As in the Battle of Badr, the month of Ramadan was the time in which Allah granted the believers their biggest victory ever. In the eighth year of Hijrah in the Islamic calendar, Allah (Glory be to Him) delivered the sacred city of Makkah to the Muslims, virtually without any resistance or bloodshed. With this victory Allah rescued this great city from the yoke of shirk (polytheism); it became an Islamic city forever, the city in which tawhid replaced shirk and belief replaced disbelief, and Islam and submission to Allah unseated obstinacy and haughtiness. The worship of Allah was finally declared and the idols were smashed.
During 6th year of Hijrah, the Messenger of Allah and the Quraysh signed the famous treaty of Hudaybiyah, which included the clause that any tribe that desired to join either party, the Quraysh or Muslims might do so. The Khuza`ah tribesmen decided to join the Messenger of Allah, and Banu Bakar decided to join the Quraysh.
There was bad blood between the two tribes, a pre-Islamic blood grudge. Banu Bakar seized on this opportunity and attacked the Khuza`ah without any provocation, while Quraysh, in violation of the treaty, secretly gave their allies all the help they asked for, men and supplies.
Khuza’ah had no choice but to inform the Messenger, their ally, that Banu Bakar and their allies Quraysh had unilaterally broken the treaty of Hudaybiyah by attacking them. The Messenger promised them, “I will prevent from you what I will prevent from myself.” (Reported by Ibn Hisham)
The Quraish realized they had broken the treaty with the Messenger by attacking the Muslims’ allies. Realizing the gravity of the situation, they dispatched Abu Sufyan to Madinah on a mission of fence-mending and to beg for mercy and apologize for their misdeed. Upon his arrival Abu Sufyan went to his daughter Umm Habeebah (may Allah be pleased with her) the Prophet’s wife, and when he wanted to sit on the Messenger’s Carpet she folded it up so that he could not sit on it.
“My dear daughter,” he asked, “I hardly know if you think that the carpet is too good for me or that I am too good for the carpet!” She responded, “This is the Messengers carpet and you are a dirty polytheist. I do not want you to sit on the Messenger’s carpet.”
Abbu Sufyan knew then that this mission was impossible. He then went to meet the Messenger to apologize, review and extend the treaty. He spoke to the Messenger (Peace be upon him) but he was disappointed because he got no response.
His request was met with total rejection as he attempted to enlist the help of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Ali respectively. As the gates closed in his face, he returned to ‘Ali for advice. ‘Ali said he knew no measure that would correct the explosive situation.
Finally, Abu Sufyan returned to Makkah totally disheartened because he knew the future was bleak. When he arrived in Makkah, the Quraysh gathered around to find out the result of his mission. “Totally unsuccessful,” he told them. He narrated how his efforts with the Messenger, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and ‘Ali were met with total rejection.
‘Ali was the most polite of all. Therefore, He again went to ‘Ali before he headed home and asked for advice. ‘Ali told him since he was the chief of Banu Kinanah, he could invoke on behalf of his tribe willingness to make peace with Muhammad.
Abu Sufyan asked ‘Ali whether that would be of any use, and ‘Ali replied that he was not sure, but he could have nothing to tell him until after the Messenger had decided what to do. Abu Sufyan’s listeners asked whether the idea to go in front of the people was approved by Muhammad, and he replied no. They told him ‘Ali had played with his mind.
The Messenger, on the other hand, had called his companions to prepare for war. Unlike other battles, where he concealed his destination, this time he told them exactly where they would be heading. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) asked the tribes around the Islamic state to enlist in the battle. He demanded that the battle plans be kept secret from the enemy until they reached Makkah because he wanted to surprise them.
While the Messenger and the believers were preparing for the campaign, an insidious incident was taking place. It was reported that Hatib Abu Balta’a betrayed the Messenger (Peace be upon him) writing a letter to Quraysh, telling them that the Messenger intended to invade them. He gave the letter to a woman to deliver and paid her for the services. She put the letter on her head and then plaited her hair over it and started off. The Messenger, through revelation, was informed of Hatib’s action, and he sent ‘Ali (may Allah be leased with him) and Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam with instructions to go after her.
When they overtook her they dismounted and searched her bags but found nothing. ‘Ali swore by Allah that the Messenger could not be mistaken nor could they, and warned the lady that if she did not produce the letter they would strip her. When she realized that he was earnest, she told him to turn aside, and then she let down her braids and drew out of the letter, and gave it to him and he took it to the Messenger of Allah.
The Messenger (Peace be upon him) summoned Hatib and asked him what induced him to act the way he did. He replied that he believed in Allah and his Messenger and had never ceased to do so, but that he was not a man of standing among the Quraysh and that he had a son and family there and that he had to deal prudently with his hypocritical act, but the Messenger asked him:
“How do you know, ‘Umar? Perhaps Allah looked favorably on those who were at Badr, and said: ‘Do as you please, for I have forgiven you.’”
Upon this serious incident Allah revealed:
“O ye who believe, take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors), offering them your love even though they have…” (Surah Al-Mumtahinah, 60: 1-4)
Meanwhile, the Messenger (Peace be upon him) marched out of Madinah with about 10,000 men, leaving ‘Abdullah bin Umm Makhtum in charge of Madinah. When he reached Juhfah, he met his uncle Al-‘Abbas with his entire family, migrating to Medinah to embrace Islam. At Al-Abwaa he met his uncles Abu Sufyan and Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah, both of whom were passionate enemies of Islam and the Messenger. They announced their belief in Islam, and it was accepted from them about Abu Sufyan, the Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: “I hope he will succeed Hamzah,” who had been killed during the Battle of Uhud.
The news of the Muslims’ movement was so tightly controlled that no Makkan knew of their approach until they were close to Makkah. The Messenger of Allah stopped there and ordered the army to set 10,000 bonfires. `Umar was guiding the Messenger. Because his movement was so unknown, he needed to tell the Quraysh himself that he was at their door-steps. Thus, he sent `Al-`Abbas to inform any person he could find about the Muslims’ arrival, so that they could come to him and seek some kind of peace resolution in order to prevent any bloodshed in the Sacred City.
While Al-`Abbas was on his lookout, he heard Abu Sufyan saying to his comrade, Badeel bin Zurqaa: “I have never seen a fire this big in my life.” Badeel replied this might be the Khuza’ah army. Abu Sufyan said the Khuza`ah was smaller than this. Al-`Abbas recognized his voice and called to him. Abu Sufyan answered and asked, “What do you want, Abal Fadl?” Al-`Abbas replied, “I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allah and his army of believers is heading this way.” Abu Sufyan, shocked and terrified, asked, “What should I do?” Al-`Abbas said, “Ride with me to the Messenger and I will protect you.”
When Abu-Sufyan was in front of him, the Messenger (Peace be upon him) demanded: “Woe to you Abu Sufyan. Is it not time for you to know that there is no deity but Allah.” He replied: “By my father and mother, you know that if there were any deity beside Allah it would have helped me.” The Messenger continued: “Is it not time for you to know that I am the Messenger of Allah.” Abu Sufyan hesitated for a while, so Al-`Abbas encouraged him: “Woe to you. Announce your Islam.”
Abu Sufyan then declared the Shahadah, the declaration of faith.
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