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The Conquest of Makkah


category: History & Biographies


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Islam was now well-settled in the hearts of the Muslims who had, by the time, learned all about it through experience. Allah had also put them to trial to ferret out their minds and motives. On the other hand, the Quraysh of Makkah had prosecuted, persecuted, exiled and battled with the Muslims. In short, they had been guilty of every sin of commission and omission against the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and his followers. The Will of Allah now decreed that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and his companions (radiallahu 'anhum) should enter the holy city as its conquerors and cleanse it of the defilement of idol worship and deceit as well as lies and wickedness. Allah decided that the sanctity of the sacred city should again be restored to it so that it might again become the center of divine guidance and blessing for all humanity.

Allah created circumstances through the breach of faith by the Quraysh themselves who unwittingly provided a valid reason or rather made it unavoidable for the Muslims to lay their hands on Makkah – "Allah’s are the hosts of the heavens and the earth." [Qur'an 48:7]

The treaty of Hudaybiyyah gave an option to everyone to enter into alliance with the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and arrive at a similar agreement with the Quraysh. Accordingly, Banu Bakr preferred to conclude a pact with the Quraysh while Banu Khuza’a entered into an alliance with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 390)

Banu Bakr and Banu Khuza’a had a long-standing feud since the pre-Islamic days. With one of these tribes aligning itself with the Muslims and the other with the pagans, their mutual hostility was further intensified. In fact, both tribes had made alliances with the two respective parties with no other consideration except to have their revenge upon the other. After the establishment of the armistice, Banu Bakr tried to take advantage of it against Khuza’a and, in league with certain persons, made a night attack on their enemy when it had taken up quarters at a spring. There was a fight between the two in which Banu Khuza’a lost a number of their men.

The Quraysh helped Banu Bakr with weapons while their chiefs, taking advantage of the night, fought Banu Khuza’a along with Banu Bakr. Their combined charge drove Banu Khuza’a into the sacred territory where some of the Qurayshite said to one another: “We are now in the sacred area. Mind your Allahs! Mind your Allahs! But the others replied imprudently: “We have no Allah today. Take your revenge, O son of Bakr, for you may not get a chance again."(Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 419 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 390)


‘Amr b. Salim al-Khuza’a went to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in Madeenah and informed him how the Quraysh had violated their pledge. He asked the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to extend his help by virtue of the treaty of alliance between him and Banu Khuza’a. He swore that the Quraysh had annulled the treaty with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) by attacking his allies when they were at their well and had not spared their lives even when they were performing prayers. After listening to his complaint, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “You will be helped, O ‘Amr b. Salim.”


The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) then sent a man to Makkah in order to get a confirmation of the affair and also to allow the Quraysh to redress the wrong committed by them. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) offered three alternatives before the Quraysh. They should either pay the blood money for the victims of Banu Khuza’a or terminate their alliance with the aggressors belonging to Banu Nifasa or Banu Bakr, but failing these they shall get in return what they had done. The terms were relayed to the Quraysh but in the fit of their pride they replied, “Yes, we would prefer measure for measure.” The Muslims were thus absolved of their undertaking with the Quraysh and it became incumbent upon them to exact justice for the wrong done to their allies.(39)


When the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was informed of the Quraysh reply, he said, “I see as if Abu Sufyan has come to you to strengthen the treaty and to ask from me some more time.” The events took shape exactly as predicted by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). The Quraysh realized the gravity of the situation and felt sorry for the indiscreet reply given by the thoughtless among them. They requested Abu Sufyan to get the treaty ratified and extended once again. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 420 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 395-6)


When Abu Sufyan came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in Madeenah, he went into his daughter Umm Habiba (radiallahu 'anhaa), a wife of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). He wanted to sit on the Prophet’s (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) bed but she forbade him to do so.

Abu Sufyan was puzzled. He said to Umm Habiba (radiallahu 'anhaa), “Daughter, I can’t see if you think that the bed is too good for me or I am too good for the bed!”

Umm Habiba (radiallahu 'anhaa) replied, “The fact is that it is the Prophet’s bed and you are an unclean polytheist. I do not want you to sit on the Prophet’s bed.”

“By Allah”, said Abu Sufyan, “You have been spoiled since you left me.”


Abu Sufyan went to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), but he gave no reply to him. Then he went to Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhu) and asked him to speak to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) for him, but Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhu) refused to do so. He tried to prevail upon ‘Umar, ‘Ali and Fatimah (radiallahu 'anhum) to intervene on his behalf, but everyone of them either excused himself/herself or replied that the matter was too grave to be straightened out by him. Abu Sufyan so lost his nerves that when he went to see Fatimah he said pointing to Hasan b. ‘Ali crawling in her front, “O daughter of Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), will you let this child act as a peacemaker between the people so that he may be acknowledged as the lord of Arabia forever?”

“My son is too young,” replied Fatimah, “to make peace between men. And, nobody can persuade the Prophet to reconcile against his will.”

‘Ali saw his perplexity and depression. At last, he said to Abu Sufyan. “I do not think that anything can help you now. You are the chief of Banu Kinana, so get up and try to smoothen over and restore harmony and then go back to your home.”

Abu Sufyan felt certain. He inquired, “Do you think it would do any good?”

“By Allah, I do not,” replied ‘Ali, “but there is nothing else you can do for now.”

Abu Sufyan then went to the Prophet’s mosque and announced, “O Men, I have made peace between you.” Thereafter he mounted his dromedary and rode off to Mecca. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. ii, pp. 396-7)

When Abu Sufyan told the Quraysh what had happened, they said, “You had brought us a report which is good for naught either to us or to you.”


The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) asked the Muslims to start making preparations for an expedition but also bade to keep it a secret. Later on, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) informed the men who intended to go to Makkah and ordered them to get ready for it. He also said, “O Allah, confound the spies and the informers of the Quraysh so that we may take them by surprise in their land.” (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 421 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 397)

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