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Friday 19th of April 2024
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Which you worship instead of God!

Equal Division of the Booty

Muhammad sent to Madinah `Abdullah ibn Rawahah and Zayd ibn Harithah to bring news of. the victory to the people of Madinah. He and his companions returned to Madinah accompanied by the captives and carrying the booty of war. He had appointed `Abdullah ibn Ka'b as the guardian of it. After reaching the valley of al Safra', Muhammad camped on a hill and there began to divide the booty among the Muslims in equal parts. Some historians claim that Muhammad had divided the booty after he had appropriated one-fifth of it in accordance with the Qur'anic command: "And know that whatever you take as spoils in war, a fifth thereof shall go to God, His Prophet, the kindred, the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer. If you believe in God and in what We send down to Our servant and the day of decision [the day of Badr] when the two armies met, you will accept this division. God has power over all things."[Qur'an, 8:41] Most biographers, especially the earlier among them, believed that this verse was revealed after the battle of Badr as well as after Muhammad's division of its booty. They hold that Muhammad had divided the booty in equal parts, giving to the fighter with a horse twice the amount he gave to the fighter on foot, and allowing the share of the Muslims who were killed at Badr to go to their heirs. They also hold that Muhammad had assigned a share to the Muslims who were left behind in Madinah on assignment to work for the Muslim cause there during the absence of the army in Badr, or who had remained in Madinah for good reason. Muhammad divided the booty justly. Not only did he include in his division the soldier but also everyone who worked for the cause and helped achieve this victory, whether on the battlefield or far from it. 

Execution of Two Captives

While the Muslims were on their way back to Madinah, two of the captives were executed, al Nadr ibn al Harith and `Uqbah ibn Abu Mu'ayt. Neither Muhammad nor his companions had until that moment any law regarding the captives regulating their execution, ransom, or enslavement. A1 Nadr and `Uqbah were terribly hard on the Muslims in Makkah and had inflicted upon them all the harm and injury they could. A1 Nadr was executed when the captives were arrayed in front of the Prophet near the locality called al Uthayl. As the Prophet looked at al Nadr, the latter trembled and called to his neighbor: "Muhammad is surely going to kill me. He had looked at me with eyes in which I saw the judgment of death." His neighbor rejoined: "You are a coward." AI Nadr approached Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr, the closest of the captives to Muhammad and asked him: "Please approach your relative concerning me. Let him allow me to be one of his companions. If you do not, I am certain he is going to kill me today." Mus'ab replied, "You used to speak all kinds of calumnies against the Book of God and His Prophet; you also used to persecute and harm his companions." Al Nadr said, "Had Quraysh taken you captive, I would have never allowed them to kill you as long as I was alive"; to which Mus'ab replied, "By God I do not believe you; I am not like you; Islam has severed my relations with you." Al Nadr was the captive of al Miqdad who expected to receive a great ransom from the captive's family. When al Miqdad heard the conversation regarding the execution of al Nadr, he said: "Al Nadr is my captive. Hands off!" At this the Prophet-may God's blessing be upon him-said: "Strike his neck. 0 God, give al Miqdad plenty of Your bounty instead." `Ali ibn Abu Talibexecuted the Prophet's order with the sword. As the party arrived at `Irq al Zubyah, the Prophet ordered the execution of `Uqbah ibn Abu Mu'ayt. When `Uqbah pleaded, "Who will take care of my children, 0 Muhammad?" Muhammad answered, "The fire." According to one version, it was `Ali ibn Abu Talib who executed him; according to another, it was `Asim ibn Thabit.

 

News of the Victory in Madinah

Before the Prophet and the Muslims reached Madinah, the two messengers, Zayd ibn Harithah and `Abdullah ibn Ka'b, had arrived and entered the city from different directions. `Abdullah galloped through the city on his horse and Zayd ibn Harithah followed him riding on al Qaswa', Muhammad's she-camel. Both were calling al Ansar and announcing to them the victory, mentioning the names of the fallen idolators. The Muslims, pleased to hear the news, went out of their houses and gathered in the streets acclaiming this great victory. As for the Jews and the idolators of Madinah, they were saddened by this turn of events. Indeed, they even tried to convince themselves as wellas the Muslims in Madinah that it was not true. They proclaimed at the top of their voices: "Muhammad was killed, and his companions were defeated. There is his she-camel which we all know. Had he achieved victory, his she-camel would have stayed there. Zayd said otherwise because he lost his mind out of terror in the course of fighting." The Muslims, however, quickly confirmed the news and went on with their celebration. Only the death of Ruqayyah, daughter of the Prophet, which had occurred on that day, marred their joy. As his daughter was sick on the day Muhammad left for Badr, he ordered her husband, `Uthman ibn `Affan, to stay behind and take care of her. When the idolators and munafiqun realized that the news of victory was true, they felt that their position was degenerating into one of weakness and isolation. A Jewish leader said, "Death for us is better on this day than life. What kind of life can we have now that the noblest of men, their lords and kings-the Makkan guardians of security and peace-are dead or vanquished?"

The Captives of Badr

The Muslims entered Madinah without the captives who were to follow the next day. When they did, Sawdah, daughter of Zam’ah and wife of the Prophet, was returning from a morning visit to the relatives of the two sons of ‘Afra’. She saw Abu Yazid Suhayl ibn Amr, one of the captives, whose hand was bound to his neck. Unable to control her indignation at the sight, she approached him and said, “O Abu Yazid! Did you give yourself up, and surrender voluntarily? Woe! The pity that you had not fallen nobly and met a heroic death on the battlefield!” Muhammad called her away and said to her, “O Sawdah, are you inciting the man against God and against His Prophet?” She answered, “O Prophet of God, by Him who sent you a Prophet of the truth, I could not control myself when I saw Abu Yazid with his hand tied to his neck and felt impelled to say what I said.” Muhammad distributed the captives among his companions and said to them, “Treat them well.” The question of what to do with them, to kill them or to accept ransom for them, continued to trouble him. Many of them are strong warriors; their hearts are now filled with hatred following their defeat and shameful captivity. If he were to accept ransom for them, surely they would wage another war against him. And yet, if he were to kill them would he not incite their people in Quraysh to further acts of violence? To a new height of enmity which might be avoided if he were to accept their ransom?

 

Abu Bakr and Umar’s Views Regarding the Captives

Muhammad submitted the matter to the Muslims and sought their advice. He wanted them to share freely in the decision. The Muslims, for their part, discovered that the captives desired to live and, therefore, that a great amount of wealth could be reaped from them as ransom. The captives sent word to Abu Bakr knowing that he was the nearest to the Quraysh and the most merciful and compassionate of the Muslims as well as the closest adviser and friend of Muhammad. They said to Abu Bakr: “O Abu Bakr, among us are fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins of the Muslims. The most distant of us is still a relative. Approach your friend on our behalf and ask him to forgive us or to allow us to be ransomed. Abu Bakr promised them to do his best. At the same time, they feared that ibn al Khattab would counsel against Abu Bakr’s pleas; therefore, they sent after him to ask as they did Abu Bakr. ‘Umar ibn Khattab looked at them in anger and did not answer. The two approached Muhammad and each presented his point of view. Abu Bakr appealed to Muhammad's gentleness and stirred his compassion. He pleaded, "0 Prophet of God, you are dearer than my father and my mother. Your captives consist of men who are parents, sons, cousins, uncles and brothers of your own people. The most removed of them is still a member of your clan and a blood relative. Be good to them and forgive them. God will forgive you and be good to you. Otherwise allow them to be ransomed and take from them that which would increase the Muslims in power. Perhaps, by such action, God will soften their hearts toward Islam." Muhammad listened without answering. `Umar, coming after Abu Bakr, sat in his place and pleaded: "0 Prophet of God, these are the enemies of God. They have belied you, fought you, and banished you. Strike their necks. They are the leaders of idolatry and misguidance. By this course God will consolidate Islam and bring low the idolators." Again Muhammad did not answer. Later, Abu Bakr returned to Muhammad and sought once more to stir his compassion by reminding him of the captives' relation and hoping for their conversion to Islam in case they were allowed to live. `Umar, too, the exemplar of stern justice, returned to Muhammad to plead once more still unmoved as ever by any feelings of leniency or mercy. When both Abu Bakr and. `Umar said all they had to say, Muhammad withdrew to his room to ponder the matter alone. When he came out, he found the Muslims divided between Abu Bakr's view and `Umar's. He consulted them again, characterizing both Abu Bakr and `Umar for their benefit. Abu Bakr, Muhammad said, was like Michael, a carrier of God's pleasure and forgiveness. Compared with the prophets he is like Ibrahim who was sweeter to his people than honey itself. Ibrahim's people had condemned him to the fire and threw him into it, but all he could say to them was, "Fie on you and on that which you worship instead of God! Would you not use your reason ? . . . Whoever follows me is surely of me, but whoever disobeys me, God is merciful and forgiving."[Qur'an, 21:67; 14:36] Abu Bakr is like Jesus when the latter said: "If You punish them they are only Your servants; and if You forgive them, You are the All-Wise and Almighty”[Qur'an, 5:118], `Umar, on the other hand, is like Gabriel among the angels. He is the carrier of God's wrath and condemnation of His enemies. Among the prophets he is like Noah when the latter said: "O God, spare not one of the unbelievers;" or like Moses when he said: "0 God, destroy their wealth and confirm them in their error that they may not believe until they receive the painful punishment."[Qur'an, 71:26; 10:88] Then turning to the Muslims, the Prophet said: "You have families to support. Do not therefore let any of these captives escape before you receive a ransom from him. Otherwise, strike off his neck." As the Muslims consulted with one another, one of the captives, a poet by profession, and Abu `Izzat `Amr ibn `Abdullah ibn `Umayr al Jumahi by name, stepped forward toward the Prophet and said: "I have five daughters whom I must support. Do give me to them as your charity, O Muhammad. For my part I pledge to you that I shall never fight you nor will I ever criticize you." The Prophet forgave him and sent him back to his family without ransom. He was the only captive thus liberated. But he violated his pledge and fought again against the Muslims in the battle of Uhud, a year later. There he was taken captive, and, this time, executed. After a while, the Muslims reached a consensus to accept ransom for the captives. The following verse of the Qur'an was revealed on this occasion

"It does not behoove a prophet to hold captives; nor to tyrannize in the world. You seek the advantages of this world whereas God wishes you to seek the advantages of the other. God is almighty and all-wise."[Qur'an, 8:67]

 

Orientalists' Controversy

A number of Orientalists pause at this affair of the captives of Badr and especially at the execution of al Nadr and `Uqbah. They argue: Doesn't this prove the thirst of this new religion for blood? Without such thirst, the two captives would not have been executed. It would have been more charitable and nobler for the Muslims after they won the battle to return the captives and to be satisfied with the booty they acquired. The Orientalists' argument is designed to stir mercy and compassion simply in order to provide means for condemning Islam and its Prophet. But such emotions were utterly out of place on the day of Badr, and much more so a thousand or more years after that battle. The incoherence of the argument is evident upon comparison of the execution of al Nadr and `Uqbah with what happens today and will always happen as long as western civilization rules the world under the banner of Christianity. Is their execution comparable in any possible manner to what the Christian imperialists do when they put down the uprisings of their colonies against their rule? Is it equivalent to any part, however, infinitesimal, of the slaughter that took place in the first or second World War? Is it at all comparable to the events of the French Revolution, or the many other revolutions which have taken place among the Christian nations of Europe?

 

Revolution against Idolatry

There is no doubt that the whole matter between Muhammad and his companions was one of a strong revolution led by Muhammad against idolatry and its adherents. It was a revolution that started in Makkah where Muhammad and his companions were subjected to all kinds of suffering for thirteen long years. Thereafter, the Muslims emigrated to Madinah and there organized themselves and built up their strength under revolutionary principles dominating the scene in both their camp and the Quraysh's. The Muslims' emigration to Madinah, the peace they had concluded with the Jews, all the skirmishes preceding the battle of Badr as well as the battle of Badr itself all these were steps in the general plan of revolution, but not its guiding principles. They constitute the policy line decided by the leader of this revolution and his companions as instruments in the realization of principles which the Prophet had received from God. The policy of a revolution should not be confused with its principles. The plan followed cannot be identified with the purpose for which it was drawn. Since Islam made human brotherhood the foundation of its civilization, it had to seek that civilization by following whatever means are necessary, including violence.

 

The Slaughter of St. Bartholomew's Day

What the Muslims did with the captives of Badr was an instance of sublime mercy and charity when compared with what happened in the revolutions praised by the western peoples as embodiments of justice and mercy. What happened to the captives of Badr was really nothing compared to the many slaughters carried out in the name of Christianity such as that which occurred on St. Bartholomew's Day in France. This slaughter is really a curse in the history of Christianity unmatched by anything in the whole history of Islam. It was a slaughter planned deliberately during the night. The Catholics rose the next morning to slaughter systematically the Protestants of Paris and France with deception, wantonness, and the lowliest and worst kind of cruelty. If the Muslims had killed two of the fifty captives for the cruel suffering they had previously inflicted upon the Muslims during thirteen years in Makkah, it was an act of further mercy and benefit which occasioned the revelation of the already quoted verse: ` It does not behoove a Prophet to hold captives; nor to tyrannize in the world. You seek the advantages of this world, while God wishes you to seek the advantages of the other. God is almighty and all-wise."[Qur'an, 8:67]

 

Warning to Makkah

While the Muslims were celebrating the victory God had granted to them, al Haysuman ibn `Abdullah al Khuza'i was making his way toward Makkah. He was the first one to reach the city to announce to its people the defeat of the Quraysh and the fall of its leaders and nobles. Makkah was so shaken by the news that it hardly believed what it heard. AI Haysuman, however, was not angry but insisted on the veracity of his news and shared their grief. When the Makkans finally realized what had happened, they were so shocked that they fell to the ground. Indeed, Abu Lahab was immediately seized by a fever and died seven days later. The Quraysh, consulting together on the course of action to follow, agreed not to mourn their dead lest Muhammad and his companions be pleased at their suffering. They also decided not to seek to ransom their captives lest Muhammad and his companions increase their demands. A number of days passed while the Quraysh bore their tragedy silently. But an occasion soon presented itself. Mikraz ibn Hafs arrived seeking to ransom Suhayl ibn `Amr. `Umar ibn al Khattab hated to see Suhayl return home unharmed. He therefore asked Muhammad: "0 Prophet of God, let me cull out Suhayl's front teeth so that he would never be able to exercise his oratory against you." Without hesitation, Muhammad grave this supremely noble answer

"I shall not mutilate anyone under any circumstance. God would mutilate me though I am His Prophet."

 

Ransom and Conversion of Abu al 'Asi ibn al Rabi`

Zaynab, daughter of the Prophet, sent out to ransom her husband Abu al 'Asi ibn al Rabi`. Included in the wealth she sent for the ransom was a necklace that once belonged to Khadijah, the Prophet's wife, which the latter had given to her daughter on the day of her wedding to Abu al 'Asi. When the Prophet saw the necklace, he remembered his former wife and was deeply moved. He said to his companions: "If you find fit to send her captive back to her and to return to her what she paid, do so." The Prophet had also agreed with the captive, Abu al 'Asi, that he would divorce his wife Zaynab now that Islam had separated the two spouses. Muhammad sent Zayd ibn Harithah and another companion to escort Zaynab to Madinah, Soon, however, Abu al 'Asi left Makkah on a trade trip to al Sham. When he passed by the vicinity of Madinah, a Muslim patrol discovered and confiscated his caravan. While in Madinah he managed to reach his wife Zaynab under the shadow of night and begged her to intervene on his behalf. She did and his goods were returned to him. He ran back to Makkah with his goods and there returned to each his due. He asked all his creditors to speak out in case they had any claim against him. When none spoke out and everyone thanked him for his loyalty, he announced to his fellow Makkans : "I witness that there is no God but God, and that Muhammad is His servant and prophet. By God, I have not refrained from joining Islam earlier except out of fear of suspicion that I have run away with your goods. Now that everyone has received his due and my reputation is safe, I declare my conversion." He returned to Madinah, and the Prophet permitted his wife Zaynab to return to him. The Quraysh continued to ransom their captives with varying amounts running from 1000 to 4000 dirhims per person. As for those prisoners who were too poor to afford a ransom, Muhammad granted them their liberty as a gift.

 

Quraysh Mourns Her Dead

Having ransomed her captives, Quraysh still felt the wounds of her tragedy. Makkah could find no reason to make peace with Muhammad, and the memory of defeat at his hand remained alive for a long time to come. For one whole month, the women of Quraysh mourned their dead. They shaved off their hair, whipped themselves, and cried when a dead man's camel or mare was paraded in the streets. Only Hind, daughter of 'Utbah and wife of Abu Sufyan, did not cry in public at all. She was once asked by other Quraysh women about this mastery of nerve: "Would you not publicly mourn your father, your brother, your uncle, and your other fallen relatives?" She answered: "Were I to mourn them publicly, the news will reach Muhammad and his companions and the women of Banu al Khazraj who will all be pleased at my misfortune. No, by God, I shall not mourn them publicly until I have avenged them. Fat and perfume shall be forbidden to me until we have defeated the enemy. By God, if crying would take away sadness from my heart I would have cried. But I know that sadness will not leave me until I have seen with my own eye vengeance taken on the murderers of my dear ones." True to her vow, Hind never touched fat or perfume, nor came close to her husband's bed until the battle of Uhud ; and she spared no moment or occasion to incite her fellow Makkans to war. As for her husband, Abu Sufyan, he vowed never to wash himself until he had defeated Muhammad.

 

The Effect of Badr in Madinah (January, 624 C.E)

We have just taken note of the deep effect that the Battle of Badr had upon Makkah. Above all, this effect included the will of the Quraysh to seek revenge against Muhammad and the Muslims at the first opportunity. The effect of this battle in Madinah was, however, much more obvious and more closely connected with the survival of Muhammad and his fellows. The Jews, associationists, and hypocrites felt Muslim power increase after Badr. They realized that this alien who came to them less than two years ago as an escaping emigrant from Makkah had increased his power and influence almost to the point of dominating not only the Muslims but their city as a whole. As we have had occasion to see, the Jews had begun to complain even before Badr that they had had many skirmishes with the Muslims and that were it not for the Covenant of Madinah, the explosion would have come sooner. Consequently, soon after the Muslims' victorious return, the non-Muslims of Madinah began to meet clandestinely and to encourage the composition and recitation of divisive poetry. It was as if the battlefield had moved from Makkah to Madinah and the dispute from religion to politics. It was not Muhammad's call to God that was being fought; rather, it was his political power, his worldly influence, and his success which incited these parties not only to plot against him but even to think of assassinating him. None of this, of course, was beyond Muhammad’s ken. All the happenings within his city, including the rumors, reached him in constant flow. Simmering in hatred and anger against each other, Muslims and Jews lay in wait for one another.

 

Muslims Kill Abu ‘Afk and Asma

Before the victory of Badr the Muslims used to fear the Madinese non-Muslims, for they were still too weak to return any aggression inflicted upon them. But when they returned victorious from Badr, Salim ibn ‘Umayr took upon himself the job of getting rid of Abu ‘Afk, a tribesman of Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf. The latter was a poet who composed verses disparaging Muhammad and the Muslims and inciting his own tribe to rise against them. Even after Badr, Abu ‘Afk still composed and disseminated abusive verse. Salim attacked Abu ‘Afk in his sleep in his own yard and killed him. Likewise, ‘Asma’, daughter of Marwan, of the tribe of Banu Umayyah ibn Zayd, used to insult Islam and the Prophet by encouraging bad feeling against the Muslims. The Battle of Badr did not make her reconsider. One day, ‘Umayr ibn ‘Awf attacked her during the night while she was surrounded by her children, one of whom she was nursing. ‘Umayr was weak of sight and had to grope for her. After removing the child from his victim, he killed her; he then proceeded to the Prophet and informed him of what he had done. When her relatives returned from the funeral, they asked him whether he had killed her. “Indeed so,” said ‘Umayr, “You may fight me if you wish. By Him Who dominates my soul, if you should deny that she composed her abusive poetry, I would fight you until either you or I fall.” It was this courage of ‘Umayr that caused the Banu Khutmah, the tribe of ‘Asma’s husband, to turn to Islam. Having converted to Islam but fearing persecution at the hand of their fellow tribesmen, some of them had hidden their conversion. Henceforth, they no longer did so.

 

Murder of Ka’b ibn al Ashraf

It is sufficient to add to these two examples the murder of Ka’b ibn al Ashraf. When learning of the fall of the noblemen of Makkah, he exclaimed, “Those were the nobles of Arabia, the kings of mankind. By God, if Muhammad has vanquished these people, the interior of the earth is a better dwelling than the top of it." Having assured himself of the news of defeat, he traveled to Makkah to incite its people against Muhammad, to recite war poetry, and to mourn the victims. Furthermore, it was he who falsely accused the Muslim women upon return to Madinah. The reader is perhaps aware of Arab custom and ethic in this regard, and can appreciate the Muslims' anxiety over such false accusations directed against their women's honor. Indeed, they were so incensed and irritated by him that, after unanimously agreeing to kill him, they authorized Abu Na'ilah to seek his company and win his confidence. Abu Na'ilah said to Ka'b, "The advent of Muhammad was a misfortune to all of us. The tribes have become our enemies and fought against us; our roads are cut off, our families separated and dispersed, and our lives exhausted." With this and similar remarks, Abu Na'ilah won Ka'b's confidence and asked him to lend some money to himself and his friends, pledging to pawn his and their armor. Ka'b agreed and asked the Muslims to return. They came to his house in the outskirts of Madinah after dark. Abu Na'ilah Called out to him. Despite his wife's warning, Ka'b went out to meet his new friend. The two men walked in the night and were later joined by the companions of Abu Na'ilah, whom Ka'b never suspected. Together they walked for a whole hour and covered a long distance, conversing and complaining about the hardships Muhammad had brought upon their community, thus reassuring Ka'b of their sincerity. From time to time Abu Nd'ilah would touch the hair of Ka'b and exclaim, "I have never smelled such perfume in my life!" Then, after gaining Ka'b's complete trust, Abu Na'ilah seized him by the hair, pulled him down to the ground, and said to his companions, "Kill the enemy of God!" They struck him with their swords.

 

Jewish Fears and Aggression

The murder of Ka'b increased the fears of the Jews to the point that not one of them felt secure. Nonetheless, they continued to attack Muhammad and the Muslims and incite the people to war. A desert woman came one day to the Jews' market in the quarter of Banu Qaynuqa` seeking to remodel some jewelry at one of their shops. They persistently asked her to remove her veil, but the woman refused. Passing behind her without her knowledge, one of them tacked her robe with a pin to the wall. When the woman got up to leave, the robe was pulled down and her nakedness exposed. The Jews laughed and the woman cried. Seeing what happened, a Muslim passerby jumped upon the shopkeeper and killed him on the spot. The Jews gathered around the Muslim and likewise killed him. The Muslims' relatives called for help against the Jews and a general fight between them and the Banu Qaynuqa` erupted. Muhammad first asked the Jews to stop their attacks and keep the covenant of mutual peace and security or suffer the kind of treatment meted out to the Quraysh. They ridiculed his request saying: "O Muhammad! Fall not under the illusion that you are invincible. The people with whom you have fought were inexperienced. By God, if you were to turn your arm against us, you will find us adept in the arts of war." After this, little option was left to the Muslims but to fight the Jews. Otherwise, Islam would suffer political deterioration, and the Muslims would become the ridicule of Quraysh when they had just succeeded in making the Quraysh the ridicule of Arabia.

 

Blockade of Banu Qaynuqa`

For fifteen consecutive days, the Muslims blockaded Banu Qaynuqa` within their quarters, preventing any exit or entry. The Jews had no alternative but to surrender and yield themselves to Muhammad's judgment. After consulting the Muslim leaders, Muhammad decided to kill his captives. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, allied to both Jews and Muslims, asked Muhammad to be merciful toward his allies. When the Prophet declined, `Abdullah repeated his request, and the Prophet declined again. `Abdullah then seized the Prophet by his shield and would not let him go. At this, the Prophet seemed rather angry and said with a loud voice, "Leave me; hands off !" Ibn Ubayy replied, "No, by God, I shall not let you go until you give mercy to my proteges. Three hundred armed and four hundred unarmed men have so far protected me against every sort of people. Would you kill them all at once? By God, I will never agree to such a judgment, for I fear the turns of fortune." `Abdulla was still a man of great power, having command of the associationists of the Aws and Khazraj tribes, although this power had largely waned with the growth of Muslim power. His insistence caused the Prophet to regain his good temper and patience, especially since `Ubadah~ ibn al Samit had joined ibn Ubayy in making the same plea. He therefore decided to stretch his hand to `Abdullah, to all his proteges, whether associationists or Jews, and to grant them all his mercy and benevolence. He decreed only that the Banu Qaynuqa' should evacuate Madinah in punishment for their misdeeds. Once more, ibn Ubayy tried to plead with Muhammad on behalf of his proteges that they be allowed to remain in Madinah. One of the Muslims, however, prevented ibn Ubayy from reaching the Prophet and forced him to remove himself. The tribesmen of Banu Qaynuqa' then announced that "By God, we shall not remain in a city where ibn Ubayy is pushed by force and we are unable to protect him." 'Ubadah subsequently led them in the surrender of their arms and jewel-making machinery and in the exodus from Madinah. They went to Wad! al Qura where they tarried a while and then proceeded northward until they reached Adhri'at near the frontier of al Sham, where they settled. Perhaps they went there because they wanted to be nearer the Land of Promise that attracted the Jews then as it still does today.

 

Political Unity in Madinah

Jewish power in Madinah was considerably reduced after the expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa', for most of the Jews who called themselves Madinese lived far from Madinah, in Khaybar and Umm al Qura. It was this political objective at which Muhammad had aimed, and it reveals most clearly his political wisdom and foresight. It was the first of a number of political consequences of Muhammad's strategy. Nothing could be more harmful to the unity of a state than internal division. And if internal strife is inevitable, it is equally inevitable that one faction will finally establish its authority and dominion over all the others. Some historians have criticized the conduct of the Muslims toward the Jews. They claim that the incident of the Muslim woman at the jeweler's shop was relatively easy to settle as long as each party had already paid with the loss of one of its members. In answer to this claim, we may say that the victimization of the Jew and the Muslim did not efface the insult which the Muslims suffered at the hands of the Jews in the person of that woman. We may also argue that among the Arabs, more than among any other people, such an insult produces far greater commotion and, according to custom, would have easily caused continual war between two tribes for many long years. Examples of such incidents and the wars which followed them are legion in Arab history. Besides this consideration, however, there is yet a stronger one. The incident at the jeweler's shop was to the blockade of Banu Qaynuqa` and their expulsion from Madinah as the murder of the Austrian heir-apparent in Serajevo in 1914 was to World War I, which enveloped the whole of Europe. The incident was only the spark which inflamed Muslims and Jews and caused them to explode. The fact was that the presence of Muslims, Jews, associationists and munafiqun in one city with all their disparate ideals and customs made that city a political volcano replete with explosive power. The blockade of Banu Qaynuqa` and their expulsion were a prologue to the coming explosion.

 

The Campaign of Al Sawiq

After the expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa`, the non-Muslims of Madinah naturally withdrew from public life and the city appeared peaceful and quiet. The peace lasted one whole month and would have lasted longer were it not for Abu Sufyan who, unable to bear the memory of Makkan defeat at Badr, resolved to venture again outside of Makkah. He sought to reimpress the Arabs of the Peninsula with the notion that Quraysh was still strong, dominant and capable of attack and war. He mobilized two hundred Makkans (forty according to other versions) and led them out in secret in the direction of Madinah. Upon arrival in the vicinity of Madinah, they attacked at night a locality called al `Urayd. Only one Madinese and his client were in the locality at the time. They were killed and their house and orchard destroyed. Abu Sufyan thought his vow to attack Muhammad had now been fulfilled, and he and his associates therefore left the scene quickly, fearing pursuit by the Prophet or his men. The Muslims did in fact pursue Abu Sufyan as far as Qarqarat al Kudr. In order to hasten their flight, Abu Sufyan and his party every now and then threw away some of their provisions of wheat and barley flour. While the Muslims followed their trail, they picked up these provisions; they soon realized, however, that the Makkans had escaped, and they decided to return home. By this raid Abu Sufyan had sought to console Quraysh after its defeat at Badr and to recapture its lost pride. In fact, his scheme turned against him and his flight in face of his pursuers brought further shame to Quraysh. Because of al sawiq (i.e., the flour), which the men of Quraysh dropped on their path, this expedition was given the name "Al Sawiq Campaign."

 

Threat to the Shore Route of al Sham

The news of this event spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The distant tribes remained safe in their distance and concerned themselves but little with the affairs of those Muslims who, until the recent Battle of Badr, were nothing more than a weakly group of refugees in Madinah. Even though the Muslims had resisted Quraysh successfully, expelled Banu Qaynuqa` from Madinah, humbled `Abdullah ibn Ubayy, frightened Abu Sufyan away, and broke the traditional pattern of power distribution in the desert, it was only the tribes close to Madinah which realized what threat this whole movement of Muhammad posed. Only they were aware of the serious consequences of the contest for power between the Quraysh of Makkah and the Muslims of Madinah. The shore route to al Sham was Makkah's well trodden path of trade that brought significant economic advantages to these tribes. Muhammad had entered into threatening alliances with a number of tribes flanking the shore route and thereby exposed Makkah's commerce to serious danger. The tribes which lived on this commerce feared that Quraysh might now choose another route. Before the Hijrah of Muhammad and his companions to Yathrib, indeed before Muslim victory at Badr, these tribes had felt relatively safe and secure. Now they pondered the future and the threat to their prosperity. If Makkan trade were to take another route, how would they sustain themselves in their arid and barren lands?

 

The Tribes' Fear of the Muslims

The Battle of Badr struck fear into the hearts of these tribes. Their leaders considered whether or not to strike against Madinah now, before the situation got utterly out of hand. Soon enough, it came to the ear of Muhammad that an army of Ghatafan and Sulaym tribesmen were marching in the direction of Madinah; in turn, he led an expedition of Muslim fighters to Qarqarat al Kudr to meet them. When the Muslim force arrived, they found camel traces but no men. Muhammad sent a number of his companions to reconnoiter the upper levels of the valley. While waiting for them to return, he met a young boy by the name of Yasar and asked him about the whereabouts of the enemy. The boy answered that they had gone to the spring at the higher extremity of the valley. The Muslims seized the camels they found in the area without battle and divided the booty as the Qur'an demanded, one-fifth going to Muhammad. It was reported that their booty amounted to five hundred camels of which the Prophet took one-fifth and distributed the rest equally among his companions, each one getting two camels. Later on, it reached the ear of Muhammad that Tha'labah and Muharib tribesmen had gathered at Dhu Amarr with aggressive designs. The Prophet immediately led an expedition of four hundred and fifty fighters to search out the enemy in their own grounds but without meeting them. He did, however, come across a man from Tha'labah whom he questioned regarding the whereabouts of the enemy. This man warned the Prophet that, should they hear of his advance, they would run away to the mountain heights; and he offered his services as a guide. The enemy soon heard of Muhammad's approach and retreated to the mountains. Later learning that a great force of Banu Sulaym tribesmen from Bahran were advancing on Madinah, the Prophet went out in haste with a Muslim force of three hundred to meet them. A day's distance from Bahran, the Muslims came across a man from Banu Sulaym who reported, upon questioning by the Prophet, that the tribesmen had dispersed and returned home. All these tribesmen were stricken with panic and fear for their future. They plotted against the Muslims and oft went out in force to fight them. But no sooner did they hear of Muhammad's sortie with his companions to meet them, than they would lose heart and run away.

 

The Jews' Fear of Muhammad

It was during these times that Ka'b ibn al Ashraf was killed. This event instilled in the Jews such fear that none of them dared leave his house. Muhammad's blockade and expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa` intensified these fears.

They then came to Muhammad pleading their cause and accusing the Muslims of having killed Ka'b deliberately, in spite of his personal innocence. Muhammad answered, "The man whom you claim to be innocent has indeed harmed us deeply and composed libelous poetry against us. Had he remained quiet like his coreligionists, nothing would have befallen him." After long discussion of the matter, Muhammad invited the Jews to enter with him into a new covenant agreeable to both and which both would henceforth respect. But this covenant did not allay fears. Their plotting against Muhammad continued as later events were to make evident.

 

The `Iraq Route to al Sham

How was Quraysh to conduct her trade now that Muhammad had cut off its route? Makkah, it must be remembered, lived on trade. Without trade, its whole economy was bound to founder. By cutting her trade route as he did, Muhammad had practically imposed a blockade on her which would soon destroy her place and influence in Arabia. It is reported that Safwan ibn Umayyah advised the Quraysh at this stage that ';Muhammad and his companions have spoiled our trade. What shall we do with him and his companions if they do not remove themselves from the coastal area? The Muslims befriended the tribes who inhabited the coastal regions and most of these have even joined their party. What shall we do with ourselves? To live in Makkah devoid of trade is tantamount to eating up our capital funds and then starving. Our whole life in the city, therefore, depends upon our summer trade with al Sham and our winter trade with Abyssinia." To this al Aswad ibn `Abd al Muttalib replied that the Makkans ought to abandon the coastal route to al Sham and henceforth take the eastern route passing through al `Iraq. To help satisfy this requirement, al Aswad suggested to Safwan that he should appoint Furat ibn Hayyan, a tribesman of Banu Bakr ibn Wail, to show him the new route he should take. Furat explained to them that the eastern route was safe because none of Muhammad's companions ever approached it, but that it was an empty, waterless desert. The desert did not frighten Safwan because the season was winter and the need for water relatively small. He gathered merchandise amounting to one hundred thousand Dirhams and prepared to start off toward al Sham. Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud al Ashja'5, who was in Makkah at the time, learned of the preparation of this caravan. Upon returning to Madinah he reported this news to Muhammad. The Prophet sent Zayd ibn Harithah with a hundred riders to intercept the caravan at the oasis of al Qardah in the center of Najd. The Makkans ran away at the encounter, leaving behind the caravan which the Muslims took away as booty. Upon Zayd's return to Madinah, Muhammad took one-fifth of the booty and divided the rest among his men. Furat ibn Hayyan, the guide of the caravan, accepted Islam and thereby saved himself.

 

Muhammad's Marriage to Hafsah

Did all these successes convince Muhammad that his position was really secure? Did his present victories delude him about the dangers of the future? Did the fear of Makkah and the various booty he had seized from Quraysh persuade him that the word of God and His Prophet was really safe and secure? Did his faith in God's timely help and providence cause him to let things take care of themselves on the grounds that divine government is supreme? Certainly not. Although time and space belong to God, yet the world runs according to unalterable laws innate to human nature and everywhere the same. Quraysh, for instance, enjoyed mastery over Arabia. It was not possible to expect her to give it up without a fight. Therefore, the fate of the caravan of Safwan ibn Umayyah succeeded only in increasing their eagerness to avenge themselves and to double their preparation for the day of vindication. Neither could this escape Muhammad's vision, foresight, or wise planning. It was necessary therefore, in anticipation of hostilities, for him to seek to strengthen his relationship with his fellow Muslims. However closely Islam had knitted the wills of its adherents and however strong the resultant social fabric, Muhammad must have deemed further consolidation and unity desirable. For him to link himself to them in familial bonds was regarded by Muhammad as well as by his companions as meeting this noble objective. Thus he married Hafsah, daughter of `Umar ibn al Khattab, just as formerly he had married `A'ishah, daughter of Abu Bakr. The former was the widow of Khunays, an early convert to Islam, who died seven months previously. The Prophet's marriage to Hafsah increased ibn al Khattab's attachment to him. In the same spirit, Muhammad gave his daughter Fatimah in marriage to 'All, his cousin, though the latter had loved Muhammad perhaps more than anyone else and had remained loyal to him ever since he was a child. When the Prophet's daughter, Ruqayyah, passed away, Muhammad gave `Uthman ibn `Affan, her bereaved husband, his other daughter, Umm Kulthum. Thus he united in a bond of family and blood Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, and `All, the four strongest personalities of his community. By this and similar action, Muhammad guaranteed the solidarity of Muslim ranks. He assured them that the booty they seized in their conquests would be theirs. He encouraged them to go to war by combining in a single objective service to God and fighting for His sake with the desire to make up their lost possessions in Makkah with captured Makkan booty. Muhammad, by following the news of Quraysh very closely throughout this period, always kept himself abreast of her preparations for war. It was common knowledge that Quraysh was preparing for her day of revenge and for the reopening of the coastal trade route to al Sham. She was preparing for a war to preserve her commercial and religious position without which it was impossible for her to exist.

 

Quraysh's Preparations for Revenge

Ever since the Battle of Badr, Quraysh had not been at ease. The debacle of its al Sawiq campaign and the recent loss of its caravan on the route of al `Iraq to the Muslims under the command of Zayd ibn Harithah had intensified its resentment and bent its mind upon the avenging of Badr. The tribesmen of Quraysh, lords, notables, and noblemen of Makkah, could not forget their fallen brethren. How could they do so while Makkah women were still mourning their sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, and other relatives? Ever since Abu Sufyan ibn Harb reached Makkah with the caravan that had caused the confrontation at Badr, he, together with those who participated in the battle and other notables of Quraysh, such as Jubayr ibn Mut'im, Safwan ibn Umayyah, `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, al Harith ibn Hisham, Huwaytib ibn `Abd al `Uzza and others, agreed to deposit the whole caravan in the community house of Makkah (Dar al Nadwah) for public auction so that the proceeds might be used in preparing an army to fight Muhammad. Their plans called for equipping a great strong army and inciting the tribes to join in this war of revenge. They had already incited Abu `Azzah, the poet, a captive of Badr who was forgiven by the Prophet, to defect to their side. Likewise, they invited their Abyssinian clients to join ranks with them. The women of Quraysh, for their part, insisted on accompanying the army in order to witness and to enjoy the revenge. In deliberating whether or not to permit them to do so, some argued that for the women to march alongside the men and sing the songs of war would remind the soldiers of their fallen relatives and further arouse them to fight. Those who argued in this vein were truly desperate, for they were unwilling to return to their homes without either avenging themselves or perishing in the process. Others thought otherwise. Some said, "0 Men of Quraysh, it is not wise to expose your women to your enemies. Since it is not absolutely impossible that you may have to run away for your lives, shame would then befall your women." As the people deliberated, Hind, daughter of 'Utbah and wife of Abu Sufyan said- "Indeed! We shall accompany the army and watch the fighting. None may stand in our way or force us back to our homes as happened at al Juhfah [The locality halfway between Makkah and Madinah on the coastal route.] on that dies nefastuswhen our beloved ones fell in battle. And on the Day of Badr, had the women been there to witness the soldiers run away from the battle front, this would never have happened." Hind thus attributed the defeat at Badr to the absence of women to arouse their men to sufficient self exertion in battle. Her little speech sealed the argument, and the Quraysh began its march against Muhammad together with the women who were now led by the most resentful woman of all, Hind, who suffered at Badr the loss of two dearest relatives, her father and brother. The Makkan army started off in solemn procession from Dar al Nadwah in three divisions. Only a hundred men were from Thaqif whereas all the others were Makkans and Arab or Abyssinian clients of Makkah equipped with great amounts of armour, two hundred horses, and three thousand camels. They also counted seven hundred men clad in heavy armour.

 

The Makkans' March against Madinah

While all these preparations were taking place with the consent and enthusiasm of everyone, al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib, the Prophet's uncle, watched from a distance and pondered. Despite his loyalty to the faith of his fathers and the religion of his people, he was moved in his feeling toward Muhammad by a sense of admiration complemented by a feeling of tribal solidarity within him. He recalled how well Muhammad had treated him on the Day of Badr. It was the same sort of admiration and tribal solidarity which had previously moved him to conclude the Great Covenant of al `Aqabah with al Aws and al Khazraj tribes of Madinah, for the purpose of guaranteeing the same safeguard and protection to Muhammad, his nephew, as those which belonged to Madinese women and children. At the time, he warned those tribes that were they ever to falter in providing such protection to his nephew, they should withdraw and give up Muhammad's protection to his own people. The same kind of feeling stirred within him when he saw Quraysh's ubiquitous enthusiasm against Muhammad and when he witnessed this great army marching forward toward Madinah. He wrote a letter describing the whole preparation, military equipment, and number of Makkan soldiers and gave it to a man from Ghifar whom he trusted to deliver to the Prophet in time. Soon, the Quraysh army reached al Abwa' where Aminah, daughter of Wahb and mother of Muhammad, was buried. Some Makkans thought of digging up her grave. However, their leaders stopped them, fearful last they set a precedent among the Arabs, and recalling that the Muslims too could retaliate with the Makkans' own dead buried in their vicinities. Upon arrival at the locality of al `Aqiq, the Makkan army camped at the foot of Mount Uhud, five miles from Madinah.

 

Al `Abbas's Message to the Prophet

The man from Ghifar, carrying the letter of al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib, arrived at Madinah and found that Muhammad was at Quba'. There he proceeded; and, upon meeting Muhammad at the door of the mosque when he was just about to leave, handed over the letter to him. The message was read for Muhammad by Ubayy ibn Ka'b who was then asked to keep its contents secret. Muhammad proceeded to Madinah and called upon Sa'd ibn al Rabi` at his home, told him the content of the message, and asked him to keep it secret. Sa`d's wife, however, who was at home at the time overheard the conversation and the matter could no longer remain secret. Muhammad then sent Anas and Mu'nis, the two sons of Fadalah, to reconnoiter the movements of Quraysh. They found out that the army had approached Madinah and let its horses and camels loose to graze in the plantations surrounding the city. Muhammad then sent another scout, al Hubab ibn al Mundhir ibn al Jamuh. When enough information had reached him to confirm the news his uncle had sent, Muhammad became gravely concerned and perplexed. Salamah ibn Salamah reported thereafter that the Quraysh cavalry was coming closer and closer to Madinah and that they were about to enter the city. He rushed to his people and warned them of the imminent danger. All the inhabitants of Madinah were apprehensive due to the descriptions of the might and equipment of the enemy. Their Muslim leaders even saw fit to guard the person of the Prophet with their own swords throughout the night. Sentries were posted at all corners of the city. When morning came, the Prophet called upon all Muslims, whether sincere or insincere[The Qur'an called the insincere Muslims "munafiqun" or pretenders. -Tr.], for a public consultation on the fate of the city and the means by which they should meet the enemy.

 

Varying Opinions on Madinah's Defense

The Prophet-may God's blessing be upon him!-suggested that the Muslims should hold fast to Madinah, reinforce themselves therein, and keep out the Quraysh. Should the enemy decide to attack, the Muslims would fight from within and, knowing their own ground, should be better able to repulse the enemy. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul agreed with the Prophet and added: "Prophet of God, in the past we always fought our enemies in Madinah by placing our women and children safely in the upper stories of the houses and building walls connecting one house with another on the perimeter of the city, thus making the town a single fortress. When the enemy advanced on us, the women and children would hit them with stones with which they had been amply provided while we would meet them with our swords in the streets. Our city, O Prophet of God, has never been violated by an enemy because none has ever entered it without meeting defeat. On the other hand, we have never met an enemy outside our city without loss to ourselves. Please listen to me in this matter and follow this wise plan which I inherited from the greatest leaders and wise men of Madinah who have gone before."

The Prophet as well as the prominent among the Prophet's companions, whether Muhajirun or Ansar, agreed with this view. However, the young Muslims who had not participated in Badr, as well as others who had witnessed Badr but became thereafter convinced that Muslim power was invincible, desired to go out of Madinah and meet the enemy wherever he might be. They were disturbed by the idea that unless they spoke to this effect, they might be suspected of cowardice. They argued that since the enemy was not too far from Madinah, the Muslims would be stronger than at Badr when they fought many miles away from their people and land. An advocate of this view said

"I hate to see the Quraysh return to Makkah saying that they have locked up Muhammad in the houses and buildings of Yathrib and have prevented him and his companions from going out. Such talk would undoubtedly incite the Quraysh to further acts of aggression. Now that they have entered our very orchards and plantations, shown off their numbers and strength, and incited the Arab tribes and Abyssinian clients to follow them, how could we allow them to blockade us in our own homes and let them return without injury? Should we do that, they would surely return to raid our frontiers, to blockade us again, and to cut off our roads to the outside world." A number of other speakers spoke in favor of going out to meet the enemy, arguing that in case God gave them victory they would have met their objective. This would be a substantiation of the promise which God made to His Prophet. On the other hand, should they be defeated and die, they would have fallen as martyrs and would have won Paradise.

 

Call to Bravery and Martyrdom

This bold talk about bravery and martyrdom moved every Muslim heart and incited the community as a whole to spring to its feet in enthusiasm over a prospect of fighting in God's cause. With their eyes on Muhammad, their hearts filled with faith in God, in His Prophet, Book, and Judgment, the image of their victory over this aggressive force standing out to attack them dissipated every other idea. They began to imagine themselves marching deep within enemy ranks, cutting them down with their swords and seizing their booty. The picture of paradise hovering before their eyes as martyrs in God's cause was just as the Qur'an had described it. It was a garden replete with everything desirable and beautiful where they would be reunited with the martyrs of Badr who preceded them, therein to dwell eternally, and "where there is neither gossip nor accusation and where every conversation is a talk of peace”[Qur'an, 56:25-26]. At this juncture, Khaythamah Abu Sa'd ibn Khaythamah said: "Perhaps, God will give us victory over them, or our turn will be one of martyrdom. Despite my great desire to be at Badr, it was not my fortune to go, but my son's. God was pleased to grant him his martyrdom. Last night, I saw him in a dream calling to me, `Hurry up, Father, and join us in Paradise, for here I have truly found everything that God had promised me.' By God, Prophet, of God, I now long to join my son in Paradise. I am advanced in years and my hair has turned gray. Surely do I yearn to meet my Lord." Overwhelmed by this and similar speeches, the Muslims present inclined toward going out to meet the enemy. Muhammad nonetheless advised against it, as if apprehensive of what it was to bring. But everybody insisted, and he had to agree with them. Community consensus and decision had always been his system of worldly government, and he departed from it only in case of a direct revelation to the contrary.

 

Discipline and Mutual Consultation

The day was a Friday. Muhammad led the prayer and informed the congregation that their victory depended on their patience and careful preparation for war. After the mid-afternoon prayers, he returned home with Abu Bakr and `Umar, who helped him put on his armour and handed to him his sword. In the meantime, the people were waiting outside and arguing with one another. Usayd ibn Hudayr and Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, who had argued in favor of remaining in Madinah, addressed the people in these words: "You must have noticed that the Prophet was of the opinion that we should remain in Madinah and meet our enemy here. In saying what you did, you dissuaded him from this position against his will. Had you not better delegate the matter to him entirely, follow his verdict, and obey him?" The protagonists of the opposite view were suddenly struck by the idea that they might have opposed the Prophet in a matter in which God might have guided him. When he came out of his house wearing his armour and carrying his sword, they came to him pleading that they did not mean to disagree with him. They declared themselves prepared to abide by his and God's judgment whatever that may be. Muhammad answered: "I have previously called you to follow such a course but you resisted. The Prophet is not one to put away his armour and sword once he puts them on until God's judgment is rendered between him and his enemies. Obey me henceforth. Victory will be yours provided you bear yourselves in patience." Thus, besides the principle of consensus, Muhammad placed order at the foundation of government. Once the community has made up its mind after due deliberation, it should not alter it in haste, but endeavor resolutely to see through. It is then the responsibility of its executive to see to it that the course followed does indeed accomplish the objective sought.

 

The Muslims' March

Muhammad set out at the head of his force in the direction of Uhud. His first stop was at a locality called al Shaykhan where he met a group of people unknown to him and who, upon inquiry, turned out to be the Jewish allies of ibn Ubayy. The Prophet ruled that unbelievers may not be taken as allies against unbelievers unless they become Muslims. The Jewish column therefore was commanded to return to Madinah. The friends of ibn Ubayy began to whisper in his ear that Muhammad had slighted him by disregarding the ancestral wisdom which he had put at the disposal of Muhammad but which the latter had rejected in favor of the childish views of the Muslims. Soon ibn Ubayy became convinced that the Muslims were following the wrong course and returned with his own men to Madinah. The sincere believers who remained with the Prophet numbered seven hundred as against the three thousand Makkan fighters of the Quraysh tribe.

 

Ordering the Ranks for Battle

The Muslim force reached Uhud toward the morning. They crossed the valleys and ascended over dunes. Muhammad ordered his companions in rows and placed fifty archers on the side of the mountain. Fearing that the enemy might surprise the Muslims from the rear, he ordered the archers to protect that side under all circumstances. Specifically, he commanded them never to leave their place regardless of whether the Muslims plunged into the enemy camp and won, or fell in their places at the hand of the enemy. Should the enemy cavalry charge, it was the duty of the archers to repel that charge with arrows. He commanded everyone not to begin the fight except on his command, but he ordered the archers to attack the enemy on sight and before he reached Muslim ranks.

 

Quraysh Women

Quraysh, too, ordered its forces in rows, placing Khalid ibn al Walid on the right and `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl on the left. They gave the command to `Abd al Uzza Talhah ibn Abu Talhah. The women were running back and forth between the lines of the fighters striking their drums and tamburines and, led by Hind, daughter of `Utbah and wife of Abu Sufyan, sang:

"Ho Ho, Sons of `Abd al Dar ! Ho Ho, Guardians of the land! Strike down your enemies! Advance forward and we shall embrace you! Advance forward and we shall spread the carpets for you! Turn your backs and we shall avoid you! Turn your backs and we shall never come to you!"

 

Abu Dujanah and His Death-Scarf

Thus the two parties were poised for battle and the leaders aroused their own men to fight, the Quraysh by summoning the memory of Badr and its victims, the Muslims by remembering God and the promise of His victory. Muhammad raised his sword in front of his companions and invited them to come forward to get it provided they could fulfill one condition. A number of them rushed to him but were sent back. Abu Dujanah Simak ibn Kharashah, brother of Banu Sa'idah, rose and asked, "What is the provision, 0 Prophet of God?" The Prophet answered, "That you continue to strike the enemy with it until it breaks." Abu Dujanah was a very brave man who had a red scarf which, as everybody knew, signaled that he was bent on fighting until victory or death. As he drew this scarf and wrapped it around his head, the Prophet gave him the sword. He took it and started to dance in joy between two rows of fighters, as he was wont to do before entering into battle. When Muhammad saw him perform this dance, he said that "Such would be hateful to God except under the circumstances."

Abu `Amir, slave of `Amr ibn Sayfi al Awsi, was the first to start the hostilities. Previously, he had moved from Madinah to Makkah in order to arouse the Quraysh to fight Muhammad. He had not witnessed the Battle of Badr. Anxious not to miss this time, he came to Uhud with a retinue of soldiers consisting of fifteen al Aws tribesmen and a number of slaves from Makkah. Once he claimed that he could persuade his fellow tribesmen who converted to Islam to fight with Quraysh against Muhammad. Putting this large claim to the test, he called to them and announced his identity. But his tribesmen replied with curses and damnations. Infuriated at the result, he approached Muslim ranks and started to fight. To the left, `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl with a company of slaves attempted to penetrate Muslim lines at the flank. The Muslims met them with stones and caused them to withdraw. At this moment, Hamzah ibn `Abd al Muttalib gave the war cry, "Die! Die!" and sprang forward into the thick of the Quraysh lines. Talhah ibn Abu Talhah, carrier of the Makkan flag, sprang forward asking the Muslims to duel with him. 'Ali ibn Abu Talib advanced forth to fight with him. The encounter was soon over as 'Ali struck his enemy a single fatal stroke. Exalted, the Prophet and the Muslims yelled, "God is Great," and advanced for the general charge. Abu Dujanah, with the Prophet's sword in hand and its head wrapped in the "scarf of death," as he called it, killed everyone with whom he fought. He saw one Makkan fighting a Muslim with his fingernails. As he prepared to deal with him, he discovered that it was a woman and that it was Hind, daughter of `Utbah. He immediately withdrew and saved the Prophet's sword from ever touching a woman's blood.

 

The Martyrdom of Hamzah

The Quraysh forces advanced ferociously, and the general melee between the disproportionately balanced forces began. The larger army was motivated by resentment and a consuming will to vengeance; the smaller by its faith in God and His religion and the will to defend its homeland as well as its interests. Those who sought revenge surpassed them in number and equipment. They were heartened and cheered by the women, each of whom promised one soldier or another her most precious possessions if he could only avenge for her previous loss of her father or brother, husband, or relative. Hamzah ibn `Abd al Muttalib was one of the greatest and most courageous of Arab heroes. At Badr, it was he who killed `Utbah, father of Hind, as well as her brother and a number of other close relatives of hers. True to his reputation, Hamzah distinguished himself in battle on the Day of Uhud. He killed Artat ibn `Abd Shurahbil, Siba` ibn `Abd al `Uzza al Ghubshani, and a number of others. His sword seemed invincible. Hind had promised Wahshi, the Abyssinian client of Jubayr, a great amount of wealth should he succeed in killing Hamzah. To encourage him further, Jubayr ibn Mut'am, his master whose uncle was also killed at Badr, promised Wahshi his freedom if he succeeded. The story following was later told by Wahshi : "I set out among others, planning to fight with my javelin as all Abyssinians do, for I hardly ever miss my objective with it. When the great encounter took place, I looked around for Hamzah and caught him with my eyes. I saw him right in the middle of the melee, standing out as clearly as a black camel in the herd and felling everybody around him with his sword. I swung my javelin and, making sure it was well balanced, I threw it at him and it fell right on him hitting him in the abdomen and piercing him through. I left my javelin and its victim pinned down under it until he died. Later on I came to him and pulled my javelin away and returned then to the camp and fought no longer. I had killed him in order to win my liberty, and that I had now achieved. When I returned to Makkah, my manumission was officially recognized."

Those in the Muslim camp fell into two categories: The sincere Muslims and the munafiqun. The prototype of the latter was Quzman, who joined Islam but never really believed in it. When the Muslim army left Madinah, Quzman refused to march. The next morning the women of Banu Zafar began to shame him for his cowardice. "0 Quzman," they said to him, "have you lost your sense of shame or have you become a woman to stay behind while all the men are out fighting?" Incensed, Quzman went to his home, put on his armour, bow, arrows and sword, and set out to join the Prophet's army. He was known to be a brave soul. When he arrived on the scene, he found the Prophet ordering the ranks of the Muslim soldiers. He went straight through to the first row and was the first to throw himself into the battle. He shot his arrows and pierced many an enemy's chest. Toward the end of the day, he was still determined to fall fighting, and he continued to fight until he did. He killed seven of the enemy in one short hour in addition to all the others whom he had killed with his arrows. Passing by him and finding him about to die, Abu al Ghaydaq congratulated him on his achievement of martyrdom. Quzman answered, "0 Abu `Amir, I have not really fought for the faith. I have fought only in order to prevent Quraysh from invading our territory and violating our homes and properties. By God, I fought only in order to protect my people and my land. Without those I would never have done it."

The other group were the true believers. They were not over seven hundred strong and they faced three thousand of the enemy. What has so far been said concerning the deeds of Hamzah and Abu Dujanah reveals an idea of the power of Muslim morale. This was a power before which the soldiers of Quraysh reeled like worms, despite all the courage and heroism for which they were famous throughout Arabia. Their flag was carried so proudly that none would allow it to lay fallen; and as soon as it fell, another soldier would raise it anew. When 'Ali ibn Abu Talib killed its carrier, Talhah ibn Abu Talhah, it was immediately raised again by `Uthman ibn Abu Talhah. And when `Uthman fell at the hands of Hamzah, it was raised again by Abu Sa'd ibn Abu Talhah. At the moment he raised the Makkan flag he shouted at the Muslims, "Do you pretend that your martyrs are in paradise and ours in hell? By God, you lie! If anyone of you truly believes such a story, let him come forward and fight with me." His challenge attracted Ali [According to another version, it was Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas that was so attracted.] who killed him on the spot. The Banu `Abd al Dar kept on carrying the Makkan flag until they lost nine men. The last of them was Su'ab, the Abyssinian slave of Banu `Abd al Dar, whose right hand carrying the flag was struck by the aforementioned Quzman. Su'ab seized the flag and raised it high with the left arm. Quzman struck it with his sword again. Having lost both arms, Su'ab now seized the flag and pressed it to his chest with whatever was left of his arms and even bent his back to support it while saying "0 Banu `Abd al Dar, have I not done my duty?" Either Quzman or Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas killed him. When all the party in charge of the Makkan flag were decimated, the Makkan associationists realized their defeat and began to run for their lives. Even their women were now exposed, and the statue which they had brought with them on camel back to bless them had now fallen to the ground and was broken.

 

Muslim Victory on the Morning of Uhud

Actually, the victory the Muslims achieved on that morning was a genuine war miracle. Some may attribute it to the sound judgment of Muhammad in placing the archers on the mountain side so that they could hit the enemy cavalry before they could reach the Muslim lines while at the same time protecting the rear of all Muslim forces. Muhammad's good judgment is undoubtedly true. But it is equally true that when six hundred Muslims threw themselves against an enemy force five times greater than theirs, they could not possibly have done so and achieved such bravery unless their deeds sprang from t heir candid faith in the righteousness of their own cause. Whoever believes in the cause of truth is not bothered by the material preponderance of any power, however great, and his will would not be shaken even if all the forces of evil rallied against him. Sincere faith in God Almighty is the greatest power, the greatest idea. It is invincible. As long as its subject remains sincere and loyal to it, there is no doubt that sincere faith must obtain all it wills. Therefore, Quraysh was shattered and defeated with all its three thousand fighters by the six hundred Muslims. That is why the women of Quraysh were about to be taken captive. When the Muslims followed up their enemies far from the battlefield, those who remained fell upon the large booty left behind. Indeed, many Muslims were thus drawn away from pursuing the defeated enemy.

 

The Muslims' Preoccupation with Booty

The archers whom Muhammad had commanded not to leave the mountainside even to rescue the Prophet and his companions from what might seem to them to be certain death watched the battle from their height, and saw the defeated enemy running away and the pursuing Muslims seizing the booty. This whetted their appetites. For a moment, they argued with one another in seeking to convince themselves that no purpose would be served by keeping their position now that God had defeated their enemy. As they watched their fellow Muslims gather the booty, they strongly felt like joining them. When a wiser voice reminded them that the Prophet had commanded them not to leave their position even for rescuing the Muslims from certain death, they rationalized that he had not intended for them to remain in their positions that long, certainly not after the defeat of the enemy. `Abdullah ibn Jubayr advised them not to violate the Prophet's commandment whatever the circumstances. The majority did not heed his advice, however, but descended to the plain. Ten men only kept their ground. This provided Khalid ibn al Walid, Commander of the Makkan cavalry, the golden opportunity to attack and seize the mountainside where the archers were. He eliminated the remainder of the Muslim archers and occupied the mountainside. The other Muslims were not aware of what was happening, preoccupied as they were in gathering everything of value on the field. After he occupied the mountainside, ibn al Walid signaled to the Quraysh to attack again and he advanced upon the Muslims from the rear. The defeated Makkans rallied to his call, turned about and resumed the fighting. The Muslims dropped the booty they carried, drew their swords and defended themselves. But their victory was lost. Their ranks were disorderly and their unity was in shreds. Quraysh took a heavy toll of Muslim lives. Earlier, the Muslims were fighting by the command of God and out of their faith in Him and in victory; now they fought in order to save their own lives from certain death and humiliation. Earlier, the Muslims were fighting in a united and orderly manner, under a strong and resolute leadership; now they fought without order or leadership. So great was the disorder that some may have struck their own fellows. Finally, when somebody raised the cry that Muhammad was killed, chaos reined supreme, Muslim morale plunged to the bottom and Muslim soldiers fought sporadically and purposelessly. This chaos was responsible for their killing of Husayl ibn Jabir Abu Hudhayfah by mistake, as everyone sought to save his own skin by taking flight except such men as 'Ali ibn Abu Talib whom God had guided and protected.

 

The Prophet's Injury

When the Quraysh heard of the fall of Muhammad, their forces fell upon Muslim ranks with renewed vigor. Every one of them was seeking to hit Muhammad, even if dead, that he might have the honor and pride of having participated in his downfall. The Muslims who stood close to the Prophet protected him and drew a close circle around him. Their faith had come back to them and they now stood their ground anxious to lay down their lives in order to save their Prophet. The fact is that one of the stones thrown by the Quraysh had hit the Prophet and caused him to fall to the ground, with a cut lip, a wounded face, and a broken tooth. The stone that hit the Prophet was thrown by `Utbah ibn Abu Waqqas. It landed with such force that it pushed two links of Muhammad's helmet chain into his wound. Muhammad attempted to stand up behind a shield of his companions, but he fell again, this time in a hole which Abu `Amir had dug as a trap for the Muslims. `Ali ibn Abu Talib ran to Muhammad and gave him his hand and, together with Talhah ibn `Ubaydullah, lifted him again to his feet. He and his .companions then began to retreat toward the mountain of Uhud while fighting their pursuing enemies.

 

Desperate Defense of the Prophet's Person

In a moment, however, a number of other Muslims joined the circle of the Prophet, and these were so determined and desperate in their defense that they formed an impregnable barrier between the Prophet and the enemy. Umm `Amarah al Ansariyyah, the Madinese, had been on the battlefield since the morning to give water to the Muslim fighters to drink. When the Muslims suffered defeat, she threw down her water jug, drew her sword, and joined the other fighters around the Prophet for his protection. She shot a number of arrows until she herself was wounded. Abu Dujanah placed himself as a shield before the Prophet and even exposed his back to the falling arrows lest they should hit the Prophet. Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas shot arrows which Muhammad passed to him while lending him encouragement. A little earlier, Muhammad himself was using his bow and shot at the enemy until the string of his bow broke. Those who thought that Muhammad had perished, including Abu Bakr and `Umar, went toward the mountain and sat down. When Anas ibn al Nadr inquired why they were giving up so soon, and was told that the Prophet of God had been killed, he retorted: "And what would you do with yourselves and your lives after Muhammad died? Rise, and die like he did." He turned, charged against the enemy, and fought gallantly. He kept on fighting despite his wounds and did not give up until he was hit seventy times. His body was so torn up with wounds that only his sister could identify it by means of his fingers alone.

 

The Prophet's Escape

Quraysh took the news of Muhammad's death with exhilaration and joy, and Abu Sufyan began a search for his body on the battlefield. The Muslims around Muhammad did not deny the news of his death in obedience to Muhammad's own commandment designed to prevent any new onslaught by the Quraysh against him. Ka'b ibn Malik, however, came close to the circle and, bending himself over Abu Dujanah, noticed that the Prophet was there and still alive. He proclaimed at the top of his voice: "O Believers, be glad, for the Prophet of God is here and still alive." The Prophet, however, asked him to keep quiet. The Muslims then reinforced the protective circle around the Prophet and moved with him farther up toward the mountain; they were led by Abu Bakr, `Umar, 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, al Zubayr ibn al `Awwam and others. The cry of Ka'b brought about a different effect upon the Quraysh. Most of the latter did not believe it but regarded it as an enemy trick designed to rally the Muslims to fight again. A few Makkans ran toward the Muslims shouting, "Where is Muhammad? Death to me if he lives!" The Prophet hurled the javelin of al Harith ibn al Simmah at the oncoming party. It hit the leader, threw him off his horse, and killed him. When the Muslims reached the entrance to the valley on the other side, 'Ali filled his shield with water, washed Muhammad's face and poured some water on his head. Abu `Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah pulled out the two links of chain from Muhammad's wound, and his two front teeth fell off in the process. While this was taking place, Khalid ibn al Walid pursued the Muslims on the hillside with a small force of Makkan cavalry. But they were repelled by `Umar ibn al Khattab and a number of the Prophet's companions. The Muslims continued their retreat. So great was their exhaustion that when it was noon, the Prophet led the prayer seated, suffering as he was from his wounds, and the Muslims prayed behind him seated also.

 

Mutilation of the Muslim Dead

Quraysh was intoxicated with her victory and deemed her vengeance for Badr fully taken. The occasion gave Abu Sufyan such cause for pride that he said, "A great day was won against the day of Badr. Next year will see the same." His wife Hind, daughter of `Utbah, was not satisfied with this victory. Nor was she satisfied with the death of Hamzah ibn `Abd al Muttalib. With her women companions she ~ ran toward the battlefield and began the mutilation of the Muslim dead. She cut off a number of noses and ears in order to make a string and a necklace of them. She then cut the body of Hamzah open and pulled out his liver which she began to chew. These ugly deeds of hers and of her women companions were so unbecoming that even Abu Sufyan, her husband, denounced her. He said to one of the Muslims: "Your dead were indeed mutilated; but I swear by God that I have never approved of such deeds. How can I be accused of commanding them?"

 

Muhammad's Mourning of Hamzah

The Quraysh returned to Makkah after burying their dead. The Muslims returned to the battlefield to bury theirs, and Muhammad sought out the body of his uncle, Hamzah. When he saw that his body was mutilated, Muhammad felt profoundly sad and vowed that he would never allow such a hateful thing to happen again and that he would someday avenge these evil deeds. It was on this occasion that the revelation was made

 

"And if you punish, inflict the same punishment as has been meted out to you. But if you bear patiently, it is certainly better for you. Do bear then patiently; for the reward of your patience is with God. Do not feel sad nor give way to anger because of their plotting.”[Qur'an, 16:126-127]

The Prophet of God then pardoned, bore patiently, and laid down an absolute prohibition against mutilation. Hamzah was given burial on the spot where he lay, Muhammad conducting the funerary prayer and Hamzah's sister, Safiyyah, daughter of `Abd al Muttalib, participating. All prayed for God to show them His mercy. The Prophet then commanded burial for all the dead, which numbered seventy; and, when this was completed, he led his party back to Madinah. The Muslims were quite sad and solemn for having encountered such defeat after their victory, and such humiliation after their splendid accomplishment. They fully realized that it was the archers' disobedience of Muhammad as well as the Muslims' preoccupation with booty that had exposed them to this sad turn of events.

 

Need for Recapturing the Lost Prestige

The Prophet went home and thought deeply. The Jews, the munafiqun, and the associationists of Madinah were elated at the news of the setback. Muslim power in Madinah had been such that none could effectively oppose it. Now it stood ready to be shaken. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul did not participate in the Battle of Uhud because Muhammad as well as the Muslims did not wish to ~ listen to his advice. Moreover, Muhammad declared himself angry against `Abdullah's clients, the Jews. Were this setback at Uhud the last judgment on the Muslims vis-a-vis the Quraysh, the fate of Muhammad and his companions would have been easily disposed of by the tribesmen of the Peninsula, and their political power in Yathrib would have crumbled. The Muslims would have become objects of universal derision. In such circumstances, the associationists and pagans would surely have been emboldened to attack the religion of God, and that would have been the greatest tragedy. It was necessary, therefore, to direct some strike against the enemy in order to offset the defeat of Uhud and to recapture Muslim morale as well as to instill fear in the hearts of the Jews and the munafiqun. Such a measure was necessary if the political power of Muhammad and his companions in Yathrib was to regain its strength.

 

Resumption of Fighting on the Morrow

On the morrow, which fell on Sunday the 16th of Shawwal, the mu'adhdhin of the Prophet called upon the Muslims to regroup and pursue the enemy. Only those who had participated in the previous day's battle were, however, allowed to proceed. When the Muslims set out toward the Makkan force, Abu Sufyan immediately learned that his enemies had returned from Madinah with new reinforcements. Muhammad reached Hamra' al Asad while Abu Sufyan and his companions were still at al Rawha'. Since he passed by both camps, Ma'bad al Khuza`i, who was still an associationist, was asked by Abu Sufyan about Muhammad and his forces. He replied that "Muhammad and his companions are coming after you with such a large army that I have never seen the like of it. Those who were not present yesterday are all with him today shouting with anger and seeking revenge." Abu Sufyan, on the other hand, though he wanted to run away from any more confrontations with Muhammad, pondered the consequences of such a flight. Would not the Arabs say of Quraysh in such an eventuality what he himself would have liked to say of Muhammad and his companions? But then, were he to return to Muhammad and the Muslims defeat them this time, would not the Quraysh be destroyed once and for all? He therefore made recourse to a trick. With some riders of `Abd al Qays proceeding to Madinah, he sent a message to Muhammad that the Quraysh had decided to pursue the Muslims in order to finish them off. When this message reached Muhammad at Hamra' al Asad, his will and determination remained constant and his decision unchanged. The whole Muslim force, which remained in place for three days and three nights, made large bonfires during the night in order to show the world that they were there to stay. Finally, disagreeing with Abu Sufyan, the Quraysh preferred to save the memory of their victory of Uhud and to return to Makkah. Thereafter, Muhammad returned to Madinah with more confidence in Muslim power, though the insincere believers began to raise their heads in derision of the Muslims and asked

 

Muhammad's Policy after Uhud

After Uhud, Abu Sufyan returned to Makkah preceded by the news of his victory. He arrived home exalted and overjoyed for having removed from Quraysh the stain of defeat at Badr. As soon as he entered the city and before setting foot in his residence, he went to the Ka'bah where he offered thanksgiving and prayers to its high god Hubal. He then shaved his sideburns and returned to his residence feeling that the vow he had made not to touch his wife until he had defeated Muhammad had now been fulfilled. The Muslims, on the other hand, despite the fact that they spent three whole days in the open, challenging their enemy to return and engage them without avail, were derided by the Madinese. Nobody mentioned, the Muslim victory in the first round of battle. Evidently, Madinah was simply not favorable to the Muslims, Muhammad's great political power notwithstanding. The Prophet-May God's peace and blessing be upon him-felt this hostility strongly, not only from Madinah but also from all the surrounding Arab tribes who only a few days earlier feared and respected Muslim power. The Battle of Uhud had enabled the non-Muslim elements of Madinah and its surroundings to dare to stand in the face of Muhair mad and even to oppose him. Hence Muhammad took especial care to keep himself abreast of developments within and without the city, and he prepared himself for recapturing and reestablishing Muslim power and reputation.

 

The Campaign of Abu Salamah ibn `Abd al Asad

The first news of enemy movement that came to Muhammad's ear told that Tulayhah and Salamah, sons of Khuwaylid and leaders of Banu Asad, were inciting their tribesmen and clients to attack Madinah and to seek Muhammad in his own house. They were also inciting them to raid the city outskirts to seize the cattle of the Muslims. Apparently, they were emboldened by the consideration that Muhammad and his companions were still shaken by defeat and that their power was on the decline. As soon as the Prophet heard of this, however, he sent forth Abu Salamah ibn `Abd al Asad at the head of an expeditionary force of one hundred and fifty fighters including Abu `Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah, Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas, and Usayd ibn Hudayr. He ordered the force to march by night along untrodden paths, to lie still by day, and to surprise the enemy wherever possible. Abu Salamah followed the instructions of the Prophet and found his enemy unprepared. Shortly before dawn, he talked to his men, inspiring them to holy war, and they attacked. The enemy ran away in defeat. The Muslims pursued them and returned after having stripped them of all their possessions. They divided the booty among themselves after saving one fifth of it for God, His Prophet, the poor, and the wayfarer; then they returned to Madinah victorious. Their accomplishment restored some of the Muslim prestige which had been lost at Uhud. Abu Salamah, however, did not live long after this raid, for his wound at Uhud had not been completely cured. His participation in this raid, during which he reopened the wound, finally brought about his death.

 

The Campaign of `Abdullah ibn Unays

Later Muhammad learned that Khalid ibn Sufyan ibn Nubayb al Hudhali was either at Nakhlah or `Uranah arousing the people and inciting them to raid Madinah. He commanded `Abdullah ibn Unays to travel to Madinah in order to reconnoiter for him. After going forth, `Abdullah found Khalid in the company of women. When asked by Khalid about his identity, `Abdullah answered, "I am an Arab tribesman who has heard of you and of the army you are raising to fight Muhammad and I have come to you to join your ranks." Khalid did not hide the fact that he was actually raising an army in order to attack Madinah. In a moment of separation from his men, and in the company of his women, `Abdullah asked Khalid to walk with him a little while in order to discuss certain affairs. When they were at a safe distance, he fell on him with his sword and killed him. Khalid's women were the only witnesses and they began to cry and mourn for him. `Abdullah returned home and informed the Prophet of his exploits. This single-handed campaign had the effect of silencing the Banu Lihyan branch of the Hudhayl tribe for some time. But the Band Libyan began to think of ways and means to avenge the murder of their leader.

 

The Battle of al Raji` (625 C.E)

About this time, a group of tribesmen living in the district of Muhammad came to him saying, "There are some Muslims among us. Please send with us some of your companions to teach us the law of Islam and to recite the Qur'an." Muhammad was in the habit of sending his companions upon request to such areas and tribes in order to perform such religious functions and to call men to the true faith and guidance as well as to find new political allies. It will be recalled that Muhammad sent such companions to Madinah after the great covenant of `Aqabah. In fulfillment of this new request, Muhammad sent six of his notable companions. When they were all camping at a welt belonging to the tribe of Hudhayl in the Hijaz at a place called al Raji', their host betrayed them to the Hudhayl tribe. The six Muslims arose to find that they were surrounded by enemies with drawn swords. They drew their swords too and prepared for battle. But the Hudhayl tribesmen said, "It is not our intention to kill you but to sell you as captives to the people of Makkah. Lay down your swords and we solemnly promise that we shall not kill you." The Muslims looked to one another and decided that a humiliating captivity in Makkah was far worse than loss of life. Rejecting the promise of Hudhayl, they began to fight knowing that they were outnumbered. Hudhayl killed three of them and overpowered the other three. They tied their hands and drove them toward Makkah. `Abdullah ibn Talib managed to pull his hands free and seized his sword to fight his captors. But they overwhelmed and killed him. The other two captives were brought to Makkah and sold by the Hudhayl. Zayd ibn al Dathinah was purchased by Safwan ibn Umayyah in order to be killed in revenge for his father, Umayyah ibn Khalaf. The captive was given over to Safwan's servant Nastas for execution. Abu Sufyan questioned the captive: "Tell me, 0 Zayd, would you not prefer that Muhammad were here in your place to receive this last punishment while you were at home with your people?" Zayd answered, "No! By God, I certainly prefer that Muhammad be where he is, safe from all harm. That is more preferable to me than reunion with my people." Stupefied, Abu Sufyan rejoined, "Never have I seen anyone more beloved by his companions than Muhammad." Nastas executed the order of his master and killed Zayd, the man who remained true to his religion and Prophet. As for Khubayb, lie was kept in jail until such time as they would crucify him. In his last hour, he asked to be allowed to pray, and they let him. After completion of his prayer, he exclaimed "By God, were I not afraid that you might think I was not ready to die, I would have prolonged my prayer." They lifted him to the cross and tied him to it. With great passion, he prayed to God "O God, reduce their numbers, rout, and disperse them, do not let any one of them escape." There was such a ring in his voice that his executioners were seized with panic and fell to the ground as if his curse had really struck them. Like Zayd before him, Khubayb died a martyr, true to his Creator, and loyal to His religion and Prophet. It would have been possible for these two pure soils to save themselves from death if they had apostatized. But their conviction of God, of His Spirit, of the Day of Judgment-the Day on which every soul will receive its due, and no vicarious substitutes will be allowed-caused them to see death ,is a fitting finale for the life of faith. Undoubtedly, they must have believed that their innocent lives now being laid down on Makkan soil would one day arouse their Muslim brethren to conquer that city, destroy its idols, and purify it from paganism and associationism. They were certain that someday the Ka'bah should rightly be sanctified as the House of God ought to be and that someday its walls would reverberate with none but the name of God alone.

The western Orientalists do not note this event as they do the execution of the two captives of Badr by the Muslims. None of them has even condemned this treacherous execution of two innocent Muslims who participated in no war but who were dragged stealthily into the enemy camp while they were teaching the very men who were planning their murder or sale to their enemies. None of them had thought to condemn the Quraysh despite the fact that its behavior in this case was nothing short of cowardice and cold-blooded murder. The rules of the most primitive justice would have required of those western Orientalists who condemned the Muslims' execution of the two Badr captives that they condemn, a fortiori, this treason of Quraysh and of the men who sold her the two captives after killing their four colleagues. Neither did Quraysh capture them in an honest fight. It bought them from people who tricked them into their camp by inviting them to be the teachers of truth, to instruct, and to enlighten them in matters of the faith.

Muhammad and the Muslim community were saddened by the news of the martyrdom of their six colleagues as a result of the treachery of Hudhayl. Hassan ibn Thabit, the Muslim poet, composed a poem in their memory in which Khubayb and Zayd were objects of the warmest compassion and mourning. The event gave Muhammad reason to ponder and to fear deterioration of Muslim prestige in case such events were to recur. Nothing, of course, is more harmful to one's prestige than to be slighted by the larger community. As he was engaged in these thoughts, he was approached by Abu Bara `Amir ibn Malik, to whom Muhammad offered the faith of Islam. Abu Bara turned down the offer of Muhammad, but he did not show any enmity to the new faith. On the contrary, he asked Muhammad to send some of his companions to the people of Najd .in order to preach Islam to them. "Perhaps," he said, "they may respond favorably and enter the faith." Muhammad feared that any such companions whom he might send to Najd might be subject to treacherous attack as had befallen Khubayb and his companions on the part of the Hudhayl tribe. Unmoved, he therefore rejected Abu Bara’s request. Abu Bara said, "I shall be their guardian and protector. Send them over, therefore, and let them preach the faith." Abu Bara was a notable with large influence among his people. No one had reason to fear when Abu Bara had extended his personal protection to him. With this consideration, Muhammad sent al Mundhir ibn `Amr, brother of Banu Sa'idah, together with other men chosen from the foremost Muslim ranks.

 

The Battle of Bi'r Ma'unah

Delegates and escorts proceeded together until they reached the well of Ma'unah, at the frontier between Banu 'Amir and Banu Sulaym. From there, they sent Hardin ibn Milhan to `Amir ibn al Tufayl with Muhammad's message. `Amir, not even bothering to read Muhammad's letter, killed its carrier forthwith. He then called on the tribesmen of Banu `Amir to kill all the Muslims. When his tribesmen refused to violate the protection already extended by Abu Bara, `Amir summoned other tribes to do the job. A number of these responded to his call, gave fight to the Muslims, surrounded them completely, and killed them. Not one Muslim survived this battle except Ka'b ibn Zayd and `Amr ibn Umayyah. The former was left wounded in the field on the assumption that he was dead, and the latter was set free by `Amir ibn al Tufayl as atonement for a vow involving a man's life which his mother owed. On his way home, `Amir met two men on the road whom he mistook as part of the enemy hosts which killed his companions. He waited until they had gone to sleep and then sprang upon them and killed them. When he reached Madinah, he gave the Prophet a full report of what he did and what had happened. It then turned out that the two men whom he killed were clients of `Amir and proteges of Abu Bara, with whom the Prophet had entered into a covenant of good neighborliness. The Prophet therefore commanded him to pay their bloodwits.

The fall of the Muslim martyrs at the well of Ma’unah deeply grieved Muhammad. He blamed Abu Bard' for this loss since he was the author of the request which Muhammad had satisfied, but only with apprehension and after much hesitation. Abu Bara for his part, was extremely wrathful against `Amir ibn al Tufayl for violating his protective covenant with the Muslims; and sent his own son, al Raji, to kill `Amir in vengeance for the violated honor. Mourning his colleagues for one whole month, Muhammad asked God fervently at every morning prayer to enable him to avenge their death. All the Muslims were deeply affected by this tragedy that had befallen their brethren in religion, though they believed that the martyrs were all in Paradise.

 

The Jews and Munafiqun of Madinah

The Jews and the munafiqun of Madinah found in the tragedies of Al Raji and Bi'r Ma'unah occasion to remember the victory of Quraysh at Uhud and to forget the Muslim victory over Banu Asad. In consequence, the prestige of the Prophet and his companions declined, and grave concern was directed to the Muslims' political fortune. With proper foresight, Muhammad realized that this deterioration of Muslim prestige in Madinah had exposed the whole cause to the greatest danger. Nothing would so inspire the tribes to dig their claws into Madinah as the suspicion that an attack upon the Muslims would immediately bring about civil war within their city. Muhammad also observed that both the Jews and the munafiqun were plotting against him. He therefore decided to force them into betraying their intentions. As the Jews of Banu al Nadir were the allies of Banu `Amir, Muhammad went to them near Quba', together with ten of his prominent companions-including Abu Bakr, `Umar, and `Ali and asked them to cooperate in furnishing the bloodwit money for the two victims whom `Amr ibn Umayyah had killed by mistake, not knowing of their convenant with the Muslims.

 

Jewish Plots against Muhammad

When Muhammad submitted his request to them, they pretended acquiescence to his demand. But it was also noticeable that while some of them were showing signs of reconciliation, others were plotting at a safe distance. They whispered to one another in presence of the Muslims, and the Prophet overheard them mentioning the murder by the Muslims of Ka'b ibn al Ashraf. When one of them, `Amr ibn Jahsh ibn Ka'b, entered the house on whose wall Muhammad was leaning, in a suspicious and stealthy manner, Muhammad could no more contain his doubts which their talk and hush-hush conversation made gradually more certain. He rose and withdrew from their midst, leaving behind his companions and giving, the impression that he was soon to return. The Jews knew that he was leaving for good and addressed his companions incoherently and hesitantly. They realized that if they were to kill his men, Muhammad would surely take a bitter revenge. But if they let them go, the Jewish plot against Muhammad would not be betrayed, and at any rate they could count on the Muslims to continue to honor their part of the covenant. They therefore tried to convince their Muslim guests of their good intentions and to counteract any suspicions that their guests may have entertained. Soon, the companions began to complain that the Prophet had not returned and that they had better leave and look for him. They met a man on the way who assured them that Muhammad had safely returned to the mosque. When they joined him, the Prophet told them of his suspicions and of the Jewish plot to kill him. They then realized the meaning of Jewish behavior and understood their moves at the recent interview. They became convinced of the Prophet's penetrating insight, which seemed all the more convincing when joined to the evidence of their own observations.

 

Warning to Banu al Nadir

Commanding Muhammad ibn Maslamah, the Prophet said: "Go to the Jews of Banu al Nadir and tell them that I have sent you to them with the command that they should leave this country. Tell them that by plotting to kill me, they have violated the covenant which I gave them. Tell them also that I give them ten days to evacuate after which any Jew seen in this area will be killed." When they heard of this command, Banu al Nadir lost hope. In vain they looked for means to change the verdict. Seeking to sway the Prophet', messenger to their own side, they said: "0 Muhammad ibn Maslamah, we did not expect that such command be conveyed by an old ally of ours like you, a man from al. Aws tribe which is our ally against the Khazraj." Ibn Maslamah replied, "The times have changed and so have the affiliations."

 

Instigation to Defy the Prophet

The Jews spent a number of days preparing for war. In the meantime, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy sent to them two messengers with the message that they should not depart from their land and property, that they should remain in their fortresses, and that soon he himself would be coming to their assistance with two thousand Jewish and Arab fighters prepared to defend them to the death. Rams al Nadir pondered over the message of Ibn Ubayy and wondered how he could have felt so certain of victory. They recalled that the same man had previously promised help to Banu Qaynuqa`, just as he was doing today, but betrayed them when his help was needed by running for his life. They considered that since Banu Qurayzah had contracted a peace with Muhammad, they would not be prepared to come to their rescue. Hence, they inclined toward removing themselves to Khaybar or a nearer place, considering that they could still come to Yathrib to harvest their crops and return to their fortresses at Khaybar with no appreciable loss. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, their leader, finally resolved against this view. "No," he said "I shall send to Muhammad telling him that we shall not leave our homes and properties and that we refuse to comply with his orders. As for us, all we have to do is to consolidate our fortresses, to fill up our granaries, to barricade our streets, to supply ourselves with stones, and to get ready. We have enough food reserves to keep us for a full year and our water supply never runs dry. At any rate, Muhammad will not blockade us for as long a time as a year." The ten days therefore passed and no Jew left Madinah.

 

Blockade of Banu al Nadir

The Muslims took up arms and began to fight the Jews. For twenty days and nights the battle raged. Whenever a Jew showed up on the public street or outside of his quarters, the Muslims would engage him in battle. But the Jews would withdraw quickly and often would even destroy their own property or houses before withdrawal to deeper lines. Subsequently, Muhammad ordered his companions to cut down the date trees and to burn them in order to reduce the Jews' will to stay in Madinah to protect and enjoy their properties. The Jews were angry and argued, "0 Muhammad, how could you, who always forbade corruption and injustice and castigated their perpetrators, command the destruction of our date orchards?" On this occasion the following verse was revealed: "Whatever tree you have cut down or left standing, you have done so with God's permission that the unjust may be overwhelmed."[Qur'an, 59:5] The Jews waited in vain for military assistance to come from the side of ibn Ubayy or from that of some other Arab tribes, and they dreaded the fate which awaited them in case they prolonged the hostilities. In despair and with hearts trembling with fear, they asked Muhammad to guarantee their lives and properties and to give them safe passage. Muhammad agreed, permitting each one to take with him three camel loads of whatever property of goods they wanted to take away. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, their leader, led this exodus; the emigrants settled either at Khaybar or at Adhri'at in al Sham. They left behind them large amounts of booty consisting of food, fifty pieces of armour, three hundred and forty swords, and large areas of land. This prize was greater than anything the Muslims had so far seized. These properties were not divided among the Muslims as war booty. They were all considered as a trust which the Prophet of God divided among the early emigrants, after putting away some for the purposes of the poor and deprived. Thus the necessary economic support of the Muhajirun by al Ansar was alleviated for the first time, the Muhajirun having now acquired as much wealth as their hosts. None of the Ansar received any of this new wealth except Abu Dujanah and Sahl ibn Hunayf. When they pleaded to Muhammad that they were really in need, Muhammad ,rave them as liberally as the Muhajirun. All the Jews of Banu al Nadir left Madinah except two who converted to Islam and kept their property.

It is by no means easy to appreciate the true significance of the Muslim victory and of the forced evacuation of Banu al Nadir from Madinah. The Prophet's apprehension of what their presence in Madinah might lead to by way of civil strife, of emboldening the munafiqunto plot against the Muslims whenever the latter suffered a set-back, and of the actual threat of civil war in case of outside attack-all these weighed heavily in the Prophet's consideration. On the occasion of the evacuation of Banu al Nadir, the whole Surah of "al Hashr" was revealed. In it God said: "Would you not see the munafiqun, how they falsely promise their brethren-the faithless among the People of the Book-to join them in evacuation if that were imposed, to refuse obedience to anyone against them, and to come to their rescue in case of war? God knows that they lie. The People of the Book are forced to evacuate; yet, the munafiqun would not leave with them, and should the former be fought, they would not come to their assistance but would run away without giving rescue. Indeed, they fear you more than they fear God, little that they think or know."[Qur'an, 59:11-13]

The Surah continues with a discussion of faith and its power over the human soul and asserts that only recognition of God gives the human soul value and dignity such as no other recognition of any power can give. The Qur'an said

"God is the Being besides Whom there is no other God. He knows that which no man knows and He is the Merciful, the Compassionate. God is the Being besides Whom there is no other God. He is the King, the Holy, the Peace-giver, the Securer, the Dominant, the Mighty, the Great, the Unchallengeable. Praised be He above everything they associate with Him. God is the Creator, the Fashioner, the Form-giver. To Him belong the noble names. To Him everything on earth and in heaven gives praise. He is the Omnipotent, the Wise."[Qur'an, 59:22-24]

 

The Prophet's Secretary

Until the exit of Banu al Nadir from Madinah, the Prophet's secretary was a Jew. He had chosen him for his capacity to write letters in Hebrew and Syriac, as well as Arabic. After the evacuation of the Jews from Madinah, the Prophet no longer trusted a non-Muslim to write his letters. He therefore commanded Zayd ibn Thabit, a Madinese youth, to learn the two languages and appointed him his secretary for all affairs. The same Zayd ibn Thabit collected the Qur'an during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, supervised the collection of the Qur'an when the readings of it varied during the caliphate of `Uthman, and finally established the text known as "the recension of `Uthman," after which all other texts were destroyed.

The city of Madinah recovered its peace after the evacuation of Banu al Nadir. The Muslims no more feared the munafiqun, and the Muhajirun were quite satisfied with the new lands they had acquired. On the other hand, al Ansar were equally happy that there was no further need to support the Muhajirun. The period was generally one of peace and tranquility as well as prosperity for both Muhajirun and Ansar. This continued until the following year when, on the occasion of the memory of Uhud, Muhammad remembered the promise of Abu Sufyan to fight the Muslims again a year thence to the day. Muhammad also recalled that Abu Sufyan had challenged to meet him once more at Badr, on the Day of Badr, a year later. The year was one of drought and Abu Sufyan wished to postpone the encounter for another year. Nonetheless, he sent Nu'aym to Madinah to inform the Muslims that Quraysh had rallied a tremendous army such as the Arabs had never seen before, that Makkah was planning to fight them and destroy them once and for all and inflict upon them unheard of misery and destruction. The Muslims first reacted with apprehension and fear and were more eager to remain in Madinah than go out to meet their enemy at Badr. Muhammad was indignant. He castigated their cowardice and warned them that he was going to Badr even if he had to do so alone.

 

The Would-be Encounter at Badr

After this show of anger on the part of the Prophet, it was not surprising that all hesitation and all fear on the part of the Muslims dissolved and that they picked up their arms in order to run to Badr. The Prophet appointed `Abdullah ibn `Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul to govern Madinah in his absence. The Muslims arrived at Badr and waited there for the Quraysh army to come forth. Quraysh, on the other hand, sent two thousand fighters under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan, however, was not enthusiastic about the whole affair, and he decided to return to Makkah two days after he left. He advised his people that since they could not do well in war outside of Makkah except in a fertile and prosperous year, and since that year was one of drought and poverty, it was better for them to return home and not to fight Muhammad. He returned to Makkah and the army returned with him while Muhammad awaited them eight long days in their encampment at Badr. While waiting for their enemy to appear, the Muslims began a little trade and they made large gains for which they thanked God. It was on the occasion of this would-be encounter that the following Qur'anic verses were revealed

 

"To those who did not go to war but remained behind complaining, `Had they only listened to us and not gone out to war they would not have been killed,' [Allah says,] `If you are truthful in your allegation, will you not seek to avoid death altogether and become immortal? Think not that those who have laid down their lives for the sake of God are dead. Rather, they are alive, in presence of their Lord, and they receive His gifts. They are happy with what God had given them of His bounty and they are awaiting with joy the arrival of those who were not as fortunate but who have neither reason to grieve nor to sorrow. They are jubilant with God's bounty and grace, for God never suffers the reward of the believers to be lost. On the other hand, those who responded to God's call and the Prophet's even after they had been wounded in previous battles, and to those of them who have done well and have been pious, will fall the great reward. As to those whom the enemy wished to frighten by reports of the rallying of great armies, but whose faith grew stronger at the challenge and who said, "Sufficient for us is God, for He is the most excellent Guardian," to them God will show His favor and grant His bounty. No evil has befallen them, only God's blessing and benediction. God is the Lord of great bounty. It is Satan, rather, that instills fear in his friends and associates. Do not fear your enemies, therefore, but fear Me if you are true believers.”[Qur'an, 3:168-75]

This would-be encounter at Badr erased completely every trace of Uhud. Quraysh had no alternative but to wait another whole year, enduring in the meantime an opprobrium no less great than that of her first defeat at Badr.

 

 

Campaign of Dhat at Riqa

Fully satisfied with the implicit victory God had sent to him, Muhammad returned to Madinah. He was content that the Muslims recaptured their prestige, but he kept constant vigilance lest the enemy should cheat him once more. In the meantime, the news reached him that a group from Ghatafan in Najd were rallying an army to fight him. He planned to surprise them before they could complete their preparations. Gathering a force of four hundred, he led his men to Dhat al Riqa` where the Banu Muharib and Banu Tha'labah of Ghatafan had rallied. The Muslims took the initiative of surprise attack, and the enemy ran away leaving behind their women, equipment, and property. Of these the Muslims carried what they could and returned to Madinah. Taking care lest the enemy launch a surprise attack against them in turn, the Muslims established night and day sentries, and Muhammad would only allow short prayers to be held. While some of them prayed, the others would face the enemy fully prepared for defense. The enemy, however, never showed his face; and the Prophet returned to Madinah fifteen days after they had left it, jubilant and victorious.

 

Campaign of Dawmat al Jandal

A little later, the Prophet led another campaign to Dawmat al Jandal. This is an oasis on the frontier between al Hijaz and al Sham, midway between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. There again, Muhammad could not find the tribes whom he had come to punish for their attack upon the caravans. For as soon as any heard that he was on his way, they would run, unmindful of what the Muslims might carry away of their property as booty. The geographic location of Dawmat al Jandal shows the ample extent of Muhammad and his companions' political influence and military sway. In fact, the Arabian Peninsula shook under their feet. The foregoing accounts give equally clear evidence of Muslim endurance, of their disregard for excessive heat, for the desolateness of the countryside and shortage of water. These reports testify to the Muslims' readiness to lay down their lives for the cause of God and to the determination of their faith in Him as One.

After all these exploits and campaigns, it was time for Muhammad to settle down in Madinah for a few months before Quraysh would trouble him again in fulfillment of Abu Sufyan's resolution to make annual battle with the Muslims. In the meantime, the Prophet had plenty to do to complete the organization of the nascent Islamic society and to order and structure its various elements on the basis of revelation, i.e., of what may be safely deduced from revealed truths. Muhammad elaborated a complete system of rules for the guidance of man, state and society, which his companions canonized after his death and which still stands viable for all ages.

 

The Zaynab Affair and the Orientalists

In the interval in which the events of the last two chapters took place, Muhammad married Zaynab, daughter of Khuzaymah, Umm Salamah daughter of Umayyah ibn al Mughirah, and Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, after she had been divorced by Zayd ibn Harithah. The last named is the same Zayd who was adopted by Muhammad and set free after he was bought by Yasar for Khadijah. It is here that the Orientalists offer their highest condemnation, in chorus with the Christian missionaries. Glowing with vindictiveness, they say,

"Muhammad who in Makkah called men to asceticism and contentment, to monotheism and abstinence from the pleasures of this life, has now become a man of lust whose appetite every woman could whet. He is not satisfied with three women whom he has so far taken into marriage but has now taken the three additional wives just mentioned. Indeed, he was to marry three more yet in addition to Rayhanah. Nor was he to be satisfied by marrying the widow. He fell in love with Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, while she was the wife of Zayd ibn Harithah, his own client. Once, when he passed by the house of Zayd in the tatter's absence, he was met by Zaynab wearing clothes which exposed her beauty. Muhammad's heart was inflamed. It is reported that when his eyes fell upon her, he exclaimed, `Praise be to God who changes the hearts of men!' and that he repeated this expression at the time of his departure from her home. Zaynab heard him say this and noticed desire in his eye. Proudly, she reported what happened to her husband. Zayd immediately went to see the Prophet and offered to divorce his wife. Muhammad answered, `Hold to your wife and fear God.' Thereafter, Zaynab was no longer a docile wife and Zayd had to divorce her. Muhammad did not marry her immediately despite his love for her. He waited until an express revelation came which permitted him to do so. Addressing Muhammad, God said: `You said to Zayd, to whom God gave of His bounty and you gave of yours, "Hold fast to your wife and fear God." Would you hide, 0 Muhammad, that which God was going to bring to light? Would you fear the gossip of the people? Isn't God more worthy of being feared? After a term of married life with her husband, We permitted you to marry her so that it may hence be legitimate and morally blameless for a believer to marry the wife of his adopted son provided that wife had already been divorced. That is God's commandment which must be fulfilled”[Qur'an, 33:37]. Thereupon, Muhammad married this woman and satisfied his desire and lust. Now, what kind of Prophet is this? How could he permit himself that which he forbade to others? How can he violate the law which he himself had said had come to him from heaven? How would he amass this harem which calls to mind the behavior of the old lustful and pleasure seeking kings rather than the righteous reforming prophets? How could such a prophet fall prey to lust and desire in the case of Zaynab that he would force his adopted son to divorce her only so that he might marry her thereafter? That was definitely taboo in pre-Islamic Arabia, and the Prophet of Islam lifted this taboo in order to satisfy his own lust and fulfill his own desire."

Thus appears the Western Orientalists' claim.

 

The Orientalists' Portrait of Zaynab

Western Orientalists and missionaries pause in order to give full vent to their resentment and imagination. In this chapter of Muhammad's biography, some of them take inordinate pain to paint a sensual portrait of Zaynab. They relate that when Muhammad saw her, she was half-naked, that her fine black hair was covering half her body, and that every curve of her body was full of desire and passion. Others relate that when Muhammad opened the door of the house of Zayd the breeze played with the curtains of the room of Zaynab, thus permitting Muhammad to catch a glimpse of her stretched out on her mattress in a nightgown. They then tell their readers that this view of her stormed the heart of Muhammad who was extremely passionate in his love and desire for women. They relate that Muhammad had hidden his secret desire, though he could hardly bear to conceal it for long! This and many like pictures have been painted arduously by Orientalists and missionaries and may be read in the work. of Muir, Dermenghem, Washington Irving, Lammens, and others. It cannot be denied that these stories are based upon reports in fanciful Muslim biographies and Hadith books. But these books are questionable. And it is extremely regrettable that our authors have used them without scrutiny. It is inexcusable that these scholars had built "Castles in Spain" regarding Muhammad's relations with women, castles which they thought were sufficiently justified by the fact that Muhammad married a plurality of wives, probably nine, or even more according to some versions.

 

 

Great Men and the Law

It is possible to refute all these claims with one argument. If supposed to be true, they constitute no flaw in the prophethood of Muhammad, in his own greatness or that of his message. The rules which are law to the people at large do not apply to the great. A fortiori, they have no application on prophets, the messengers of God. Did not Moses-may God's peace be upon him kill the gentile whom he noticed was fighting with one of his compatriots? That was murder, forbidden by God, and there was no war or hostility to justify it. It was a clear violation of the law. Nonetheless, this did not impair Moses' prophethood, his greatness, or his status with God. The case of Jesus violates the law even more flagrantly than either Moses or Muhammad or for that matter any other prophet. For his case is not one of a unique exemplification of power or desire but a persistent violation of natural law from birth to death. First, the spirit of God appeared to Mary, his mother, in the likeness of a handsome man to give her a fair son. Second she herself was surprised and said, "How can I have a son when no man ever touched me and I have never lost my chastity?" The messenger replied that God wished her son to be a sign to mankind. Thirdly, when she gave birth to her son she said: "I wish I was dead, given to oblivion, and lost before this." Her son, however, called unto her, "Do not grieve, for God has made rivers to issue under your feet." Fourthly, when she brought her son to her people, and they accused her of adultery, Jesus answered them from the cradle: "I am the servant of God . . . etc." However the Jews may have denied the facts of this story, and however they may have attributed Jesus' paternity to Joseph, the carpenter-a claim believed today to be true by such rationalists as Renan-the greatness and prophethood of Jesus constitute a miracle, and a miracle is precisely a breech of natural law, the cosmic pattern, and the rules of creation. It is surprising that Christians and missionaries call men to believe such breaches of the cosmic pattern in the case of Jesus and yet blame Muhammad for much less. Muhammad's violation was not one of a cosmic law but one of a social law, which is permissible to every great man. Such status above the social laws of the community is usually accorded to all kings and heads of states. Constitutional law usually grants to such persons immunity which shields them from the pursuing hand of the law.

 

Incoherence of the Orientalists' Account

It is possible for us to give such an answer and to thereby refute all these Orientalists' claims, the arguments of the missionaries and of those who follow in their tracks. But if we did so we would be doing a great injustice to history itself as well as to the true greatness of Muhammad and the magnanimity of his message. For the fact is that Muhammad was not a man given to passion and desire as the Orientalists and missionaries have pictured him. He did not marry his wives for lust, desire, or love. If some Muslim writers in certain periods of history have allowed themselves to attribute such things to the Prophet and thereby to present with good intent an argument to the enemies of Islam, that is because their conservatism caused them to adopt a materialistic view of things. In such a manner they pictured Muhammad as superlative in everything including the lusts of this world. But the picture they drew was clearly false. The history of Muhammad denies it outright, and the logic of Muhammad's life is utterly inconsistent with it.

 


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