Grace and Truth
04. THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD ACCORDING TO IBN HISHAM
8 - The RECOGNITION of Muhammad by the Meccans -- (627 - 629 A.D.)
Further Military Campaigns (627 A.D.) - The Recognition of Muhammad by the Quraish (628 A.D.) - Before the Conquest of Mecca (629 A.D.)
8.02.22 -- The campaigns against the Banu Ghatafan (October 625 A.D.) and Dumat al-Jandal (August and September 626 A.D.)
8.01 -- The RECOGNITION of Muhammad by the Meccans -- (627 - 629 A.D.)
According to Muhammad Ibn Ishaq (died 767 A.D.) edited by Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham (died 834 A.D.)
An edited translation from Arabic, originally by Alfred Guillaume
A selection with annotations by Abd al-Masih and Salam Falaki
8.02 -- Further Military Campaigns (627 A.D.)
8.02.1 -- The campaign of revenge against the Banu Lihyan in Ghuran (Sept. 627 A.D.)
Muhammad remained in Medina until the month of Jumada al-Ula (5th month). When the sixth month following his victory over the Banu Qurayza began, he went out against the Banu Lihyan. He wanted to take revenge for the warriors of Raji, Khubayb ibn Adi and his companions. In order to surprise the enemy, he acted as if he was going to Syria. According to Ibn Hisham, he placed Ibn Umm Maktum over Medina and then took the way that led over Ghurab (Ghurab is a mountain that lies in the vicinity of Medina along the road to Syria). He then proceeded on past Mahis and Batra, turned left there and, passing Bin and Sukhayrat al-Jamam, came upon the direct route to Mahajja, which lies on the road leading to Mecca. From there he made a forced march toward Ghuran, the camp site of the Banu Lihyan. Ghuran is a valley between Amaj and Usfan. There, in the location of Sa’ya, he set up camp. The enemy, however, was staying on guard and had already be-come entrenched in the mountains. When Muhammad saw that his plan had failed, he said: “If we go down toward Usfan, the Meccans will believe we are moving toward Mecca.” Therefore he took 200 riders with him and descended toward Usfan. From here he sent out two of his riders to Kura al-Ghamim. When they came back Muhammad also began the return journey. Jabir ibn Abd Allah reported: “I heard how Muhammad said on his journey home: ‘We are turning back (regretting this mistake) as Allah wills,’ and he praised Allah and implored his help for the hardships of the travel, for the unpleasantness of the turn of affairs and against the Evil Eye** that has been cast upon our community and our belongings.”
* Ghuran lies approx. 80 km northwest of Mecca.
** The superstitious belief that the glance of an envious person could have a negative influence on the one affected is widespread in the Middle East even today. Muhammad himself believed in the power of the evil glance.
8.02.2 -- The Campaign of Dhu Qarad* (August 627 A.D.)
Muhammad returned again to Medina, but remained only a few nights there, for Uyayna ibn Hisn, the Fasarite, had attacked the camels of Muhammad in shrub land (about 15 km north of Medina), killed a man of the Banu Ghifar and made off with his wife and camels. The Aslamite, Salama ibn Amr, was the first to get word of the attack. He immediately, in the accompaniment of a servant from Talha ibn ‘Ubayd Allah, who led a mare with him, hastened to the bush, taking bow and arrows with him. When he had climbed the hill of Wada, he discovered some enemy riders. He then climbed a side of Sal and cried out: “O morning hither!” He then pursued them like a wild animal, caught up with them and drove them back with his arrows and called out every time he shot another arrow: “Take that! I am Ibn al-Aqwa! (the most powerful self-description he had of himself). Today is the day for the vile crowd.” As soon as the riders came at him, he fled. He soon met them again in the way, shot at them as often as he could and called out: “Take that! I am Ibn al-Aqwa! Today is the day for the vile crowd.” One of the enemies countered in return: “Today you will become our slave; the day is just beginning!” Muhammad had heard the call of Ibn al-Aqwa and had the alarm sounded in Medina. The riders quickly gathered to Muhammad. He set Sa’d ibn Zayd over them and said to him: “Go and seek out the enemy. I will follow with the mounted troops.
* “Dhu Qarad” lies approx. 20 km north of Medina.
Muhammad remarked to Abu Ayyash: “O Abu Ayyash! You should give your horse a better rider. He would catch up with the enemy.” But this man responded: “O messenger of Allah, I am the best rider!” He drove his horse forward but had hardly covered a stretch of fifty ells before he was thrown off. He was amazed at Muhammad's words.
The mounted troops pursued the enemy until they caught up with them. Asim stated that Muhriz, who was also known as “al-Akhzam” or “Qumayr”, was the first to catch up to the enemy. This happened in the following way: In the garden of Muhammad ibn Maslama, a mare began nervously prancing around as soon as she heard the neighing of other horses. She was an excellent and well-rested animal. When some of the women of the Banu Abd al-Ashhal saw how the mare, tied to a date palm, pranced around, they asked Qumayr if he did not want to mount the mare so that he could join Muhammad and the other believers. He agreed. They then gave him the horse. He had soon left the other riders far behind him and caught up with the enemy. Qumayr remained standing and called out: “Stop, you sons of a vile one, until the emigrants and helpers overtake you!” One of the enemy riders pressed upon him and killed him, whereby the horse ran away. They could not catch it until it remained standing by a stall of the Banu Abd al-Ashhal. Besides Muhriz no other Moslems were killed. Ukkasha caught up with Awbar and his son, who sat together on a camel. He speared both of them through with his lance so that they died together. Several camels were again captured. Muhammad proceeded as far as one of the mountains of Dhu Qarad, where the riders assembled around him. There he dismounted and spent a day and a night. For every one hundred men he had a camel slaughtered, so that his troops could be strengthened. He then returned to Mecca.
8.02.3 -- The campaign against the Banu al-Mustaliq* (January 627 or 628 A.D.)
Muhammad remained a part of Jumada al-Akhira (6th month) and Rajab (7th month) in Medina. In Shaban (8th month) of the (sixth) year following the emigration, he went out against the Banu al-Mustaliq, a branch of the Khuzaa. Before going out he put Abu Dharr al-Ghifari in charge of Medina.
* The Banu al-Mustaliq lived in a region about 200 km south of Medina, approx. 160 km north of Mecca. There the battle took place.
** There is a difference of opinion among Moslems regarding the dating of this campaign. Some maintain it took place a year earlier, in the 5th year following the Hijra.
Muhammad learned that the Banu Mustaliq, under the leadership of Harith ibn Abi Dhirar, the father of his wife Juwayriya, were bringing troops against him. Therefore Muhammad went out to meet them as far as the spring of Muraysi, in the region of Qudaid. Here the battle took place. Allah put the Banu al-Mustaliq to flight, let some of them be killed and enabled Muhammad to take captive their children, wives and goods. From the Moslems Hisham ibn Subaba, of the Banu Kalb ibn Awf, was killed. A helper from the family of Ubada ibn al-Samit mistakenly took him for an enemy and killed him.
While Muhammad was camped by the spring of Muraysi, a day labourer of Umar ibn al-Khattab, called Yahyah ibn Mas’ud, led his horse to drink. Among the throng he encountered Sinan ibn Wabr al-Juhani, one of the allies of the Banu Auf ibn al-Khazraj. It came to violence between them. The Juhanite then called out: “Come here O you Helpers!” But Yahyah screamed: “Come here you of the Migration!” Abd Allah ibn Ubbay flew into a rage and said to his own people standing around him - among them also a young man named Zayd ibn Arqam: “Have they really done this? They contend with us in number and fame in our own land. By Allah, I consider us and these vile Quraysh to be exactly as one of the ancients said: ‘Fatten your dog well and he will devour you. But, by Allah, ‘if we should return to Medina the strong will drive out the weak’ (Sura al-Munaqifun 63:8).’” He then turned to those of his own tribe standing by him and continued on: “You have done this to yourselves. You allowed them to come into your own land and divided your possessions with them. By Allah, if you had refused them that which was yours they would have gone to another land.”*
* A critical hour had come for all Moslems when conflict arose between the Meccan migrants and the established residents of Medina, the Helpers. Old hatred and prejudices broke out. The conflict endangered the very existence of Islam.
Zayd ibn Arqam listened to everything and reported it to Muhammad, after the enemy had been defeated. Umar ibn al-Khattab, who was present, said: “Command Abbad ibn Bishr to kill him!” Muhammad replied: “How shall I do that, Umar? Should the people come to say that Muhammad kills his companions?” He then gave the command to set out. It was at a time when Muhammad would not normally have set out.
When Abd Allah heard that Zayd had reported his words to the prophet, he went to him and swore by Allah that he had not said this. Since Abd Allah was highly honoured and esteemed among his people, one of his companions said to Muhammad: “Perhaps the youth made a mistake and did not hear correctly.” He said this out of love for Abd Allah and to attain pardon on his behalf.
When Muhammad set out and had gone on, Usayd ibn Hudhayr came to meet and greet him in the accustomed manner of greeting the prophet. He then said: “O Prophet of Allah! By Allah, you have set out at an inopportune time!” Muhammad answered: “Did you not hear what your friend said?” -- “Which friend, O messenger of Allah?” -- “Abd Allah ibn Ubay.” -- “What did he say?” -- “He asserted that when he re-turns to Medina, the stronger should drive out the weaker.” -- “By Allah, if you want, O messenger of Allah, you may drive him out, for he is weak and you are strong. But have pity on him, for when Allah led you to us, his people had already prepared the pearls to crown him and he believes you robbed him of his kingdom.”
Muhammad then journeyed through the entire day and night and the following morning, until the sun grew burdensome. He then dismounted. They had hardly touched the ground before sleep overcame them. He had undertaken this forced march so that they would no longer be occupied with the matter of Abd Allah. Following the rest, Muhammad again set out with the people and passed through the Hijaz until they reached a water hole above Naqi that was called Baq’a. As he continued on, there arose a strong storm that was very troublesome and caused the people to fear.
Muhammad remarked: “Do not fear; the storm* signifies the death of one of the highly esteemed unbelievers.” When they arrived at Medina, they heard that Rifa’a ibn Zayd ibn Tabut of the Banu Qaynuqa’, one of the most esteemed Jews, a strong support of the hypocrites, had died the same day.
* Jesus had the power to still the storm in order to save His followers (Math. 8:23-27). Muhammad had no power over natural forces and superstitiously interpreted the storm to be a sign of the death of one of his Jewish enemies.
Out of this occasion there appeared the Sura in which Allah mentions the hypocrites and relates it to Ibn Ubayy and his followers (The Sura referred to is the 63rd Sura of the Quran, which bears the same name: al-Munafiqun = The Hypocrites). When it was revealed, Muhammad grabbed the ear of Zayd ibn Arqam and said: “With his ears he has been faithful to Al-lah.” When Abd Allah, the son of Abd Allah ibn Ubay, heard what had been reported of his father, he went -- according to the report of Asim -- to Muhammad and said: “O messenger of Allah! I have become aware that you desire to have my father killed because of what you have heard of him. If he really behaves so, then give me the command and I will bring you his head. By Allah, the Khazrajites know that none among them harbours purer feelings towards his father than I. I fear you could give someone else the command to kill my father. I could not bear to see the murderer of my father among the people. I would also kill him and thereby kill a believer in the place of an unbeliever and come to hell.”
Muhammad responded: “Not so, we want to be merciful to him and treat him well as a companion, as long as he abides among us.”
Following this incident Abd Allah was, as often as he committed a wrong, reproached and upbraided by his own tribesmen. When Muhammad saw this, he said to Umar: “What do you think, Umar? If I had killed him on the day you wanted, as a result many of the people would have been in an uproar, those who today would immediately kill him if I wanted it so.”* Umar responded: “I know, by Allah, that the commands of the messenger of Allah bring more blessing than do mine.”
* For many Moslems it was an honour to carry out the wish of Muhammad to kill individual adversaries. Muhammad frequently occasioned new assassinations.
On the same day Miqyas ibn Subaba came to Muhammad from Mecca, saying he had converted to Islam. He demanded the blood money for his brother Hisham, who had been killed in error. Muhammad had the blood money paid out to him. But he remained only a short while with Muhammad. He then attacked the man who had killed his brother and returned to Mecca as an apostate.
8.02.4 -- Juwayriya, of the Banu al-Mustaliq becomes one of Muhammad's Wives (January 627 or 628 A.D.)
Muhammad had taken many prisoners, whom he wanted to distribute among the believers. Among them was Juwayriya, who was later to become his wife. When Muhammad distrib-uted the prisoners of the Banu al-Mustaliq, Juwayriya fell to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays. She, however, made a contract of freedom with him.
Juwayriya was a pleasant, pretty woman, who won everyone over to her who saw her. She came to Muhammad and asked him for help with her ransom. Aisha hardly had her at the threshold of her chamber before she already hated her.* Aisha knew that this woman would emphatically impress Muhammad as much as she herself. When Jawayriya entered his home she said: “O Messenger of Allah! I am Jawayriya, the daughter of Harith, the son of Abu Dirar, the Lord of my people. My misfortune is known to you. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays’. I have contracted a contract of ransom with him and come to you to ask your help with the redemption.” -- “Do you want something better?” -- “What then?” -- “I will secure your ransom and marry you.” -- “Gladly, O Messenger of Allah!” -- “Well then, so let it be!”
* In Muhammad's harem, in which sometimes there were as many as nine wives, there was often no peace. Aisha and Hafsa held together, in order to fight and plot against Umm Salama and Jawayriya. It is therefore understandable that Muhammad revealed that the majority of hell's inhabitants would be ungrateful women.
When it became known that Muhammad would marry Jawariya, the prisoners were regarded as his brothers-in-law and released by the Believers. More than one hundred heads of families, so Aisha explained, were given their freedom at the wedding. Never had a woman brought greater blessing to her own as did Jawayriya.
When Muhammad returned from the campaign against the Banu al-Mustaliq, he handed her over to the Helper al-Jaysh in Dhat and commanded him to watch over her while he himself went in advance to Medina. In the meantime Jawayriya`s father, al-Harith, came with the ransom money for his daughter. When he was in ‘Aqiq, he cast a glance at the camels he had brought with him. Since two of them pleased him especially, he hid them in one of the ravines by Aqiq. He then went to Muhammad and said to him: “You have taken my daughter captive. Here is the redemption money!” Muhammad then asked: “And what is it with the two camels you have hidden in the ravine Aqiq?” At this al-Harith cried out: “I confess that there is no God besides Allah and that you, Muhammad, are His Messenger. By Allah, no one could know this except Al-lah.” Two of al-Harith's sons, as well as several of his tribesmen, converted with him, whereupon he had both camels brought and gave them to Muhammad. His daughter was then brought to him, who became a true Believer. Muhammad asked her father for her in marriage. When he gave her to him he gave her a wedding gift of four hundred dirhams.
8.02.5 -- How Aisha was Slandered (January 627 or 628 A.D.)
Aisha herself explained: “As often as Muhammad undertook to travel, he cast lots among his wives and took the one with him to whom the lot fell.* At the campaign against the Banu al-Mustaliq, lots were also cast. The lot fell to me and so Muhammad set off with me. At that time the wives nourished themselves only with simple rations. They did not become strong and heavy through the consumption of meat. When my camel was ready to travel, I sat in the howdah. The camel drivers then came, grabbed the howdah, lifted it up to the back of the camel and fastened it firmly. They then took the camel by the reigns and led it away. When Muhammad returned home from this campaign, he rode as far as a station in the vicinity of Medina. There he dismounted and spent the night. On the following morning he gave the command to set out and the people moved on. But I went off to take care of a certain need and was wearing a necklace made of stones from Zafar.** When I was finished, the necklace fell from my neck without me noticing it. When I came back to the camels and felt for my chain it was no longer there. I then went back to the place I had been and searched for it until I found it. My camel drivers, however, had not noticed that I had once again gone off, for my camel was ready. And since they had firmly believed that I had, as usual, climbed into the howdah, they had lifted it up to the camel, fastened it and driven the camel forward. Therefore when I returned to the camp, there was not a person left there. They had all set out. I then veiled myself in my outer garment and lay down on the place I was standing, for I knew that they would return for me as soon as they saw me missing. While I lay there, Safwan ibn al-Muattal, the Sulamite, passed by. He had remained behind the troops because of a business matter and had not spent the night with them. When he noticed me he came up to me until he stood before me, for he had seen me earlier, before we had to veil ourselves. He cried out: “‘We are Allah's and to him will we return!’*** It is the wife of the Messenger of Allah!” I wrapped myself in my garment and when he asked; ‘Why have you remained back? Allah be merciful to you!’ I gave no answer. But he led his camel before me and said: ‘Mount it!’ He then stepped back. When I had mounted it, he led it quickly away to catch up to the people. But, by Allah, we could not reach them. And no one missed me until the next morning, when the people dismounted.
* Even during travel and military campaigns, Muhammad did not practice abstinence, going as far as to take his wives into danger zones. In this he was the model for the moral of Islamic warriors in Holy War.
** Aisha's lost necklace was to have a farreaching, historically significant consequence.
*** This Quranic formula (Sura al-Baqara 2:156) is pronounced even today by Moslems at a time of misfortune or death.
As they had all laid down to rest, Safwan came up driving my camel. The liars then made up the wellknown slander and the troops became greatly disturbed. By Allah, however, I knew nothing of all this. We had hardly arrived in Medina when I became very ill, so that I experienced nothing of all the talk. For sure they reached all the way to Muhammad and my parents, but they mentioned not the least of this to me. From Muham-mad, however, I missed the tenderness and sympathy that he usually showed to me when I was not well. That displeased me, for when he came to me, while my mother was taking care of me, he only asked: ‘How are you?’, and nothing more. This troubled me, and when I sensed his severity, I said: ‘If you permit it, Messenger of Allah, I will go to my mother and she will take care of me.’ He answered: ‘Nothing is hindering you.’
I went to my mother while still knowing nothing about the slander, until after about twenty days I had recovered from my sickness. At that time we lived like Bedouins and did not have, like the Persians, a toilette in the house, for that disgusted us. We always went outside in order to relieve ourselves. The women did it by night. One night I also went out to relieve myself. Beside me there was Umm Mistah, the daughter of Abu Ruhm ibn al-Muttalib. As she was going she tripped over her long garment and cried out: ‘May Mistah come to destruction!’ Mistah was the nickname of Awf. I then responded: ‘By Allah, you have spoken here something very ugly about a man that fought at Badr.’ She responded: ‘Daughter of Abu Bakr, do you not know what has happened?’ She then told me what the liars had said. I asked: ‘Is this true?’ She answered: ‘Yes, by Allah.’ I quickly returned and could not even relieve myself. I could not stop crying until I thought my heart would break.
I said to my mother: ‘May Allah forgive you! The people are talking so and you tell me nothing about it!’ She responded: ‘My daughter, do not make too much of this matter! By Allah, there are but few beautiful women, loved by their husbands, and whose competitors do not speak much about them.’
In the meantime Muhammad had held a talk, without me knowing anything of it, in which he, after praising Allah, said: ‘O, you people, why are some men vexing me on account of my family and saying things untrue about Aisha? By Allah, I know only good of her.’ They also say similar things about my man, of whom I, by Allah, know only good of and who has never, without my accompaniment, entered into one of my dwellings. The worst talk came from Abd Allah ibn Ubayy and some Khazrajites. There also came the talk of Mistah and Hamna, the daughter of Jahsh, whose sister Zainab was also one of Muhammad's wives. This one attempted to dispute my favoured ranking by Muhammad. But Zainab was kept in her faith by Allah, so that she spoke only well of me. Hamna, however, who hated me because of her sister, spread evil about me and caused her much suffering thereby.
When Muhammad had so spoken, Usayd ibn Hudhayr said: ‘O, Messenger of Allah! If the people are of the Awsites, then we will calm them for you. If they are of the Khazrajites, our brothers, then give us the command, for, by Allah, they deserve to be beheaded.’ Sa’d ibn Ubada then rose up, who until then was considered a pious man, and said: ‘By Allah, you only said this because you know that they are of the Khazrajites. If they were of the Awsites, then you would not have spoken so. But, by Allah, they shall not be decapitated!’ Usayd retorted: ‘You lie, by Allah, you are a hypocrite and relate to the hypocrites!’ It came to an uproar among the people and it very nearly came to fighting between the Awsites and the Khazrajites. Following this Muhammad left the pulpit and came to our dwelling. He called Ali and Usama ibn Zayd and asked them for their opinion. Usama said: ‘We know only good of your wife. This is all just lies and empty talk!’
As for Ali, he remarked: ‘O, Messenger of Allah! There are many women and you can have one of them brought to you. Ask her slave woman; she will tell you the truth.’*
* The negative statement of Ali and his wife Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, who descended from the noble family of Khadija, incited a raging hatred and caused a deep rift between the families of Abu Bakr and Umar, on the one side, and Ali and Fatima's on the other side. This hatred spread further and prevented Ali from becoming the follower of Muhammad. Later it brought about the elimination of Ali and his two sons, Hassan and Hussein. Aisha's lost necklace served to split Islam into two camps: Shiites and Sunnis.
Muhammad had Barira (the slave girl) called in order to question her. Ali gave her some hard blows and admonished her to tell Muhammad the truth. She said: ‘By Allah, I know only good of her; I have nothing to reproach her with other than I once was kneading my dough and asked her to keep an eye on it; but she fell asleep and a sheep came and ate it.’
Muhammad then sat down with me (my parents were with me and a woman from the Helpers, who cried with me) and said, after he had spoken praise to Allah: ‘You surely have heard, Aisha, what the people are saying. Fear Allah! If you have, as the people say, committed wrong, then repent towards Allah, for Allah accepts the repentance of His servants.’ He had hardly spoken before my tears slackened and I noticed them no more. I expected my parents would answer in my place, but they remained silent, and I considered myself, by Allah, to be too small and insignificant as to nurture the hope that Allah would reveal something on my behalf, which would then be read as Qu’ran in the mosques and be used at prayer. The only thing I hoped for was that Muhammad would have a vision in which Allah showed him my innocence or communicated to him my true story.
When my parents said nothing, I asked them why they didn't answer instead of me. They said: ‘By Allah, we do not know what we should say.’
By Allah, I know of no family beset with more trial than the family of Abu Bakr in those days. As my parents remained quiet, tears began to flow from me again. I then said: ‘I will never repent for the cause of which you mention, for otherwise I would confirm what the people speak of me, while Allah knows my innocence. If I were to speak words or repentance, then I would have said something untrue. But if I deny what they claim, you won't believe me.’ I then searched my memory for the name of Jacob, but could not find it. So I said: ‘I must say as Joseph's father said: ‘Patience is beautiful! And Allah is the one called for help against what you describe’ (Sura Yusuf 12:18).’
Muhammad had not yet stood up before he fainted.* He was wrapped in his garment and a leather cushion was laid under his head. When I saw this I was neither despondent nor troubled, for I knew that I was innocent and that Allah would do me no injustice. But my parents were fearful, before Muhammad came to, that Allah would confirm the talk of the people. I thought the fear would kill them.
* On the occasion of Aisha's declaration of innocence, one of Muhammad's seizures was described more clearly than usual. Moslems claim these seizures or attacks were accompanying signs and indicators in the process of revelation being given. Many Orientalists see in this a sign of epileptic seizures.
Muhammad finally came to. He sat upright and drops of sweat were flowing down him, although it was the middle of winter. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and said: ‘Receive good news, Aisha! Allah has revealed your innocence!’ I said: ‘May Allah be praised!’ He then went outside to the people, held a sermon and recited what Allah had revealed about this matter in the Qu’ran. He then had Hassan ibn Thabit, Mistah ibn Uthatha and Hamma whipped. They had spread the most evil accusations.”**
* In one of the Hadiths handed down from Aisha, it is said that Muhammad sweated heavily when he received his revelations (Bukhari, Bad’-ul-Wahy 2; Tirmidhi, Manaqib 6; Nasai, Iftitah 37).
** Since the event with Aisha, unsubstantiated slander against innocent married women is punished heavily in Islam.
8.03 -- The Recognition of Muhammad by the Quraysh (628 A.D.)
8.03.1 -- Muhammad's Pilgrimage (March 628 A.D.)
Muhammad spent the months of Ramadan (9th month) and Shauwal (10th month) in Medina. In Dhu al-Qa’da (11th month) he set out to do the pilgrimage in Mecca, and not to wage war. He placed Numaila ibn Abd Allah al-Laithi in charge of Medina. He called the Arabs and the Bedouins, who were camped nearby, and summoned them to go with him, for he feared the Quraysh would battle him or keep him away from the sanctuary. Not many Bedouins, however, joined in. Nevertheless, with the Helpers, the Emigrants and the Bedouins that joined him, he set out for the pilgrimage. He also took sacrifice animals with him and put on the pilgrim garment, so that it would be clear he was not planning to wage war and everyone could see he only wanted to visit and pay homage to the place of worship.
Muhammad set out to visit the Ka‘ba in the year of Hudaybiya. He took seventy camels with him to be sacrifice animals. There were 700 men, so that for each ten men there came one camel. Muhammad reached Usfan, and there he met Bishr ibn Sufyan al-Ka‘bi who said: “The Quraysh have heard of your departure, and have marched out with milk camels and clad themselves in leopard skin. They are camped in Dhu Tawa and have sworn to never let you enter into Mecca. Khalid ibn Walid has already advanced with the riders as far as Kura al-Ghamim.” Muhammad said: “Woe to the Quraysh! War has already settled their ruin! What would it have hurt them if they had let me fight the matter out with the other Bedouins. If they had defeated me, then their wish would have been fulfilled. If Allah had granted victory to me, then they could have either converted in mass to Islam or fought against me with full strength. What do the Quraysh think? By Allah, I will not cease from fighting for that which Allah has commissioned me until Allah grants us the upper hand or allows this (my) neck to be cut through.”
He then asked: “Who will go a way with me by which we will not encounter them?” Abd Allah ibn Abi Bakr reported to me that a man from Aslam was the first to have said: “I, Messenger of Allah.” Muhammad then led them down a rough, stony way that was very troublesome, which passed between ravines. When they once again came to flat ground, Muhammad said: “Speak: ‘We ask forgiveness of Allah and repent towards Him.’”* When they had spoken this, he said: “By Allah, this prayer is the Hitta**, that was enjoined on the Sons of Israel but which they did not repeat” (See suras al-Baqara 2:58 and al-A’raf 7:161).
* This Jewish prayer of forgiveness is not recognized in its profoundness; it was spoken as a prayer of fear in a moment of distress.
** “Hitta” could be the imperative form of “hatta”, which carries the meaning of “to let off” or to “let down”.
Muhammad commanded the people to pass between the two heights of Hamd. It is the narrow pass from Murar to Hudaybiya that leads down into the depression of Mecca. The troops took this path. When the riders of the Quraysh noticed that Muhammad had gone another way, they returned to their camp. In the ravine of Murar, the camel of Muhammad knelt down. The people then said: “It has become stubborn!” Muhammad responded: “It has not become stubborn. That is not its habit. Albeit the one who held back the elephants* from Mecca has also kept back my camel. The Quraysh will not demand anything of me today, in which my love of kindred comes to play, that I shall not agree to.
* Here an allusion is made to the besieging of Mecca by a Christian king from southern Arabia (Yemen), that legendarily took place in the year 570. Since the enemy army had some elephants with them, this event came to be called “The Incident of the Elephant” (Sura al-Fil 105:1-5).
Muhammad then gave the command to stop at his place. When it was told him there was no water in this valley, he drew out an arrow from his quiver and gave it to one of his companions. He then climbed into a cistern and plunged the arrow into it. So much water gushed out that the people, after man and beast had quenched their thirst, could still camp around it.
As Muhammad was resting, there came Budayl ibn Waraqa with men from Khuza‘a, and asked him the reason why he had come. He said he had not come to wage war, but to visit the Ka‘ba. He revered the sanctuary, something he had previously said to Bishr ibn Sufyan. The troops then returned to the Quraysh and said to them: “You are being too hasty. Muhammad has not come to wage war, but to visit the Ka‘ba.” They harboured suspicion, however, and treated him harshly. “Even if he does not want war”, they said, “he shall never enter in by us with force. The Bedouins should not be able to say that about us.” (The Khuza‘a, both the Believers as well as the polytheists, were the confidants of Muhammad, who informed him of all that went on in Mecca.) They then sent Mikraz ibn Hafs. When Muhammad saw him coming, he said: “This man is a traitor!” To the questions of Mikraz, Muhammad answered the same as he had done to Budayl. When Mikraz brought this back to the Quraysh, they still sent out al-Hulays ibn ‘Alqama. At that time he was the lord over the allied tribes and belonged to the Banu al-Harith ibn Abd Manat. When Muhammad saw him coming, he said: “This man belongs to those that fear God. Release the sacrifice animals, so that he sees them!” When al-Hulays saw the sacrifice animals in their festive decoration thronging the valley, and could observe how they, because of their long enclosure, had grazed down the salty bushes from barren ground, he did not, out of respect, draw near to the Messenger of Allah, but immediately returned to the Quraysh and reported to them what he had seen. They said: “Sit down! You are only a simple Bedouin!” Hulays fell into a rage and said: “O, you Quraysh! It was not for this that we allied ourselves with you. Should those who desire to honour the Ka‘ba and make pilgrimage to it be held back? By Him, in whose hand the soul of Hulays lies, either you allow Muhammad to complete the pilgrimage, or I will draw back with my allies as though we were one man!” They said: “Quiet! Leave us alone until we receive favourable terms.”
Following this they sent ‘Urwa ibn Mas‘ud to Muhammad. ‘Urwa said: “I have seen how you met your messengers with harsh, rude words when they returned. You know, however, that you are my father and I am your son. I have heard what came upon you and I immediately came with my people to help you.” They said: “You have spoken truly. We harbour no suspicion against you.” He then went to Muhammad, sat with him and said: “O Muhammad, you have gathered a worthless bunch around you and brought them against your own egg (your family and clan), so as to break it open. But the Quraysh have gone out with their milk cows, have clad themselves in the skins of leopards and sworn by Allah, that you shall not forcefully enter in by them. By Allah, it is as if I already see how these people will dissociate themselves from you tomorrow.” Abu Bakr, who was sitting behind Muhammad, countered and said: “You can suck on the nipple of your Lat!* Are we to desert him?”
* “Lat” is the shorthand for the feminine form of the word “Allah” and is understood to designate the wife of Allah.
‘Urwa asked Muhammad: “Who is this man?” He answered: “He is the son of Abu Quhafa.” He then said: “By Allah, if I were not obliged to thank you, I would have paid you back for that. This counts for what I was indebted to you.”
While talking, ‘Urwa had taken hold of Muhammad's beard. Mughira ibn Shu‘ba, who was standing armed beside Muhammad, hit him in the hand and said: “Remove your hand from the face of the Messenger of Allah before this (sword) strikes you!” ‘Urwa then said: “Woe to you! What causes you to talk to me so rough and rude?” Muhammad smiled. ‘Urwa asked: “Who is the man?” Muhammad answered: “It is your cousin Mughira ibn Shu‘ba.” ‘Urwa then shouted: “Traitor! Was it not just recently I washed away your vileness?” Mughira had, before he converted to Islam, killed thirteen men of the Banu Malik from Thaqif. Both of the tribes of Thaqif, the Banu Malik, the branch of those who were slain, and the allies, the branch of Mughira, flew into a rage. ‘Urwa paid the price of atonement for the thirteen slain men and thus reestablished peace.
Muhammad then spoke to ‘Urwa, just as he had spoken to his companions, and assured him that he had not come to wage war. ‘Urwa left him after he had seen how the companions of Muhammad acted: how they hastened to the water that he had washed himself with, and went after that which he spit out and how they picked up every hair that fell from him.
When ‘Urwa came back to the Quraysh, he said: “I have seen Kyros (Kisra) and the emperor in their kingdoms and the Najashi. But, by Allah, I have never seen a prince to whom so much honour is rendered as to Muhammad by his companions.* These people will not hand him over for anything. You will have to see what needs to be done!”
* In contrast, Jesus Christ said: “I do not receive honour from men” (John 5:41). Muhammad lived from the approval of his companions and his adoration by all Moslems. Jesus, however, redeemed the people, although they rejected, dishonoured, and finally crucified Him.
Muhammad called the Khuzait, Khirash ibn Umayyah, to himself, and sent him on his own camel “Thalab” to Mecca, in order to announce to the chiefs of the city why he had come. Nevertheless, the Meccans hamstrung the camel and wanted to kill Khirash. The allies, however, did not permit it, and so he was able to return to Muhammad.
The Quraysh sent out forty to fifty men, who were to encircle the camp of Muhammad, in order to seize one of the companions of Muhammad. But they were taken captive and brought to Muhammad. Muhammad pardoned them and allowed them to freely leave, although they had attacked his troops with stones and arrows. He then called Umar and wanted to send him to Mecca to inform the chiefs the reason for his travel. But Umar responded: “Messenger of Allah! I fear the Quraysh. There is not a single person of the Banu ‘Adi ibn Ka’b who could protect me. The Quraysh know how much I hate them and how I treated them roughly. But I will name a man to you who is stronger than I: It is Uthman ibn ‘Affan.”*
* Uthman ibn ‘Affan became the third caliph and was the son-in-law of Muhammad.
Muhammad had Uthman called and sent him to Mecca to say to the nobles of the city that he had come to perform the pilgrimage. As Uthman came to Mecca, shortly before he entered the city, Aban ibn Sa’id met him and placed him under his protection, until he could convey Muhammad's message to Abu Sufyan and the chiefs of the Quraysh. When this had happened, they asked him: “Do you want to circumambulate around the Ka‘ba? Then do it!” Uthman responded: “I will not circumambulate around it until Muhammad also does so.”
The Quraysh held Uthman back, and the rumour was brought back to Muhammad that he had been killed.
8.03.2 -- The Obeisance of Good Will (March 628 A.D.)
When Muhammad heard that Uthman had been killed, he said: “There remains nothing else for us to do but to fight the Quraysh.” He then summoned the people to an oath of Obeisance, and this is the Obeisance of Good Will (to Allah) that took place under a tree. Some maintain that Muhammad would have had the people swear that they would die for him. Jabir ibn Abd Allah, however, reported that Muhammad only had them swear not to flee.* All those present undertook the oath. Only al-Jadd ibn Qays, a brother of the Banu Salama, remained behind. Jabir reported: “By Allah, it is as if I would still see him before me, how he firmly held onto the shoulder of his camel and hid from the people behind it.”
* Jesus told His disciples ahead of time that they would face offence because of Him and would abandon Him. He went His way alone - all the way to victory on the cross. Muhammad, however, relied on the help of men and demanded their oath to his person.
In the mean time, Muhammad found out that false information had been brought to him concerning Uthman.
8.03.3 -- The Treaty of Hudaybiya* (March 628 A.D.)
The Quraysh then sent Suhayl ibn Amr to Muhammad and commissioned him to negotiate peace with Muhammad. But this was to occur only on the condition that he again return home this year, so that the Arabs could not say he had entered by force. When Muhammad saw Suhayl coming, he said: “The people want peace, for they have sent this man.” He then spoke a long time with him and -- after much going back and forth -- peace was established.
* Hudaybiya lies approx. 60 km north of Mecca.
As everything was made clear and only the peace treaty remained to be signed, Umar jumped up and went to Abu Bakr and said: “Is he not a Messenger of Allah?” -- “Of course!” -- “Are we not Believers?” -- “Certainly!” -- “Are they not polytheists?” -- “Assuredly!” -- “And why should we be debased in our faith?”* -- “Follow his stirrup, for I confess that he is a Mes-senger of Allah.” -- “I also confess it.”
* Umar, the second caliph, along with most of the pilgrims was deeply aroused, for they stood there as pilgrims without weapons and had sworn to defend Muhammad with their fists, in order to help the matter of Islam to victory. But Muhammad had transacted a peace treaty with the polytheists in Mecca, and thereby recognized them as equal partners.
Umar then went to Muhammad and said: “Are you not a Messenger of Allah?” -- “Certainly!” -- “Are we not Believers?” -- “Definitely!” -- “Are they not polytheists?” -- “Without doubt!” -- “Why then should we debase ourselves in our faith and con-tract with them a treaty? I am a servant of Allah and his messenger; I do not act contrary to his commands, and he will not let me to go to destruction.” Umar later said: “I do not cease to give alms, to fast and to free slaves, out of fear for my hasty words that I spoke at that time, as I hoped to attain something good with my zeal.”
But Muhammad called Ali to his side and said to him: “Write: ‘In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.’” Suhayl, however, responded: “I do not know this formula! Write, ‘In thy name, Allah.’” Muhammad said: “So write this!” When Ali had written this, Muhammad continued on: “This is the peace treaty of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, with Suhayl ibn Amr.” Suhayl then retorted: “If I recognized you as the Messenger of Allah, I would not fight against you. Just write your name and the name of your father. Muhammad then said: “So write: ‘This is the peace treaty of Muhammad ibn Abd Allah with Suhayl ibn Amr. They have reached agreement with each other to lay aside the war for ten years. During this time everyone is to be secure and have no part in committing any sort of hostilities against the other.
Should renegade (slaves) from the Quraysh come over to Muhammad without the permission of their lords, Muhammad is to send them back; however, Moslem renegades are not to be extradited by the Quraysh. The animosity is to be decidedly repressed and neither robbery nor theft is to occur between the two sides. Anyone wanting to enter into alliance with Muhammad is free to do so. Likewise anyone is free to enter an alliance with the Quraysh.’” The Khuzaites then rose up and said: “We are allying ourselves with Muhammad!” The Banu Bakr shouted: “We are allying ourselves with the Quraysh!” “‘Muhammad is to withdraw this year and not come to Mecca. But the following year the Quraysh are to leave the city, and Muhammad can come with his companions and spend three days in the attire and armament of a traveller, with sword sheathed and no other weapon.’”
While Muhammad and Suhayl were still busy with the writing, Abu Jandal, the son of Suhayl ibn Amr, came around in chains, having fled to Muhammad. The companions of Muhammad had not doubted their victory as they departed from Medina. For Muhammad previously had had a vision! So when they now heard the words of the peace treaty, which compelled them to withdraw (something that Muhammad had to accept), they were so troubled that they nearly gave up the spirit.*
* The peace treaty between the warring party in Mecca and Muhammad, following years of bloodshed, was a shock for the Moslems. They no longer understood their prophet.
When Suhayl saw Abu Jandal, he rose up, hit him in the face and grabbed him by the collar. He then said to Muhammad: “The treaty between us was concluded before this one came to you!” Muhammad said: “That is true.” Suhayl then pulled Abu Jandal by the collar, dragging him with him to take him back to the Quraysh. Abu Jandal cried out with a loud voice: “O, you Believers! Shall I be taken back to the polytheists and made to apostatise from my faith?” This increased even more the distress of the Moslems. Muhammad said: “Have patience, Abu Jandal, and reckon with Allah's reward! Allah will soon bring to you and the others freedom and redemption. We have just concluded a treaty and sworn to it by Allah. We may not break it.” Umar sprang to Abu Jandal's side and said to him: “Have patience! The blood of these polytheists is worth no more than the blood of a dog!” And with these words he brought the hilt of his sword close to him. Umar later said that he had hoped Abu Jandal would grab the sword and strike at his father with it. But the man spared his father, and that which had been contracted remained.
When the treaty had been written, the following Believers and polytheists signed it as witnesses: Abu Bakr, Umar, Abd al-Rahman ibn Auf, Abd Allah ibn Suhayl, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Mahmud ibn Maslama, Mikraz ibn Hafs -- this last one was a polytheist -- and Ali, who had written the entire contract. Muhammad now intended to abandon the pilgrim status. His prayer he had performed while still wearing the pilgrim gown. When he was finished with the peace treaty, he slaughtered the sacrifice animals and had the hair on his head shaved off* by the Khuzait Khirash ibn Umayya. When the people saw this, they let themselves also be shaved and slaughtered their animals. Some let themselves be shaved on the day of Hudaybiya, others were merely trimmed. Muhammad said: “May Allah be merciful to those shaved.” They asked him: “And those trimmed?” Muhammad repeated: “May Allah be merciful to those shaved.” When they again asked, he gave the same answer, and when they repeated their question, he said: “And to the trimmed, too.”
* The state of agitation among the Moslems became so great that an uprising nearly broke out. Muhammad suddenly had his hair shaved off and gave command that each of his followers, in like fashion, should have his hair cut. That calmed the dispositions, so that together they were able to return to Medina.
When he was then asked why he first implored Allah's grace for those entirely shaved, he said: “Because they do not doubt.”
Among his sacrifice animals on the day of Hudaybiya, Muhammad led a camel that had belonged to Abu Jahl. It had a silver ring on its head. By doing so he sought to vex the unbelievers.
Muhammad then began the journey back. Along the way, between Mecca and Medina, the “Sura of Conquest” was revealed to him (Sura al-Fath 48): “Those who swear an oath of loyalty to you truly swear an oath of loyalty to Allah; Allah's hand is over their hands. Now, whoever breaks his oath, breaks it for his own detriment; and whoever fulfils what he had pledged to Allah, then he (Allah) will cause a great wage to be brought to him” (Sura al-Fath 48:10).
“18 Allah was pleased with the believers, when they swore allegiance to you under the tree. So he came to know what was in their hearts, then he sent down inner quietness upon them, and rewarded them with a nigh victory 19 and with rich booties that they will take; and Allah was mighty and wise. 20 Allah has promised you many booties that you will take; these he has hastened to you, and has restrained the hands of men from you, so that it may be a sign for the believers, and that he may guide you on a straight path.” (Sura al-Fath 48:18-20)
“21 And other (booties) you were not able to take; Allah had encompassed them already. … 25 … This is because of male believers and female believers whom you did not know, if you were to trample them under (by attacking them), then from them you would unknowingly bring shame upon yourselves.” (Sura al-Fath 48:21-25). You would have had to pay redemption money for them, but you would not have committed a crime thereby.
And further it is written: “26 When those who disbelieved set up in their hearts fiery opposition, the fiery opposition of ingorance (by this he meant Suhayl, who did not want to write ‘in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate’, and also not ‘Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah’), then Allah sent down his inner quietness upon his Messenger and upon the believers, and obliged them with the word of godliness, of which they were worthier … (i.e. the oneness of Allah and the confessions that Allah is the only one and that Muhammad is His messenger and servant). 27 Allah has truly made the vision come true unto his messenger: ‘You shall verily enter the Holy Place of Worship (i.e. the sanctuary around the Ka‘ba in Mecca)’” (Sura al-Fath 48:26-27).
Mujahid reported to me that this verse refers to Walid ibn al-Mughira, Salama ibn Hisham, Aiyash ibn Abi Abi Rabi’a, Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl and the likes of them.
No greater victory in Islam had ever been won prior to the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiya. Until then war ruled everywhere where man met. But following the peace treaty, one could enter into dialogue and dispute, since encounters could occur in safety. Every man of understanding with whom one spoke of Islam came to embrace it, so that in the following two years more people accepted Islam than any time since its inception! This can be seen from the fact that Muhammad set out for Hudaybiya with only 700 men, but two years later he came with 10,000 men to conquer Mecca.
8.03.4 -- The Right of Migrant Women
During this time Umm Kulthum, the daughter of ‘Uqba, emigrated to Muhammad. Her brothers Umara and Walid came to Muhammad and demanded him to send her back, based on the Treaty of Hudaybiya. But he did not do this, as Allah did not want it.
Zuhri reported to me from ‘Urwa ibn Zubayr: “I came to him while he was writing to Abu Hunayda, the friend of Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, who had questioned him about the following Qu’ran verse: ‘O you, who have believed, if believing women come to you as emigrants, then test them. Allah is better informed about their faith. If you came to know that they are believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers. Neither are these (women) legally permissible to them nor are they legally legally permissible to these (women). Bring to them what they have expended (for these women); and there is no reproach for you to make them your wives after having brought to them their wages. And do not stick to the ties of the disbelieving (women)’ ” (Sura al-Mumtahina 60:10).
‘Urwa answered him: “Muhammad contracted with the Quraysh in Hudaybiya an agreement in which he made it his duty to send back emigrants that should come to him without the permission of their masters. But when women migrated to him, who confessed to Islam, Allah did not want that they be sent back to the polytheists (after they had been tested and it became evident they had only emigrated out of a love for Islam). At the same time he commanded that the dowries be given back to the Quraysh men, in the event the women had not yet received them. On the other hand, they were also required to give the believers back their dowries* in the event they were holding back some of their women. This is the pronouncement of Allah that speaks the judgment between you.
* According to Islamic law, the dowry (“mahr”) is the amount set by the groom and a male relative responsible for the bride, once a marriage contract has been concluded. A marriage without a “mahr” is invalid and regarded as shameful, except in the case of a Holy War. The established amount becomes the property of the woman and is often in part paid out to the male relative responsible for the woman once the marriage contract has been concluded. The rest is paid out to the woman as “life insurance” in the event of a possible divorce. All women from non-Islamic countries should study the legal issues of Islamic marriage precisely in the event she intends to marry a Moslem. Every mixed marriage is to be firmly and consistently advised against.
Thus Muhammad kept the women with him, but sent the men back and demanded, in accordance with Allah's command, the dowries of the women, which the unbelievers were holding back, and compelled the believers also, when it did occur, to pay back the dowries to the unbelievers. Without this divine judgment Muhammad would have also sent the women back just as he did the men. Without the contract he would have received the women without paying back the dowry to the men. This was his practice before the contract, in the event believing women came to him.”
I questioned al-Zuhri about the meaning of the following verses: “And if you lose anything concerning your wives to the disbelievers (if they leave you), and you then as a punishment get booty (from the disbelievers), then give those (disbelievers), whose wives have gone away, as much as they had spent for them (at marriage)” (Sura al-Mumtahana 60:11). Zuhri answered: “The meaning is, if one of your wives has gone to the disbelievers and no believer comes over to you, for whom you could take what they have taken from you, then recompense them from the booty you have taken.”
When Muhammad returned to Medina, a man who was with him asked him: “Did you not say with certainty that you would enter Mecca?” He answered: “Absolutely, but did I say I would enter this year?” The man answered: “No.” -- It will happen, Muhammad responded, just as Gabriel told me.”
8.03.5 -- The Excursion Against the Jews in Khaybar* (May and June 628 A.D.)
Following the return from Hudaybiya, Muhammad remained the entire month of Dhu al-Hijja (12th month) and a part of Muharram (1st month) in Medina. He left the pilgrimage to the unbelievers. In the remaining days of Muharram (1st month) he set out for Khaybar. He placed Numayla ibn Abd Allah al-Laithi over Medina and handed the white banner to Ali.
* Khaybar lies 160 km northwest of Medina.
8.03.6 -- Muhammad's Prayer Near Khaybar
As Muhammad drew near to Khaybar, he issued the command to halt and then prayed: “Allah! Lord of heaven and of all that it overshadows, Lord of the lands and all they bear, Lord of men and demons and all they lead astray, Lord of the winds and all that they scatter, we beseech you to give us the good of this place and of its residents and of all that is contained therein, and we take our shelter in you from the evil of this place, its residents and all that is contained therein. Forward! In the name of Allah!”* He repeated these words before he entered any new location.
* * In this prayer of war, Allah is described as the “Lord of the spirits (demons),” that obey him and do his will. The goal of this prayer was the subjection and conquest of the site the Moslems wanted to occupy. In Khaybar it was the Jews who had been driven out of Medina. They were nowto be defeated a second time, after they had already been made to pay tribute before and half of them had been reduced to serf status.
8.03.7 -- What the Inhabitants of Khaybar Said When They saw Muhammad
When Muhammad set out for war, he attacked the enemy always on the morning after his arrival. If he heard the call to prayer, he refrained, if not, he attacked. He came to Khaybar in the evening. And on the following morning, when he heard no call to prayer, he mounted his horse, and we all then did the same. “I myself”, so Anas explained, “rode behind Abu Talha and my foot touched that of Muhammad. We then encountered workers from Khaybar who had gone out early with spades and large baskets. When they saw us they cried out: “That is Muhammad and his army”! -- and took to flight. Muhammad then observed: “Allah is greater! Khaybar is destroyed.” As we alighted here, those terrified experienced a dreadful morning.”
8.03.8 -- The Camps of Muhammad during this Campaign
On this campaign to Khaybar, Muhammad took the way leading over Isr. There a mosque was built for him. He then came to al-Sahba and following that the valley of Raji, where he camped between the residents of Khaybar and Ghatafan. Thereby those from Ghatafan were to be held back from helping their allies. It was reported to me: “When the Ghatafan heard that Muhammad had camped before Khaybar, they gathered together to help the Jews against Muhammad. When they came through a ravine, they heard behind them noise, where their families and goods were kept. They believed they were being ambushed from the rear. They turned back and remained with their families and their merchandise and let Muhammad take Khaybar unhindered.
8.03.9 -- Muhammad Conquers the Jewish Fortresses in Khaybar (June 628 A.D.)
Muhammad closed in on the dwelling places of the Jews and conquered one fortress after another. The first fortress that he conquered was called “Na’im.” Here Mahmud ibn Maslama was killed by a millstone that was cast down. After that “al-Qamus,” the fortress of the sons of Abu al-Huqaiq, was conquered. Muhammad took many prisoners, including Safiyya, the daughter of Huyay ibn Akhtab, and two of her cousins. Muhammad took Safiyya for himself and gave her cousins to the Kalbite Dihya ibn Khalifa, who had asked for Safiyya. The other prisoners from Khaybar were distributed among the Moslems.
8.03.10 -- Muhammad's Prohibitions on the Day of Khaybar
The Moslems were accustomed to eating the meat of their donkeys. On the day of Khaybar, Muhammad prohibited several things. Abd Allah ibn Salit reported from his father, who said: “Muhammad forbade us to eat the meat of tame donkeys, as it was already cooking in the pots. He no longer allowed us to enjoy it.” On that day Muhammad forbade four things: Sexual intercourse with pregnant captives, eating the meat of tame donkeys, eating of carnivorous animals with fangs and the selling of spoils before they were divided up.
Muhammad said in his sermon: “O, you people! I will only say to you what I heard from Gabriel on the day of Khaybar. He said to us: ‘It is allowed no man, who believes in Allah and the Last Judgment, to water any foreign seed with his water, (that is, have carnal intercourse with pregnant prisoners). It is also not permitted to sleep with a (female) prisoner whose cleansing period is not yet complete. Furthermore it is prohibited to sell anything of the booty before it has been divided or to ride an animal belonging to the booty and then return it in an emaciated condition, or to wear a garment taken as spoils and then bring it back when it is worn out.’”
Ubad ibn al-Samit said: “On the day of Khaybar, Muhammad forbade us from exchanging silver or gold ore for minted silver or gold coins, but only gold ore for minted silver or silver nuggets for minted gold.”
8.03.11 -- Regarding the Banu Sahm
The Banu Sahm from Aslam came to Muhammad and said: “By Allah, we are exhausted and have nothing to eat.” Since Muhammad could also give them nothing, he prayed: “Allah, you know their condition, you know they have no more strength and that I am not able to give them anything. Therefore, let them conquer the fortress which contains the greatest riches, the fattest meat and other food items.” On the following morning, Allah brought the fortress of Sa’b ibn Mu‘adh under their dominion, and no other fortress in Khaybar was so richly stocked with meat and other provisions as this one.
8.03.12 -- Marhab the Jew and his Death
When Muhammad had conquered several fortresses and carried off many goods and possessions, he came to the fortresses of Watih and Sulalim, the last ones of Khaybar, and besieged them for approximately ten days. The motto of Muhammad's companions on the day of Khaybar was; “On to victory! Kill! Kill!”*
* * The trail of blood Muhammad and his followers left behind grew wider and wider, and to the present day has not stopped. The spirit of Islam is not one of tolerance and peace. It destroys everyone that tries to oppose it, as soon as Islam is in a position to do so.
Marhab the Jew came out of the fortress heavily armed and spoke the following verse:
Khaybar knows that I am Marhab, / the experienced hero, the heavily armed. / Soon I shall fight with my lance, soon with the sword, / when the lions come around in droves, / let no one draw near to the place I guard.
When he then called out the challenge to a duel, Ka‘b ibn Malik responded:
Khaybar knows that I am Ka‘b, / the strong and courageous, who banishes hardship, / once the battle has ignited and rages. / I have a sharp sword, / we will fight you until the strong has been brought low, / we will demand tribute or take spoils / with a strong hand that none shall rebuke.
Muhammad asked: “Who will fight against this man?” Muhammad ibn Maslama called out: “I, messenger of Allah! It is my obligation to take revenge for my brother, who was killed yesterday.” -- “So get ready,” Muhammad said, and implored Allah's help for him. As they approached each other, they were separated by an old tree with soft wood, and each one sought protection from the opponent behind it. As often as this happened, the opponent would chop off the branches that were between them, until they finally stood exposed before one another, and the tree, now without limbs, was between them like a man standing. Marhab then swung at Muhammad ibn Maslama, yet he held out the shield against him. The sword sank into it and became stuck, whereby Muhammad ibn Maslama then killed him.
Following Marhab there came his brother Yasir and challenged to a duel. Hisham ibn ‘Urwa alleged that Zubayr ibn Awwam stepped forward. His mother Safiyya said to Muhammad: “He will kill my son!” Muhammad responded: “Not so, your son will kill him, as Allah wills.” And so it also happened. Hisham ibn ‘Urwa reported to me that it was said to Zubair: “By Allah, your sword was not sharp on that day!” At that he responded: “By Allah, it was not sharp, but I swung with cutting force.”
8.03.13 -- Ali's Heroic Deed on the Day of Khaybar
Muhammad sent Abu Bakr with his banner to one of the fortresses of Khaybar. He fought, but then returned without having taken it, for he had met with trouble. Muhammad then said: “Tomorrow I will give the flag to a man who loves Allah and his companion, one whom Allah grants victory and who does not flea before the enemy. Muhammad then called Ali, who had inflamed eyes, spit into his eyes* and said to him: “Take this flag and go out with it, until Allah grants you victory.” Ali then went out to meet the enemy with it. We followed him until he planted the flag on top of a stonewall beneath the fortress. When the fortress garrison made a sortie, he fought against them. In so doing he lost his shield. In place of it Ali then grabbed for a door, and used it as a shield until Allah gave him the fortress. Ali then threw the door aside. When eight people came to turn the door over, they were unable to do so.
* Jesus used his saliva to heal blind eyes, so that the one healed could live a life in peace. Muhammad spit into the inflamed eyes of Ali to heal him and to spur him on to bloody battle.
8.03.14 -- Abu al-Yasar - the Swift
Abu al-Yasar Ka‘b said: “One evening I was with Muhammad in Khaybar, when the sheep of a Jew, whose fortress we wanted to besiege, just passed through the gate. Muhammad asked: ‘Who will give us this food to taste?’ Abu al-Yasar answered: ‘I, O messenger of Allah!’ Muhammad said: ‘Then do it!’ I ran off like an ostrich. When Muhammad saw me so running, he cried out: ‘Allah, give us delight through him!’ I overtook the sheep herd, grabbed the last two animals, packed them under my arm and ran away with them, as if I had nothing in the hand. I put them down before Muhammad, where they were duly slaughtered and eaten.”
Abu al-Yasar was one of the companions of Muhammad who lived the longest.
8.03.15 -- The Jewess Safiyya (June 628 A.D.)
After Muhammad had conquered the fortress of Qamus, which belonged to the sons of Abu al-Huqaiq, Safiyya, the daughter of Huyay, along with other prisoners, were brought to him. Bilal led the women past the Jews who had been slain. When the women with Saffiya saw their dead men, they screamed loudly, struck themselves in the face and poured earth upon their heads. Muhammad yelled out; “Take these she-devils away from me!” But Saffiya he let remain. He cast his mantle over her. The believers then observed that he had chosen her for himself. When Muhammad saw the despair of the Jewish women, he said to Bilal: “Is every bit of compassion gone from you, that you should lead these women past their slain men?”*
* It was a brutal lack of consideration to lead these enslaved widows past the mutilated bodies of their men and to expect them to immediately be ready to marry their conquerors. Women are sometimes considered booty in Islam and were, as female slaves, treated like merchandise. In his rage Muhammad called them “satans”, a description that ultimately amounted to a self-description.
Saffiya, who was betrothed to Kinana ibn Rabi‘a, had dreamed that the moon fell into her lap. When she told this dream to her fiancé, he cried out: “That means that you covet Muhammad, the king of the Hijaz,” and he hit her in the face so that her eye became green. She still carried this marking when she was brought before Muhammad. When he asked her where this came from, she told him the story.
8.03.16 -- The Torture and Execution of the Jew Kinana, the Guardian of the Jewish Treasury in Khaybar (June 628 A.D.)
Kinana, (the Jew), who kept the treasury of the Banu al-Nadir under his custody, was then led before Muhammad. He asked him about its whereabouts. Kinana denied knowing anything about it and said he did not know where it was. A Jew was then led before Muhammad who said that he had seen how Kinana passed around a certain ruin every morning. Muhammad asked Kinana: “May I kill you if we find the treasure with you?” He answered: “Yes.” Muhammad had the ruins dug up. A portion of the treasure was found therein, whereupon Muhammad asked Kinana about the rest of the treasure. When Kinana refused to reveal the whereabouts of the remaining treasure, Muhammad commanded Zubayr ibn al-Awwam to torture* him until he told everything. Zubayr hit him with firewood on the breast until he was near death. Muhammad then gave him over to Muhammad ibn Maslama, who killed him for his brother Mahmud.
* Muhammad commanded the torture of the Jewish prisoner in order to find out the hiding-place of the Jewish riches that had been entrusted to him. Torture is common in Islam and acceptable, since Muhammad himself had employed this terrible method. In contrast, compare the instruction of Jesus: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12).
8.03.17 -- The Peace Treaty of Khaybar
Muhammad besieged the fortresses of Watih and Sulalim long enough to bring their inhabitants to the point of starvation. They then asked him if he would not withdraw and spare their blood. Muhammad consented to this. He had conquered all the fortresses with the exception of these two. When the residents of Fadak heard this, they sent to Muhammad and asked him to spare their blood also, and to allow them free departure in exchange for all their possessions. Muhammad also accepted this offer. Once the residents of Khaybar surrendered to these conditions, they asked Muhammad to grant them permission to farm their properties, since they understood this better than he did, and they would give half of the produce to him. Muhammad accepted this offer, but on the condition that the decision was (continually) his whether to expel them or not. The residents of Fadak* contracted a similar agreement. The booty from Khaybar became the common property of the Moslems**, but that of Fadak*** belonged only to Muhammad, since it was taken without a fight.
* “Fadak” was a Jewish town approx. 200 km northeast of Medina.
** The Moslems became rich through the wealth of the Jews they conquered. The Jews were made to pay tribute to the Moslems. Muhammad reserved the right to drive them out or destroy them at any time.
*** Shortly after the death of Muhammad, the booty of Fadak (especially the fields) led to a point of contention between Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, and Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr did not recognize the inheritance of Fatima. In Islamic literature it is in this context that the Hadith is recited: “Prophets neither inherit nor bequeath.” The source of this information is Abu Bakr alone.
8.03.18 -- The Attack on Muhammad's Life With a Poisoned Sheep and the Campaign against the Jews in Wadi al-Qura (June 627/8)
When Muhammad came to the point that he could rest from his campaigns, Zainab, the daughter of al-Harith and wife of (the Jew) Sallam ibn Mishkam, brought to him a roasted lamb. She had previously inquired which part of the sheep Muhammad liked best and had heard it was the shoulder. Zainab poisoned the entire sheep, but put most of the poison into the shoulder. When she placed it before Muhammad, he reached for the shoulder, tasted a little, but did not swallow it. Bishr ibn al-Bara ibn Ma’rur, who was beside him, also took a part of it and swallowed it. Muhammad spit out the bite he had taken and said: “This bone tells me that it has been poisoned.” He had Zainab called and she confessed to her deed. When he asked her what had led her to make this attack upon his life, she answered: “You know what you have done to my people. I thought to myself: If he is only a prince, I will find peace from him. But if he is a prophet, then he will be warned.” Muhammad forgave her, Bishr, however, died from the bite he had taken to himself.
Muhammad said (years later) to Umm Bishr, the daughter of al-Bara ibn Ma’rur, when she visited him during his sickness, from which he ultimately died: “I feel how my heart vessel is bursting. It is the effect of the morsel I shared with your brother Bishr in Khaybar.” As a result of this, the Moslems conclude that Allah allowed him to die as a martyr, after having honoured him with prophethood.*
* The poison of the Jewess led to the slow but certain death of Muhammad. Since then it is the unspoken duty of every Moslem to take revenge on the Jews for the death of the prophet. The raging Middle East war since 1948 thus takes on a new dimension. Moslems, however, do not seek to equate the death of Muhammad with defeat, but recognize it as an honourable martyr death by saying he died from the poison of his enemy, and thus was killed to the honour of Allah.
After Muhammad had conquered Khaybar, he pressed forward to Wadi al-Qura*, where he besieged the site for several days. He then began the return trip to Medina.
* “Wadi al-Qura” (literally: valley of the villages) lay approx. 300 km north-west of Medina, along the caravan route to Damascus. It was primarily Jews that lived there.
8.03.19 -- The thieving Slave
Thaur ibn Zayd told me the following from Salim, who reported to the freed slave of Abd Allah ibn Muti what he had heard from Abu Huraira: “When we went away from Khaybar with Muhammad, we set up our camp in the sunset of the evening beside Wadi al-Qura. Muhammad had a slave with him that Rifa’a ibn Zaid al-Judhami al-Dabini had given to him. When he was removing Muhammad's saddle he was killed by an arrow shot from an unknown hand. We said: ‘Hail him! He will come to paradise!’ But Muhammad responded: ‘By no means; already the garment he stole from the booty at Khaybar is burning on him in hell.’ When one of the companions heard these words, he came to Muhammad and said: ‘Messenger of Allah, I stole two thongs for my sandals!’ Muhammad then answered: ‘For that, a portion of the fire of hell will be apportioned to you!’”*
* Muhammad instilled a fear of hell into his followers so that they would not steal from the booty before he had distributed it.
8.03.20 -- Muhammad's Marriage with the Jewess Saffiya (June 628 A.D.)
Muhammad married Saffiya in Khaybar or at one of the stops along the way. Umm Sulaym, the daughter of Milhan and the mother of Anas ibn Malik, adorned the bride and made up her hair and Muhammad spent the night in a tent with her. Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Zaid, a brother of the Banu al-Najjar, made circles around the tent and guarded it with an ungirded sword. When Muhammad saw him in the morning, he asked him what he was doing. He answered: “I was concerned about you because of this woman, whose father, husband and tribal kin were killed through you, and because she was, until recently, an unbeliever.” It is maintained that Muhammad was to have answered: “May Allah protect you, Abu Ayyub, as he has protected me!”*
* Following the battle Muhammad did not shrink from consuming marriage with this Jewish widow in his tent, even though her husband, her father and her relatives had shortly before been killed by the Moslems, and even while their corpses were probably still lying unburied on the field.
8.03.21 -- How the Morning Prayer was Forgotten
When Muhammad left Khaybar, he asked along the way - it was already toward the end of the night: “Who will watch for the sunrise on our behalf, so that we do not sleep through it?” Bilal answered: “I!” Muhammad then climbed down from his camel and his companions followed his example. They immeiately fell asleep. Bilal stood up and prayed as long as it pleased Allah. Then he leaned back on his camel and turned toward the east, in order to await the dawn. But his eyes closed and he fell asleep. It was only the rays of the risen sun that woke them again. Muhammad was the first to awake. He called over to Bilal: “What have you done to us?” Bilal answered: “O messenger of Allah! What has taken hold of you has also taken hold of me!” Muhammad retorted: “You have spoken truly!” Muhammad then passed on a little and then let his camel kneel down. He then washed himself and commanded Bilal to call out to prayer. Muhammad then led the prayer for his people. When he was finished with the prayer, he turned to them and said: “In the event you have forgotten a prayer, perform it as soon as you think about it, for Allah, the Praised One, has revealed to me: ‘Perform your prayer as soon as you remember me.’”
As it was reported to me, Muhammad gave to Ibn Luqaim al-‘Absi all of the chicken and further domestic animals that were captured at Khaybar. The conquest of Khaybar took place in the month of Safar (2nd month).
8.03.22 -- A Woman of the Banu Ghifar speaks
“I came to Muhammad with other women of my tribe just as he wanted to move out against Khaybar. We said to him: ‘We want to accompany you, in order to tend to the wounded and to support the believers as much as we are able.’ Muhammad answered: ‘With Allah's blessing!’ We then went out with him. Since I was at that time still very young, Muhammad let me sit on the back pillow of his camel. Toward morning Muhammad dismounted and had his camel kneel down. When I also dismounted there was blood on the pillow - it was my first period. I pressed myself firmly against the camel and was ashamed. When Muhammad noticed this and also saw the blood, he asked: ‘Are you having your period?’ I answered in the affirmative. He then commanded: ‘So cleanse yourself! Bring a container with water, throw salt into it and wash the blood from the pillow. Then come again to your riding animal.’
When Muhammad had conquered Khaybar, he gave us some things from the booty. He gave me the necklace you see hanging on my neck. He himself hung it on me. By Allah, I will never part with it.” She wore it around her neck until she died, and, corresponding to her last request, she was also buried with it. As often as she was unclean, she took salt for cleansing, and she gave instruction that in death salt also be used for the washing of her body.
8.03.23 -- The Martyrdom of the Shepherd al-Aswad
The shepherd al-Aswad came to Muhammad while he was besieging one of the fortresses belonging to Khaybar. Al-Aswad had a herd with him that a Jew had charged him to keep watch over. He asked Muhammad to explain Islam to him. Since Muhammad never thought too little of anyone to not convert him, he explained to him the basic tenets of Islam. When al-Aswad converted to Islam, he asked Muhammad what he should do with the sheep that had been entrusted to his care in return for his wage. Muhammad answered: “Strike them in the face and they will return to their owner!” Al-Aswad took up a handful of gravel and threw it at the herd. “Go back to your owner!” he called to them, “for, by Allah, I will not go with you anymore!” They went off together into the fortress, as if someone were driving them.
Al-Aswad then also advanced toward the fortress, in order to attack it with the believers. A stone then hit him that killed him, even before he could perform a single prayer. He was then brought before Muhammad. He had him laid down behind him and covered him with his garment. Muhammad looked at him for a while and then turned away from him. Some of his companions that were present asked him why he had turned away. Muhammad answered: “Because now his two wives with the eyes of gazelles are with him.”*
* The erotic and fanciful imaginations of the life of martyrs in paradise were meant to spur on the remaining warriors to death defying battle feats, since their death as martyrs would secure for them unimagined joys and pleasures.
8.03.24 -- The Trickery of Hajjaj
Following the conquest of Khaybar, al-Hajjaj ibn Ilat, the Sulamite, told Muhammad that there was still money owed to him in Mecca, both by his companion Umm Shaiba, the daughter of Abu Talha, with whom he had lived together and who had born his son Mu’rid, as well as by some of the merchants. He asked for permission to travel to Mecca. When Muhammad gave him the permission he then added: “But I must tell lies!” Muhammad responded: “Tell what you want!”*
* Muhammad had frequently permitted lying to his enemies, for he proclaimed deceit to be a legal weapon in Holy War. For the followers of Jesus, however, it is commanded: “Put away lying and every man speak truth with his neighbour” (Ephesians 4:25).
“So I went off,” Hajjaj explained, “and when I reached the heights of al-Baida I encountered a band of Quraishites who were gathering news of Muhammad, for they had heard he had set out against Khaybar. They knew this location in the Hijaz to be fertile, well fortified, and that many warriors were there. Now they were eager for news of the caravan.
When they saw me they cried out: ‘There is al-Hajjaj ibn Ilat. For sure he knows something new.’ (They did not know that in the meantime I had converted to Islam.) ‘Give us news, Abu Muhammad! We have heard that the corrupter (Muhammad) has gone out against Khaybar, the principle city of the Jews and the store house of the Hijaz.’ I answered: ‘I have heard that also, and I bring you a new piece of news that will cause you joy!’ Then they hastened around my camel and impatiently cried: ‘Tell it quickly, Hajjaj!’ I then said: ‘He has been driven to flight. You have never heard of such a flight. His companions have been defeated such as you have never heard of a similar defeat. Muhammad himself was taken captive. The Jews did not want to kill him, but send him to Mecca so that he could be killed among the Meccans in retaliation for the Meccans he had killed.’
The people went forth and called out in Mecca: ‘Good news has come! You will soon see that Muhammad will be brought to you so that he can be killed in your midst!’ I then said: ‘Help me to round up the money that is owed me in Mecca. I want to hasten to Khaybar and buy from the booty before other merchants come first.’
They set out and, using great oppression, gathered my money together. I then went to my companion, to whom I had given money to guard, and demanded it from her, so that I could go to Khaybar and buy the merchandise that was for sale before the other merchants did.*
* Jesus Christ said, however: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19).
When al-‘Abbas got word of this news, he came and found me in one of the merchant’s booths and said: ‘What new news do you bring?’ I asked him: ‘Will you keep for yourself what I am about to tell you?’ He answered: ‘Yes.’ I then said: ‘Go away now until I meet with you at a solitary place. I am occupied, as you can see, in gathering together my money. Leave me alone until I am finished with this!’ When I had gathered up everything and wanted to depart, I encountered al-‘Abbas again and said to him: ‘Keep it a secret for three days, O Abu al-Fadl, what I am going to tell you, for I fear that I will be pursued. You can later say what you want!’ When al-‘Abbas promised this, I said: ‘By Allah, when I left your nephew (Muhammad), he was marrying the daughter of their prince (that is Saffiya). He has conquered Khaybar and taken as booty everything therein, and it all belongs to him and his companions.’ -- ‘What are you saying?’ al-‘Abbas asked. I answered: ‘It is so, by Allah, but keep it a secret. I myself have become a Moslem and have only come to demand my money. I fear it might get away from me. In three days you can make everything known, then, by Allah, you can then do as you wish.’
On the third day al-‘Abbas put on a striped outer garment, rubbed himself with a well-smelling ointment, grabbed a stick and started circumambulating the Ka‘ba. When the people saw him, they said: “By Allah, brace yourselves, for a great mishap has happened.” Al-‘Abbas responded: “By no means, by Allah, by whom you have sworn, Muhammad has conquered Khaybar and has become the husband of the daughter of their prince. He has taken their possessions and all that was contained therein as booty. Now they belong to him and his companions.” They asked: “Who was it that brought you this news?” He answered: “The same one that brought you your news! He came to you as a Moslem, has gotten hold of his money and departed again to join Muhammad and his companions.” They then cried out: “O you servant of Allah! The enemy of Allah has escaped. By Allah, if we had known that, serious events would have taken place between us.’ Soon after, news of this also reached them from other sources.’
8.03.25 -- The Division of the Booty at Khaybar
The goods from Khaybar, Shaq, Natat and Katiba were distributed as follows: Shaq and Natat were divided by lot among the Moslems. Katiba was considered the fifth part for Allah, the prophet, his family, the orphans and the poor, and furthermore for the support of Muhammad's wives and for those that had negotiated the peace of Fadak. To the last group belonged Muhayissa, to whom Muhammad had given thirty loads of barley and thirty loads of dates. The booty of Khaybar was distributed among all those that had made the journey from Hudaybiya, regardless of whether they had been present at Khaybar or not. The only one absent was Jabir ibn Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn Haram.
Khaybar had two valleys: Surair and Khas. These formed the estates of Shaq and Natat that were apportioned into eighteen lots; Natat into five and Shaq into thirteen. They were distributed in 1800 parts, for 1400 men, including 200 riders, had participated in the campaign. The riders received three parts -- one part for the man and two parts for the horse; every one hundred men, each having a commander, made up one unit for one lot.
Then Muhammad divided up Katiba, that is the valley of Khas, among his kindred, his wives and other men and wives of the believers. His daughter Fatima received 200 loads of grain; Ali 100; Usama ibn Zaid 250; Aisha 200; Abu Bakr 100; Aqil, the son of Abu Talib, 140; the sons of Ja’far 50; Rabi’a ibn al-Harith 100; Salt ibn Makhrama and both his sons 100; whereby 40 was for Salt; Abu Nabiqa 50; Rukana ibn Abd Jazid 50; Qays ibn Makh¬rama 30; Abu al-Qasim ibn Makhrama 40; the daughters of Ubaida ibn al-Harith and a daughter of Husain ibn al-Harith 100; the sons of Ubaid ibn Abd Jazid 60; a son of Aus ibn Makhrama 30; Mistah ibn Uthaha and Ibn Ilyas 50; Umm Rumaitha 40; Nua‘im ibn Hind 30; Buhaina, the daughter of al-Harith, 30; Ujair ibn Abd Jazid 30; Umm al-Hakam, the daughter of Zubair ibn Abd al-Muttalib, 30; Jumana, the daughter of Abu Talib, 30; Umm al-Arkam 50; Abd al-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr 40; the daughter of Jahsh, 30; Umm Zubair 40; Dubaa, the daughter of Zubair, 40; Ibn Abi Khunais 30; Umm Talib 40; Abu Basra 20; Numaila al-Kalbi 50; Abd Allah ibn Wahb and his two sons 90; of which 40 went to the sons; Umm Habib, the daughter of Jahsh, 30; Malku ibn Abda 30 and his own wives 700.*
* The Moslems now lived off the wealth of the Jews, especially since no more raids on the caravans of Mecca were possible following the peace treaty of Hudaibiya.
8.03.26 -- The Story of Abd Allah ibn Sahl
The Jews remained in Khaybar and the Moslems found in their behaviour nothing to reproach, until they - despite the peace pact they had covenanted with Muhammad - became suspect in the murder of Abd Allah ibn Sahl. Zuhri and Bushair ibn Yasar, a freedman of the Banu Haritha, told me from Sahl ibn Abi Khatma, that Abd Allah ibn Sahl had been murdered in Khaybar. He had gone with some companions to gather dates. Later he was found in a cistern with a broken neck. He was then drawn out and buried.
When the companions returned to Muhammad and told the matter to him, Abd Allah's brother, Abd al-Rahman stepped forward with his two cousins Huwayisa and Muhayisa, the sons of Mas‘ud. Abd al-Rahman was the youngest and boldest of the three, whose duty it was, as nearest relative, to take blood revenge. When he wanted to speak before his cousins, Muhammad said: “The eldest first! The eldest first!” He then became quiet until his cousins had spoken. He then also spoke of the murder that had been committed. Muhammad then asked: “Can you name the murderer and swear to your assertion with fifty oaths? Then we will deliver the murderer up to you.” They responded: “We cannot swear to that which we do not know.” - “Now then,” Muhammad intended, “fifty Jews are to swear that they did not kill him and that they do not know who the murderer is. Then do not lay his blood to their charge.” To that they responded: “We will not accept an oath from any Jew, for their infidelity is already greater than a false oath.” Muhammad then gave Abd al-Rahman one hundred camels of his own as blood expiation.
8.03.27 -- The subsequent Exiling of the Jews from Khaybar (after 636 A.D.)
I asked Ibn Shihab how it was that Muhammad had remitted to the Jews of Khaybar their date palms -- whether he had only loaned them to them until he died in payment of a poll tax, or if it was in some way or other a contracted accommodation. He answered me: “Muhammad conquered Khaybar in a military campaign. Allah gave him Khaybar as booty. Muhammad had taken the fifth part and distributed four parts among the believers. The Jews had subjugated themselves and were ready to migrate. Muhammad said to them: ‘I will leave you on your property and guarantee you what Allah has given you if you cultivate your land and desire to share the produce with us.’ The Jews accepted this proposal. Muhammad sent Abd Allah ibn Rawaha to divide the produce, which was carried out fairly in his estimation.”
When Muhammad died, Abu Bakr confirmed this contract. Umar did the same during the first part of his rule. Then he got word of what Muhammad was to have said during his last sickness -- that there were not to be two religions existing on the Arabian Peninsula. Thereby Muhammad meant that Islam would tolerate no other religion in the place of its inception. Umar made inquiries about this and when these words were confirmed he made it known to the Jews: “Allah has allowed me to banish you, for Muhammad said no two religions should exist side-by-side in Arabia. Whoever can prove he has a contract with Muhammad, let him bring it to me and I will confirm it. Whoever cannot do that let him prepare to emigrate. Umar then banished all the Jews that did not have an agreement.*
* The Christians in Wadi Najran, who had a contract with Muhammad, suffered the same fate. They were subsequently - in spite of their contract - driven out by Umar, solely on the basis of unproven suspicions.
Nafi‘, a freedman of Abd Allah ibn Umar, told me of what he said: “I went with Zubayr and Miqdad to visit our landholding in Khaybar. During the night, as I was sleeping on my bed, I was attacked. Both of my hands were wrenched out of joint. In the morning my companions cried for help and asked who would have done this to me. I said that I did not know. They then set my hands back into joint and brought me to Umar, who cried out: ‘This is the work of the Jews!’ He then gave the following oratory: ‘O you people! In his contract with the Jews, Muhammad reserved the right we had to drive them out as soon as we wanted. Now they have attacked Abd Allah ibn Umar, pulled his hands out of joint and -- as you know -- previous to this killed one of the Helpers. Without doubt they are the murderers, for apart from them we have no enemies there. Therefore, whoever has property in Khaybar should now go there, for I will drive out the Jews from there once and for all.’ And he did soon expel them.”
Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayna told me about al-Ajlah, who had heard from Sha’bi: “Jafar, the son of Abu Talib, came to Muhammad on the day of the conquest of Khaybar. Muhammad kissed him between the eyes, embraced him and said: ‘I do not know what I should rejoice more over - the conquest of Khaybar or the arrival of Jafar.’”
The following emigrants stayed in Abyssinia, until Muhammad sent Amr ibn Umaiyya al-Damri to them, who brought them back on two ships, arriving with them just at the time Muhammad was in Khaybar, following the matters of Hudaybiya: Ja’far with his wife Asma’ and Abd Allah, his son born in Abyssinia, along with 16 other men and their families. The Najashi had them brought back on two ships by Amr ibn Umaiyya.*
* The migrant Moslems returned from Abyssinia after Islam had attained a position of power in Medina and the social conditions prevailing there seemed acceptable. They had found shelter with the Christians in Abyssinia and came back to Muhammad strengthened and with new ideas.
8.04 -- Before the Conquest of Mecca (629 A.D.)
8.04.1 -- The Contracted Pilgrimage (March 629 A.D)
Following the return from Khaybar, Muhammad remained both months of Rabi‘ (3rd and 4th month) and Jumada (5th and 6th month) and the four following months in Medina. In this time he arranged for several marauding expeditions. In Dhu al-Qa’da (11th month), the month in which the unbelievers had previously not allowed him to travel to Mecca, he undertook the pilgrimage in accordance with the contract. He placed Uwaif ibn al-Adbat al-Dili over Medina. This was also called the “Pilgrimage of Retribution”, because in this holy month Muhammad requited that which had been denied him the previous year. The Moslems, who previously had been prohibited in performing the pilgrimage with him, joined him, while the residents of Mecca left the city when they got word of his approach. The Quraish said among themselves: “Muhammad and his companions will fall into distress, deprivation and affliction.”
Many Meccans lined in rank and file before the town hall in order to observe what Muhammad and his companions would do. When Muhammad entered the sanctuary, he cast his cloak over his left shoulder, thereby making his right arm visible. He said: “Allah be merciful to the man who is revealed to them today in his strength!” He then grasped the pillar and went out leaping. His companions sprang after him, until the Ka‘ba hid him from their sight. He then embraced the pillar facing Yemen and after that the black stone. In this manner he trotted three circumambulations and after that again went slower. The people believed they did not have to follow this practice. Muhammad had only done so because of the Quraish and all that which he had heard of them. Nevertheless, when Muhammad did the same during the farewell pilgrimage, it became holy custom, the practice of which is expected from every Moslem.*
* Muhammad took into Islam fundamental elements of the animistic Ka‘ba cult. He probably worked out this compromise with the deputies of the Quraish during the negotiations of Hudaybiya in order to peacefully win the Meccans to Islam. He wanted to maintain the honour of the cultic centre and uphold their most important source of income. In his eyes this did nothing to dismantle the truth of his religion or the unity of Allah. His main goal -- the seizing of power also in Mecca -- he had attained, even if it came at the cost of the truth!
8.04.2 -- Muhammad's Pilgrimage Entry into Mecca (March 629 A.D.)
When Muhammad entered the city during this pilgrimage, Abd Allah ibn Rawaha led his camel and spoke the following verse:
Make way for him, you sons of disbelievers! / Make room! Everything good depends on the messenger. / O Allah! I believe his words. / I recognize divine truth in his being. / We fight you because of the meaning of the Qur’an. / No less than because of the revelation itself, / with strokes that remove heads from shoulders, / and make a friend forget his friend.
‘Ammar ibn Yasir composed the last half on another day. The proof that Abd Allah was referring to the disbelievers is that they did not believe in the revelation. Only he who believes in it can be fought because of its interpretation.
8.04.3 -- Muhammad's Marriage with Maimuna in Mecca (March 629 A.D.)
During this trip, that is while still undergoing the pilgrimage, Muhammad married Maimuna, the daughter of Harith. Al-‘Abbas had her married to him. She had taken her sister Umm al-Fadl as guardian. She then relinquished the guardianship to Al-‘Abbas, who gave her to Muhammad as wife, and handed over to her 400 dirhams as a dowry in Muhammad's stead.*
* For Muhammad the pilgrimage had nothing to do with abstinence, but with the expansion of his power. He wanted to draw his animistic uncle into Islam and to bind him more thoroughly to himself.
8.04.4 -- Muhammad's Departure from Mecca and his Return to Medina (March/April 629 A.D.)
Muhammad remained three days in Mecca. Huwaitib ibn Abd al-‘Uzza then came with a number of Quraish to urge him to depart in their name. They said to him: “Your time is up. Depart from us now!” Muhammad answered: “What does it harm you if you let me celebrate my marriage in your midst and I prepare a feast where you can come too?” They answered: “We don't need your feast, so get out!” So Muhammad went out. He left his freed slave Abu Raafi‘ behind with Maimuna, who later took her to him while he was in Sarif, where he consummated marriage with her. In Dhu al-Hijja (12th month) Muhammad returned to Medina.
8.04.5 -- The Campaign of Mu’ta*: The first Campaign against the Christian Byzantines (September 629 A.D.)
Muhammad spent the remaining part of Dhu al-Hijja (12th month) in Medina and left the pilgrimage to the unbelievers. He then also spent the month of Muharram (1st month), Safar (2nd month) and both of the Rabia months in Medina. In Jumada al-Ula (5th month) the expedition (campaign) to Syria took place, which brought about the defeat at Mu’ta.
* ”Mu’ta” is a village somewhat south of the Christian city of Busra, that lies approx. 980 km northwest of Medina and approx. 45 km south of the Sea of Galilee in present day Jordan.
The expedition to Mu’ta took place in Jumada al-Ula (5th month) of the eighth year after the emigration. Muhammad appointed Zaid ibn Haritha to be the leader and said: “If Zaid is killed, then Ja’far, the son of Abu Talib, is to be his successor. If he too should fall, then let Abd Allah ibn Rawaha take his place.” The troops, 3,000 men strong, made their preparations. When they had been outfitted and were ready to march, those left behind took leave of them. When they also wanted to take leave from Abd Allah ibn Rawaha, as well as the other leaders, he wept. When he was asked the reason for it, he answered: “By Allah, I do not cling to this world. Neither do I cry because of love for you. But I have heard how Muhammad recited a Qu’ran verse, wherein the talk is of hell.” It reads: ‘All of you (Moslems) shall go down into it; that is upon you Lord an irrevocable decree (that he must fulfil)’ (Sura Maryam 19:71). But I do not know how I shall ever come out of there once I am in it.”* The Believers who were staying behind said: “May Allah be with you! May he protect you and bring you back to us in piety!”
[-''* Muhammad threatened his followers with hell and possibly out of anger said: “You will all enter into it!” Later he added that Allah would liberate those from it who meticulously fulfilled their religious duties, did good deeds, fought in Holy War and who were prepared to die as martyrs.
What a religion! The Qu’ran fundamentally confirms that all Moslems will enter hell. This statement did not come from the opponents of Islam, but is a judicial consequence of Islamic law. No Moslem completely fulfils all of the demands of the Sharia. Therefore every Moslem inescapably awaits condemnation. All Moslems will go to hell! Every last one will go to hell! This verse is one of the most horrifying revelations of the Qu’ran. Everybody should dreadfully grasp just what is being said here.''-]
Jesus brought a different message. He revealed: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18). Jesus bore witness to the same truth again: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
On this occasion Abd Allah composed:
Yet I, I implore Allah for his grace, / and for blows that will make an end of the enemy, / foaming blood that will spit forth, / or for lance thrusts from free hands, / directed at the enemy, penetrating liver and bowels, / so that the one passing my grave will hear: / “Allah led him in the right path as a warrior, / and he travelled this path.”
When the troops came to Ma‘an* in Syria, they heard that Heraclius was camped with 100,000 Greeks in Ma’ab in the province of Balqa’**. They had been joined by 100,000 Bedouins from Lakhm, Judham al-Qayn, Bahra’ and Baliyy.*** They would be under the command of a man from Baliyy, from the branch Irasha, that was called Malik ibn Zaafila. The Moslems remained two days in Ma‘an in order to give thought to what they should do. They finally said: “We want to get information to Muhammad. He should either send us reinforcements or otherwise give us a command for us to act on.” But Abd Allah encouraged the people and said: “What you fear is what you have sought, that is, death as a martyr. We do not fight the enemy with our number or strength, but by the faith with which Allah has honoured us. Therefore advance forward! There awaits us one of two fortunes: Either victory or martyr's death”, whereupon they continued on.
* ”Ma’an”, a location in the south of modern day Jordan, lies approx. 770 km northwest of Medina.
** ”Balqa” is a region east of the Dead Sea in Trans-Jordan that, when considered Biblically, composed the northern part of Edom and all of Moab.
*** The number given may be highly exaggerated. If some zeros were crossed out the numbers would conform more to reality.
8.04.6 -- The Confrontation with the Christian Byzantines in Mu’ta (September 629 A.D.)
When the troops reached the border of Balqa’, bands of Heraclius’ troops came out to meet them by Masharif. The Moslems withdrew as far as Mu’ta, when the enemy drew nearer. There it came to battle. The Moslems placed themselves in battle formation. Their right flank was commanded by Qutba ibn Qatada, of the Banu ‘Udhra, their left flank by one of the Helpers, ‘Ubaaya ibn Malik. During the battle the banner was carried by Zaid ibn Haritha*, until he succumbed to an enemy lance. It was then taken up by Ja‘far, and when the battle continually grew fiercer, he jumped down from his brown mare, lamed her, and fought until he was killed. Ja‘far was the first Moslem to lame his horse.
* Zaid ibn Haritha was a freedman of Muhammad, whom he had received in the place of a son. He was one of the first Moslems (see 5.5) Muhammad coveted the wife of his adopted son and finally had her become his wife (see 26.2).
A reliable scholar told me: “Ja‘far first took up the banner in his right hand. When it was struck off, he carried it in the left. When this one too was cut off, he held it firmly with both arms until he was killed. Ja’far was only 33 years old, and for that Allah gave him two wings so he could fly around in paradise just as he pleased. It is maintained that a Greek cut him in two halves with one blow.”
When Ja’far was killed, Abd Allah ibn Rawaha grabbed the banner as well as the sword, went forward and fought until he also was killed. Thabit ibn Aqram took the banner and commanded the troops to choose a leader. He himself was chosen, but he did not accept the appointment, whereby Khalid ibn al-Walid was then chosen. He grabbed the banner, defended it against the enemy and protected his men by initiating a withdrawal. The enemy also withdrew, so that he could lead the army home.
8.04.7 -- Muhammad announces the Defeat
Following the defeat Muhammad cried out: “Zaid carried the banner and fought until he was slain. Then Ja’far carried it, until he, too, died a martyr.” Muhammad then grew quiet, so that the faces of the Helpers were filled with consternation, for they feared they would hear something unpleasant regarding Abd Allah. But Muhammad soon continued: “Then Abd Allah picked up the banner and fought until he, also, died a martyr. “I saw them,” he continued, “like in a dream, as they were raised before me to golden thrones in paradise. I also noticed that the throne of Abd Allah stood somewhat behind the other two, and when I asked about the reason, I was told it was because they had immediately entered into death, while Abd Allah had at first hesitated.” When the death of Ja’far was announced, Muhammad appeared very sad. Then a man went to him and said: “O messenger of Allah! The women make us weak with their lamenting and lead us astray.” Muhammad responded: “Go to them and tell them to be silent.” The man soon came back again, said the same thing, and added that they were saying that this compulsion could harm them. Muhammad responded: “Go again and command them to be quiet. If they don't do it, then put earth (sand) in their mouths.”*
* The Apostle Paul said: “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). What brutality on the part of Muhammad to command that sand be stuffed into the mouths of mourning women to quiet them! It may also be that the mourning was to be suppressed, because it might turn to hate and rage and lead to a new campaign driven by revenge.
8.04.8 -- The Entrance of the Defeated Troops into Medina
Khalid and his followers found themselves on the way back to Medina. When they got close to Medina, Muhammad and other Moslems went out to meet them. The children ran ahead. Muhammad, riding a mule, followed with the others. Muhammad commanded: “Take the children to you and give me the son of Ja‘far!” Abd Allah ibn Ja’far was brought to him and he carried him in front of him. The people threw dirt at the troops and cried out: “O you runaways! You have taken flight from the path of Allah!” Muhammad responded: “They are not runaways! They will, should Allah so will, repeat the attack.”*
* The total defeat of the Moslems at Mu’ta subsequently forced them to blood revenge and later motivated them for their conquests of Syria and Egypt.
8.05 -- Test
- as an encouragement in future service for Christ.
Every participant taking part in this test is allowed to use, for the purpose of answering the questions, any book that stands available to him or ask any trustworthy person he chooses. We await your written answers, including your complete address on paper or e-mail. We pray to Jesus, the living Lord, for you, that He might call, send, lead, strengthen, preserve and be with you each day of your life!
United with you in the service of Jesus,
Send your answers to:
Or per e-mail to: