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Sixth Year of the Hegira.

-A.D. 627, 628

I. Ætat 59.

Numerous minor expeditions undertaken in the sixth year of the Hegira

THE Sixth year of the Hegira was one of considerable activity at Medina. No important battle indeed was fought, nor any grand expedition undertaken. But small parties were almost incessantly in motion, either for the chastisement of hostile tribes, for the capture of caravans, or for the repulse of robbers and marauders. We read of as many as sixteen or seventeen such expeditions during the year. They generally resulted in the dispersion of the enemy, and the capture of flocks and herds, which greatly enriched the followers of Mahomet, and stimulated their zeal for active service. They also maintained or increased the name and terror of the new potentate. But few of them were otherwise

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attended with marked results; and it will not there- fore be necessary to give a narrative of them all 1.

Expedition by Mahomet against the Bani Lahyan. 1st Rabi, A.H. VI June-July, A.D. 627

Two of the expeditions were led by Mahomet himself. One was against the Bani Lahyan, whom he had long been desirous of chastising for their treacherous attack, two years before, on the little band of his followers at Raji.2. In the early part of the year he set out with a selected body of two hundred men on camels, and twenty horse.3 That he might the more surely fall upon his enemy unawares, he first took the road towards Syria. After two or three marches in that direction, he suddenly turned south, and travelled rapidly along the seashore by the road to Mecca. But the stratagem was of no avail, for the Bani Lahyan had notice of his approach, and taking their cattle with them, retired to the heights, where they were safe from attack. At the spot where his followers had been slaughtered, he halted, and invoked pardon and

1 Weil regards the comparative insignificance or these expeditions, and especially the smallness of Mahomet's following on the pilgrimage to Hodeibia, as a proof how low his authority had sunk. I see no grounds whatever for this conclusion. There was no object to call forth on these occasions any great exertion or any extensive gathering of his followers. I regard the authority of Mahomet as continuing steadily and uniformly on the advance, and as having been greatly increased by his successful resistance of the grand confederation which laid siege to Medina. The expedition to Hodeibia was purely for the purpose of pilgrimage.

2 Vol. ii. p.201.

3 Mahomet took only one of every two who volunteered, telling them that both should have the merit of the expedition.

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mercy on them. Small parties were then, for one or two days, sent to scour the vicinity, but no traces of the tribe were found in any quarter. Mahomet being now about two marches only from Mecca, advanced to Osfan, with the view of alarming the Coreish. From thence he sent Abu Bakr with ten horsemen, as it were his vanguard, to approach still nearer.1 Satisfied with this demonstration, the force retraced its steps to Medina. On his way back from this unsuccessful journey, Mahomet, who had been greatly incommoded by the heat, is said to have prayed thus : - "Returning and repentant, yet if it please the Lord, praising His name and serving Him, I seek Refuge in God from the troubles of the way, the vexation of return, and the Evil eye affecting family and wealth."2

Pursuit of Uyeina, who had fallen upon the camels of Mahomet near Medina. 1st Rabi, A.H. VI. July, A.D. 627

Not many days after his return, Medina was, early one morning, startled by a cry of alarm from the adjoining height of Sila. Uyeina, chief of the Bani Fezara, had come down during the night, with a troop of forty horse, upon the plain of Al Ghaba, within a few miles of Medina, had fallen upon the milch camels of Mahomet which were grazing there, and driven off the whole herd, killing the keeper, and carrying away his wife a prisoner. A citizen, early

1 He had halted at Ghiran, and thence marched to Osfan, distant five Arabian miles. Abu Bakr went on to Kara al Ghamim, three miles farther on the road to Mecca. Osfan is two ordinary stages from Mecca.

2 Katib al Wackidi, p.114 ½; Hishami, p.308.

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on his way to the pasture lands, saw the marauding band, and gave the alarm. The call to arms was ordered by Mahomet. A troop of horse was immediately at the gate of the Mosque. These were despatched at once in pursuit,----Mahomet himself, with five or six hundred men following shortly after. Sad ibn Obada, with three hundred followers, remained behind, to guard the city. The advanced party hung upon the rear of the marauders, slew several of them, and recovered half of the plundered camels. On the side of the Mussulmans only one man was killed. Mahomet, with the main body, marched as far as Dzu Carad, in the direction of Kheibar; but by this time the robbers were safe in the desert among the Bani Ghatfan. The captive female effected her escape on one of the plundered camels, which she vowed, if she reached Medina in safety, to offer up as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. On acquainting Mahomet with her vow, he raffled her on the ingratitude of seeking to slay the animal which had saved her life, and which moreover was not hers to offer up. He bade her go to her home in peace. The force was five days absent from Medina 1.

1 K. Wackidi 115; Hishami 809. The Secretary gives some stirring details connected with this adventure, - especially the narrative by Salma of his pressing, single-handed, on the enemy's rear along the narrow passes and thickets of the road. He and Abu Cotada greatly distinguished themselves.

Al Micdad was the first to come up to the Mosque on Mahomet's

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Affair at Dzul Cassa: party of Moslems cut up. 2nd Rabi, A.H. VI, August, A.D. 627

Scarcity still prevailing in the desert, and rain having fallen plentifully in the direction of Medina, the Ghatfan tribes were tempted, in their search for pasture, to encroach upon the bounds assigned to them in the treaty with Uyeina.1 The herds of camels belonging to Medina, greatly increased by the plunder of late years, had been sent out to graze in the same vicinity.2 They offered a tempting prize for a foray, and the neighbouring tribes were suspected to be gathering for the purpose. Mohammad ibn Maslama was deputed with ten followers to ascertain how matters stood.3 At Dzul Cassa, a place well advanced in the desert,4 he was surrounded in the night-time by over-powering numbers; after a short resistance, all his men were slain, and he himself, severely wounded,

call; and Mahomet, having mounted the banner on his spear, sent him in advance with the horse; some say that he was the leader of the party, but others give that honour to Sad ibn Zeid, also a citizen. For the curious anecdote connected with this point, see vol.1. Introd. p. lxxxvi.

1 See above, vol. iii. p.226. The siege of Medina, in which these Bedouins took a prominent part, may perhaps have been regarded as obliterating that treaty, and this is the more likely with reference also to the raid on Al Ghaba.

2 They were sent out to Heifa, seven Arabian miles from Medina.

3 This is not mentioned by tradition as the object of the expedition; but it could have been the only object of so small a party, unless, indeed, it was intended as a deputation, or embassy.

4 Dzul Cassa was twenty-four Arabian miles from MedinaD on the road to Rabadza. Wackidi 116.

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left on the field as dead. An adherent of Mahomet, happening to pass that way, assisted him on his journey back to Medina. Immediately a force of forty well-mounted soldiers was despatched to chastize the offenders; but these had dispersed among the neighbouring heights, and excepting the plunder of some flocks and household stuff, no reprisals were effected.

A Meccan caravan plundered at Al Is. Ist Jumad, A.H. VI. September A.D. 627

During the Autumn of this year, a force of one hundred and seventy men was despatched toward Al Is, to intercept, on its return, a rich caravan, which the Coreish had ventured to despatch by the route of the seashore to Syria- The attack was completely successful. The whole caravan, including a large store of silver belonging to Safwan, was plundered, and some of those who guarded it, taken prisoners.

Abul Aas and Zeinab, Mahomet's daughter

Among the prisoners was Abul Aas, son-in-law of Mahomet. His romantic story deserves recital, as well for its own interest, as for the share which the Prophet himself bore therein. The reader will remember that, at Khadija's desire, Mahomet married his daughter Zeinab to her nephew, Abul Aas, a prosperous trader in Mecca.1 On the assumption of the prophetic office by his father-in-law, Abul Aas declined to embrace Islam. But he listened with equal unwillingness to the Coreish who bade him abandon Zeinab, and offered him the choice of their own daughters in her stead : - "I will not separate from my wife," he said,-" neither do I

1 See vol ii. pp. 45, 264.

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desire any other woman from amongst your daughters-" Mahomet was much pleased by the faithfulness of Abul Aas to his daughter. The attachment was mutual, for when Mahomet and the rest of his family emigrated to Medina, Zeinab remained behind at Mecca with her husband.

Abul Aas taken prisoner at Badr, is freed on condition of sending Zeinab to Medina

In the battle of Badr, Abul Aas was taken prisoner. When the Coreish deputed men to ransom at their prisoners, Zeinab sent by their hands such property as she had, for her husband's freedom. Among other things, was a necklace, which Khadija had given her, on her marriage with Abul Aas. When the Prophet saw this touching memorial of his former wife, he was greatly overcome, and said to the people : - "If it seem right in your eyes, let my daughter's husband go free, and send back these things unto her." All agreed to this. But as a condition of his freedom, Mahomet required of Abul Aas that he should send Zeinab to Medina. Accordingly, on his return to Mecca, Abul Aas, having made arrangements for her departure, sent her away mounted on a camel-litter, under the charge of his brother Kinana. Some of the baser sort from amongst the Coreish, hearing of her departure; went in pursuit, determined to bring her back. The first that appeared was Habbar, who struck the camel with his spear, and so affrighted Zeinab, as to cause her a miscarriage. Kinana at once made the camel sit down and, by the mere sight of his bow and well-filled quiver, kept the pursuers at bay,

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Just then Abu Sofian came up and held a parley with Kinana: - "Ye should not;" he said, "have gone forth thus publicly,---- knowing the disaster we have so lately sustained at the hands of Mahomet. The open departure of his daughter will be accounted a proof of our weakness and humiliation. But it is no object of ours to keep back this woman from her father, or to retaliate our wrongs on her. Return, then, for a little while to Mecca, and when this excitement shall have died away, then set out secretly." They followed his advice: and some days after, Zeinab, escorted by Zeid ibn Harith, who had been sent to meet her, reached Mahomet in safety.

Conversion of Abul Aas. A.H. VI.

It was between three and four years after this that Abul Aas, as above related, was again made prisoner at Al Is. As the party approached Medina, he contrived by night to have an interview with Zeinab, who granted the protection which he sought. He then rejoined the other prisoners. In the morning, the people being assembled for prayers in the Mosque, Zeinab called out in a loud voice from her apartment, that she had given to Abul Aas her guarantee of protection. When the prayers were ended, Mahomet thus addressed the assembly “Ye have heard, as I have, the words of my daughter. I swear by Him in whose hands is my life, that I knew nothing of her guarantee until this moment. But the pledge of even the least of my followers must be respected." Thus saying, he retired to his daughter, and desired her to treat Abul Aas

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with honour, as a guest, but not to recognize him as her husband. Then he sent for the captors of the caravan, and reminding them of his close connexion with Abul Aas, said,- "If ye treat him well, and return his property unto him, it would be pleasing to me; but if not, the booty is yours, which the Lord hath given into your hands, and it is your right to keep the same." They all with one consent agreed to let the prisoner go free, and to return the whole of his property. This generosity, and the continued attachment of Zeinab, so wrought upon Abul Aas, that, when he had adjusted his affairs at Mecca, he made profession of Islam, and joined his wife at Medina. Their domestic happiness, thus renewed, was not of long continuance; for Zeinab died the following year from disease, said to have originated in the miscarriage caused by the attack of Habbar at Mecca.

Mahomet commands that the two Coreish who pursued his daughter be put to death if caught

The treatment of his daughter on that occasion, and especially the unmanly and barbarous conduct of Habbar, greatly incensed Mahomet. Once, when a party was setting out on an expedition towards Mecca, he commanded that if Habbar, or the comrade who joined him ii the pursuit 1 of Zeinab, fell into their hands, they should both -be burned

1 The name of this second person is not given, but it may possibly have been Huweirith, who was killed by Ali on the capture of Mecca, for having, as is alleged, made an attack on Fatima and Omm Kolthum when they were leaving Mecca. Hishami 363. I do not find any other evidence of an attack on Fatima and Omm Kolthum, which, had it actually occurred, would have been

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alive. But during the night he reconsidered the order, and sent it to countermand it in these words "It is not fitting for any to punish by fire but God only; wherefore if ye find the culprits, put them to death in the ordinary way."1

The Bani Judzam chastised for robbing Dihya, who had been sent by Mahomet on an embassy to Syria. 2nd Jumad, AH. VI October 9 A.D.627.

The following incidents are connected with the first communication held by Mahomet with the Roman Empire. Dihya, one of his followers, was sent on a mission to the Emperor, or perhaps to one of the Governors of Syria.2 He was graciously received, and presented with a dress of honour. On his way home, he was plundered of everything at Hisma, beyond Wadi al Cora, by the Bani Judzam. A neighbouring tribe, however, to whom Dihya at once complained, attacked the robbers, recovered the spoil, and restored it to him uninjured. On the robbery reaching the ears of Mahomet, he despatched Zeid with five hundred men, to chastize

1 plentifully spoken off. I conclude that the present was really the attack in which Huweirith was engaged; and that as Ali was his executioner, tradition consequently represents Ali's wife Fatima, instead of Zeinab, as the object of that ruffian's attack.

1 Hishami 234; K. Wackidi, 116 ½. It is satisfactory to find that at Mecca, the cruelty of Habbar was scouted as unmanly. Even Hind, wife of Abu Sofian, gave vent to her indignation at it. Meeting the party as it returned, she extemporized some severe verses against them :---- "Ah! in time of peace ye are very brave and fierce against the weak and unprotected, but in the battle ye are like women with gentle speeches," &c.

2 The nature of the mission is not stated by the Secretary. M. C. de Perceval says that it was to demand from the Emperor, in the name of Mahomet, liberty of commerce with the Roman Provinces. Vol iii. p.157.

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the delinquents.1 Marching by night, and concealing themselves by day, they fell unexpectedly on the Bani Judzam, killed several of them, including their chief and carried off a hundred of their women and children, with a great collection of herds and flocks. Another chief of the same tribe, who had previously tendered his submission to Mahomet, hastened to Medina, and appealed against these proceedings. He produced the letter of terms which Mahomet had made with his tribe, and demanded justice.- "But," said Mahomet, "how can I compensate thee for those that have been slain?" "Release to us the living," was the chief's reply;- "as for the dead, they are beneath our feet." Mahomet acknowleged the justice of the demand, and despatched Ali to order restoration. He met Zeid on his way back to Medina, and the prisoners and booty were immediately surrendered to the chief.

Second expedition to Duma. Shaban, A.H. V. November, 627

Soon after, Abd al Rahtnan set out with seven hundred men, on a second expedition to Jandal. Mahomet bound a black turban in token of command, about his bead. He was to endeavour first to gain over the people of Duma, and to fight only-in the last resort :- "but in no case," continued the Prophet, "shalt thou use deceit or perfidy, nor shalt thou kill any child" On reaching Duma, he summoned the tribes to embrace

1 Zeid ibn Harith commanded five or six of the expeditions undertaken this year.

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Islam, and allowed them three days' grace. Within that period, Al Asbagh, a Christian chief of the Bani Kalb, gave in his adhesion, and many followed his example. Others preferred to be tributaries, with the condition of being allowed to maintain the profession of Christianity. Abd al Rahman communicated these tidings by a messenger to Mahomet, who, in reply, desired him to marry Tamadhir, daughter of the chief. Abd al Rahman accordingly brought this lady with him to Medina, where she bore him Abu Salma (the famous jurisconsult of after days), and amid many rivals, maintained her position as one of his wives, till her husband's death.1

The Bani Fezara chastized for waylaying a a Medina caravan. Ramdhan, A.D.VI, Dec. A.D. 627

After several warlike raids of inferior importance, Zeid ibn Harith set out upon a mercantile expedition to Syria, carrying with him ventures, for barter there, from many of the citizens. The caravan was waylaid near Wadi al Cora, seven marches from Medina, and plundered by the Bani Fezara. This occasioned much exasperation at Medina. When Zeid was sufficiently recovered from the injuries inflicted by the robbers, he was sent forth with a strong force to execute vengeance

1 K. Wackidi, 117,2084. For some account of Abd al Rahmans conjugal relations, see vol ii. pp. 272, 278. Besides concubines, he had issue by sixteen wives, and may have married many others who bore him no children. As be could have no more than four wives at a time, the frequent changes and divorces may be imagined.

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upon them. He approached stealthily, and effecting a complete surprise, captured the marauders' stronghold.

Barbarous execution of Omm Kirfa

Omm Kirfa, aunt of Uyeina, who had gained celebrity as the mistress of this nest of robbers, was taken prisoner with her daughter. Neither the sex, nor the great age of Omm Kirfa, saved her from a death of extreme barbarity. Her legs were tied each to a separate camel. The camels were driven in different directions, and thus she was torn in sunder. Two young brothers of the same family were also put to death. Zeid, on his return, hastened to visit Mahomet, who, eager to learn the intelligence, came forth to meet him with his dress ungirded; and learning the success of the expedition, embraced and kissed him. We read of no disapprobation expressed by the Prophet at the inhuman treatment of Omm Kirfa, and are therefore warranted in holding him to be an accomplice in the ferocious act. The daughter was given as a slave to Mahomet, who presented her to one of his followers.1

Assassination of Abul Huckeick (Abu Rafi) a Jewish chief

His old enemies, the Jews, were still the cause of annoyance to Mahomet. A party of the Bani Nadhir, with their chief, Abul Huckeick, after being

1 K. Wackidi 117. Omm Kirfa was grand--daughter of Badr, a patriarch of the tribe, and had married her cousin Malk, uncle of Uyeina. They formed a branch of the Fezara, which again belonged to the Bani Dzobian, a tribe of the Bani Ghatifan, vol i. p. ccxxiv. table. Hisn, the father, of Uyeina, was a leader in the battle of Jabala. Ibid. p. ccxxvi. The person who put Omm Kirfa to death was Cays ibn al Mohsin, a name I am not familiar with.

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Ramadhan, A.H. VI. December, A.D. 627

expelled from Medina, had settled among their brethren at Kheibar. Abul Huckeick (called also Sallam and Abu Rifi) had taken a prominent part among the confederates who besieged Medina, and he was now suspected of inciting the Bani Fezara and other Bedouin tribes in their depredations. An expedition was undertaken by Ali, with one hundred men, against a combination of the Bani Sad ibn Bakr, said to have been concocted with the Jews of Kheibar; but besides a rich booty of camels and flocks, it produced no other result.1 As a surer means of putting a stop to these machinations, Mahomet resolved on ridding himself of their supposed author, the Jewish chief. The Bani Khazraj, emulous of the distinction which the Bani Aws gained some years before, by the assassination of Kab, had long declared themselves ready to perform a similar service. Mahomet therefore chose five men from amongst that tribe, and gave them command to make away with Abul Huckeick. On approaching Kheibar, they concealed themselves till nightfall when they repaired to the house of their victim. Abdallah ibn Atik, the leader of the party, who was familiar with the Bani Nadhir, and spoke their language fluently, addressed the wife

1 This expedition occurred in Shaban (November), i.e. a month before the assassination of Abul Huckeick K.Wackidi, 117. Ali advanced as far as Hamaj between Kheibar and Fadak. The Bani Sad, a branch of the Hawazin, were among the confederates who besieged Medina.

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of the chief, who came at his summons to the door, and gained admittance on a false pretext.1 When she perceived that the men were armed, she screamed aloud, but they pointed their weapons at her, and forced her to be silent at the peril of her life. Then they rushed into the inner chamber, and despatched Abul Huckeick with their swords. They hastily withdrew, and hid themselves in some adjacent caves till the pursuit was over. Then they returned to Medina. When Mahomet saw them approaching, he exclaimed, "Success attend you!" ---- "And thee, O Prophet!" they replied. They recounted to him all that had happened; and as each one claimed the honour of the deed, Mahomet examined their weapons, and from the marks on the sword of Abdallah ibn Oneis, assigned to him the merit of the fatal blow.2

Oseir ibn Zarim and a party of Jews slain

The assassination of Abul Huckeick did not relieve Mahomet of his apprehensions from the Jews

1 According to one account, he pretended he had brought a present for her husband; according to another that be had come to traffic with him in corn.

2 It is the same Abdallah ibn Oneis who had assassinated Sofian. See above, vol. iii. p.200.

I have chiefly followed the secretary of Wackidi, p.117 ½. There are variations in Hishami, p.306; and Tabari; p.342, et seq.; but none which diminish the share taken by Mahomet in the foul deed. The variations are chiefly caused by the eager ness of each member of the party, and their respective friends to magnify the part taken by them in the assassination. One account relates that Abdallah ibn Atik, in hastening from the victim's house, fell over the stair and had his leg broken, which Mahomet, touching, miraculously cured.

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Shawwal, A.H. VI. January, A.D. 628.

of Kheibar; for Oseir iba Zarim, elected chief in his room, maintained the same relations with the Bani Ghatafan, and was reported to be designing fresh movements against Medina. Mahomet deputed Abdallah ibn Rawaha, a leader of the Bani Khazraj, to Kheibar, with three followers, to make inquiries as to how Oseir also might be taken unawares. But Abdallah found the Jews too much on the alert to admit of a second successful attempt at assassination. On his return, therefore, a new stratagem was devised. Abdallah ibn Rawaha, was sent openly with thirty men mounted on camels, to persuade Oseir to visit Medina. They assured him that Mahomet would make him ruler over Kheibar, and would treat him with great distinction; and they gave him a solemn guarantee of safety. Oseir consented, and set out with thirty followers, each Moslem taking one behind him on his camel. The unfortunate chief was mounted on the camel of Abdallab ibn Oneis, who relates that, after they had travelled some distance, he perceived Oseir stretching forth his hand towards his sword. Urging forward his camel till he was well beyond the rest of the party, Abdallah called out, "Enemy of the Lord! Treachery! Twice hath he done this thing." As he spoke, he leaped from the camel, and aimed a deadly blow at Oseir, which took effect on the hip joint. The chief fell mortally wounded from the camel; but in his descent he succeeded in wounding Abdallah's head, with the camel staff; the only weapon within his reach. At this

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signal, each of the Mussulmans turned upon the man behind him, and the Jews were all murdered, excepting one who eluded pursuit. The party continued their journey to Medina, and reported the tragedy to Mahomet, who gave thanks and said, - Verily, the Lord hath delivered you from an Unrighteous People."

By treachery

The reader will not fail to have remarked that we have the evidence only of the practised assassin, Abdallah ibn Oneis, for the treachery of Oseir. This man knew that Abdallah ibn Rawaha had already been despatched on a secret errand with the view of getting rid of the Jewish Chief; and from his previous history, it is too evident that he scrupled little as to the means employed for taking the life of any one proscribed by the Prophet. Abdallah alleges that Oseir suddenly repented of his determination to go to Medina, and meditated treachery. On which side the treachery lay may be gathered from the result. Oseir was unarmed, and so apparently were all his followers: for excepting the wound inflicted with the camel-staff upon Abdallah, no injury was sustained by any of the Moslems. The probabilities are entirely opposed to the charge of Abdallah; and even supposing the suspicions against Oseir well-founded, they will hardly be viewed as a sufficient justification of the cold- blooded massacre of his unoffending companions.2

1 K. Wackidi 117 ½.

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Certain Urnee robbers executed barabrously, for plunder and murder

A party of eight Bedouin Arabs 1 had some time previously come to Medina and embraced Islam. The damp of the climate disagreed with them, and they pined away from disease of the spleen. Mahomet bade them, for a cure, to join themselves to one of his herds of milch camels, which grazed in the plain south of Cuba, under the hill of Ayr,2 and drink of their milk.3 Following his advice they soon recovered; but with returning strength, there revived also the innate love of plunder. They drove off the camels, and attempted to escape with them. The herdsman, joined by a few others, pursued the plunderers, but was repulsed and barbarously handled; for they cut off his hands and legs, and stuck thorny spikes into his tongue and eyes, till he died.4 When tidings of this outrage reached Mahomet, he despatched twenty horsemen in pursuit.5 They surrounded and seized the robbers,

1 Of the Urnee tribe. H. V. Kremer has mistaken the name for that of a place. Campaigns of Wackidi, notes, p.4.

2 The place called Dzul Jidr was six Arabian miles from Medina. Mahomet had many herds which were sent to graze wherever then was good pasture. This one consisted of fifteen camels.

3 And it is added, their urine also.

4 His name was Yasar. He was a slave captured in the war of the Bani Muharib and Thalaba, and had been freed by Mahomet The cruelties of the Bedouins are possibly exaggerated to justify the barbarity of Mahomet.

5 They were commanded by Kurz ibn al Jabir, whom we have seen above (vol. iii. p. 68,) as engaged in one of the first raids against Medina. At what period he was converted and came to Medina is not mentioned.

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Mutilation recognized as a legal punishment

and recovered all the camels but one, which had been slaughtered and eaten. The captives were conducted to Mahomet, who was justly exasperated at their ingratitude, and at their savage treatment of his servant. They had merited death; but the mode in which he inflicted it was barbarous and inhuman. The arms and legs of the eight men were cut off; and their eyes put out. The shapeless, sightless, trunks of these wretched Bedouins were then impaled upon the plain of Al Ghaba, until life was extinct.1

On reflection, Mahomet appears to have felt that this punishment exceeded the bounds of humanity. He accordingly promulgated a Revelation, in which capital punishment is limited to simple death or crucifixion. Amputation of the hands and feet is, however, sanctioned as a penal measure; and amputation of the hands is even enjoined as the proper penalty for that, whether the criminal be male or female. This barbarous custom has accordingly been perpetuated through out the Mahometan world. But the putting out of the eyes is not recognized among the legal punishments. The following is the passage referred to:----

"Verily the recompence of those that fight against God and his Prophet, and haste to commit wickedness in the land, that

1 What Mahomet was doing then at Ghaba is not quite certain. According to Hishami, he was on his way home from Dzu Carad, which would make the transaction six or seven months earlier. The place is also called "Al Roaba, at the meeting of the waters," i.e. near Ohod. Qy. Al Zaghaba, which is another name for Al Ghaba Burckhardt, p. 328 K. Wackidi, 118; Hishami, 454.

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they shall be slain or crucified; or that their hands and feet of the opposite sides be cut off: or that they be banished from the land. That shall be their punishment in this Life, and in the Life to come they shall have great torment.

"As regards the Robber, and the Female robber, cut off the hands of both."1

Attempt, under the orders of Mahomet, to assassinate Abu Sofian

The Secretary of Wackidi assigns to this period 2 an attempt made, under the orders of Mahomet, to assassinate Abu Sofian. As its cause, he states that a Bedouin Arab had been sent by Abu Sofian to Medina, on a similar errand against Mahomet; but that the emissary was discovered, and confessed the object of his mission. According to Hishami (who makes no mention of this latter; circumstance), the attempted assassination was ordered by Mahomet in the fourth year of the Hegira, in immediate revenge for the execution of the two captives taken

1 Sura, v. 39,44. For repeated robberies, a second, third, and fourth hand and foot may be cut off rendering the criminal a helpless, shapeless, cripple.

2 K. Wackidi, p.118. He makes the attempt to assassinate Abu Sofian follow the affair of the Urnee robbers, but without specifying the month. It may have occurred in Sbawwal, or January, 628. It does not appear in the list of expeditions which prefaces Wackidi's campaigns. Our authorities are quite consistent as to the deputation of Amr, its object, and Mahomet's authority. There is just a shadow of possibility that the tradition may have been fabricated by the anti-Omeyad party to throw odium on the memory of Abu Sofian, as having been deemed by Mahomet worthy of death. But this is not to be put against the evidence of unanimous and apparently independent traditions.

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at Raji.1 Whatever the inciting cause, there is no reasonable doubt that a commission was given by the Prophet to Amr ibn Omeya, a practised assassin,2 to proceed to Mecca, and murder his opponent Abu Sofian. Amr was recognized, as he lurked near the Kaaba, before he could carry his design into effect, and he was obliged to flee for his life. True, however, to his profession, he claims the credit of having assassinated three of the Coreish by the way, and a fourth he brought prisoner to Medina.

1 Hishami, p.451. To confirm this, Hishami adds that Amr passed by the spot or the execution, and saw men guarding the corpse of Khobeib the martyr.

2 He is the name who, escaping from the massacre at Bir Mauna, assassinated the two travellers for whom Mahomet paid compensation. Vol. iii. p.208. He is stated by the secretary to have been before Islam a professional assassin, , p. 118, and marginal note; so that the people of Mecca, in recognizing him, immediately understood what his errand was.

The Life of Mahomet, Volume IV [Table of Contents]