The truce of Al-Hudeybia was indeed a blessing
in disguise. During the return journey to Medina
the chapter of the Quran headed Victory was
revealed. Therein the truce is called a signal
victory. War had been a barrier between the
Muslims and he idolaters Now both parties could
meet, with the ruslt that more entered the fold
of Islam in the two years between the truce and
the fall of Mecca than had done during all the
previous years since the Call. The Prophet had
travelled to Al-Hudeybia with only 1,400 men. He
was at the head of as many s 10,000 when he
marched against the Meccans two years later,
when the Meccans broke the truce.
A near victory and much booty had been promised
to the Muslims in the chapter Victory. This
promise was fulfilled in 7 A.H. in the campaign
against Khaibar. Khaibar was a fortified place,
the stronghold of the Jews, 3-4 days' journey to
the north east of Medina. The Jews made an
alliance with a big desert tribe to avenge their
previous defeat and exile from Medina. They had
a mind to fall on the Muslims unaware. But the
Prophet was ot the leader to be caught napping.
He marched his men against Khaibar and camped
near the place. The fight that followed was very
tough indeed as the Jews held very strong
positions. Ali played a very splendid part in
this campaign. Thereafter the Jews were obliged
to live as clients of the Muslims till their
formal expulsion from Arabia, in the Caliphate
of Omar, for continuing to persist in their evil
On return from Al-Hudeybia, the Prophet sent
envoys to invite neighbouring princes to embrace
Islam. The two most famous of these messages
were to Greek Emperor and the Emperor of Iran.
The Kisra behaved with insolence and
turned out the envoy from Medina with contempt.
He tore the Prophet's letter to pieces. When the
Prophet heard the news of this treatment he made
a remark which became a truth of history:
"Thus will the empire of the Kisra
be torn to pieces". Heraclius, on the other
hand, was polite and sent a discreet reply.
Another messenger was sent to the Ghassanid
prince, a vassal of Heraclius. The messenger,
against all custom and courtesy, was cruelly
murdered. Messages were also sent to the Negus
who accepted Islam; and to the King of Egypt who
sent suitable presents.
Towards the end of 7 A.H. the Prophet, which his
companions, journeyed to Mecca to perform the
deferred lesser pilgrimage -- 'Omra. As
promised at the truce, the Meccans vacated the
city for three days. They watched the Muslims
perform the sacred rites, from the neighbouring
hills. It was a strange sight. The piety and
self-control of the Muslims who ha the city at
their disposal for three days, deeply impressed
the Meccans. After this visit two of the great
Meccans accepted Islam. One was Khalid, perhaps
the greatest general of Islam. The other was 'Amar,
son of Al-As, the conqueror of Egypt in the days
of Caliph Omar. Yet another notable convert was
Uthman bin Talha.
In 8 A.H. the Prophet sent an expedition to
Mu'ta under Zaid, his freedman. The army
numbered 3,000. The Syrians had threatened to
attack Medina. The Arab chief of Busra had
killed the Muslim envoy, as mentioned earlier in
the chapter. As it was a hard job, the Prophet
gave detailed instructions. He nominated Jafar
and Abdullah bin Rawaha to take the lead, in
succession, in case Zaid died in action. The
Greek expire had mustered an army of 100,000.
Nothing daunted, the Muslims fought most
bravely. The three commanders fell in action one
after the other. Then came a special
manifestation of Divine grace. The dashing
Khalid assumed the command. So daring was he
that nine swords were broken in his hand in the
action. Not in vain did the Prophet bestow on
him the proud title of the Sword of Allah.
In the same year the Meccans broke the truce.
The Prophet at once ordered preparations for a
campaign against the Meccans. Adversity always
found him pepared. All precautions were taken
and everybody knew that he was to play a noble
part under their mighty and merciful leader. The
Quraish were to be punished into better ways.
The holy city was to be respected. The Prophet
so managed the disposition of his forces, and
the camp lights on hills at night, and the march
that the Quraish were amazed. Abu Sufian,
through the good offices of Abbas, now a Muslim,
offered to pay homage to the Prophet. He was
most generously received. The march began. The
captains had strict orders not to fight except
in sheer self-defence. The entry was bloodless.
There was a slight clash with the cloumn of
Khalid, his men being attacked by 'Ikrama, son
of Abu Jahl. 'Ikrama was most lucky for later on
he was pardoned, entered the fold and rendered
great services to Islam.
The head of the army of conquest, the Prophet of
Islam, was a picture of modesty and gratitude to
Allah. He was riding his camel, and with bowed
head reciting the chapter Victory. He went to
the Ka'ba and purified the sacred place of all
idols. As he touched each idol with his stick he
recited this verse of the Quran revealed long
since: "And say: Truth hath come and
falsehood hath vanished away. Lo! falsehod is
ever bound to vanish." Never since has any
image or idol found its way to the Holy House.
They entry into Mecca and the subsequent general
pardon of his life-long enemies by the Prophet
has no parallel in history. His enemies were at
his feet, speechless. The Prophet of mercy gave
them tongue. "What do you expect at my
hands?" was his leading question.
"Kindness and pity, gracious brother,
gracious nephew," was the voice of their
heart. And they were not disappointed. The
Prophet used the noble words of Joseph to his
brothers: "Have no fear this day. May Allah
forgive you, and He is the Most merciful of
those who show mercy."
The conquest was full of blessings. The Prophet
conquered the hearts of the Meccans even more
than their bodies by his most generous treatment
of bitter and life-long enemies. Some of the
Meccans remembered how Abraha had miserably
failed in his designs against the Ka'ba. The
Prophet's victory must be God-sent. They entered
the faith in large groups. The Prophet seated
himself at a prominent place on Safa to receive
their pledge. Men and women alike offered their
homage. Among the women was Hind, the terrible
lady who had plucked out, at Uhad, the liver of
Hamza and tried to eat it. She was forgiven by
the Prophet. There were some Meccans, and they
later fought side by side with the Muslims at
Hunain, who did not enter the fold of Islam at
the Conquest. They were left to become Muslims
later gradually, without compulsion. That is
proof positive, if one is needed at all, that no
ARab was ever forced to become, a Muslim.
"There is no compulsion in religion,"
says the Quran.
The conquest was soon followed by a bloody
battle at Hunain. The Hawazin and the Thaqif
resolved to strike a last blow at Islam. The
Prophet was too vigilant to give them leisure to
advance on Mecca. The Muslims gathered a large
army but many of them were fresh converts and
took things lightly. The enemy tribes, on the
other hand, were in dead earnest. As the Muslims
armypassed through a narrow defile the Hawazin
archers, excellent marksmen, worked havoc among
the Muslim ranks, causing a general stampede.
But the Prophet as usual stood his ground even
in this critical moment. He advanced towards the
enemy. His words rang forth: "I, grandson
of Abdul Muttalib, am the true messenger of
Allah!" Abbas also in a loud voice called
out to helpers and exiles who rallied round the
Prophet. So fierce was the Muslim charge now
that the enemy were put to rout.
One detachment of the enemy, mainly the Thaqif,
took refuge in their city of Taif. The rest fled
to a fortified camp in the vally of Autas. This
latter was easily captured by the Muslims. The
families of the Hawazin and all their belongings
and their flocks and herds fell into Muslim
hands. Taif was then besieged for a few days,
after which it was thought advisable to raise
the siege. While retiring the Prophet was
requested to, invoke a curse upon the Thaqif who
had once insulted and pelted him. That sort of
prayer was not to his taste. he rather prayed:
"O my Lord, make the Thaqif see the light
of the faith, and bring them to me!" The
prayer was heard, and before long the Thaqif
entered the fold of Islam of their own accord.
The Prophet distributed the booty among the
soldiers. One-fifth was set apart for the state.
A deputation of the Hawazin, not yet Muslims,
waited upon the Prophet for the relese of their
prisoners. The Prophet had pity on them and
advised them to repeat their request to all the
Muslims. He could by himself let go only the
prisoners falling to the share of his own
family. The Deputation did as they were bid.
When the Muslims found the Prophet so merciful
to the enemy they were prepared to forgo their
share also. Six thousand prisoners were set free
in a moment! Where could one quote from world
history an instance to amtch this generosity?
In 9 A.H. the Prophet led an expedition at the
head of 30,000 to Tabuk. News had arrived from
Syria that the Greek Emperor ahd the evil
intention of conquering Arabia. The Prophet
decided to give battle to the enemy on his own
ground. The "army of distress" is one
of the names given to this expedition. The days
were hard. It was midsummer. The date harvest
was almost ready. It was a long journey to an
enemy country. Much was noised abroad about the
enemy strength, in numbers and equipment. But
the Muslims, except the Hypocrites, got ready to
go. They handsomely contributed to the expenses.
Abu Bakr gave his all. Uthman gave 900 camels.
Woman offered their ornaments. One gift, by a
poor helper, found special favour with the
Prophet. He had worked overnight and earned two
seers of dates. One seer he kept for his family.
The second he placed at the feet of the Prophet.
The Prophet's face brightened: "Scatter
these dates over the other gifts, to bless
all." Here was appreciation indeed! The
arch began. Ali was left in charge of Medina.
After a long and hard journey a pleasant
surprise awaited the Muslim forces. The Emperor
was otherwise busy and there was no danger of an
invasion of Arabia. After a much-needed and
welcome rest-- there was plenty of water and
much forage at Tabuk -- of twenty days the
Prophet returned to Medina. He was accorded a
very warm welcome on his safe return. The
Hypocrites, now on their last legs, had tried to
spread rumours that the Muslims would be
destroyed in Syria.
A deputation from Taif waited upon the Prophet
after his return from tabuk. They were a
difficult people to deal with. They would have
an easy religion without devotion or real piety.
But the Prophet was gently firm. They were
satisfied. Their request was that they should
not themselves be made to pull down their idols.
Indeed this year is called the year of
Deputations. Several tribes and notable Arabs
waited upon the Prophet to pay homage or to make
peace with the Muslims. And where on earth could
they find so generous a host as the Prophet of
Islam? At his suggestion the principal citizens
lodged and entertained the visitors. They were
offered suitable gifts when they returned home.
The Christian deputation from Najran was
accommodated in the Mosque. Here also the
Prophet allowed them to conduct their prayers,
when it was the hour for Christian worship. The
Prophet had always a tender regard for the
feelings of others.
Towards the end of 9 A.H the Prophet sent a
group of pilgrims to Mecca, with Abu Bakr as
leader. After his departure some verses were
revealed concerning the Pilgrimage. A copy was
sent to Abu Bakr, through Ali, with the
direction that Ali should recite those verses to
the assembled pilgrims, Muslims and others
alike. The idolaters might no longer enter the
Harm, except the tribes who were allies of
Islam, till they treaty period was over. This
Declaration of Immunity, as it is called, marks
the end of idol-worship in Arabia. The idolaters
were given a proper and timely warning.
In 10 A.H. the Prophet made what later came to
be known as the farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. he
felt his end was near as his work had been done.
It was in that spirit that he set the model for
Hajj and spoke to the Muslims from Arafat as one
who takes leave of his friends, leaving them to
carry on the noble work after him.
It was a memorable address. It finds an echo in
every Muslim heart. He warned the large
audience, 124,000 strong; that it was their last
meeting with him in that place. They must mark
his words well toe pass them on to the
succeeding generations, in all times and climes.
he reminded them of their noble destiny as the Umma
of the Seal of the Prophets. They must hold fast
by the Quran, lest they should go astray. All
Muslims must respect the mutual rights of person
and property and honour as sacred. They must
treat their women-folk kindly. The slaves might
in no case be badly treated. Usury had no place
in Islam. Bloods feuds -- a legacy of the Days
of Ignorance -- were frowned upon. And the
Prophet did not merely preach these noble
precepts, he proceeded to put them into
practice, starting with his own kin. All claims
due to his uncle, Abbas, on account of usury,
were forgone. And so was the blood fued the
Bannu Hashim had against another tribe laid to
rest. Mankind was one -- they were all parts one
of another, as the limbs of a body. He enjoined
upon all the Muslims to propagate (pass on)
Islam to the best of their ability. In a lofty
mood he said, 'You will be asked concerning me
on the Last Day. What reply will you make?"
The pious audience shouted with one voice,
"You have done your duty and made plain the
message." The Prophet raised his finger
heaven-ward and said, "O Allah, be pleased
to bear witness to all this!" This was done
On this holy occasion a seal was set to his work
and position by this revelation: "This day
have I prefected your religion for you and
completed My favour unto you, and have chosen
for you as religion Al-Islam."
Soon after his return to medina he fell ill. But
he attended to his public duties to the last.
Indeed he had very busy ten years at Medina. He
led twenty-seven campaigns in person. The number
he planned is thirty-eight. He had changed th
face of Arabia. A land of idolatry and
superstition became the home of the
torch-bearers of light and learning. "For
the first time in history he made universal
human brotherhood a fact and principle of common
He had a high sense of his station, as an
individual, as the Prophet. When he lost his
infant son Ibrahim he shed tears. But he went up
the pulpit and declared that an eclipse is a
sign of God. The sun and the moon are not
eclipsed as sorrow for the death of the great.
Somebody had hinted that the sun was sorrowing
for his son. Here is his firm faith in his high
office. Mosailma the Liar, who pretended to be a
prophet, wrote to him asking to share the power
with him. Here was the dignified reply: "In
the name of Alalh, the Compassionate, the
Merciful, from Muhammad the Prophet of Allah, to
Mosailma the Liar. Peace is on those who follow
the right path. The earth belongs to Allah. He
bestows it on such of his servants as He
pleases. The Hereafter is for those who ward of
During this last illness at midnight he went to
the place where his companions rested in peace.
He invoked God's blessing on them. Though weak,
supported by Ali and Fazl, he found his way,
from Ayesha's house -- his choice during illness
-- to the Mosque to bless the living. He
comforted them. He was thre to answer if he had
wronged some one. he must pay if anything was
due from him. Three dirhems he owed were paid at
once. He taught them: "Better to blush in
this world than in the next." He exhorted
them to carry on his work after him. Almost to
the end he led the faithful in prayers. When he
was too weak for it, he entrusted the duty to
Abu Bakr, his life-long friend, and later his
The end came on Monday, June 8, 632 A.C. His
last advice was "Mind your prayers; take
care of the slaves." With la ilaha illa-Allah
in the agony of death -- and Ar Rafiq-al-Ala on
his lips, his heart lifted as ever to his Maker,
his pure spirit took flight to "the blessed
companionship on high."
Peace and blessings of Allah on Muhammad, the
Prophet of Islam!