figures of the Quraysh such as Khalid ibn Walid and 'Amr ibn al-'As became Muslims and Islam had the opportunity to spread across Arabia. The Jewish conspiracy was put to an end and through the letters sent to neighbouring kings, Islam crossed the borders of Arabia into other lands in four directions.

It was two years after the treaty of Hudaybiya that Banu Bakr, allied to the Quraysh, attacked Banu Khuda'a, allied to the Muslims, and killed some among them. This meant the end of the truce between the Muslims and the Quraysh. No longer able to resist the Muslims, Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraysh, came to Madina to renew the treaty but was not admitted by God's Messenger, upon be peace and blessings. (1)

God's Messenger was making preparations for war. As always, he was keeping the affair quite secret and no one, including his wives and closest friends such as Abu Bakr and 'Umar, knew where the campaign would be. When Abu Bakr asked his daughter 'A'isha, the wife of God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, where the Messenger intended to march, 'A'isha, answered: 'Father, I do not know either where he will go'. (2) However, someone from the Emigrants, named Khatib ibn Abi Balta'a, guessed the intention of God's Messenger, upon him be peace, and sent a letter to the Quraysh, informing them of the preparations of the Messenger to come against them. Revelation about that came to the Messenger, who ordered 'Ali and Zubayr to go and take the letter from the woman to whom Khatib had entrusted it. 'Ali and Zubayr carried out the Prophet's order successfully. (3)

God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, left Madina with 10,000 men. Two years before, he had been able to gather only 1,600 men when he had set out for a minor pilgrimage, which concluded in the signing of the peace treaty of Hudaybiya. The peaceful atmosphere brought about by this treaty enabled many to re-consider Islam and accept it.

The Companions did not know of the destination of the campaign until they were ordered to change their direction toward Makka. When they approached this holy city, God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, ordered that each member of the army should light a fire. The Makkans used, when they camped somewhere while journeying in the desert, to light a fire for every tent, (4) so they estimated the Muslim army to consist of about 30,000 men. They had been left nothing to do other than surrender. Abu Sufyan, who had been invited by God's Messenger to see the Muslim army, also advised the Makkans to surrender without offering any resistance.

God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, did not desire any bloodshed. He divided his army into six columns, each of which was to enter Makka through a different route. He ordered the commanders to avoid bloodshed unless they were attacked. In order to prevent bloodshed and secure a peaceful conquest, he also made this announcement: Those who shelter in the Ka'ba are safe; those who shelter in the house of Abu Sufyan are safe, and those who remain confined to their houses are also safe. (5)

Being a Prophet of absolute mercy, one who came to secure the happiness of mankind both in this world and the next, God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, entered Makka, bowing on the back of his mule, as a victorious conqueror. He displayed no hint of self-pride nor thought of either vengeance or retaliation. He proceeded toward the Ka'ba in utmost modesty and absolute gratitude to God Almighty, Who had made him victorious in his sacred mission after so many years of hardships and persecution. He stopped at the Ka'ba and asked those who assembled there: How do you expect me to treat you? 'You are a noble man, the son of a noble man', they answered. God's Messenger concluded:

This day no reproach shall be on you. God will forgive you; He is the Most Merciful of the Merciful. You can go away! (6)

This marked the end of polytheism in Makka. While he was toppling down the idols at the Ka'ba one after the other, he recited: Say: 'Truth has come and falsehood has disappeared. Indeed falsehood is subject to disappearance'. (7) And, almost all of the Makkans, who had been the enemies of Islam until one day before, acquired the honour of becoming Companions to God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.

1. I. Hisham, 4.31.
2. I. Hisham, 4.39.
3. I. Hisham, 4.41.
4. I. Kathir, al-Bidayah, 4.330; I. Hisham, 6.41–5.
5. I. Kathir, ibid., 4.331–2.
6. I. Sa'd, 2.142; I. Hisham, 4.55; Tabari, 3.120; Balazuri, Futuh al-Buldan, 1.47.
7. Bukhari, 5.93; Muslim, 3.1408; I. Hisham, 4.59; I. Sa'd, 2.136.
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