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The Conquest of Makkah


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The Islamic society at Madeenah was, after all, a community composed of the mortals and reflected, like any other social groups, the passions and emotions, hopes and fears of the human beings. Its members were virtuous in behavior but sometimes, they are also prone to mistakes. Occasionally, they consider themselves right and proper in doing something not so regarded by others. They maybe justified or not in holding a certain view, but it is always so with every open and free society sustained not by constraints but by mutual confidence among its members. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) never tolerated any wrongful act on the part of his companions, but in such cases, he either offered a plea to vindicate them or excused their mistakes. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was large-hearted enough to pardon the mistakes of others, and in doing so he never lost sight of the hardships undergone by his companions or the sacrifices and services rendered by them for the cause of Islam. That a few instances of such indiscretion or lapses have been preserved by the compilers of hadeeth and life of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and the historians of Islam, is in itself an intrinsic evidence of the integrity and truthfulness of these writers.

One of these instances relates to Hatib b. Abi Balta’a (radiallahu 'anhu). He was one of those Muhaajirun who had migrated from Makkah and had taken part in the battle of Badr. It was related that when the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) informed his companions about his intention to attack Mecca, they quietly started making preparation for it. Hatib b. Abi Balta’a wrote a letter to the Quraysh about the intended attack and gave it to a woman for its delivery to the Quraysh. Hatib also promised to give some money to the woman who set off for Makkah after putting the letter in her head and plaiting her locks over it.

The Prophet was informed throught revelation about the action of Hatib. He immediately sent forth ‘Ali and Zubayr in her pursuit, saying, “Go until you come to the meadow of Khakh(40), where you will find a woman travelling on a camel who has a letter which you must recover from her.” The two went off racing on their horses until they came to the meadow. And there they found the woman going on her camel. They made her dismount and searched her baggage but found nothing. At last ‘Ali said to her, “By Allah, the Messenger of Allah is not mistaken nor are we. You must bring out the letter or we will search your person.” When she saw that they were in earnest, she asked them to turn aside. Then she drew out the letter from her tresses and handed it over to them.

The letter, brought back to Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), had been written by Hatib b. Abi Balta’a informing the Quraysh about the departure of the Muslim army. When summoned by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), Hatib b. Balta’a said, “O Messenger of Allah, don’t be hasty with me. I swear to Allah I that have faith in Allah and His Prophet, and neither have I abandoned nor changed my faith. I had been attached as an ally to the Quraysh and was not one of them.(41) Other emigrants with you have their relations among the Quraysh who will take care of their families. I though that as I did not have that advantage I should give them some help so that they might protect my relatives.”

‘Umar sought the Prophet’s (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) permission to cut off Hatib’s head whom he charged as being a hypocrite, disloyal to Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). But the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “He was present at Badr. Do you know, “Umar, perhaps Allah has looked favorably on those who were present at Badr?” To Hatib he said, “Do as you wish for I have forgiven you.” ‘Umar dissolved into tears, saying, “Allah and His Messenger know better.” (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 421. The Sihah also relate the story)


A cousin of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) whose name was Abu Sufyan b. al-Harith(42) happened to meet the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) along the way. He tried to approach the Prophet but was given a cold shoulder by him. Abu Sufyan had insulted as well as persecuted the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in Mecca. Feeling distressed and disconsolate at the indifference of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), he approached ‘Ali to pour forth his lamentation. ‘Ali advised him to go back to the Prophet and tell him that the brothers of Yusuf (Prophet Joseph) had said to him –

“By Allah, verily Allah hath preferred thee above us, and we were indeed sinful.” [Qur'an 12:91]

For, continued ‘Ali, the Prophet never likes anybody to exceed him in words, kind and comforting. Abu Sufyan did as directed by ‘Ali and got the reply from the Prophet.

“Have no fear this day! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.” [Qur'an 12:92]

Abu Sufyan accepted Islam and was thereafter known for his piety and strength of faith but he was never ashamed of his past misdeeds. He always talked to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) with downcast eyes and never dared look into his face.

ABU SUFYAN APPEARS BEFORE THE PROPHET (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)

Campfires were now lit under the orders of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Abu Sufyan felt aghast as he saw them, and said, “I have never seen such fires and such an army before.” He came out himself to explore secretly the camp and its people. ‘Abbaas b. ‘Abdul Muttalib had already left Makkah along with his family and joined the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). He recognized Abu Sufyan’s voice and called him to say, “See, the Prophet is here with his army. What a dreadful morning the Quraysh are going to have!” Abbaas then thought that if any Muslim come to know of Abu Sufyan, he would surely be killed. He therefore asked Abu Sufyan to ride at the back of his mule and brought him to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). As soon as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) saw Abu Sufyan, he said, has not the time yet come, O Abu Sufyan, for you to acknowledge that there is but one Allah?”

“My father and mother be your ransom,” replied Abu Sufyan. How kind and gentle and noble you are. I think that if there had been another Allah besides Allah, he would have been of help to me this day.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said again, “Woe to you Abu Sufyan, Is it not the time that you acknowledge me as Allah’s Prophet?”

He answered, “My father and mother be your ransom. How kind and clement you are but I have still some doubts as to that.”

‘Abbaas now intervened to say, “Abu Sufyan, woe to you, submit and testify that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) is the Prophet of Allah before you lose your head.” Abu Sufyan now recited the article of faith and thus he was converted to Islam. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 403: Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. p. 422)


The merciful Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) now forgave the fault of all. It was the widest amnesty ever granted by any conqueror. Now, only he could lay himself open to danger which was bent upon prevailing. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) declared: “He who enters Abu Sufyan’s house would be safe, he who shut his door upon himself would be safe and he who enters the sacred mosque would be safe.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 409)

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