Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims


'God knows, if we did possess (a chemical bomb), we wouldn't hesitate one second to use it'---Abu Musab al-Zarqawi


Terror Seventy-two

The Occupation of Mecca by Muhammad - January, 630CE

After the debacle at Mu'tah, Muhammad remained in Mecca for about two months without significant raids or plunder, except for those described in CH.15. Then he received the news that a person, belonging to B. Bakr, a confederate of the Quraysh had killed a man from B. Khuzaa'h at a watering place at Mecca. The Khuzaa'h tribe was in alliance with Muhammad and it was reported that the person killed was a Muslim. This attack on Khuzaa'h was in retaliation for a long drawn blood feud between these two warring tribes. This cycle of revenge and counter revenge had started a long time before Muhammad was born. However, during the Hudaibiyah treaty, it was hoped that peace would finally be established between them by granting them freedom to choose whatever party they thought was friendly to them.

Some Quraysh men also joined in this melee. Muhammad considered this minor skirmish as breaking the Hudaybiah pact that was drawn between the Quraysh and Muhammad. A representative of Khuzaa'h, Amr b. Salim al-Khuzai hastened to Medina to inform Muhammad of this incident and to seek his help. Muhammad was not at all interested in peacemaking. He made no attempt to mediate the matter with the Quraysh; instead, using this trivial incidence as an alibi he found a golden opportunity to attack the Meccans. In fact, after the great plunder at Khaybar Allah had revealed to him in verse 48:27 about his conquest of the Sacred Mosque--that is, the Ka'ba in Mecca. This new development made Muhammad confirm absolutely that it was a great opportunity sent by Allah.

Having heard what the envoy from the Khuzaa'h had to say, Muhammad promised his steadfast help for them. At that time, a large cloud engulfed the sky, and a superstitious Muhammad used that as proof of his promise to B. Khuzaa'h.

Very soon, another delegation headed by Budayl b. Warqa, a Khuzaa'h met Muhammad at Medina. Muhammad reiterated his assurance towards them. Having been re-assured by Muhammad, Budayl departed for Mecca.

Meanwhile, the Quraysh, realising the gravity of the situation, wanted to have a dialogue with Muhammad to come to a peaceful settlement without bloodshed as well as to extend the term of the treaty. They sent Abu Sufyan b Harb to have a discussion with Muhammad to bring calm. On his way to Medina, Abu Sufyan met Budyal b. Warqa at Usfan and enquired whether Budayl had a dialogue with Muhammad or not.

Budayl told a blatant lie to Abu Sufyan that he had not met Muhammad. But Abu Sufyan, at hindsight, examined the camel droppings of Budayl and correctly concluded that Budayl, had indeed met Muhammad; for, Budayl's camel droppings had the distinctive Medina pits of dates that the camel had been fed. Abu Sufyan was now quite apprehensive that Muhammad was planning for some retaliatory action. He was determined to prevent further bloodshed over such a small incidence.

Upon his arrival at Medina, Abu Sufyan first met his daughter, Umm Habibah bt. Abu Sufyan. Having recently returned from Ethiopia, she had become Muhammad's ninth wife when her husband died in Ethiopia. When Abu Sufyan entered her room and was about to sit on the bed of Muhammad, she did not allow him to rest there. She berated Abu Sufyan and told her father that as a polytheist he was an unclean person, and was not entitled to sit on Muhammad's hallowed bed. Abu Sufyan was utterly displeased at her own daughter's ungracious behaviour towards him and told her that evil had betaken her since she had left him and had accepted Islam.

Then Abu Sufyan came to Muhammad and spoke with him about this matter, but Muhammad kept silent and showed no intention of mitigating the issue through dialogue. Abu Sufyan approached Abu Bakr to speak to Muhammad about the case; Abu Bakr refused. Then he met Umar b. Khattab, but Umar threatened him with war. In desperation, Abu Sufyan went to meet Ali while Ali was with Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad. Her little son, al-Hasan b. Ali was also with her. Abu Sufyan implored Ali for the sake of kinship to intercede on his behalf to avoid the fighting. Ali utterly disappointed Abu Sufyan by saying that Muhammad's mind had already been made up, no intercession would work. Then, as a last resort, Abu Sufyan turned to Muhammad's daughter Fatima saying, "Daughter of Muhammad, don't you want to command your little son here to make peace among the people, so that he will be lord of the Arabs forever?"

Fatima replied, "By God, my little son is not old enough to make peace among the people, and no one can do so against the will of the Messenger of God." When Abu Sufyan realised that his case was hopeless, he sought the advice of Ali as to the appropriate course of action for a peaceful settlement of the matter. Ali further let down Abu Sufyan by saying that nothing could be done to change the mind of Messenger of Allah. A frustrated Abu Sufyan went to the congregation in the mosque and said, "People, I hereby make peace among the people." Having implored the Muslims for peace, Abu Sufyan mounted his camel and departed for Mecca.

When Abu Sufyan arrived at Mecca, the Quraysh asked him about the outcome of his peace mission. They heard the full story of how inflexible and belligerent Muhammad was. The Meccans chided Abu Sufyan that he had, indeed, been played out by Muhammad.

Meanwhile, after Abu Sufyan had left, Muhammad asked his people to prepare themselves for a raid, but kept the precise destination a closely guarded secret. Even Aisha, the child bride of Muhammad, was kept in the dark. To make sure that no one knew what was in his mind, he sent a contingent of Jihadists under the joint leadership of Abd Allah b. Abi Hadrad al-Aslami and Abu Qatadah al-Harith b. Ribi, to Batn. Idam, in the north of Medina to raid a passing Meccan caravan there (see Terror 70, CH. 15). He played this ruse so that people thought his mission was directed towards north; while, in secret, Muhammad was preparing a sudden attack on Mecca when the Quraysh were least prepared for it. It was indeed a great ploy and undoubtedly reflects on Muhammad's great acumen and sapiency in the conduct of terror, plunder and warfare. He was absolutely cagey in his meticulous plan for the raid on Mecca.

When everything was fully ready, Muhammad summoned his people and told them of his intention of making a surprise attack on Mecca. He also invited many other neighbouring tribes to join him in the occupation of Mecca. Fierce verses, eloquent speeches and invigorating sermons were spread out to rouse the Jihadists for this assault on Mecca.

While this readiness for the impending war was going on, a Muslim, Hatib b. Abi Baltaah wrote a letter to the Quraysh, informing them of the readiness of Muhammad to attack Mecca. An unlettered woman-slave carried the letter on her head-covering by hiding it inside her hair and proceeded to deliver it to the Quraysh. Muhammad received the news of undercover work of Hatib from heaven and sent out Ali and another Muslim to arrest the woman. They moved fast and caught up with the woman and searched her saddle but found nothing. When Ali threatened to strip her, she took out the letter from the hidden place and handed it over to Ali b. Abi Talib. Ali brought the letter to Muhammad. Having been informed of the content of the letter, Muhammad summoned Hatib. b. Abi Baltaah and asked for an explanation for what he had done. Hatib said that, as he had all the members of his family still at Mecca, he simply wanted to warn them to save them. At this, an irate Umar sought Muhammad's permission to cut off the head of Hatib. But Muhammad forgave Hatib, because Hatib was a fierce fighter for the Muslims at Badr. Allah promptly sent down verse 60:1-4 on forgiving Hatib b. Abi Baltah.

With full preparation to lay a siege on Mecca, Muhammad left Medina on January 1, 630, but he kept his exact destination a secret to his followers. Some thought he was going to invade the Hawazin tribe, some thought he was going to plunder the Thaqif people, some said he was going to fight the Quraysh. Although he was carrying arms, he appointed no military commander and displayed no banner, thus making his purpose of marching a real enigma to all. There were between eight and ten thousand of men under the command of Muhammad who left Mecca with full alacrity. Two of his wives, Zaynab bt. Jahsh and Umm Salamah, accompanied him on this occasion.

It was the month of Ramadan; Muhammad fasted and so did his followers who trailed him to Mecca. When he halted at al-Kadid, the B. Sulaym leader Uyanah b. Hisn joined him. As he proceeded, many other smaller tribes residing within the vicinity also joined with Muhammad. When they asked Muhammad about his purpose of advance, Muhammad maintained his reticence. He broke his fast at al-Kadid and told his followers that they could observe the remaining fasts or discontinue if they wished; then he proceeded ahead and put up his camp at Marr al-Zahran after eight days of marching. Another one thousand-seven hundred (1,700) members from various nearby tribes also joined him in the rush for Mecca. Up to this point, the news of Muhammad's advance to Mecca was not known to the Quraysh. On the night Muhammad encamped at Marr al-Zahran, he ordered his Jihadists to light individual fires. So, ten thousand fires were kindled giving the impression of a massive mobilization of troops. Abu Sufyan b. Harb along with Hakim b. Hizam and Budayl b. Warqa went out to gather information about Muhammad's intention.

When Muhammad halted at Marr al-Zahran, al-Abbas b. Abd al-Muttalib met him. As written in a previous part of this series, al-Abbas was actually a secret agent of Muhammad, feeding him with sensitive information about the movement of the Quraysh army. Being a top-notch businessman and a banker, al-Abbas was a smart, astutely worldly person. When he found, beyond a shadow of doubt, that his nephew (Muhammad) was strong enough, he joined him, but kept that a closely guarded secret from the Quraysh. He was warmly welcomed with favor and affection by Muhammad.

The reason of al-Abbas' visit to Muhammad was to secure a pledge of safety for the Meccans; for, he feared that an onslaught by so many Muslim Jihadists would completely decimate the Quraysh forever, ruining his flourishing business. He told Muhammad that once he got a pledge of safety from him, he would inform whoever he ventures to meet in the street so that the message of security would be passed to all in Mecca.

Muhammad marched forward and when he halted at Niq al-Uqh, a place between Mecca and Medina, Abu Sufyan b. al-Harith b. Abd al-Muttalib (not Abu Sufyan b. Harb; Abu Sufyan b. al-Harith was the paternal cousin of Muhammad and a poet) and another Quraysh sought an audience with Muhammad. At first, Muhammad declined to meet them, as he (Muhammad) claimed that this duo had previously tormented him while he was in Mecca. When these two Quraysh told Muhammad's wife, Umm Salamah, that they would go on a huger strike if Muhammad did not meet them, Muhammad's stony heart was slightly softened. The duo met Muhammad and became Muslims. Ibn Ishak reports that an irate Muhammad punched Abu Sufyan in the chest for his past action of hitting Muhammad. Abu Sufyan b. al-Harith then requested Muhammad to implore Allah to exonerate his (Abu Sufyan al-Harith) past sins.

After meeting Muhammad and securing his pledge of safety, al-Abbas set out to return to Mecca. While he reached al-Arak, he met Abu Sufyan b. Harb and Hakim b. Hizam and another Quraysh who were on their way to investigate what was going on. When they saw the huge fire that Muhammad's followers had lit they were greatly overwhelmed. They had never seen such a massive show of military power before.

When Abu Sufyan asked al-Abbas about the situation, the latter informed him that Muhammad had marched with ten thousand Muslims to invade Mecca and that if Abu Sufyan would dare to visit Muhammad, the latter would cut off his head. Having had made no preparation to meet such a menacing attack from the Muslims, a nervous and distressed Abu Sufyan sought the advice of al-Abbas. Al-Abbas took Abu Sufyan behind the mule he (al-Abbas) was riding. The other two mates of Abu Sufyan followed on foot. The duo then passed by the groupings of Muslim soldiers and came to the camp of Umar b. Khattab. Umar rushed out with naked sword to kill Abu Sufyan. So, al-Abbas moved fast to escape Umar. Then both the party (i.e., Umar and Abu Sufyan with al-Abbas) arrived at the camp of Muhammad. First, Umar entered at the camp of Muhammad and sought his permission to cut off the head Abu Sufyan. Al-Abbas then pleaded with Muhammad that he had given the pledge of protection to Abu Sufyan. On the passionate plea of al-Abbas Muhammad sent the message that he would like to meet Abu Sufyan in the morning, next day. Abu Sufyan was now in tenterhook and passed an agonizing night at Umar's camp.

In the morning, next day, Umar took Abu Sufyan to meet Muhammad. When a vaunted Muhammad extolled that he was the Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan expressed his doubt on his claim. Al-Abbas quickly warned Abu Sufyan that he should immediately submit to Islam, lest Muhammad cut off his head. This is what al-Abbas said, "Woe to you! Recite the testimony of truth before, by God, your head is cut off." So, a frightened Abu Sufyan, to save his life, had no choice but to become a Muslim on the spot.

There were a few other compelling reasons for Abu Sufyan b. Harb to surrender so easily to Muhammad. Previously, he had lost his trusted and able military general, Khalid b. Walid to Muhammad when he (Khalid) became a Muslim and joined Muhammad in the business of plunder. Moreover, the marauding Jihadists had blocked the northern and southern trade routes of the Quraysh on which their livelihood was totally dependent. To add more to their misfortune, a severe famine gripped the Meccans. It is apprehended that this famine was also the creation of Muhammad. Sourcing ibn Hisham, Hamidullah quotes, "When Thumamah ibn Uthal, a chieftain of Yamamah, stopped at the instance of the Prophet, exports of grain historians record that a famine in Mecca was the result." Needless to say, all these unfortunate circumstances made Abu Sufyan a desperate person and forced him to run to Muhammad just to save the lives of the Meccans from a blood-thirsty army that was ready to pounce on Mecca.

Then al-Abbas implored Muhammad to grant Abu Sufyan some glory as a token for his conversion to Islam. So Muhammad said, "Yes, whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan shall be safe; anyone who enters the sanctuary shall be safe; and anyone who locks his door behind him will be safe." In this pledge of safety, sanctuary meant the area around Ka'ba.

Nonetheless, Sahih Muslim records that despite this immunity, Muhammad instructed that whoever is found at the top of mount Safa is to be killed. Here is the Hadith:

Sahih Muslim: Book 019, Number 4396:

It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Rabah who said: We came to Mu'awiya b. Abu Sufyan as a deputation and Abu Huraira was among us. Each of us would prepare food for his companions turn by turn for a day. (Accordingly) when it was my turn I said: Abu Huraira, it is my turn today. So they came to my place. The food was not yet ready, so I said to Abu Huraira: I wish you could narrate to us a tradition from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) until the food was ready. (Complying with my request) Abu Huraira said: We were with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the day of the Conquest of Mecca. He appointed Khalid b. Walid as commander of the right flank, Zubair as commander of the left flank, and Abu 'Ubaida as commander of the foot-soldiers (who were to advance) to the interior of the valley. He (then) said: Abu Huraira, call the Ansar to me. So I called out to them and they came hurriedly. He said: O ye Assembly of the Ansaar, do you see the ruffians of the Quraish? They said: Yes. He said: See, when you meet them tomorrow, wipe them out. He hinted at this with his hand, placing his right hand on his left and said: You will meet us at as-Safa'. (Abu Huraira continued): Whoever was seen by them that day was put to death. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) ascended the mount of as-Safa'. The Ansar also came there and surrounded the mount. Then came Abu Sufyan and said: Messenger of Allah, the Quraish have perished. No member of the Quraish tribe will survive this day. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Who enters the house of Abu Safyin will be safe, who lays down arms will be safe, who locks his door will be safe. (some of) the Ansar said: (After all) the man has been swayed by tenderness towards his family and love for his city. At this, Divine inspiration descended upon the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He said: You were saying that the man has been swayed by tenderness towards his family and love for his city. Do you know what my name is? I am Muhammad, the bondman of God and His Messenger. (He repeated this thrice.) I left my native place for the take of Allah and joined you. So I will live with you and die with you. Now the Ansar said: By God, we said (that) only out of our greed for Allah and His Messenger. He said: Allah and His Apostle testify to you and accept your apology.

After his conversion to Islam and having secured the pledge of safety from Muhammad, Abu Sufyan hurriedly went ahead of the Muslim army's entry to Mecca and announced the guarantee of safety for all Meccans by Muhammad. The utterly terrorised Meccans dispersed and hurried to their homes, or headed to the sacred sanctuary - the Ka'ba. Many of them also proceeded towards Abu Sufyan's house to save their lives from the imminent attack by the Muslims.

Meanwhile, after the departure of Abu Sufyan and Hakim b. Hizam, Muhammad sent al-Zubayr giving him his banner and commanded him to plant the banner in the upper part of Mecca (i.e., the northern mountain pass) and instructed him not to depart from where he was posted. Muhammad entered Mecca from this site.

Muhammad commanded Khalid b. Walid and the recent converts like, B. Sulaym, Qudaah etc. to enter Mecca through the lower part of Mecca (i.e., the southern highway to Yemen). This was the site where the B. Bakr was. Despite the surrender by Abu Sufyan, the Quraysh leader some diehard Quraysh, under the command of Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl would not let the Muslims walk through Mecca unchallenged. So they mobilized a B. al-Harith b. Abd Manat and the Ahabish and other minor tribes in this part Mecca to fight Muhammad's army. Khalid was appointed to fight these people there. Muhammad gave instruction to Khalid to fight only those who fight with them. The army of Ikrimah resisted Khalid's aggression, so he fought back but lost the battle and took to flight. Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl was one of those who fled. Twenty-four (or twenty-eight as per Muir) of the polytheists were killed. This was the only fight in Mecca. However, a section of al-Zubayr's soldiers took a separate path than the one stipulated by Muhammad. They blocked the western route to the seacoast known as Kada road. The eastern and the northern routes were blocked by Muhammad's party. Thus, there was a four-pronged attack on Mecca, from which the Quraysh found very difficult to escape. Despite this siege all around, al-Zubayr's army met with some Quraysh soldiers on the slope of Kada and the Quraysh killed a few of them. Then Muhammad entered Mecca where al-Zubayr had planted his banner. It was January 11, 630, ten days after Muhammad had left Medina. Many Meccan people swarmed him to embrace Islam. Muhammad stayed among them for half a month.

When Muhammad entered Mecca he granted a general amnesty to the Meccans except for eight people (or ten people, according to Ibn Sa'd). He ordered that those were to be killed even if they were found under the curtains of Ka'ba. Hitherto, shedding of blood in the holy precinct was strictly forbidden by the polytheists. Muhammad wanted to maintain that old tradition, but to quench his extreme thirst for revenge he proclaimed that Allah had permitted only him to cause bloodshed in the holy sanctuary, just for a few hours. Here is a Sahi Hadith from Sahhi Bukhari on Muhammad's exclusive right to shed blood at the holy sanctuary:

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 303:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

Allah's Apostle said, "Allah made Mecca a sanctuary and it was neither permitted for anyone before, nor will it be permitted for anyone after me (to fight in it). And fighting in it was made legal for me for a few hours of a day only. None is allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs or to cut down its trees or to chase its game or to pick up its Luqata (fallen things) except by a person who would announce it publicly." 'Abbas bin 'Abdul-Muttlib requested the Prophet, "Except Al-Idhkhir, for our goldsmiths and for the roofs of our houses." The Prophet said, "Except Al-Idhkhir." 'Ikrima said, "Do you know what is meant by chasing its game? It is to drive it out of the shade and sit in its place." Khalid said, "('Abbas said: Al-Idhkhir) for our goldsmiths and our graves."

Muhammad's unbound wrath was especially reserved for those who apostatised from Islam. Among them was 1.Abd Allah b. Sa'd. His crime was that be became an apostate after embracing Islam. He was a scribe of Muhammad, but soon found out the trickery of Muhammad's claim of divine revelation, left Islam and returned to Mecca. When Muhammad wanted Abd Allah b. Sa'd killed, he fled to Uthman, his foster brother.

When the din and bustle of Mecca invasion had subsided, Uthman took Abd Allah ibn Sa'd for an audience with Muhammad and to seek his mercy upon him. When Uthman implored Muhammad to show mercy on Abd Allah ibn Sa'd, he (Muhammad) kept silence for a long time before saying, 'yes.' When Abd Allah ibn Sa'd and Uthman left, Muhammad's companions asked him about his long silence. Muhammad said that his long hush was meant for someone to stand up and kill Abd Allah ibn Sa'd. Then one Ansar asked Muhammad as to why the latter did not give a signal to kill Abd Allah ibn Sa'd. Muhammad replied, "A prophet does not kill by making signs."

Among the others who were targeted for killing were: 2. Abd al-Uzza b. Khatal or Abd Allah ibn. Khatal. His offence was that he killed his slave when the slave did not cook his food (Note: killing one's slave was not a serious crime during that time). Then Abd Allah ibn. Khatal fled to Mecca and renounced Islam. He had two singing girls who used to sing satires about Muhammad. Muhammad ordered that they too are to be killed along with Abd Allah ibn Khatal. When it was discovered that Abdallah ibn Khatal was hiding inside Ka'ba hanging the curtain of Ka'ba, two Jihadists, Said b. Hurayth al-Makhzumi and Abu Barzah killed Abd Allah by ripping open his belly. 3. One of the singing girls named Fartana was also killed. 4. The other girl fled. 5. Another Meccan killed was al-Huwayrith; Muhammad charged that he maltreated his daughter Zaynab during her escape bid from Mecca. On Muhammad's order Ali b. Talib killed him.

On the killing of the singing girl, Sunaan Abu Dawud records:

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 14, Number 2678:

Narrated Sa'id ibn Yarbu' al-Makhzumi:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: on the day of the conquest of Mecca: There are four persons whom I shall not give protection in the sacred and non-sacred territory. He then named them. There were two singing girls of al-Maqis; one of them was killed and the other escaped and embraced Islam.

Muhammad also killed: 6. Miqyas b. Subabah who had previously killed the killer of his brother and then fled to Mecca and apostatised (see Terror 46, CH. 12). Muhammad ordered his killing for his apostasy. Numaylah b. Abd Allah killed him.

Also in the hit list were: 7. Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl and 8. Sarah. Sarah was the freed slave-girl of one of the sons of Abd al Muttalib. Muhammad claimed that she used to molest him while he was in Mecca. It is reported that Muhammad eventually forgave Sarah. Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl fled to Yemen. Later, Ikrimah's wife pleaded for Muhammad's mercy on her husband. Muhammad forgave Ikrimah on condition that he returned to Mecca and submit to Islam. Ikramah's wife set out to find her husband when he was about to set sail for Ethiopia. She brought him back to Muhammad and both she and Ikrimah accepted Islam and saved their lives.

Besides those eight Meccans, Ibn Sa'd lists two more people whom Muhammad earmarked for killing. They were:

9. Habbar b. al-Aswad-for tormenting Muhammad's daughter Zaynab during her escape bid from Mecca. He concealed himself but was caught after a few months, repented, converted to Islam and was forgiven.

10. Hind bt. Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan b. Harb. She chewed the liver of slain Hamzah at Badr II. She accepted Islam and Muhammad pardoned her.

Later, Umar killed Sarah by causing his horse to trample her at al-Abtah. On the day of occupation of Mecca, Muhammad commanded that six men and four women be killed. The women were: 1. Hind bt. Utbah b. Rabiah, 2. Sarah, the freed slave girl of Amr b. Hashim b. Abd al-Muttalib; she was killed (waqidi) on the day of invasion. 3. Quraybah; killed on the day of invasion, 4. Fartana escaped death and lived until the Caliphate of Uthman.

Those killings of the Meccan women smacks in the face of Islam's claim that the religion forbids the killing of women in a war. In fact, we can cite Sahih (authentic) Ahadith to demonstrate that the killings of polytheist women and children and old men are definitely sanctioned by Muhammad. Here are a few samples:

Sahih Muslim: Book 019, Number 4321:

It is reported on the authority of Sa'b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 14, Number 2664:

Narrated Samurah ibn Jundub:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Kill the old men who are polytheists, but spare their children.

The fate of those condemned persons had already been enumerated above.

All those killings done, Muhammad then descended into a valley, at a spot close to the tombs of Abu Talib, his uncle, and Khadija, his first wife. He pitched his tent there. When his followers asked him if he would like to visit his old home, he said, "No". The great banner was planted at the door of his tent. He was now the lord of Mecca.

After a while, he mounted on al-Qaswa, his camel, proceeded to Ka'ba and made seven circuits of the holy sanctuary. Then he pointed his staff to the idols and commanded that they be destroyed. The great idol of Hubal in front of Ka'ba was demolished. Tradition says that there were three hundred and sixty (360) idols in Ka'ba. All those idols were then destroyed in front of the bewildered Quraysh, who just a few moments ago were their idols ardent worshippers. On the destruction of the idols, and on the religious tolerance preached by Muhammad, Allah promptly sent an oracle (17:81) decreeing the banishment of falsehood and the arrival of the truth.

Having conquered Mecca with extreme ease and without much bloodshed, Muhammad halted at the door of Ka'ba and exalted Allah and thanked Him for the victory. With him were Usama b. Zayd, Uthman b. Talhah and Bilal, as recorded in Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 1, Book 9, Number 483:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:

The Prophet entered the Ka'ba along with Usama bin Zaid, 'Uthman bin Talha and Bilal and remained there for a long time. When they came out, I was the first man to enter the Ka'ba. I asked Bilal "Where did the Prophet pray?" Bilal replied, "Between the two front Pillars."

Allah also speedily sent down verse 49:13 proclaiming that mankind was created as male and female and that He had created many nations and tribes.

Then he went to the house of Abraham, twenty or thirty steps from Ka'ba, and took the key of Ka'ba and gave that to Uthman ibn Talha to keep Ka'ba's custody for posterity. Al-Abbas was appointed to serve drinks to the pilgrims. Muhammad then obliterated the pictures of Abraham and the angels that covered the walls of Ka'ba. He broke, with his own hands, a dove made of wood and threw that away. Allah hurriedly released the verse on Abraham (3:67) justifying Muhammad's obliteration of idols and images. In this verse Allah proclaimed that Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but a Hanif (a Muslim?) and Muhammad was the nearest to Abraham.

Sahih Bukhari records Muhammad's destruction of the idols at Ka'ba in this Hadith

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 658:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Masud:

The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka'ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: "Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished."

Then Muhammad proclaimed that whoever believes in Allah must not keep any image in his/her house and should break all idols at home. He delivered a passionate speech declaring his attachment to the hallowed city. Muslim historians claim that this won the hearts and minds of the Meccans. The residents of Medina were now apprehensive that Muhammad might stay in Mecca permanently. But Muhammad consoled them that he would never quit Medina Then he returned to his tent. Abu Bakr brought his aged and blind father Abu Quahafa to Muhammad and he converted to Islam in front of Muhammad.

The destruction and the removal of all the idols from Ka'ba done, Muhammad ordered Bilal to mount its top and offer Adhaan-the Muslims prayer call. Then the Muslims gathered and offered prayer led by Muhammad.

Then Muhammad announced the general amnesty for the Meccans. He sat at al-Safa and Umar b. Khattab administered the oath of allegiance of the Meccans to Islam. First, the men swore allegiance, then the females. Among the females was Hind bt. Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan b. Harb. She was fully veiled to hide herself and she was apprehensive that Muhammad would punish her. When she met Muhammad she implored forgiveness from him. Muhammad forgave her and bound her on the pledge that she should neither commit adultery nor kill children.

Since Muhammad never shook hands with women except with those whom he was permitted, the mode of allegiance of women was that Muhammad dropped his hand in water and then she did the same.

Safwan b. Umayyah, a Quraysh and an implacable enemy of Muhammad, set out for Jeddah to leave for Yemen. When he heard the news of victory of Muhammad he was about to commit suicide by throwing himself at sea. The people approached Muhammad and told him of this. He pardoned Umayyah and gave Umayyah his turban as a symbol of his pardon. Umayr went to Safwan, showed the turban to Safwan and he was brought to Muhammad and the latter gave him four months to decide whether he should convert to Islam or die. In the end, Safwan decided to become a Muslim. His wife, Fakhitah bt. Al-Walid also became a Muslim.

Ibn Sa'd writes that Muhammad also visited the house of Umm Hani (also known as Hind bt. Abu Talib), his cousin and offered the victory prayer there. She became a Muslim and her husband also joined her. Two polytheist brothers-in-law of her who were against Muhammad took shelter in her house. Ali wanted to kill them. She pleaded with Muhammad for mercy on them. It is reported that Muhammad granted amnesty to them after they embraced Islam.

Wahsi, the Abyssinian slave who slew Hamza, fled to Taif and eventually obtained a pardon.

Muhammad was quite forgiving and magnanimous after conquering Mecca. He did this for his own interest. He did what every astute politician would have done in this situation, grant a general amnesty. His forgiveness gave him wide support in Mecca. Within two weeks, two thousand Meccans embraced Islam.

Muhammad then married Mulaykah bt Dawud al-Laythiyaah. Previously, Muhammad had killed her father. This was told to her by Muhammad's wives. One of the Prophet's wives came to Mulaykah and said to her, "Are you nor ashamed to marry a man who killed your father?" So, a beautiful and young Mulaykah left Muhammad. It is reported that Muhammad had killed her father on the day of the conquest of Mecca.

Muslim historians often extol Muhammad's great 'compassion' in offering a general amnesty to the Meccans. They also praise the bloodless nature of this occupation. Nonetheless, a little thought clearly demonstrates that it was in the interest of Muhammad that he should take up Mecca with the least possible bloodshed. A general genocide and an unhindered plunder would be of no advantage to him--Muhammad knew this truth very well, and therefore, he cleverly avoided unnecessary killing of his nearest kith and kin. After all, Muhammad belonged to the tribe of Quraysh. He had blood relations with many of them, and he proved once again the old adage,' blood is thicker than water.'

We can also refute the dubious claim that this occupation was relatively bloodless. We have already seen how a few polytheists did put up some resistance, however feeble it was, and that a number of them and a few Muslims died. Besides these, we shall also witness in the next few episodes the 'true' vengeance of Muhammad, when he dispatched troops after troops to annihilate any resemblance of religious tolerance in and around Mecca, and to mop up ruthlessly any possible future resistance against him.

Furthermore, less than two years after Muhammad granted general amnesty to the citizens of Mecca, he revoked this official pardon when he sent his agents, Abu Bakr and Ali to announce to the polytheists of Mecca that they face execution if they did not convert to Islam (verse 9:5, known as the verse of the sword nullified any amnesty/mercy granted to the polytheists of Mecca).

Nevertheless, one must appreciate the cleverness, the skillfulness, and the agility of Muhammad in occupying the greatest citadel of Islam, Mecca. One indeed needs the steadfastness, firmness, mercilessness, shrewdness and cunningness and above all the adherence to absolute fascism demonstrated by Muhammad to become a celebrated terrorist/warlord.

Many Jihadists were unhappy that no exquisite Meccan booty fell on them. They were grumbling and Muhammad had to borrow large sums from the wealthiest Quraysh to give fifty Dirhams (about US$ 250) each to two thousand such 'needy' Jihadists.

Finally, on the day Muhammad invaded Mecca, he made it compulsory for Muslims to wage Jihad (religious war) on non-Muslims whenever they are called to do so.

Here are a few Ahadith on the compulsory nature of Jihad :

Sahih Muslims: Book 020, Number 4597:

It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said on the day of the Conquest of Mecca: There is no Hijra now, but (only) Jihad (fighting for the cause of Islam) and sincerity of purpose (have great reward) ; when you are asked to set out (on an expedition undertaken for the cause of Islam) you should (readily) do so.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 42:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

Allah's Apostle said, "There is no Hijra (i.e. migration) (from Mecca to Medina) after the Conquest (of Mecca), but Jihad and good intention remain; and if you are called (by the Muslim ruler) for fighting, go forth immediately.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 311:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

The Prophet said, on the day of the Conquest of Mecca, "There is no migration (after the Conquest), but Jihad and good intentions, and when you are called for Jihad, you should immediately respond to the call."

Continued in Chapter 17 >>>

(Introduction - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20)

Abul Kasem is an Bengali ex-Muslim and academic. He has contributed in Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out and Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside and Why We Left Islam.. He has also written extensively on Islam in various websites and is the author of five e-Books: A Complete Guide to Allah, Root of Terrorism ala Islamic Style, Sex and Sexuality in Islam, Who Authored the Quran? and Women in Islam. Mr. Kasem leaves in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at [email protected].