The Attempts of the Quraish to provoke the Muslims and their contact with ‘Abdullah bin Ubai
The Quraish, offended at the escape of the Prophet ﷺalong with his devoted Companions, and jealous of his growing power in Madinah, kept a strict watch over the Muslims left behind and victimized them in every possible way. They also established secret contacts with ‘Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn Salul, chief of Madinese polytheists, and president designate of the tribes ‘Aws and Khazraj before the Prophet’s ﷺemigration. They sent him a strongly-worded ultimatum ordering him to fight or expel the Prophet ﷺ, otherwise they would launch a widespread military campaign that would kill his people and arrest his women. His pride wounded and kingship no longer his, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn Salul responded positively to his Quraishite co-polytheists. Abdur-Rahman bin Ka’b said, “When this reached ‘Abdullah bin Ubai and those who were worshippers of idols with him, they gathered together to fight with Allâh’s Messenger When the Prophetﷺ heard about it, he visited them and said:
“The threat of the Quraish to you has expired. They cannot conceive a plot against you more than you intend to harm yourselves. Are you willing to fight with your sons and
brethren? When they heard this from the Prophet ﷺthey all left. Their chief, however, seemingly complied, but at heart. he remained a wicked unpredictable conspirator along with Quraish and the envious Jews.Small fights and provocations started to pave the way for confrontation between the Muslims and polytheists.”
Publicizing the Intent for Enmity in the Sacred Mosque
Sa’d bin Mu’adh an outstanding Helper, announced his intention to observe ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) and headed for Makkah. He went to Umaiyah bin Khalaf, and said, “Tell me of a time when it is empty so that I may be able to perform Tawaf around the Ka’bah.” So Umaiyah went with him about midday. Abu Jahl met them and said, “O Abu Safwan! Who is this man accompanying you?” He said, “He is Sa’d.” Abu Jahl addressed Sa’d saying, “I see you wandering about safely in Makkah in spite of the fact that you have given shelter to the people who have changed their religion, and support them. By Allâh, if you were not in the company of Abu Safwan, you would not have gone to your family safe and sound.” Sad 6. raising his voice, said to him, “By Allâh! If you should stop me from doing this, I would certainly stop you from something that is more valuable to you, that is your passageway through Madinah.
Provocative actions continued and Quraish sent the Muslims a note threatening to put them to death in their own homeland. Those were not mere words, for the Prophet ﷺreceived information from reliable sources attesting to real intrigues and plots being hatched by the enemies of Islam. Precautionary measures were taken and a state of alertness was called for. including the positioning of security guards around the house of the Prophetﷺ patient and strategic points. Muslim recorded that ‘Aishah said that Allâh’s Messengerﷺ the lay down on bed during one night on his arrival in Madinah and said: “Were there a pious person from amongst my Companions who should keep a watch for me during the night?”
) said: ‘Who is it?’ He said: “This is Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas.’ Allâh’s Messenger til sald to him: ‘What brings you here?’ Thereupon he said: ‘I feared (lest any harm should come to) Allâh’s Messenger so I came to serve as your guard.’ Allah’s Messenger than invoked blessings upon him and then he
She said: “We were in this state when we heard the clanging noise of arms. He (the Prophetﷺ slept. “
This state of close vigilance continued ceaselessly until the Words of Allâh were revealed saying:
“Allâh will protect you from mankind.” (5:67) Here, the Prophet ﷺ peeped from the dome of his house asking his people to go away, he recent said:
“O people! Leave me for indeed Allâh the Mighty and
Majestic shall protect me. The Prophet’sﷺ life was not the only target of wicked schemes, but rather the lives and the whole entity of the Muslims. When the Madinese provided the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions with safe refuge, the desert bedouins began to look at them all in the same perspective, and outlawed all the Muslims.
Permission to Fight
At this critical situation, with Quraish having intention of pursuing their aggressive and devilish plans, Allâh the All-High gave the Muslims the permission to take arms against the disbelievers:
“Permission to fight is given to those (i.e.. believers against those disbelievers), who are fighting them. (and) because
they (believers) have been wronged, and surely Allâh is Able
to give them (believers) victory.” (22:39) This Verse was revealed in a larger context of Divine instructions to eliminate all aspects of falsehood, and hold in honor the symbols and rites of Allâh:
“Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) order for Iqamatus-Salat: [i.e., to perform Salat (prayer) – the five compulsory, congregational prayers (the males in mosques)], to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity, poor-due), and they enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid AlMunkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism and all that Islam has forbidden) [i.e., they make the Qur’ân as the Law of their
country in all the spheres of life).” [22:41] Doubtlessly, the permission to fight was revealed in Madinah after emigration, not in Makkah, still the exact date where of is in doubt.
The permission to fight was already there, but in the light of the present state o: affairs, it was wise for the Muslims to bring the commercial routes leading to Makkah under their control. To realize this strategic objective, the Prophet ﷺ had to choose either of two options: 1. Entering into treaties with the tribes inhabiting either the areas adjacent to the routes or between these routes and Madinah. With respect to this course of action, the Prophetﷺ had already signed. together with the Jews and other neighboring tribes, the aforementioned pact of cooperation and good neighborliness. 2. Dispatching successive armed missions for harassment along the strategic commercial routes.
Pre-Badr Missions and Invasions
With a view to implement these plans, the Muslims started real military activities, which at first took the form of survey patrols delegated to explore the geopolitical features of the roads surrounding Madinah and others leading to Makkah, and building alliances with the tribes nearby. The Prophet ﷺwanted to impress upon the polytheists and Jews of Madinah as well as the bedouins in its vicinity, that the Muslims had smashed their old fears, and had become so strong that they cannot be attacked without receiving any harm from them. He also wanted to display the power of his followers in order to discourage Quraish from committing any military folly against him which might put in danger their economic life and means of living, and to stop them from persecuting the helpless Muslims detained in Makkah, consequently he would avail himself of this opportunity and resume his job of propagating the Divine Call freely. The following is a summary of these missions and errands:
1. The Saiful-Bahr Mission. It occurred in Ramadan 1 A.H., i.e., 623 C.E., led by Hazrat Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo and comprising 30 Emigrants with a definite task of intercepting a caravan belonging to the Quraish. It was a caravan of 300 people including Abu Jahl bin Hisham. The two parties encountered each other and aligned in preparation for fighting. Majdi bin ‘Amr, on good terms with both sides, happened to be there and managed to prevent an imminent clash, On that occasion, the Prophetﷺ accredited the first flag in the history of Muslims. It was white in color and was entrusted to Abu Marthad Kannaz bin Husain Al-Ghanawi citite to carry.
2. The Rabigh Mission. In Shawwal, 1 A.H., i.e., April 623 C.E.. Allâh’s Messenger dispatched ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith bin AlMuttalib tale at the head of 60 horsemen of Emigrants to a spot called Batn Rabigh where they encountered Abu Sufyan at the head of a caravan of 200 men. There was arrow shooting but no actual fighting It is interesting to note that two Muslims, Al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr Al
Bahrani and ‘Utbah bin Ghazwan Al-Mazini lotesdefected from the Caravan of Quraish and joined the ranks of ‘Ubaidah alih. The Muslims had a white flag carried by Mistah bin Athathah bin AlMuttalib bin ‘Abd Manaf.
3. The Kharrar Mission. It occurred in Dhul-Qa’dah 1 A.H., t.e., May 023 C.E., the Prophetﷺ dispatched Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas ille at the head of 20 horsemen, and instructed them not to go beyond Al-Kharrar. After a five-day march they reached the spot to discover that the camels of the Quraish had left the day before; their flag, as usual, was white and carried by Al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr.
4. The Invasion of Al-Abwa’ or Waddan.'”) It was in Safar 2 A.H., i.e., 623 C.E. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ set out himself at the head of 70 men, mostly Emigrants, to intercept a camel caravan belonging to the Quraish, leaving behind Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah di tanto administer the affairs in Madinah. He reached Waddan without an incident. In the process of this campaign, he contracted a non-aggression pact with ‘Amr bin Makhshi Ad-Damri. The provisions of the pact go as follows: “This is a document from Hazrat Muhammadﷺ, the Messenger of Allâh, concerning Bani Damrah in which he established them safe and secure in their wealth and lives. They can expect support from the Muslims unless they oppose the religion of Allâh. They are also expected to respond positively in case the Prophetﷺ sought their help This was the first invasion under the leadership of Allâh’s Messengerﷺ the It took fifteen days, with a white flag carried by Hazrat Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo.
5. The Invasion of Buwat. It took place in Rabi’ul-Awwal 2 A.H.. Le., 623 C.E. The Prophet ﷺ at the head of 200 Companions. marched for Buwat to intercept a caravan belonging to the Quraish comprising 100 Quraishites, Umaiyah bin Khalaf among them, and 2500 camels. When he reached Buwat, the caravan had left. Before leaving Madinah, he mandated Sa’d bin Mu’adhes to handle the affairs until his return.
6. The Invasion of Safwan. In Rabi’ul-Awwal 2 A.H., 1.e., 623 C.E., Kurz bin Jabir Al-Fihri at the head of a small group of polytheists raided the pastures of Madinah and looted some animals. The Prophetﷺ at the head of 70 men, left Madinah to fight the aggressors. He went in their pursuit till he reached a place called Safwan near Badr but could not catch up with them. This mission came to be known as the preliminary Badr Invasion. During his absence, the Prophetﷺ entrusted Zaid bin Harithah tolong with administrating the affairs in Madinah. The standard was white in color and entrusted to ‘Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib AlaihisSalam.
7. The Invasion of Dhil-‘Ushairah. It was in Jumada Al-Ula and Jumada Al-Akhirah the first or second 2 A.H., i.e., November/ December 623 C.E. The Prophetﷺ at the head of 150-200 Helpers, with 30 camels which they rode turn by turn, set out to intercept a Quraishite caravan. He reached Dhil-‘Ushairah but the camels had left some days before. These camels were the same that he went out to intercept on their return from Syria, and were the direct reason for the break out of the battle of Badr. In the process of this campaign, the Prophetﷺ contracted a treaty with Bani Mudlij and their allies Bani Dumrah. Abu Salamah bin ‘Abdul-Asad AlMakhzumi te was left as the administrator of Madinah in his absence.
8. The Nakhlah Mission. It took place in Rajab 2 A.H., i.e., January 624 A.H. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ dispatched ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh Asadi to Nakhlah at the head of 12 Emigrants with six camels. ‘Abdullah was given a letter by the Prophet ﷺbut was instructed to read it only after two days. He followed the instructions and discovered that he was asked to go on to a place called Nakhlah standing between Makkah and At-Ta’if, intercept a caravan for Quraish and collect news about their intentions. He disclosed the contents of the letters to his fellows who blindly obeyed the orders.
At Nakhlah, the caravan passed carrying loads of raisins (dried grapes), food stuff and other commodities. Notable polytheists were also there such as ‘Amr bin Al-Hadrami, ‘Uthman and Naufal, sons of ‘Abdullah bin Al-Mughirah, and others. The Muslims held consultations among themselves with respect to fighting them taking into account Rajab which was a sacred month (during which, along with Dhul-Hijjah, Dhul-Qa’dah and Muharram, war activities were suspended as was the custom in Arabia then). At last they agreed to engage with them in fighting. ‘Amr bin AlHadrami was shot dead by an arrow, ‘Uthman and Al-Hakam were captured whereas Naufal escaped. They came back with the booty and the two prisoners. They set aside one-fifth of the booty assigned to Allâh and His Messengerﷺ and took the rest. The Messengerﷺ are not disapproved of that act and suspended any action as regards the camels and the two captives on account of the prohibited months already mentioned. The polytheists, on their part, exploited this golden opportunity to charge the Muslims and accuse them of violating what is Divinely inviolable. This idle talk brought about a painful headache to Hazrat Muhammad’s ﷺCompanions, until at last they were relieved when the Revelation came down giving a decisive answer and stating quite explicitly that the behavior of the polytheists in the whole process was much more dreadful and far more serious than the act of the Muslims:
“They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months (ie., 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say, ‘Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with Allâh is to prevent mankind from following the way of Allâh, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.” [2:217)
The Words of Allâh were quite clear and said that the uproar created by the polytheists was groundless. The sacred inviolable sanctities had been repeatedly violated in the long process of fighting Islam and persecuting the believers. The wealth of the Muslims as well as their homes had already been violated and their Prophetﷺ had been the target of repeated attempts on his life. In short, that sort of propaganda could deservedly be described as simply a shameful act. Shortly afterwards, the two captives were released and blood money was given to the father of the man who was killed. This has been a summary of pre-Badr platoons and invasions None of them witnessed any sort of looting property or killing people except when the polytheists had committed such crimes under the leadership of Kurz bin Jabir Al-Fihri. It was, in fact, the polytheists who had initiated such acts. No wonder, for such illbehavior is inherent in their natural character. After this event, the Quraish began to realize the real danger that Madinah could present them with. They came to know that Madinah had always been on the alert, watching their commercial caravans closely. It was then common knowledge to them that the Muslims in their new abode could span and extend their military activities over an area of 300 miles, and bring it under full control However, the new situation borne in mind, the Makkans could not be deterred and were too obstinate to come to terms with the new rising power of Islam. They were determined to bring about their fall by their own hands and with this thoughtlessness they prepared for the great battle of Badr. The Muslims, on the other hand, and at the command of their Lord, were ordered to go to war in Sha’ban 2 AH: ý
“And fight, in the way of Allâh those who fight you: but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allâh likes not the transgressors. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (polytheism or calamity) is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. But if they cease, then Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allâh) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allâh (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az
Zalimun (polytheists, and wrongdoers, etc.).” (2:190-193] Before long, Allâh again sent the Muslims different Verses teaching them ways of fighting, urging them to go to war and demonstrating relevant rules:
“So, when you meet (in fight – Jihad in Allâh’s cause), those who disbelieve, smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, 1.e., take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e., free them without ransom). or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden. Thus (you are ordered by Allâh continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam (1.e., are saved from the punishment in
the Hell-fire) or at least come under your protection), but if it had been Allâh’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allâh, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them (i.e., they will know their places in Paradise more than they used to know their houses in the world). O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allâh, He will help you, and make
your foothold firm.” [47:4-7)(1) Shortly afterwards, Allâh began to rebuke the hypocrites, the weak at heart, and cowardly elements:
“But when a decisive Surah (explaining and ordering things) is sent down, and fighting Vihad – the holy fighting) is mentioned (i.e., ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with
a look of one fainting to death.” [47:20] The prevalent conditions made it a top priority to encourage the Muslims to fight. Any leader with deep insight would order his soldiers to get ready for any sort of emergency, let alone the AllKnowing Exalted Lord, Who is All-Aware of the minutest details of affairs. The event of that encounter with the polytheists dealt a heavy blow to the pride of the Quraish and created a sort of horrible restlessness among them. The aforementioned Qur’ânic Verses, enjoining the Muslims to strive in the cause of Allâh, portrayed the nearness of blood clashes that would be crowned by a decisive victory for the Muslims, and final expulsion of polytheists out of the Sacred City. Makkah. They referred to rules relevant to the treatment of
captives and slaughtering the pagan soldiers till the war ended and laid down its burdens. All of these could act as clues to a final triumph that would envelop the struggle of the Muslims towards their noble objectives Another event of great significance featured the same month Sha’ban 2 AH., ie.. February 624 C.E., which was a Divine commandment ordering that Al-Qiblah be changed from Jerusalem to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah. That was of a great advantage to the Muslims at two levels. First, it brought about a kind of social sifting, so to speak, in terms of the hypocrites of the lews and others weak at heart, and revealed their true nature and inclinations the ranks of the Muslims were thereby cleared from those discord and conflict producing elements. Second, facing a new Qiblah, the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, refers to a new role awaiting the Muslims to take up, and would start only after the repatriation of the Muslims to their Sacred City, Makkah for it is not logical for the Muslims to leave their Qiblah at the mercy of non-Muslims. The Muslims, therefore, at the command of Allâh and on account of those Divine clues, increased their activities, and their tendency towards striving in the cause of Allâh and encountering His enemies in a decisive battle was greatly intensified.