Seerah of Prophet Muhammad 75 – The Conquest of Makkah Part 1 ~ Dr. Yasir Qadhi | 19th Feb 2014
We now move to the actual conquest of Mecca. Recall in the treaty of Hudaybiyya which was made 2 years ago, one of the clauses in the treaty was that either side (quraysh and muslims) had the permission to form alliances with other tribes, and if formed automatically the same conditions of Hudaybiyya would apply to those tribes. And that included NO warfare. So many tribes entered into agreement with both sides, and the two tribes that concern us are the tribes of Kuza’a, and the tribe of Banu Bukr.
Now the tribe of Kuza’a is one of the famous and classical tribe, and they have a lot of history. Who are they? They are related to the prophet PBUH, and they have a history with the Banu Hashim. They are one of the legenendary tribes of Quraysh and they are the ones who expelled the tribe of Jurhum, the in-laws of Ismail AS. The Jurhum tribe was in charge of Mecca for a long period of time. Initially they were righteous, but over the course of time they became evil, did a lot of crimes, started to steal money for the hujjaj and so they did not deserve to be the custodians of the ka’bah. And it was the tribe of Kuza’a who fought them and kicked them out. So for over 300 years they were the custodians of the ka’bah which is a huge honour. And their chieftain was Amr ibn Luhay al Kuza’aee. And he was that man who first introduced idolatry to the Arabs and brought it into the ka’bah. And recall he did this when he went to the Amlkytes; he felt an inferiority complex since they were a mighty civilisation, and he asked for a statue to take back so they gave him Hubul. And Hubul remained the principle idol of the Quraysh in Mecca. It was the idol of all of Arabia. So Amr ibn Luhay was from the tribe of Kuza’a. It was probably around 300CE they took charge of Mecca; and we said because of Amr’s status and prestige, because he returned the ka’bah to the Arabs; because he was a noble warrior, a generous man etc. Because of all these reasons they accepted his leadership and his idol worship. And so Kuza’a was in charge of the ka’bah for over 300 years until finally the Quraysh took it over from the Kuza’a. Who led the Quraysh when they took it over? Qusai ibn Kilab, the great-great-great-grandfather of the prophet PBUH. He was the one who took the ka’bah back from the hands of Kuza’a to the hands of the Quraysh. And Qusai married the daughter of the chieftain of the Kuza’a. So the prophet PBUHs great great great grandmother is from Kuza’a. And believe it or not the Kuza’a bring this up. They knew their genology inside out. So when the chieftain dies, Qusai manages to kick the Kuza’a out and he becomes the next cheifton. But the Kuza’a remained on good terms with the Quraysh, and eventually Abdul Muttalib forms an alliance with the tribe of Kuza’a – and this alliance aswell is brought up when the prophet PBUH is spoken to. This alliance is called ‘Hilf’. And Abdul Muttalib forms a treaty that both tribes will be one against anyone who causes distress or harm. And the agreement said “as long as the generations proceed this will be a permanent hilf”. And the Kuza’a will bring this up too that “your grandfather made this treaty with us”.
After Hudaybiyya, a lot of members of the Kuza’a accepted Islam. So the tribe agreed to join the prophet PBUH in the treaty of Hudaybiyya on his side. The other tribe was the Banu Bukr, and they were one of the few pagan tribes in Mecca and they joined the Quraysh. So the Kuza’a and Banu Bukr – both are located on the outskirts of Mecca, and the Kuza’a are on the side of the muslim (mostly muslim), whereas the Banu Bukr are fully pagans. This was in the 6th year of the Hijrah. In the 8th year of the Hijrah, the Banu Bukr decided to engage in a night raid on Kuza’a. Why? The Kuza’a and the Banu Bukr has had warfare for the last 100 years, just like the Aws and Khazraj. Constant on and off – then Islam came and they were forced to pause. Then the treaty of Hudaybiyya came and both tribes split sides. But there is still revenge on the minds of the Banu Bukr. And they have a list of names “these people were killed many years ago yet we haven’t extrated revenge”. The second reason was the ‘law of the jungle’. They had a code of conduct: that the tribes would raid other tribes, and they would try their best not to kill anyone – and definately woman and children were spared. And it was like understood that every tribe has a risk of being attacked by another tribe. And they try their best not to kill. This was the law of the desert. So the Banu Bukr decided to undertake this type of raid and to get revenge from the past. But they knew they had a treaty. So they sent their noblemen to the Quraysh and said “look we want revenge but we’ve agreed to the treaty – can you give us permission for just one raid?” And the Quraysh not only agreed, but some amongst them i.e. Suhail ibn Amr, Safwan ibn Ummayah gave them weapons most likely for a percentage of the booty. One remarks “don’t worry as long as you attack in the middle of the night how will Muhammad find out?” So the Quraysh knowingly accepted and approved. Not only this, their elders gave weapons to this Banu Bukr. This is a very important point.
So armed with physical weapons, they suprise attacked the Kuza’a in the middle of the night at a small pond called Al Wateer, outside of the haram boundry. And they expected everyone would be asleep, they would get camels, booty, maybe kill a few people and then go back. Lo and behold the entire operation botched up. Someone noised the alarm, all the men get up, the women and children are screaming, everyone is awake and they are fighting each other. And a mini massacare ensues: more than 20 people were killed, including women and children. 20 is a MASSIVE amount for a small tribe. Typically in these raids maybe one person is wounded, MAX one person dies. There is one paticular incident that proved to be troublesome: when the Banu Bukr attacked, one of the people of the Kuza’a fled and ran away. And he was persued by the Banu Bukr until finally he entered the haram area. Remember even the jaheleya arabs realised “when you are in the haram you cannot fight”. So he runs and runs and finally enters the haram area – turns around and says “oh so and so I am in the haram, fear your God, fear your God”. And the man from the Banu Bukr utters “there is no God today”. And he goes in the haram and kills him. Obviously this was not apart of the plan. And Allah completely embarrased them as this news spread.
Immediately the cheifton of Kuza’a with a delegation of 40 men left for Madinah. They want WAR. So the cheifton goes to the prophet PBUH, and his name was Amr ibn Salaam al Kuzaee and he recited a beautiful one page long poem. And in this he mentions both him and the prophet PBUH have a common ancestor (i.e. great great great grandmother as we discussed). And its truly amazing how the Arabs took track of their genology. Truly amazing. Then he reminds the prophet PBUH of the treaty of Abdul Muttalib with his own grandfather. Than the tribe of Kuza’a and Banu Hashim have this treaty. Subhan’Allah the arabs might have been illiterate but Allah blessed them with an amazing memory. So he brings this up. And then he mentions the treaty of Hudaybiyya aswell. Note, it does appear the chieftain of the Kuza’a wasn’t a muslim at this time, but most of his tribe was as mentioned in his poem to the prophet PBUH that “they killed us while we were in sajda and ruku; we tried to seek shelter but they still killed us”. In any case the cheifton puts forth three strong reasons:
1. Common lineage
2. Treaty with Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the prophet PBUH
3. Treaty of Hudaybiyya
And then he mentions the details of the massacare – that they came to them while they were in sadjah, and nothing protected them, even being in the haram. And note in those days this is how news spread, through poetry. So he gives his poetry and very strong and moving, the prophet PBUH was moved. And the prophet PBUH said “you shall be helped; may Allah never help me if I don’t help the Banu Kuza’a”. So he is saying there is no question the muslims will help them. And there was a cloud coming in the horizons, and the prophet PBUH said “this cloud shows the victory of the Kuza’a”. As we mentioned, this incident shows the importance of geneology for the Arabs, and how they memorised all their family trees. And the treaties inacted even before Islam are binding as long as the treaties do not have any haraam conditions. Finally, it shows us good omens are allowed and encouraged in Islam. And they are “a good word or a good vision someone sees”. And a good omen is optimism allowed on the basis of two conditions: firstly you read in a positive sign, and secondly you link it to Allah. For example, this hadith. The prophet PBUH saw a cloud coming and said “this is the help of Allah”. There is no such thing as negative omens. We don’t believe in black cats, friday 13th etc. This is superstition and borders on shirk. But a positive omen where you read in something positive is allowed. And you must link it to Allah, not some medallion or something. This is shirk.
So the prophet PBUH promises the Kuza’a that they will get help. So what did he do? Here is the big question. Ibn Ishaaq mentions he began preparing an army and then he marched to Mecca. This has led the majority of scholars of Mecca that the prophet PBUH took the attack against the Kuza’a as an automatic breach of Hudaybiyya, and he did not negotiate at all with the Quraysh. This is the majority interpretation and there’s nothing wrong with it. He has every right because the Quraysh knowingly broke the treaty. However, there is a report than ibn Hajar and others mentions that suggest he did the prophet PBUH tried to negotiate. And this would make more sense, and would give more logic and rational to the attack of Mecca. The version that has this detail is better since it shows the prophet PBUH is trying to avoid war at all times. So this version narrated in ibn Hajar says the prophet PBUH sent an ultimatum to the Quraysh. And he said “to make up for this deed, you must cut off ties with the Banu Bukr and pay the blood money for those who were killed. If you don’t do this, there will be war”. And subhanAllah it is a reasonable clause. When the Quraysh got these demands according to this report they outright refused on both accounts. The blood money for 20 dead people is 2000 camels which is a fortune that would have wiped the Quraysh out. And with regards to the Banu Bukr they said “they are the only tribe alive on our religion in our vicinity so we cannot cut off ties with them”. This shows us everyone else had converted to Islam. The Quraysh are alone, and the Banu Bukr is the only tribe who are pagans. So the Quraysh refused to budge and said “these two conditions are not acceptable – if we were to give this money we would be left with nothing but the clothes on our back”.
So when this happened, it is mentioned Abu Suffyan tried to find a common ground and he himself went to Madinah to try to sort this out and renegotiate the treaty of Hudaybiyya again. They want to reaffirm it, and the Quraysh agree to send Abu Suffyan to Madinah. Abu Suffyan, the chieftain, is now coming to Madinah literally begging the prophet PBUH to not attack. He has not entered Madinah except to attack the muslims (at Uhud and Khadak etc). He wants to now come to beg and plead for the lives of Quraysh. So he goes to Madinah, and there are two versions mentioned, one by ibn Ishaaq, another by ibn Sa’ad. One version has it the prophet PBUH was the first person Abu Suffyan went to. Then Abu Bukr, then Umar and then Ali RA. The second version has it he went to Abu Bukr, Umar and then Ali RA first, and then he went to the prophet PBUH. Allah knows best but it would make sense for him to go to the prophet PBUH first. It seems more logical. So in the version of ibn Ishaaq he goes to the prophet PBUH and attempts to renegotiate. But ibn Ishaaq says the prophet PBUH did not respond to him at all, meaning whatever he demanded the prophet PBUH didn’t give him anything. So Abu Suffyan panicked; he didn’t get a verbal yes. He was not answered at ALL. The prophet PBUH (however he did, maybe he was silent or averted) he did not respond. So Abu Suffyan then saw Abu Bukr, and Abu Bukr told him flat out “I cannot help you”. So he then sought out Umar RA, his business partner in the days of jaheleya, and said “can you go to the prophet PBUH and intercede on my behalf?” Umar outright mocked him “do you think I will go for you in front of the prophet PBUH? Never”. So Abu Bukr and Umar turn him down. And then Abu Suffyan goes to Ali RA, his closest relative in all of Madinah. Abu Suffyan is of the second cousin to the prophet PBUH (Banu Ummayah).
So he says to Ali “you are the closest person to me (in lineage) and I need your help. So can you please go to the prophet PBUH and intercede on my behalf? Do not let me go back embarassed and humiliated to my people”. And the books of seerah mentions when he visited Ali, he was at his house and Fatimah RA was there and Hasan was playing around her. So he is begging Ali to go to the prophet PBUH. And walahi how amazing is this sight: Ali is literally a child in Abu Suffyans eyes. Yesterday Abu Suffyan instigated Badr, led Uhud, commanded Khandak and barely few years have gone and he is going door to door begging Abu Bukr, pleading with Umar and Ali. Such is the power and kudr of Allah. Today there is no help for him. So Ali says to him “woe to you oh Abu Suffyan, walahi when the prophet PBUH has decided a matter we do not go to him and ask otherwise” meaning “we will never interfere with the prophet PBUHs decision”. So Abu Suffyan turns to Fatimah and he says to her “oh daughter of Muhammad”. Walahi look at the humiliation of this man. He says “oh daughter of Muhammad can you go ask this little boy to go to his grandfather and seek protection for us? And if he does so he shall be respected and the sayyid tul Arab until the day of judgement”. SubhanAllah. Begging Ali, now begging Hasan, a five year old boy. Walahi you see the fear in Abu Suffyan now that he has to beg a five year old for protection. And he promises to make Hasan a sayyid of the Arabs, but the prophet PBUH has made him the sayyid of this ummah as in Bhukari. So Fatimah responded “my son has not reached the age to grant you security, and no one can offer you protection against the prophet PBUH”. Once he has decided it’s the end of the matter. So he turns to Ali again and says “ya Ali you see my situation, you see how desperate I am, give me some words what shall I do?” He just wants any little thing. So Ali says “I don’t know anything that will help you, but you are the sayyid of the Banu Qinana (Quraysh)”. So Abu Suffyan is the single most honourable person of the entire subtribes of the Quraysh. So Ali says “go to the masjid and announce if anyone will protect you”.
And so Abu Suffyan went to the masjid and made a public announcement, begging for protection. And what humuiliation this is. And once again we see the kudr of Allah – Allah allowed him to live, repent and accept Islam so he was forgiven. But right now he is a pagan, so he has to suffer in the worst manner to him. So he says “Oh people, I am Abu Suffyan, is there any who will give me protection?” And as we mentioned several times, this is how the arabs society worked. They gave each other formal protection: any memeber of a tribe could give protection to someone else on behalf of the tribe. And this ruling was adopted in Islam aswell that the prophet PBUH said “any muslim can give protection to someone else”. This is why male, female, young and old (even someone very young i.e. 5) can give protection. Recall when the prophet PBUH came back from Ta’if, no one gave him protection, so he has to go to each tribe and ask. So Abu Suffyan makde this announcement but who would dare stand up after the prophet PBUH has not said anything. And so Abu Suffyan had not a single response, and so not a single hope of protection. And before he left he paid one more visit to his own daughter, Umme Habiba Rammlah bint Abu Suffyan. And she had not seen her father for over 13 years now. Because, she had immigrated to Abyssinia during the Meccan era. And her husband was one of the few people who left Islam and became murtad. And she was all alone in Abyssinia, so the prophet PBUH proposed to her while she was there. And najashi did the walimah on behalf of the prophet PBUH as we discussed. Najashi himself paid the maher, and she went back with Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, the day that Khaybar was conquered. Therefore she has not seen her father for over 13 years.
So now Abu Suffyan, before he leaves, visits the house of Umme Habiba, and as he comes in and wants to sit down, she covers the blanket quickly. The soft mattress, she covers it up and tells him to sit on the hard framework of the bed. So he said “are you protecting the mattress from me, or the me from the mattress?” Meaning “do you think I’m not good enough for this mattress so you will put down a better one? Or the mattress is not good enough for me?” And so Umme Habiba said “this is the blanket of the prophet PBUH. This is the bed of the prophet PBUH. And you are not going to sit on his bed”. And subhanAllah what humiliation. His own daughter says go sit on the floor. Even though of course technically you can have a non-muslim sit and touch our utensils, but this is special respect for the prophet PBUH. And so even he is turned away from his own daughter. And he says “I don’t know what evil has touched you after you’ve left me”. And he returned to the Quraysh and he told them in vivid detail everything that happened. That Abu Bukr refused to help, Umar RA mocked him, Ali was the softest and most cooperative of the group, but he could not help either except to ask the gathering in the masjid. And they asked him “did you go to the masjid to ask?” He said “yes” and they said “you have been made a fool off”. That it’s a mockery of humiliation. But Abu Suffyan said “there is nothing else I could do”. And truly it is bizzare. Look at who Abu Suffyan was and what has happened to him. Once the prophet PBUH was asking protection outside of Mecca, nobody gave him protection, and 9 years later the cheifton of the Quraysh coems to Madinah begging for protection and he isn’t worthy of anything.
And we see three spectrums of responses: Umar was the harshest and said “you think I’m going to help?” Abu Bukr was in the middle ground, that he was blunt and to the point, but not too harsh yet also not too soft. And we see Ali was the most softest, he had a entire conversation with Abu Suffyan and even gave him advice of what to do. Thus we see responses should be varied; it’s good to have some people that are harsh, and it’s good to have people that are soft. Not everyone should react in the same way. It’s good for some people to be extra angry, and it’s also good for people to be soft hearted.
So Abu Suffyan returns and the prophet PBUH announces that he will lead a very large expidition somewhere. And everybody MUST follow. In shariah, it is waajib that when the leader says “everyone should come” it becomes fard to obey, especially when its the prophet PBUH. So he said “every male that is able to go must go”. And he didn’t say where. Therefore, you have to give time, a week or so to prepare. And news spread there will be a massive battle but nobody knows where. He didn’t even tell his most trusted companions, Abu Bukr as Siddique and Aisha RA. Its reported Abu Bukr visisted Aisha and said “did you hear the prophet PBUHs call?” And she said “yes I am preparing his bags”. So he says “where is he going?!” and she replies “walahi I have no idea”. SubhanAllah it shows the prophet PBUH did not even tell the people he genuinely trusted. Why? To ensure nothing would spread and get out of hand. Its the reality that you tell someone who you trust a secret, but within a day everyone finds out. So the prophet PBUH took utmost secrecy and precaution – such an action is unparalleled in the seerah. Realise this didn’t take place after Abu Suffyan left, a few weeks went by before this happened and ibn Sa’ad mentions the prophet PBUH intentionally sent out a small expidition up north as a scouting party to give the false impression the massive army will go up north. Remember Mecca is down south. So he sends a scouting group of 8 men to decide where are the water reserves, where is the best place to camp etc. But this was a complete false impression. The news spread that “maybe he is going up north” but eventually of course, the prophet PBUH has to tell them where he is going, so the day before the journey, the 11th hour, he announces “we are going to Mecca”. And this shows us exactly the interpretation of what the prophet PBUH said: “war is deciet”. This hadith is largely misunderstood by the far-right and islamaphobes. This incident demonstrates what the prophet PBUH meant by ‘deciet’. The prophet PBUH never lied, and you are never allowed to give an oath or treaty and go against it. This is kiyaana, which is treachery, and it is never allowed. However kida which is deciet is allowed as in this incident.
So not a single muhajir or ansar remained behind. Every single muhajir participated, and every ansari, and additionally the outlining tribes sent in their troops. One sent in 1000, another sent in 1700, until eventually the prophet PBUH gathered over 10,000 people under his banner. Look again at the wisdom of Allah. Barely 7 years ago, there were only 300 fighting at Badr and the prophet PBUH begs Allah “oh Allah if we are destroyed you will never be worshipped on this Earth”. Look at the astronomical growth. Even 2 years before in Ahzab, 10,000 people were on the other side of Madinah; now 10,000 sahaba are marching to Mecca. And they arrive in the swiftest manner possible. The prophet PBUH left Madinah on the 10th Ramadan, 8th Hijrah and arrived on the outskirts of Mecca on the 19th Ramadan. That is 9 days which is amazing for 10,000 people. It’s truly a miracle. And the prophet PBUH did not want to give any hint anyway, that is why he announced it right before they left. It was at this point in time one of the famous sahabi fell into the biggest error of his life, and that is “take precautions, the prophet PBUH is coming, prepare yourselves” and his name is Hatib ibn Abi Balta’ah.