Mecca and Tabuk

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The Conquest Of Mecca

According to the terms of the treaty of Hudaibiya the Arab tribes had the option to be allied with the  Quraish or the Muslims. As a consequence the Banu Bakr joined the Quraish, and the Khuza'ah joined the  Muslims. 

In disregard of the treaty, Banu Bakr attacked the Khuza'ah and even when the Khuza'ah sought the  sanctuary of the Ka'aba, many persons of the Khuza'ah were chased and put to death. 

The Khuza'ah wanted the Muslims to come to their aid in accordance with the terms of the treaty. The  Holy Prophet gave an ultimatum to the Quraish making three alternative demands, i.e. 

  1. to pay the blood money for the victims; 
  2. to terminate their alliance with Banu Bakr; or 
  3. to consider the Hudaibiya pact to be abrogated. 

In a fit of arrogance the Quraish replied that they would neither pay blood money, nor terminate their  alliance with Banu Bakr, and that they were prepared to consider the Hudaibiya pact as having been  abrogated. 

The Muslims in general and Umar in particular were happy that the Hudaibiya pact of which they were  critical had been abrogated by the Quraish themselves. 

The Quraish soon realized that they had imprudently abrogated the treaty. Abu Sufiyan the leader of the  Quraish visited Madina to arrive at some amicable settlement. He wanted his daughter who was a wife of  the Holy Prophet to plead for him with the Prophet but she refused. Abu Sufiyan waited on Abu Bakr and  Ali but they did not listen to him. He sought the help of Umar, and Umar made him understand that there  could no longer be any reconciliation with the Quraish unless they accepted Islam. The peace efforts  having proved futile, Abu Sufiyan returned to Mecca. 

After Abu Sufiyan had left Madina, the Holy Prophet ordered preparations to be made for a foray. As Umar  came to see his daughter Hafsa, he saw that she was packing some goods. He enquired whether Holy  Prophet had ordered her to get things packed up, and she said that he had. Later the Holy Prophet took  Umar into confidence and told him that he was leading an expedition to Mecca, and that he was also to  accompany him. 

The Holy Prophet mustered a force over ten thousand strong and marched to Mecca. Having reached the  neighborhood of Mecca the Muslim army encamped at Marr al-Zahran 

The Holy Prophet sent Hadrat Abbas to Mecca on a diplomatic mission. Hadrat Abbas met Abu Sufiyan and  advised him that the best course for him and the Quraish was to place themselves at the mercy of the  Holy Prophet. Abu Sufiyan agreed to wait on ~he Holy Prophet to get terms. 

Umar saw Abbas and Abu Sufiyan proceeding to the camp of the Holy Prophet. Hadrat Umar strode  forward Hurriedly, and addressing the Holy Prophet said. "Permit me to behead Abu Sufiyan the enemy of  Islam." The Holy Prophet said, "Umar, wait for a while and see." 

At the Muslim camp, Abu Sufiyan was converted to Islam. That was the end of the Quraish opposition. 

The following day the Muslim army marched triumphantly into Mecca. One of the contingents was lead by  Umar. 

The triumphant entry of the Muslims in Mecca marked the vindication of the truth of Islam. The city which  ten years ago had treated the Muslims cruelly, and had driven them to seek refuge with strangers, now  lay at the feet of the Muslims. 

In the hour of triumph the Holy Prophet forgot every evil suffered, and forgave every injury that had been  inflicted on him. He granted general amnesty to the people of Mecca. 

The Holy Prophet along with his companions visited the Ka'aba. The idols were broken, and one by one  the stone gods were destroyed. Thereupon the Holy Prophet recited the verse from the Holy Qumran: 

"Say the Truth is come and falsehood gone; Verily falsehood is ever vanishing." 

The people assembled at the Ka'aba, and the Holy Prophet delivered the following address: 

"There is no god but Allah. He has no associate. He has made good His promise that He held to his  bondman and helped him and defeated all the confederates. Bear in mind that every claim of privilege,  whether that of blood or property is abolished except that of the custody of the Ka'aba and of supplying  water to the pilgrims. Bear in mind that for any one who is slain the blood money is a hundred camels.  People of Quraish, surely God has abolished from you all pride of the time of ignorance and all pride in  your ancestry, because all men are descended from Adam, and Adam was made of clay." Then the Holy  Prophet turning to the people said: 

"O ye Quraish, what do you think of the treatment that I should accord you.?" 

And they said, "Mercy, O Prophet of Allah. We expect nothing but good from you." 

Thereupon the Holy Prophet declared: 

"I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke to his brothers. This day there is no reproof against  you; Go your way, for you are free." 

The announcement was received with greatest joy and applause. Then accompanied by Umar the Holy  Prophet ascended the brow of the Safa to initiate the people to the vow of allegiance to Islam. The  people came in large numbers to be converted to Islam. After the oath-taking ceremony of men was over,  the Holy Prophet directed Umar to take the oath of allegiance from women on his behalf. All the Quraish  ladies in Mecca took the oath of allegiance to Allah, the Holy Prophet and Islam at the hands Umar.

Battle Of Hunain And Taif

After the fall of Mecca, the neighboring tribes of Howazin and Sagef had to choose between Islam and  war against Muslims. They chose the war path, and the two tribes along with their allies mustered in  considerable strength at Autas to the west of Mecca. The coalition was led by Malik bin Auf a fiery  commander of considerable skill. 

When the Holy Prophet came to know of the hostile intention of the tribes, he decided to take action  against them. On a cold day in January 630 A.D. the Muslim forces set out from Mecca. The army consisted  of 12,000 persons fully armed. Out of these 10,000 were from Madina who had attacked Mecca and 2,000  were the newly converted Muslims from Mecca. 

As on the way to Autas the Muslim army passed through the valley of Hunain, some eleven miles north  east of Mecca, a rain of arrows fell on the Muslims let loose by a group of archers of the hostile tribes who  lay hid in the mountain pass. Taken unawares the advance guard of the Muslim army fled in panic. There  was considerable confusion, and camels, horses and men ran into one another to seek cover. 

The Holy Prophet stood firm. There were only nine companions around him including Umar. All the rest had  fled. Under the instructions of the Holy Prophet, Abbas shouted at the top of his voice, "O Muslims, come  to the Prophet of Allah". 

The call was heard by the Muslim soldiers, and they gathered round the Holy Prophet. When the Muslims  had gathered in sufficient number, the Holy Prophet ordered a charge against the enemy. In the hand to  hand fight that followed, the tribes were routed and they fled to Autas. 

The Holy Prophet posted a contingent to guard the Hunain pass, and led the main Muslim army to Autas.  In the confrontation at Autas, the tribes could not withstand the Muslim onslaught. Finding the resistance  useless the tribes broke the camp and retired to Taif. 

From Autas the Muslim forces set out for Taif. The tribes shut themselves in the fort and refused to come  out in the open. The Muslims employed catapults to throw stones in the town, but this did not lead to any  tangible results. The Muslims tried the tostado device "hereunder a group of soldiers shielded by a cover  of cowhide advanced to set fire to the gate. The enemy threw red hot scraps of iron on the tostado which  made it ineffective. 

The siege dragged on for two weeks, and still there was no sign of the fall of the fort. The Holy Prophet  held a council of war. The companions including Umar advised that the siege might be raised and that God  would Himself make arrangements for the fall of the fort. 

The advice was accepted, and in February 630 the siege of Taif was raised, and the Muslim army returned  to Mecca. A few days later, Malik bin Auf came to Mecca of his own accord and became a Muslim. Thus God  Himself arranged for the surrender of Taif to Islam.

Expedition To Tabuk

In A.D. 630 the Holy Prophet decided to lead an expedition to Tabuk on the Syrian border. In order to  finance the expedition the Holy Prophet invited contributions and donations from his followers. 

Umar had then considerable wealth with him, and he thought that was the occasion for him to excel Abu  Bakr in the matter of donation in the way of God. 

Umar went home and he returned loaded with considerable wealth. When the Holy Prophet asked him  how much he had left for himself and his family, he said that he had given one half of his wealth in the  way of Allah, and had left one half for himself and his dependents. The Holy Prophet was much pleased at  the contribution, and he thanked Umar profusely. 

Then Abu Bakr came carrying his contribution, and the Holy Prophet put to him the same question as to  how much wealth he had left for himself and his family. Abu Bakr said, "I have brought all that I had. I  have left Allah and His Prophet for myself and my family." 

This episode has formed the theme of one of the poems of Allama Iqbal. The last verse of the poem  reads: 

"For the moth the lamp, and for the nightingale the flower, 

For Siddiq, God and His Prophet alone suffice." 

The call to arms was given at a very inconvenient time. The weather was burning hot. Crops were ripe  and ready for harvesting. The journey to the Syrian border was long and arduous. Many persons  preferred to stay back. In spite of obstacles and difficulties, an army of thirty thousand persons was  raised. 

The Muslim army reached Tabuk after a weary march. 

There was no Byzantine force to meet the Muslims. On coming to know of the advance of the Muslim army,  the Byzantines had withdrawn their army well within Syria. The Muslims achieved their object without  firing a shot. 

The Byzantines who had at one time threatened to invade Arabia were no longer in the mood to measure  swords with the Muslims. The tribes in the region which were under the paramountcy of the Byzantines  transferred their allegiance to the Muslims. 

At Tabuk, the Holy Prophet delivered a classical address which has passed into history. He said: 

"Verily the most veracious discourse is the Book of Allah. 
The most trusty stronghold is the word of piety. 
The best of religions Is the religion of Islam. 
The best of the precedents is the precedent of Muhammad. 
The noblest speech is the invocation of Allah. 
The finest of the narratives is the Quran. 
The best of the affairs is that which has been firmly resolved upon. 
The worst in religion are those things which are created without sanction. 
The best of the ways is the one trodden by the Prophets. The noblest death is the death of a martyr. 
The most miserable blindness is the waywardness after guidance. 
The best of the actions is that which is beneficent. 
The best guidance is that which is put into practice. 
The worst blindness is the blindness of the heart."

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