PART 4 & the Conclusion
In the same year the Jews of Khaibar, a strongly fortified territory at a distance of four days' journey from Medina, showed implacable hatred towards the Muslims. United by alliance with the tribe of Ghatfan, as well as with other cognate tribes, the Jews of Khaibar made serious attempts to for ma coalition against the Muslims. The Prophet and his adherents were apprised of this movement and immediate measures were taken in order to repress any new attack upon Medina. An expedition of fourteen hundred men was soon prepared to march against Khaibar. The allies of the Jews left them to face the war with the Muslims all alone. The Jews firmly resisted the attacks of the Muslims, but eventually all their fortress had to be surrendered, one after the other to their enemies. They prayed for forgiveness, which was accorded to them on certain conditions. Their lands and immovable property were secured to them, together with the free practice of their religion. After subduing Khaibar, the Muslims returned to Medina in safety.
Before the end of the year, it being the seventh year of the hijrah, the Prophet and his adherents availed themselves of their armistice with the Quraish to visit the holy Ka'ba. The Prophet, accompanied by two hundred Muslims, went to Mecca to perform the rites of pilgrimage. On this occasion the Quraish evacuated the city during the three days which the ceremonies lasted.
Sir William Muir, in his book, Life of Mohammed Vol. III comments on the incident as follows:
It was surely a strange sight, which at this time presented itself at the vale of Mecca, a sight unique in the history of the world. The ancient city is for three days evacuated by all its inhabitants, high and low, every house deserted, and as they retire, the exiled converts, many years banished from their birth-place, approach in a great body accompanied by their allies, revisit the empty homes of their childhood, and within the short allotted space, fulfil the rites of pilgrimage. The outside inhabitants, climbing the heights around take refuge under tents or other shelter among the hills and glens; and clustering on the overhanging peak of Abu Qubeis, thence watch the movements of the visitors beneath, as with the Prophet at their head, they make the circuit of the Ka'ba and rapid procession between Essafa and Marwah, and anxiously scan every figure, if perchance they may recognize among the worshippers some long lost friend or relative. It was a scene rendered only by the throes, which gave birth to Islam.
In accordance with the terms of the treaty, the Muslims left Mecca at the end of three day's visit. This peaceful visit was followed by important conversions among the Quraish. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, known as the Sword of Allah, who, before this, had been a bitter enemy of Islam and who commanded the Quraish cavalry at Uhud; and Amr Ibn Al' As, another important character and warrior, adopted the new faith.
When the Prophet and his followers returned to Medina, they arranged in expedition to exact retribution from the Ghassanite prince who had killed the Muslim envoy. A force of three thousand men, under the Prophet's adopted son Zaid, was sent to take reparation from the offending tribe.
Khalid Ibn Al-Walid was one of the generals chosen for the expedition. When they reached the neighborhood of Muta, a village to the southeast of the Dead Sea, they met with an overwhelming force of Arabs and Romans who were assembled to oppose them. The Muslims, however, resolved resolutely to push forward. Their courage was of no avail and they suffered great losses. In this battle Zaid and Ja'far, a cousin of the Prophet, and several other notables were killed. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, by a series of maneuvers, succeeded in drawing off the army and conducting it without further loses to Medina. A month later, however, Amr Ibn Al-' As marched unopposed through the lands of the hostile tribes, received their submission, and restored the prestige of Islam on the Syrian frontier.
About the end of the seventh year of the hijrah, the Quraish and their allies, the Bani Bakr, violated the terms of the peace concluded at Hudaibiya by attacking the Bani Khuzaah, who were in alliance with the Muslims. The Bani Khuzzah appealed to the Prophet for help and protection. The Prophet determined to make a stop to the reign of injustice and oppression, which had lasted so long at Mecca. He immediately gathered ten thousand men to march against the idolaters and set out on January, 630.
After eight days the Muslims army halted, and alighted at Marr Az-Zahran, a day's journey from Mecca. On the night of their arrival, Abu Sufyan, who was delegated by the Quraish to ask the Prophet to abandon his project, presented himself and besought an interview. In the morning it was granted. "Has the time not come, O Abu Sufyan," said the Prophet, "for you to acknowledge that there is no deity save Allah and that I am His Messenger?" Abu Sufyan, after hesitating for awhile, pronounced the prescribed formula of belief and adopted Islam. He was then sent back to prepare the city for the Prophet's approach.
With the exception of a slight resistance by certain clans headed by Ikrima and Safwan, in which many Muslims were killed, the Prophet entered Mecca almost unopposed. The city which had treated him so cruelly, driven him and his faithful band for refuge among strangers, the city which had sworn his life and the lives of his devoted adherents, now lay at his mercy. His old persecutors were now completely at his feet. The Prophet entered Mecca on his favorite camel Al Kaswa, having Usama Ibn Zaid sitting behind him. On his way he recited Surah Al Fath (Victory), the first verses of which maybe interpreted thus: Verily! We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and future, and complete His Favor on you, and guide you on the Straight Path; and that Allah may help you with strong help. (Ch 48:1-3 Quran)
The Muslim army entered the city unpretentiously and peacefully. No house was robbed, no man or woman was insulted. The Prophet granted a general amnesty to the entire population of Mecca. Only four criminals, whom justice condemned, were proscribed. He did however, order the destruction of all idols and pagan images of worship, upon which three hundred and fifty idols which were in the Sacred House of Ka'ba were thrown down. The Prophet himself destroyed a wooden pigeon hung from the roof and regarded as one of the deities of the Quraish. During the downfall of the images and idols he was heard to cry aloud: "Allah is great. Truth has come and falsehood has vanished; verily falsehood is fleeting." The old idolaters observed thoughtfully the destruction of their gods, which were utterly powerless. After the Prophet had abolished these pagan idols and every pagan rite, he delivered a sermon to the assembled people. He dwelt upon the natural brotherhood of man in the words of the Qur'an: O Mankind! We have created you for a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa (one of the Muttaqun, pious, and righteous persons who fear Allah much, abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained.) Verily Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Ch 49:13 Quran)
Narrated Hisham's father: When Allah's Messenger set out (towards Mecca) during the year of the Conquest (of Mecca) and this news reached (the infidels of Quraish), Abu Sufyan, Hakim Ibn Hizam and Budail Ibn Waraqa came out to gather information about Allah's Messenger. They proceeded on their way till they reached a place called Marr-az-Zahran (which is near Mecca). Behold! There they saw many fires as if they were the fires of Arafat." Budail Ibn Waraqa' said: "Banu' Amr are less in number than that." Some of the guards of Allah's Messenger saw them and took them over, caught them, and bthem to Allah's Messenger. Abu Sufyan embraced Islam.
When the Prophet proceeded, he said to Al' Abbas: "Keep Abu Sufyan standing at the top of the mountain so that he would look at the Muslims. SO Al- Abbas kept him standing (at that place) and the tribes with the Prophet started passing in front of Abu Sufyan in military batches. A batch passed in front of Abu Sufyan and said: "O 'Abbas who are these?" 'Abbas said: "They are Banu Ghaifar." Abu Sufyan said: "I have got nothing to do with Ghifar." Then a batch of the tribe of Juhaina passed by and he said similarly as above. Then a batch of the tribe of Sa'd Ibn Huzaim passed by and he said similarly as above. Then came a batch, the like of which Abu Sufyan had not seen. He said: "Who are these?" Abbas said: "They are the Ansar headed by Sa'd Ibn 'Ubada, the one holding the flag." Sa'd Ibn 'Ubada said: "O Abu Sufyan! Today is the day of a great battle and today (what is prohibited in )the Ka'ba will be permissible." Abu Sufyan said, "O Abbas! How excellent the day of destruction is!" Then came another batch of warriors which was the smallest of all the batches, and in it there was Allah's Messenger and his companions, and the flag of the Prophet was carried by Az-Zubair Ibn Al-Awwam. When Allah's Messenger passed by Abu Sufyan, the latter said to the Prophet: "Do you know what Sa'd Ibn Ubada said?" The Prophet said: "What did he say?" Abu Sufyan said: "He said so-and-so." The Prophet said: "Sa'd told a lie, but today Allah will give superiority to the Ka'ba and today the Ka'ba will be covered with a cloth covering." Allah's Messenger ordered that his flag be fixed at Al-Hajun.
Narrated Urwa: Nafi' Ibn Jubair Ibn Mut'im said: "I heard Al-Abbas saying to Az-Zubair Ibn Al- Awwam, 'O Abu Abdullah! Did Allah's Messenger order you to fix the flag here?' "Allah's Messenger ordered Khalid Ibn Al-Walid to enter Mecca from its upper part from Kadaa' while the Prophet himself entered from Kudaa. Two men from the cavalry of Khalid Ibn Al-Walid named Hubaish Ibn Al Ashar and Kurz Ibn Jabir Al-Fihri were martyred on that day. (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Now great multitudes came to adopt Islam and take the oath of allegiance to the Prophet. For this purpose an assembly was held at As-Safa Mountain. Umar, acting as the Prophet's deputy administered the oath, whereby the people bound themselves not to adore any deity but Allah to obey the Prophet to abstain from theft, adultery, infanticide, lying and backbiting. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy embodied in the Surah Al Fath in the Quran.
During his stay at Mecca, the Prophet dispatched his principal disciples in every direction to preach Islam among the wild tribes of the desert and call them to the true religion of Allah. He sent small detachments of his troops into the suburbs who destroyed the temples of Al Uzza, Suwaa, and Manat, the three famous idols in the temples of the neighboring tribes. The Prophet gave strict orders that these expeditions should be carried out in a peaceable manner. These injunctions were obeyed in all cases, with one exception. The troops under Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, the fierce newly-converted warrior, killed a few of the Bani Jazima. When the news of this wanton bloodshed reached the Prophet, he was deeply grieved and exclaimed: "Oh, my Lord, I am innocent of what Khalid has done." He dispatched a large sum of money for the widows and orphans of the slain and severely rebuked Khalid.
At this time the tribes of Hawazin and Thakif showed unwillingness to render obedience to the Muslims without resistance. They formed a league with the intention of attacking the Prophet, but he was vigilant enough to frustrate their plan. A big battle was fought with this new enemy of Islam near Hunain, a deep and narrow defile nine miles northeast of Mecca. The idolaters were utterly defeated. One body of the enemy, consisting chiefly of the Thakif tribe, took refuge in their fortified city of Ta'if, which eight or nine years before had dismissed the Prophet from within its walls with injuries and insults. The remainder of the defeated force, consisting principally of the Hawazin, sought at a camp in the valley of Autas. This camp was raided by the Muslim troops. The families of the Hawazin, their flocks and herds with all their other effects, were captured by the troops of the Prophet. Ta'if was then besieged for a few days only, after which the Prophet raised the siege, well knowing that the people of Ta'if would soon be forced by circumstances to submit without bloodshed. Returning to his camp where the prisoners of Hawazin were left safely, the Prophet found a deputation from this hostile tribe who begged him to set free their families. The Prophet replied that he was willing to give back his own share of those captives and that of the children of Abdul Muttalib, but that he could not force his followers to abandon the fruits of their victory. The disciples followed the generous example of their teacher. The hearts of several members of the Thakir tribe were so influenced by this that they offered their allegiance and soon became earnest Muslims. The Prophet now returned to Medina fully satisfied with the achievements of his mission.
The ninth year of the hijrah is known as the Year of Embassies, as being the year in which the various tribes of Arabia submitted to the claim of the Prophet and sent embassies to render homage to him.
These tribes had been awaiting the issue of the war between Muhammad and the Quraish; but as soon as the tribe - the principal of the whole nation and the descendants of Ishmael, whose prerogatives none offered to dispute - had submitted, they were satisfied that it was not in their power to oppose Muhammad. Hence their embassies flocked into Medina to make their submission to him. The conquest of Mecca decided the fate of idolatry in Arabia. Now deputations began to arrive from all sides to render the adherence to Islam of various tribes. Among the rest, five princes of the tribe of Himyar professed Islam and sent ambassadors to notify Muhammad of the same. These were the princes of Yemen, Mahra, Oman, and Yamama.
The idolaters of Ta'if, the very people who had driven the Messenger of Islam from their midst with violence and contempt, now sent a deputation to pray forgiveness and ask to be numbered among his followers. They begged, however, for temporary preservation of their idols. As a last appeal they begged for one month of grace only. But even this was not conceded. The Prophet said Islam and the idols could not exist together. They then begged for exemption from the daily prayers. The Prophet replied that without devotion, religion would be nothing. At last they submitted to all that was required of them. They, however, asked to be exempted from destroying the idols with their own hands. This was granted. The Prophet selected Abu Sufyan and Mughira to destroy the idols of Ta'if, the chief of which was the notorious idol of Al-Lat. This was carried out amidst cries of despair and grief from the women of Ta'if.
The conversion of this tribe of Ta'if is worthy of notice. This tribe, which hither to had proved hostile to the new faith, was noted among the Arabs for its idolatrous priesthood. A small detachment under Ali was sent to reduce them to obedience and to destroy their idols. The prince of the tribe was 'Adi, the son of the famous Hatim, whose generosity was spoken of all over Arabia. On the approach of the Muslim force, Adi fled to Syria, leaving his sister with his principal clansmen, to fall into the hands of the Muslims. These were conducted by Ali with every sign of respect and sympathy to Medina. When the daughter of Hatim came before the Prophet, she addressed him in the following words: "Messenger of Allah, my father is dead; my brother, my only relation fled into the mountains on the approach of the Muslims. I cannot ransom myself; I count on your generosity for my deliverance. My father was an illustrious man, the prince of his tribe, a man who ransomed prisoners, protected the honor of women, fed the poor, cothe afflicted, and was deaf to no appeal." The Prophet replied: "Your father had the virtues of a true Muslim; if it were permitted to invoke the mercy of Allah on any whose life was passed in idolatry, I would pray to Allah for mercy for the soul of Hatim." Then, addressing the Muslims around him, he said: "the daughter of Hatim is free, her father was a generous and humane man; Allah loves and rewards the merciful." With the daughter of Hatim, all her people were set at liberty. She proceeded to Syria and related to her brother the generosity of Muhammad. 'Adi, touched by gratitude, hastened to Medina, where he was kindly received by the Prophet. He professed Islam and returned to his people and persuaded them to abandon idolatry. They all submitted and became devoted Muslims.
Hitherto no prohibition had been enforced against idolaters entering the Holy Ka'ba, or performing their abominable rites within the sacred precincts. Towards the end of the ninth year of the hijrah, during the month of pilgrimage 'Ali was delegated by the Prophet to read a proclamation that ran as follows: "No idolater shall after this year perform the pilgrimage; no one shall make the circuit of the Ka'ba naked (such a disgraceful custom was practiced by the pagan Arabs); and treaty with the Prophet shall continue in force but four months are allowed to every man to return to his territories; after that there will be no obligation on the Prophet, except towards those with whom treaties have been concluded."
The vast multitude who had listened to the above declaration returned to their homes, and before the following year was over the majority of them were Muslims.
During the tenth year of the hijrah, as in the preceding one, numerous embassies continued to pour into Medina from all parts of Arabia, to testify to the allegiance of their chiefs and their tribes. Teachers were sent by the Prophet into the different provinces to teach the new converts the principles and precepts of Islam. These teachers were invariably given the following injunctions when they were about to depart on their mission: "Deal gently with the people, and be not harsh; cheer them, and do not look down upon them with contempt. You will meet with many believers in the Holy Scriptures, who will ask you: 'What is the key to heaven?' Answer them it (the key to heaven) is to bear witness to the divine truth and to do good."
Thus, the mission of the Prophet Muhammad was now accomplished; the whole work was achieved in his lifetime. Idolatry with its nameless abominations was entirely destroyed. The people who were sunk in superstition, cruelty, and vice in regions where spiritual life was utterly unknown were now united in one bond of faith, hope and charity. The tribes which had been from time immemorial engaged in perpetual wars were now united together by the ties of brotherhood, love, and harmony. Henceforth, their aims were not confined to this earth alone; but there was something beyond the grave - much higher, purer, and diviner - calling them to the practice of charity, goodness, justice, and universal love. They could now perceive that Allah was not that which they had carved out of wood or stone, but the Almighty Loving, Merciful, the Creator of the Universe.
On the return of the sacred month of pilgrimage, the Prophet, under the presentiment of his approaching end, determined to make a farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. In February 632, he left Medina with a very considerable concourse of Muslims. It is stated that from ninety thousand to one hundred and forty thousand people accompanied the Prophet. Before completing all rites of the pilgrimage, he addressed the assembled multitude from the top of Mount Arafat in the following words:
"O people! Listen to my words, for I know not whether another year will be vouchsafed to me after this year to find myself among you. Your lives and property are sacred and inviolable among one another until you appear before the Lord, as this day and this month are sacred for all; and remember, you will have to appear before your Lord Who will demand from you an account for all your actions. O people, you have rights over your wives, and your wives have a right over you. Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah and have made their people lawful unto you by the words of Allah. And your slaves, see that you feed them with such food as you eat yourselves, and clothe them with the stuff you wear, and if they commit a fault which you are not inclined to forgive, then part with them; for they are the servants of the Lord and are not to be harshly treated. O people, listen to my words and understand them. Know that all Muslims are brothers. You are one brotherhood; but no man shall take ought from his brother, unless by his free consent. Keep yourselves from injustice. Let him who is present tell this to him who is absent. It maybe that he who is told this afterward may remember better than he who has now heard it.
The Prophet concluded his sermon by exclaiming: "O Lord, I have fulfilled my message and accomplished my work." The assembled multitude, all in one voice, cried: "Yea, verily you have." The Prophet again exclaimed: "O Lord, I beseech You, bear witness to it."
Having rigorously performed all the ceremonies of the pilgrimage, that his example might be followed by all Muslims for all succeeding ages, the Prophet returned with his followers to Medina.
The eleventh year of the hijrah, being the last year of Muhammad's life, was spent at Medina. There he settled the organization of the provincial and tribal communities which had adopted Islam and become the component parts of the Muslims federation. More officers had to be deputed to the interior provinces for the purpose of teaching their inhabitants the precepts of the religion, administering justice, and collecting Zakat. Muadh Ibn Jabal was sent to Yemen. On his departure to that distant province the Prophet enjoined him to use his own discretion in the event of his being unable to find express authority in the Quran. Ali was deputed to Yamama in the southeast of the peninsula. To him the Prophet said: "Never decide between any two parties who come to you for justice unless you first hear both of them."
A force was not being prepared under Usama, Ibn Zaid, whose father was killed at Muta, against the Byzantines, to exact the long-delayed reparation for the murder of the envoy to Syria. However, the news of the Prophet's sickness and failing health caused that expedition to be stopped. This news was soon noised abroad and produced disorder in some districts. Three pretenders had arisen who gave themselves out as prophets and tried by all kinds of imposture to win over their tribes. The most dangerous of these pretenders was known as Al Aswad. He was a chief of Yemen and a conjurer. He soon succeeded in gaining over his tribesmen and, with the help, reduced to subjection many of the neighboring towns. He killed Shahr, whom the Prophet had appointed as Governor of Sana in the place of his father Bazan, who had just died. Bazan had been the viceroy of Yemen under Chosroes of Persia; after he had adopted Islam he was allowed by the Prophet to remain as Governor of Yemen. He was able to convert to Islam all the Persian colony in that province. Al-Aswad, the conjurer, had now killed Shahr, but soon after he was massacred by the Persians of Yemen.
The other two pretenders, Tulayha and Haroun by name, were not suppressed until after the death of the Prophet, during the reign of Abu Bakr. Haroun, better known as Mussaylamah, addressed to the Prophet a letter which ran as follows: "From Mussaylamah the Prophet of Allah, to Muhammad the Prophet of Allah. Peace be to you. I am your partner. Let the exercise of authority be divided between us. Half the earth will be mine, and half will belong to your Quraish. But the Quraish are too greedy to be satisfied with a just division." To this letter the Prophet replied as follows: "From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Mussaylamah the liar. Peace be to those who follow the right path. The earth belongs to Allah. It is He Who makes the reign whomsoever He pleases. Only those will prosper who fear the Lord."
The health of the Prophet grew worse. His last days were remarkable for the calmness and serenity of his mind. He was able, though weak and feeble, to lead the public prayers until within three days of his death. He requested that he might be permitted to stay at 'Aisha's house close to the mosque during his illness, an arrangement to which his other wives assented. As long as his strength lasted, he took part in the public prayers. The last time he appeared in the mosque he addressed the congregation, after the usual prayers were over, in the following words: "O Muslims, if I have wronged anyone of you, here I am to answer for it; if I owe anything to anyone, all I may happen to possess belongs to you." A man in the crowd rose and claimed three Dhirhams which he had given to a poor man at the request of the Prophet. They were immediately paid back with these words: "Better to blush in this world than in the next."
The Prophet then prayed and implored Allah's mercy for those who had fallen in the persecution of their enemies. He recommended to all his followers the observance of religious duties and the leading of a life of peace and goodwill. Then he spoke with emotion and with a voice still so powerful as to reach beyond the outer doors of the mosque: "By the Lord in Whose hand lies the soul of Muhammad as to myself, no man can lay hold on me in any matter; I have not made lawful anything excepting what Allah has made lawful; nor have I prohibited anything but that which Allah in His Book has prohibited."
Then turning to the women who sat close by, he exclaimed: "O Fatimah, my, daughter, and Safia, my aunt, work you both that which procure you acceptance with the Lord, for verily I have no power to save you in any wise." He then rose and re-entered the house of Aisha.
After this, the Prophet never appeared at public prayers. A few hours after he returned from the mosque, the Prophet died while laying his head on the bosom of Aisha. As soon as the Prophet's death was announced, a crowd of people gathered at the door of the house of Aisha, exclaiming: "How can our messenger be dead?" Umar said: "No, he is not dead; he will be restored to us, and those are traitors to the cause of Islam who say he is dead. If they say so let them be cut in pieces." But Abu Bakr entered the house at this moment, and after he had touched the body of the Prophet with a demonstration of profound affection, he appear at the door and addressed the crowd with the following speech: "O Muslims, if anyone of you has been worshipping Muhammad, then let me tell you that Muhammad is dead. But if you really do worship Allah then know that Allah is living and will never die. Do you forget the verse in the Quran: Muhammad is not more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn your back on your heels (as disbeliveers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful." (Ch 3:144 Quran). Upon hearing this speech of Abu Bakr, 'Umar acknowledged his error, and the crowd was satisfied and dispersed.
Al-Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, presided at the preparation for the burial, and the body was duly washed and perfumed. There was some dispute between the Quraish and the Ansars as to the place of burial; however, Abu Bakr settled the dispute by affirming that he had heard the Prophet say that a prophet should be buried at the very spot where he died. A grave was accordingly dug in the ground within the house of Aisha and under the bed on which the Prophet died. In this grave the body was buried, and the usual rites were performed by those who were present.
Thus ended the glorious life of that Prophet Muhammad.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.