Hijrah and After
Sprouting within most hostile environments, the sapling of Islam was nursed by the Prophet Muhammad (saws) and his companions with sweat and blood. Persecution, starvation, economic and social boycott did not unnerve them. The tenth year of Prophethood had more in store as calamity for the Prophet (saws), writes DR. ABDUL GHAFFAR KHAN.
In the early years of his Prophetic mission, Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, had found great support in Abu Talib and Khadijah. However, the tenth year of prophethood saw his bereavement with the passing away of both these strong pillars of support. This emboldened the Quraish to give full rein to their dirty designs and they unleashed atrocities in the fullest measures.
In view of circumstances prevailing in Makkah, he (saws) decided to try Taif with the hope of a better response from there. But the residents of Taif surpassed the Makkans in their tyranny. They threw pebbles and stones, grievously injuring him. He (saws) bled profusely. Whenever he (saws) tried to sit down for rest, the hooligans would harass him, force him to stand up and would again resort to stoning. He (saws) returned after undergoing a lot of suffering and pain. Opposition in Makkah was as strong as ever; rather, it became even more fierce.
With such kind of response, he (saws) decided to contact other tribes. Hajj season was the most appropriate occasion for such a campaign. Hence, whenever people used to arrive for Hajj, he (saws) would visit them and invite them towards Islam. God willed so that, in spite of Quraish protestations, a few people reverted to Islam. Six Madinese were the first of the new converts. The next year saw twelve more persons embracing Islam.
The Islamic mission caught further momentum at Madinah the next year thereafter when seventy two males and two women joined the faith. They solemnly promised to provide all kinds of assistance if he (saws) chose to migrate to Madinah. The Quraish became extremely furious when they learnt about this. They called an assembly to decide the future course of action. Ultimately, they concurred that the matter had gone beyond control and the only way of curbing the movement was by assassinating him (saws). One night, several prominent Quraishis besieged his home. However, Allah desired not only to rescue him (saws) but also ensured that the message of His faith spread far and wide. Hence, He apprised him (saws) of the proposed bid of assassination through a revelation.
Asking Ali to sleep in his bed, he (saws) reached the home of his trusted lieutenant, Abu Bakr, in secrecy. He made arrangements for mounts and provisions for the journey and then both of them left for Madinah. But the Quraish were on their trail and declared rewards for his arrest. Hence, they took shelter in the cave Thawr close to Makkah for three days and, once convinced of their safety, continued their march to Madinah. For a few days he (saws) stayed at Quba and built a mosque there and then reached Madinah and lodged himself in Abu Ayub Ansari’s home. His arrival made people jubilant. Women as well as children flocked to greet him (saws) and began expressing their joy:
The full moon has emerged upon us from the vales of Thaniyyah.
Thanks is obligatory whenever a suppliant supplicates Allah.
O, the one raised amongst us, you have brought a message worth following.
Soon after, a few more Muslims arrived from Makkah and began living in peace.
Battle of Badr (2 H)
Arrival at Madinah brought some respite bringing them peace and security for a while. But, how could the Quraish let them live in peace! Hence, they would instigate the Jews or would provoke the hypocrites brewing mischief every day. When this did not satisfy their wrath they decided to wage a war and with a large force attacked Madinah in 2 AH. Muslims were quite few in number.
Mustering a few migrant Muslims and a few helpers of Madinah totaling to a paltry strength of 313 he (saws) marched to fight the aggressors. The two parties met at the hill of Badr. The Muslims were in great distress worried about their poor strength of 313 against a large force of thousands. They had neither mounts nor did they have proper arms and weapons (of war). Yet, these devotees of Allah were fully confident and without any hesitation jumped into the fray. The Prophet (saws) fell into prostration and with utmost humility supplicated to Allah. The prayer was answered and Allah helped the Muslims. On one side was a group of helpers and distressed migrants pitted against a horde of Quraish. Who could predict that victory would smile on them? One who fully submits to Allah; He favours them with His bounties. Within a few hours the Quraish met humiliating defeat.
This battle claimed several of their seasoned soldiers. Abu Jahl, who was foremost in his hatred of the Prophet (saws), was killed. In addition, seventy were taken as prisoners of war. They were great enemies who had persecuted him and had let loose terror on the Muslims while in Makkah. Had it been some other group; it would have taken full vengeance on their former oppressors. But the Prophet (saws) was very noble and kind. He (saws) did not subject them to any kind of inconvenience and instructed the Muslims not to cause any kind of harm to the prisoners. Those who were not adequately clothed were provided with proper garments. While the companions used to depend on dates as meals; the prisoners were supplied with bread. Keeping them in custody for a few days they were released after receiving ransom.
Uhud (3 H)
When the news of Badr defeat reached Makkah every home got plunged in gloom. Those who lost their kinsmen gathered together and came to Abu Sufyan. He too had lost his own kinsmen. Hence it became his bounden duty to seek revenge as he was a prominent leader of the Quraish. All of them contributed sums for preparation of war on a large scale. A force, 3000 strong, marched towards Madinah the very next year, 3 AH. They pitched their tents near the mountain of Uhud.
When the Prophet (saws) heard about their arrival, he (saws) discussed the matter with companions and led his force of a thousand warriors to fight the aggressors. On their way to Uhud 300 hypocrites led by Abdullah bin Ubayy withdrew from among them leaving the strength to a mere 700. When the actual combat was about to begin he (saws), stationed a few archers at the rear which was the probable direction from which enemy was likely to launch attack. This group was under the command of Abdullah bin Jubair with the instructions to remain firmly at their positions irrespective of the result of the war they should not desert their positions.
The war began. The Muslims fought with courage and determination causing the enemy run helter-skelter. When the archers atop the hill saw their flight they ran down to collect booty. Seeing their positions deserted Khalid bin Walid launched attack from that side. The Muslims were busy collecting booty hence they could not offer resistance.
A considerable number fell as martyrs. During such melee a rumour spread that the Prophet (saws) also fell a martyr. This rumour made Muslims totally demoralized and they got routed. But this made a few Muslims even more determined and enthusiastic and they continued the fight till one companion could see the Prophet (saws) alive and he shouted in order to apprise his colleagues that the Prophet (saws) was there – still alive. The Muslims heaved a sigh of relief and they rushed towards him. When the enemy saw such spectacle, they besieged him from all the sides. But the Muslims fought valiantly while shielding him.
Abu Dujanah Ansari used to receive all the arrows on his own back whereas Talha received the thrusts of the enemy swords on his hand which ultimately became permanently damaged. Thus the Muslims bravely suffered the onslaught and shielded the Prophet (saws). In spite of this he (saws) suffered wounds and climbed the hill with his valiant companions. Abu Sufyan had believed that Muhammad (saws) had fallen a martyr. Ascending a mound (plateau) he called Abu Bakr and Umar. When he learnt that the Prophet (saws) was still alive he declared that the revenge of Badr was accomplished and next year they would come again to Badr to fight (the Muslims). The Prophet (saws) asked the companions to tell him that the challenge was accepted.
This battle took a toll of seventy Muslims (who fell as martyrs). The Muslims had behaved decently with Badr captives; but the disbelievers did not spare even the dead ones from their atrocities. Corpses were dismembered. Their noses and ears were severed; bellies ripped open; livers were torn out and chewed. Thus they demonstrated all kinds of savagery they were capable of.
The Ditch (5 H)
Prior to the Prophet’s (saws) arrival at Madinah the Jews enjoyed prominence. They were held in high esteem because of their faith and affluence. When the Muslims reached Madinah and Islam began to spread far and wide; the prominence and the esteem the Jews enjoyed earlier came to an end. This made them surpass the Quraish in the hatred for Muslims. They tried their best to weaken the Muslims. The tribe of Banu Nadhir was foremost in their enmity. Hence, the Prophet (saws) drove them away from Madinah and they settled at Khaybar. After their arrival there they hatched a sinister conspiracy. The Quraish were former enemies of the Muslims hence it was not very difficult to win them to their side. They readily joined Banu Nadhir to fight against the Prophet (saws). Inviting other tribes to join the confederation they amassed a strength of 24,000 soldiers and launched campaign towards Madinah.
Since the Muslim had never fought so strong a force; hence, when apprised of the imminent attack he (saws) called a meeting of the companions to discuss their strategy. Salman Farsi suggested to dig a ditch around the entire city to check the enemy from attacking Madinah. The suggestion was warmly appreciated and accordingly, a ditch was made to defend the city. When the enemy arrived they found the ditch a great obstacle to their plan. They besieged the city as the last resort. This period brought the Muslims a lot of suffering as their provisions began to dwindle and they had to face starvation for several days. The hypocrites deserted under one pretext or the other.
The enemy used to rain arrows and stones from across the other sides of the ditch. The siege continued for a month. The Muslim remained firm and steadfast against all odds by conviction of their faith in Allah’s help. After one month Allah showed His mercy by causing dissidence in the enemy camp. In addition, a strong stormy wind caused havoc on the enemy camp uprooting their tents and turning their utensils topsy turvey. This demoralised them and they retreated in utter frustration.
Hudaibiyyah Peace Treaty
Makkah was the home from where the Muslims were compelled to migrate because of oppression. They had several relatives still residing there. Quite a few Muslims had come alone leaving their children behind. Several years had elapsed since their departure from Makkah which made them homesick. They used to recall memories of their happier days spent there. Ka’aba was their Qiblah to which they used to turn in prayers. They were deprived of the privilege of visiting Ka’aba and performing Hajj. Hence one year after the campaign of the Ditch, the Prophet (saws) marched towards Makkah with a band of 1,400 companions with no intention to fight the Quraish but to perform the `Umrah. Doning the Ihram, the sacrificial animals taken along with them, they marched towards Makkah.
But the enemy was bent upon mischief. Before he (saws) could arrive at Makkah they advanced forward to obstruct his march at Hudaibiyyah. Though assured time and again about their intention of performing only `Umrah without any desire to fight; the enemy was adamant unwilling to relent.
Uthman was deputed to negotiate the matter. A rumour got in circulation that he was martyred causing great distress to the Prophet (saws). Immediately a pledge of allegiance under a tree was taken to avenge the murder before returning to Madina. This pledge is known as Bai`at-ur-Ridhwan. Later on the rumour proved to be false. Hence, once again negotiations were resumed. At last a peace treaty was agreed upon after prolonged discussions. The conditions of the peace treaty were:
1) Muslims should return that year and come again the next year without any arm or weapon except a sheathed sword. They would be allowed to stay in Makkah for three days during which period the Quraish shall evacuate the place.
2) Either party was free to sign agreement with any other group.
3) A Quraish would be restored back to the Makkans if he met anyone without proper permission but if a Muslim came to a Quraish he would not be allowed to return.
4) Peace shall be maintained for a period of ten years. There shall be no war during this period.
The third clause of this agreement did not seem quite favourable (to Muslims). But, in fact, it had far reaching significance. For the Quraish such neo-Muslim was a persona non grata (i.e. worthless). They preferred to keep him as far as possible because they always nursed a fear from this neo-Muslim. This is how it ultimately happened. The Quraishites who reverted to Islam were not allowed to stay in Madinah under this clause but they did not want to return to Makkah among the non-believers. Hence they were compelled to form a separate group of their own and began attacking the Quraish caravans which caused the Quraish substantial discomfiture and they themselves approached the Prophet (saws) to delete this clause from the agreement.
Epistles to kings inviting them to Islam (6 AH)
Immediately after the Hudaibiyyah peace treaty when the Prophet (saws) had some respite from the mischiefs of the Makkah non-believers; he (saws) sent letters to the rulers of the states in neighbourhood of Madinah inviting them to embrace Islam. Dihya Kalbi was sent as an embassy to the Qaisar of Rome; Abdullah bin Huzaifa was sent to Khusro Parwez the king of Iran; Hatib bin Balt`ah was deputed to the Ruler of Egypt while Umar bin Umayyah was sent to Najjashi, the ruler of Abyssinia. Sulait bin Umar was sent to the noblemen of Yamama whereas Shuja` bin Wahab was entrusted with the responsibility to carry the letters to Harith Ghassani.
The Battle of Khaybar (7 H)
Khaybar was the military base of the Jews situated between Madinah and Syria. They had several forts in the region. Wherever the Muslims used to reach they compelled the Jews to leave the place and march to Khaybar for asylum. The local chieftains used to incite the Arab noblemen to wage a war against the Muslims. The Prophet (saws) tried his best to reach to an accord (agreement) with them but they remained adamant. This made a war necessary. Hence the Muslims launched a campaign towards Khaybar in the last days of the 6th AH (or in the beginning of the 7th AH). The Jews fortified themselves and began defending. The Muslims had to fight for each fort and occupy it. It took several weeks to finally conquer the entire region. The number of Jews killed in this victory was 93. After their defeat the Jews were allowed to carry on farming their fields on their own request; while the Muslims had to be content with the proprietory rights.
Conquest of Makkah (8 H)
Allah had assigned the Prophet (saws) three tasks:
(1) to propagate monotheism;
(2) to bring to an end worship of the idols, and
(3) to cleanse His House, the Ka’aba of the filth of 360 idols.
But the Quraish, so far, did not allow him to accomplish the task. The Prophet (saws) did not expedite the matter because of the ten year embargo provided in the Hudaibiya pact. But by a breach of the pact the Quraish compelled the Prophet (saws) to launch an offensive against the Makkans. The tribe of Bani Khuza`a was an ally of the Muslims and the Quraish had no right to raise sword against them. But for their ally Bani Bakr who was Bani Khuza`a’s enemy, they attacked Bani Khuza`a along with Bani Bakr. The unfortunate (Bani Khuza`a) were slain in the very precincts of the holy Haram.
In spite of such treachery the prophet (saws) did not avenge the murder of his allies. He (saws) sent them message to either pay compensation (blood money) for the victims or break their alliance with Bani Bakr; or unambiguously declare that the pact had come to an end. To this the Quraish replied that the pact had come to an end. This declaration compelled him to march towards Makkah in the Ramadhan of 8th AH along with a force of ten thousand companions. Things had totally changed. Muslims had become strong (in number) and had also acquired weapons of war.
The Quraish did not have the strength to resist their march. Hence, after a minor skirmish the Muslims gained entry frightening the strong men among the Quraish by the show of their might and grandeur. However, the Prophet (saws) consoled them that there was no need to become frightened. After entering the Ka’aba, he (saws) first of all performed circumambulation of the Ka’aba and then got the idols (housed within) thrown away. After this he (saws) got all the residents of Makkah assemble at one place and gave a short sermon. This was an unusual event. There was a time when he (saws) was compelled to leave Makkah as a helpless miserable person. Every Quraish child was blood thirsty, bent upon to slay him. The changed circumstances had brought him with ten thousand followers willing to sacrifice every single drop of their blood for him. All the enemy leaders were face to face before him.
There was an opportunity to avenge in every possible manner each and every atrocity they had suffered at the hands of the Quraish who could be beheaded by a single signal of his finger. But he (saws) was sent as an angel of peace and mercy for all. How could he (saws) turn a tyrant? He (saws) granted each one of them complete amnesty forgiving all the sins (and tortures) and declared: “All of you are free now.”
Abu Sufyan was the staunchest enemy of Islam who tried to harm Islam at every step (and each stage). He was in the forefront at the time of each battle. He too was granted complete amnesty. Not only this; every one who had taken shelter in his home was also given amnesty. The Quraish were greatly impressed by such magnanimity and kindness. They embraced Islam in large numbers.
While he (saws) was still at Makkah it was informed that the tribes of Saqif and Hawazin were bent upon mischief. Immediately he (saws) marched towards them. A battle was fought at Hunayn. The Muslims had strength of 12,000 soldiers and were well- equipped with arms and weapons. The People nursed a feeling that when they could win battles while quite few in number and without good weapons, with such strong force they had become invincible Allah did not approve of such over confidence (and vain pride) and in their very first attack they suffered defeat. Only the Prophet (saws) and a few of his chosen companions could hold the ground and remained firm at their positions. Seeing such pandemonium Abbas was asked to summon people.
As soon as they heard him (Abbas) everyone turned back and within no time the situation got totally changed and the enemy was routed. After the end of the battle 6000 prisoners of war, 24,000 camels and 40,000 goats along with 4000 silver coins (Naqiya) were the spoils of this war. After their defeat at Hunain the enemy flocked together in the fort of Taif and began preparing for war. Hence the Prophet (saws) turned towards Taif after the Hunayn conquest. After besieging the fort for a few days, he (saws) returned.
Battle of Tabuk (9 AH)
Tabuk is in between Madinah and Damascus (in Syria). A rumour spread in wide circulation among the Madinan Muslims that the Romans were launching an attack on Madinah with the Sakham and Jazam tribes as allies. This prompted the Prophet (saws) to march towards Tabuk in the 9th AH. Since the Muslims were already in confrontation with the Syrians they did not doubt the accuracy of the news. The prophet (saws) had ordered preparation for the offensive.
The year had witnessed severe drought conditions that year. The summer had been exceptionally hot which made it extremely difficult for people to participate. This gave the hypocrites an opportunity to parade their excuses. They secretly tried to persuade the Muslims to desist from participation.
The Muslims were already in dire straits. Famine had further made matters worse. Hence the Prophet (saws) asked for collecting contribution from all the Arabian tribes. Affluent companions made generous contributions. Uthman offered 300 loaded camels. Yet several companions were unable to join because of straitened circumstances. The Qur’an granted them exemption from participation in Jihad in view of their difficulties. Appointing Ali as his deputy during his absence the Prophet (saws) marched with a force of 30,000 soldiers. When they arrived at Tabuk they found that the news of Roman attack was not totally correct though it was not false either. A Ghassani chief was conspiring with the Arabs.
The Prophet (saws) waited for twenty days. During this period an officer of Ila Yuhanna; and the Christians of Jarba and Zarah reported their presence and agreed to pay Jizyah. The Arab chief of Doomat-ul-Jandal was a subordinate of Qaisar. The Prophet (saws) sent Khalid to arrest him. He arrested him but released him on the condition of reporting before the Prophet (saws). Since no further confirmation of Roman attack was received hence the Muslim force returned having stayed there for twenty days.
Last Pilgrimage (10 H)
The conquest of Makkah removed a great impediment the Muslims used to face and within a few days people began flocking to embrace Islam. In the 10th year of Hijrah the Prophet (saws) decided to perform Hajj which is called Hajjat-ul-Vida` (the Farewell Pilgrimage) because this was his last pilgrimage. When the news spread everywhere people from distant places began marching to accompany him. In a very short period the number rose to more than one lakh pilgrims. After completion of Hajj he (saws) delivered his famous sermon. He declared:
“People listen carefully and remember well perhaps there may not be another chance to meet you all. The way you highly esteem this day, this month and this place, in the same manner, regard the life (blood), wealth and dignity of a Muslim forbidden for other.
Allah will reckon each deed you perform. Don’t go astray after my demise so as to begin killing one another. The rights you have on the women they too have similar rights on you. Be considerate (lenient) towards them and treat them with kindness and fearing Allah honour their rights.
Treat your slaves well. Feed them what you yourself eat and dress them in costumes which you like for yourself. Forgive them if they are guilty of some lapse or leave them alone. They too are Allah’s slaves. Any kind of oppression is not permitted.”
“Neither the Arab has excellence over a non-Arab nor is a non-Arab superior to an Arab. All Muslims are mutually brothers to each one. You are forbidden to take anything from anyone as long as he does not volunteer it to you.”
“See, do not resort to injustice. I am leaving behind to you one thing, if you hold it steadfastly, it shall not allow you to be misled, it is the Qur’an.”
“Sincerity in actions (deeds); welfare of your Muslim brothers and unity among the followers are three things which keep the hearts pure.”
“You must convey what I say to those who are not present here because after listening from others many people retain them better (in memory) than those who actually learn (hear) in person.”
After the end of the sermon, he (saws) enquired “what shall you say when Allah will ask you on the Judgement Day whether I faithfully conveyed you all the Divine Injunctions to you. People answered (unanimously): We are witness that you (saws) conveyed Allah’s Divine Injunctions and faithfully discharged your responsibility. Hearing this he (saws) pointed towards the sky and said thrice, “Oh, Allah, you are witness!” He (saws) left for Madinah later on.
The Prophet’s (saws) Demise
At the time of Hajjat-ul-Vida` (Farewell Pilgrimage) was revealed the last verse of the Qur’an which declared:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
This clearly indicated that his assignment in the world had been accomplished and his presence in the world was no longer necessary. Because the mission with which he (saws) was charged had been attained. Hence, two months later, i.e. during the last days of Safar he (saws) was taken ill and the fever continued rising day by day. Ultimately, at the age of 63 years, he (saws) breathed his last on the Monday, 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal.
As soon as the news of his (saws) demise spread in Madinah the whole city plunged into gloom. Persons of strong will power (and courage) became utterly shocked and dumbfounded. While Ali sat down confounded where he was. Uthman was in a state of shock.
Abdullah bin Anees died in a state of sudden shock. Umar first did not trust the news but when he was gradually made to believe the fact became unconscious and fell down. However, after some time when people realized the fact (and reluctantly accepted it) they began making arrangements for his shrouding and burial. Hence he (saws) was buried in `A’isha’s hospice on Tuesday, the following day. He (saws) was 63 years old at the time of his demise.
Impact of Islam
It has already been discussed the kind of life existed in Arabia and else where prior to the advent of Islam. 23 years is not too long a period but these years changed the entire scenario. There were neither thieves nor bandits. Neither dacoity was reported from any quarter nor was a fort ransacked. Devout and pious slaves of Allah inhabited the land. Peace prevailed through out the length and breadth of the country. An old woman would cover distance from Yeman’s San`a to Makkah without any obstruction or fear of being robbed in spite of the gold she would possess.
Booty received would remain lying in the mosque verandah without any one required to guard it. No one would bother to cast a glance over it whether it was a lump of gold or a mound of earth. While brothers used to kill each other in the past; the situation changed so drastically that even strangers were regarded closer than relatives. Love replaced hatred every where. Wine, which was their boon companion in the past, found none to crave it. Gambling which was their favourite pastime through out the day and night had totally vanished. Dens of evil ceased to exist. Fairs and celebrations came to an abrupt end. While the idols were shattered the temples wore deserted look. Neither the tree nor were the stones worshipped. There were no prostrations on the graves nor were the chiefs and kings greeted with prostrations. Only one Allah was chanted and revered every where.
Faith strengthened people’s courage. The poor and helpless Arabs who used to survive by grazing the goats and camels began planning ambitious projects of capturing thrones and conquering empires. Those who used to tremble at the mention of the names of Caesar and Chosroes (of Rome and Iran) and who used to spend sleepless nights fearing the Ghassanids were now in a position to occupy their thrones. Where absolute poverty used to reign forcing people to be content with camel milk and a few dates and where people would starve for several days; with in a few days witnessed an abundance of wealth that there was none to accept charity.
It is worth while to ponder what transformed in such a short duration. Who else could be instrumental in transmuting the land and people than the Prophet Muhammad (saws)?