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The Conquest of Mecca. Ramadhan, A.H. VIII. January, A.D. 630.

Ętat 61.

Pretext arises for attacking Mecca

THE truce of Hodeibia had been now nearly two years in force, when the alleged infraction of its terms by the Coreish afforded Mahomet a fair pretext for attempting the grand object of his ambition, the conquest of Mecca.

The Bani Bakr attack the Bani Khosaa. Shaban, A.H. VIII. Dec. A.D. 629

The Bani Khozaa, as before noticed, acting on the discretion allowed by the treaty, had declared themselves the partisans of Mahomet; while the Bani Bakr had ranged themselves on the side of the Coreish.1 Both tribes inhabited Mecca or its adjoining valleys. There had been sanguinary feuds of old standing between them, and though these paled before the excitement of the war with Mahomet, the murders which had been committed on either side still rankled in their breasts. The peace of Hodeibia allowed the Bani Bakr again to brood over their

1 See above, p.41.

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wrongs, and they sought opportunity to make reprisals. Aided by some of the chief men of the Coreish,1 who disguised themselves, they attacked by night an unsuspecting encampment of the Khozaa, and slew several of them.

The Khozaa appeal to Mahomet, who promises aid.

A deputation of forty men from the injured tribe, mounted on camels, hastened to Medina, spread their wrongs before the Prophet, and pleaded that the treacherous murders might be avenged. Entreaty was little needed. The opportunity long expected had at last arrived. Starting up, with his rairnent yet ungirded2 he pledged himself to the suppliants thus : - "If I assist you not with the same aid as if the cause were mine own, then let me never more be assisted by the Lord!" A cloud at the moment chanced to overshadow the heavens; accepting the augury, Mahomet added :- "As the rain poureth down from yonder cloud, even so shall succour descend upon the Khozaa from above."3

Unsuccessful mission of Abu Sofian to Medina

The Coreish, aware of this deputation, were thrown into great alarm. They despatched Abu Sofian to Medina in the hope of renewing and extending the

1 Safwan ibn Omeya, Huweitib, and Mikaz, are mentioned by the Secretary as the chiefs of the Coreish who were concerned in this attack, p. 126 ½. M. C. de Perceval adds Ikrima son of Abu Jahl, iii:220.

2 Tradition adds this feature to show the eagerness of his response.

3: The Bani Kab, a sub-tribe of the Khozaa, is the one mentioned in this interview.

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compact of peace. On his way, he met Bodeil, a friendly Khozaite, who was returning from Medina after an interview with Mahomet.1 The mission of Abu Sofian was not followed by any satisfactory result. He could gain from Mahomet no promise, nor any assurance of pacific intentions. Foiled in his endeavours, he took the only course open to him of expressing the friendly relations which the Coreish desired to maintain. He stood up in the court of the great Mosque, and cried aloud "Hearken unto me, ye people! Peace and protection I guarantee for all." To which Mahomet answered: "It is thou that sayest this, not any one of us, O Abu Sofian." Thereupon he departed home to Mecca, and reported the affair to the Coreish. They perceived that they were in an evil plight; but they did not suspect that Mahomet had any immediate designs against them.2

1 The same Bodeil who had been one of the ambassadors of the Coreish at Hodeibia. See above, p.28. Hishami says that Bodeil denied to Abu Sofian that he had been to Medina, and that Abu Sofian discovered the truth by the same process pursued by him before at Badr. See vol. iii. p.88. But it will be seen below that there are reasons for suspecting collusion between Abn Sofian and Bodeil. Whether the collusion began atthis interview, or upon Abu Sofian's return to Mecca, I cannot say. K. Wackidi 126 ½.

2 The Abbasside current of tradition delights, as before explained, to cast contumely on Abu Sofian. On the present occasion it turns him into a laughing-stock. But from what will be noticed below, there will be seen some ground for supposing that communications of a less unfriendly character than those here represented, passed between him and the Prophet.

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Preparations for an advance upon Mecca

Mahomet had already resolved to make a grand attack upon his native city. But he kept his counsel secret as long as it was possible.1 To divert attention,

The following tradition is from Hishami, p.354, but is not given by the Secretary: - "Arrived at Medina; Abu Sofian entered the house of his daughter Omm Habiba, Mahomet's wife. He was about to seat himself on the carpet or rug spread upon the floor, when she hastily drew it away and folded it up. "My daughter!" he said, "whether is it that thou thinkest the carpet is too good for me, or that I am too good for the carpet?" "Nay, but it is the carpet of the Prophet," she replied; "and I choose not that thou, an impure idolater, shouldst sit upon the Prophet's carpet." "Truly, my daughter, thou art changed for the worse since thou leftest me.", So saying, he went straight to Mahomet, but could get no reply from his lips. Omar, to whom he next addressed himself, received him with indignation. Ali was more cordial :- "Let me not go back unsuccessful as I came," urged Abu Sofian; "intercede for me with the Prophet." "Alas for thee!" said Ali; "truly, the Prophet hath resolved on a thing concerning which we may not speak with thee." Then Abu Sofian adjured Fatima (Ali's wife) to let her little son Hasan take him under his protection, "and he will be the Lord of the Arabs till the end of time." But she told him that no one could be his protector against Mahomet. On this, he besought Ali for his advice. Ali said that he saw no other course for him, but to arise and call aloud that he took au parties under the guarantee of his protection :- "But will this benefit me at all?" "Nay, I do not say so, but I see nothing else for thee." Having followed this advice, Abu Sofian returned to Mecca, and told the Coreish what he had done. "But did Mahomet sanction thy guarantee?" asked they. He replied in the negative. "Out upon thee!" they cried; "this will not benefit us at all; the man meant only to make sport of thee." "I know it," said Abu Sofian, "but I could think of nothing else to do." The Alyite tendency will be observed strongly developed throughout this tradition.

1 Hishami, 355. Even Abu Bakr was kept in ignorance of it. Entering Ayesha's house, he found her busy preparing the

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he despatched a small body of men under Abu Cotada in another direction.1 Meanwhile, he summoned all his allies amongst the Bedouin tribes to join him at Medina, or to meet him at certain convenient points, which he indicated to them, on the road to Mecca. At the latest moment he ordered his followers in the city to arm themselves, announced his intentions to them, and enjoined on all the urgent command that no hint regarding his hostile designs should in any way reach Mecca. To this effect he prayed publicly:- "O Lord! Let not any spy draw near with tidings unto the Coreish: take away their sight, that they see me not until I come suddenly upon them and seize them unawares!2

Hatib's endeavour to communicate the intelligence to his family at Mecca, frustrated

Notwithstanding this injunction, Hatib, one of Mahomet's most trusted followers,3 despatched privately a female messenger with a letter to his friends in Mecca, containing intimation of the intended assault. Information of this soon came, to the ears

accoutrements of the Prophet; and inquiring the cause, was told that an expedition had been resolved on, but she did not know in what direction.

1 This covert design is distinctly stated by the Secretary. K.Wackidi 126 ½. The expedition was sent to the valley of Idham, between Dzu Khashab and Dzu Marwa, three marches from Medina. There was no fighting on this occasion, as the tribe at once embraced Islam. On their way back, they received intimation that Mahomet had already left for Mecca, and they hastened to join him.

2K; Wackidi, 126.

3 He had been Mahomet's ambassador to Egypt.

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of the Prophet, and he sent Ali with Zobeir in pursuit of the messenger. They overtook her, and after a long search discovered the letter carefully hidden in her locks. Hatib excused himself by the natural desire he had to save his unprotected family at Mecca; and the plea, in view of his former services, was graciously accepted.1

The army marches. Ramadhan, A.H. VIII. January, A.D. 630.

On the 10th of Ramadhan, the 1st January, A.D. 630, the army commenced its march. It was the largest force Medina had ever seen. The tents of the Bedouin auxiliaries darkened the plain for miles around, and several important tribes fell in with Mahomet on the line of march. Two of these, the Mozeina and Suleim, contributed each a thousand soldiers.2 Mahomet now found himself at the head of between eight and ten thousand men. Two of his wives, Zeinab and Omm Salma, accompanied him.3 The march was made with such rapidity,

1 K. WicLidi, 126. The Secretary says nothing more. But Ilishftmi, as is his wont, deals in the supernatural, nnd nays that Mahomet had information of the despatch of the letter "from the Heavens." The opening verses of the Sixtieth Sura are said to refer to Hatib; but they appear to hare a general bearing against too great intimacy with the Coreish during the truce, and to be therefore of a prior date. Hishami, 355.

2 The tribes specified by Hishami and the Secretary are the B. Suleim, Mozeina, Ghifar (four hundred strong), Asiam (four hundred), Ashja, Joheina, Tamim, Cays, Asad.

3 K. Wackidi123; Hishami, 371. Omm Salma seems to have been the favourite companion of Mahomet on his marches. Ayesha is not mentioned as accompanying him after the affair in the expedition against the B. Mustalick.

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that the army encamped at Marr al Tzahran, one stage from Mecca, on the seventh or eighth day.1

Abbas joins Mahomet

Meanwhile, Abbas had joined Mahomet on the road. The traditions of the Abbassides, of course, claim him as having been long a true believer, and class him among the exiles from Mecca,- the Refugees,- whose favoured number was now about to close.2 But Abbas was only worldly wise. He had waited till the supremacy of his nephew was beyond a doubt; and now, at the last moment, when there was no merit in the act, openly espoused his cause. Nevertheless, he was welcomed by the Prophet with favour and affection.3

Abu Sofian visits the camp of Mahomet
And now we come to a curious and somewhat mysterious passage in the campaign. Mahomet commanded his followers that every one should kindle a fire that night on the heights above the camps. Ten thousand fires soon blazed on the mountain tops of

1 K. Wackidi, 128. The Secretary says he was seven days on the road. One tradition, however, represents him as leaving Medina on the 6th Ramadhan; and another makes the occupation of Mecca take place ten days before the end of that month, which would allow a much longer period for the road.

2 After Mecca had become subject to Mahomet, there was, of course, no longer any merit in emigrating to Medina. Abbas is therefore held to have been the last of the Refugees.

1 He is said to have joined Mahomet at Johfa, near Rabigh, about half-way between Medina and Mecca. It is highly probable that he came by previous appointment. Abbasside tradition naturally makes every thing as favourable to Abbas as possible. The truth is (see vol. ii. p.234, and iii. p.153), that he always sailed

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Marr al Tzahran. The Prophet trusted that this first intimation of his approach would burst upon the city with alarming grandeur, and prove the hopelessness of opposition. No certain information of the march of Mahomet from Medina had yet readied the Coreish. Their enemy bad carefully cut off all sources of intelligence, and it is not improbable that there were traitors within Mecca itself who sought to lull suspicion. At last the chief men became uneasy at the portentous calm, broken only by vague reports of a coming storm; and they sent forth Abu Sofian to reconnoitre. In the evening, accompanied by Hakim (the nephew of Khadija, who had shown kindness to Mahomet when shut up with Abu Talib), and Bodeil the Khozaite chief, Abu Sofian sallied forth on the Medina road. The tires on the mountain tops began to appear in full sight, and

with wind and tide. It is quite possible that ever since the treaty, and especially since the Pilgrimage, he may have been in collusion with Mahomet, and secretly forwarding his cause at Mecca.

Two other persons of some note also tendered allegiance to Mahomet on die march: Abu Sofian, son of Mahomet's uncle Harith, and Abdallah ibn Abi Omeya, son of Mahomet's aunt Atika, and brother of his wife Omm Salma. Omm Salma interceded for them; but Mahomet at first refused to receive them. Both had incurred his severe displeasure,- the former having, in company with Amru and Abdallah ibn Zibara, greatly annoyed him with their satires; and the latter having also been a keen opponent. Aba Sofian, being repulsed, declared that he would go forth into the desert with his little son, and that there they would both die of hunger; whereat Mahomet relented. HIshami, 357.

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to engage their speculations, when suddenly, in the dark, a stranger approached, and thus accosted Abu Sob An: "Abu Hantzala!1 Is it thy voice I hear?" "Yes, I am he," said Abu Sofian; "and what hast thou left behind thee?" "Yonder;" replied the stranger, "is Mahomet encamped with ten thousand followers. See ye not the myriad fires which they have kindled in their camp? Believe and cast in thy lot with us, else thy mother and thy house shall weep for thee!" It was Abbas who spoke. Mounted on the Prophet's white mule, he had issued forth (tradition tells us), hoping that he might meet some wayfarer on the road, and send him to the Coreish, if haply they would come and sue for peace, and thus save Mecca from destruction. "Seat thee upon the mule behind me;' continued Abbas. "I will conduct thee to the Prophet, and thou shalt seek for quarter from him." They were soon at the tent of Mahomet. Abbas entered, and acquainted him with the arrival of his distinguished friend: - "Take him to thy tent, Abbas;" replied the Prophet; "and in the morning come to me with him again." In the morning accordingly they sought the Prophet's tent :- "Out upon thee, Abu Sofian!" cried Mahomet as the Coreishite chief drew near. Hast thou not yet discovered that there is no God but the Lord alone?" "Noble and generous Sire! Had there been any

1 Abu Sofian was so called after his son, Hantzala.

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God beside, verily he had been of some avail to me." - "And dost thou not acknowledge that I am the Prophet of the Lord?" continued Mahomet. "Noble Sire! As to this thing, there is yet in my heart some hesitancy,"1 " Wo is thee!" exclaimed Abbas; "it is no time for hesitancy, this. Believe and testify at once the creed of Islam, or else thy head shall be severed from thy body!" It was, indeed, no time for idle pride or scruple; and so Abu Sofian, seeing no alternative left to him, repeated the formula of belief in God and in his Prophet. What a moment of exultation it must have been for Mahomet when he saw the great leader of the Coreish a suppliant believer at his feet! "Haste thee to Mecca!" he said; for he knew well when to show forbearance and generosity. "Haste thee to the city: no one that taketh refuge in the house of Abu Sofian shall be harmed. And hearken! speak unto the people, that whoever closeth the door of his house, the inmates thereof shall escape?' Abu Sofian hastened to retire. But before he could quit the camp, the forces were already under arms, and were being marshalled in their respective columns. Standing by Abbas, he watched in amazement the various tribes, each defiling with

1 Hishami, 359. This conversation with Mahomet is not given by the Secretary. It is very uncertain; but it is interesting, and not improbably founded on fact. An episode in which Omar interfered, wishing to strike off Aba Sofian's head, is certainly apocryphal; he is always introduced by tradition with this speech ready made.

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the banner given to it by Mahomet, into its proper place. One by one, the different clans were pointed out by name, aud recognized. "And what is that black mass," asked Abu Sofian,"with dark mail and shining lances?" "It is the flower of the chivalry of Mecca aud Medina," replied Abbas,- "the favoured band that guards the person of the Prophet." "Truly;' exclaimed the astonished chief, "this kingdom of thy uncle's is a mighty kingdom." "Nay, Abu Sofian! he is more than a king,- he is a mighty Prophet!" "Yes; thou sayest truly. Now let me go." "Away!" said Abbas. "Speed thee to thy people!"

Abu Sofian carries a message of quarter to Mecca

Abu Sofian hurried back to Mecca, and as he entered the city, he shouted at the pitch of his voice: "Ye Coreish! Mahomet is close upon us. He hath an army which ye are not able to withstand. Whoever entereth the house of Abu Sofian shall be safe; and whoever shutteth his door upon him shall be safe; and whosoever entereth the holy House shall be safe!" So the people fled in all directions to their houses, and to the Kaaba.1

Was there collusion between Abu Sofian and Mahomet?

Such is the account given by tradition. But beneath the narrative, I find symptoms of a previous

1 Hishami, p.360. Hind, the wife of Abu Sofian, is represented as seizing him by the hair or his head and face, when she heard the words of his proclamation, and abusing him thus : -"Away with this fat fellow from the earth!" On which he repeated that it was in vain to try and deceive themselves, for the force moving upon them was irresistible. But the traditions about Hind must be received with caution.

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understanding between Mahomet and Abu Sofian. Whether there was any collusion so early as the visit of Abu Sofian to Medina, whether Abbas was charged by the chiefs of Mecca with the conduct of negotiations with the Prophet, and from which side the overtures first came, can be matter for conjecture only. But there seems strong reason to believe that the meeting by night of Abu Sofian with Abbas was a concerted measure, not the result or accident. That Abu Sofian, wearied with the long protracted struggle between the Prophet and his people, - a struggle now about to be renewed with all the prospects of internecine strife ; assured, from what he saw and heard at Medina, that the chances of victory lay on Mahomet's side; and anxious to avert a bloody battle, - conspired to lull alarm and prevent a timely and a general rising at Mecca against the invader, seems to me hardly less evident. As hereditary leader of the Coreish, he possessed more influence to effect that object than any other chief at Mecca, and of his influence Mahomet willingly availed himself. To the treason, or the patriotism, of Abu Sofian, it is mainly due that the submission of Mecca was secured with scarcely any bloodshed. Such at least is the conclusion which I draw from the garbled tale of tradition.1

1 I have reserved my reasons for a note: -

1. Abbas evidently went forth from the camp at Marr al Tzahran by the authority of Mahomet. He rode upon his mule. He went,

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The army moves forward upon Mecca

To return to the camp of Mahomet. The army was now in full march on Mecca. It was an hour

it is said, with the intention or meeting "some hewer of wood or seller of milk," whom he might send into the city to announce the arrival of the army, in the hope that the citizens would come out and sue for terms. Would he have dared to enter even on such a mission, without Mahomet's knowledge, seeing that up to this time every effort had been made to keep the expedition secret? Such being the case, it is hardly to be supposed that he would go forth towards Mecca, in the dark, on the mere chance or falling in with some wayfarer to send in as a messenger to the city. He surely must have had some more settled expectation than this.

2. The companions of Abu Sofian were, Hakim, a Coreishite, whose antecedents inclined him towards Mahomet, and Bodeil, a Khozaite chief, an ally of Mahomet, who had gone to Medina to consult with him.

3. Aba Sofian must have had some knowledge of the approach of Mahomet to induce him to go out at all. It is pretended that he was entirely unaware of Mahomet's advance, and at first fancied the fires to be those of a Khozaite encampment. Then why was he deputed by the chiefs of Mecca to go and procure terms from Mahomet ? - "If ye meet Mahomet," said these chiefs to Abu Sofian, "take from him a pledge for our security." K. Wackidi, 127. The approach of the Prophet was thus clearly known in some circles at Mecca.

4. The happily timed meeting of Abu Sofian and Abbas; their sudden recognition in the dark; the ready consent of Abu Sofian to proceed straight to the tent of Mahomet, and from an enemy to become his subservient follower (and that, too, before he had seen the extent of his force), all tend to strengthen the idea that there was a previous understanding. Otherwise, the first impulse of Abu Sofian would surely have been to rush back, rouse the threatened city, and organize some means of defence, rather than go on and spend the night quietly in the enemy's camp.

5. The armed opposition offered at one of the approaches of the city, shows the spirit that still dwelt in Mecca, even when opposition must have been seen to be hopeless. There is no doubt

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of deep anxiety for the Prophet. But when he reached the plain of Dzu Towa near the city, it became evident that his precautions had been

that unless Aba Sofian, and one or two other influential men, had so acted as to quiet suspicion, the city would have bristled with arms, as it did two years before, when Mahomet came with peaceful, and not as now with hostile, intentions. Where were the Bani Bakr and the numerous citizens who had good reason to dread the vengeance of Mahomet?

6. Mahomet forbade fighting. Would he have done so unless he had had some special assurance that there would be no opposition? When he perceived that fighting was going on in one quarter, he exclaimed in anger, -- "What, did I not forbid it?" Would his surprise be at all natural, unless he had had some understanding with the influential men of Mecca?

It may be alleged that he took the city by surprise, and (then, when within one march of Mecca, and no time was left for an organized attack), sent a message of peace, which the people had no option but to accept. But even supposing it possible, which I doubt, to conceal from all the chiefs of Mecca, the approach of ten thousand men along the high road to Syria, no long preparation was required for Arab warfare; and at the notice of a few hours, the population would have armed and gone forth as before, "clothed in panthers' skins, and swearing rather to die than yield," had there not been some counter influence among their leaden. A severe struggle might naturally have been looked for, and had there been no previous understanding, Mahomet would have expected it. That he did not, establishes a strong presumption of extensive collusion.

The strongest objection to the views above suggested, is that there is no mention made in tradition of such collusion; and that the friends of Abu Sofian did not perpetuate the knowledge of a fact (according to Moslem ideas), so meritorious. But the proceedings were necessarily secret, and the strong current of Abbasside tradition naturally gives the credit of Abu Sofian's visit entirely to Abbas, making Abu Sofian a mere passive tool, who was frightened by menaces into the profession of Islam.

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effectual. Had any general opposition been organized to check his farther progress, this was the place where a stand would have been made; yet no army appeared in sight. In token of his gratitude, he bowed low upon his camel, and offered up to God a prayer of thanksgiving. The. troops were told off in four divisions, and to each was assigned a different road, by which they were simultaneously to advance upon the city They now separated to perform their several parts, with strict injunctions from Mahomet not to fight or offer violence to any one. Zobeir, leading the left battalion, was to enter from the north. Khalid, with the Bedouin tribes, was on the right; passing the city on the west, he was to make his way into the southern or lower suburbs. The men of Medina under Sad ibn Obada, were to force their way. into the western quarter. Abu Obeida, commanding the Refugees, and followed by Mahomet himself, took the nearest road skirting the hill of Jebel Hind.1 This disposition of his forces was wisely made: if opposition were offered to any column, one of the other divisions would be at hand to take the enemy in the rear. As Said led on the citizens of Medina, he sang: "Today is the day of slaughter; there is no security this

1 See the plan of Mecca, vol. i. p.5. Mahomet's column apparently came by the route marked "modern road to Jedda cut through the hill by steps," or by some similar pathway. See further, note below, p.125.

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day for Mecca!" Hearing these martial and vindictive words, and apprehending evil from the fiery temper of Sad, Mahomet took the Medina banner from his hands, and gave it to Cays, his son - a person of towering stature, but of milder disposition than his father.1

Abu Cuhafa watches the advance of the Moslem army.

About this time, an old man, blind and decrepit, might have been seen climbing with the help of his daughter one of the heights of Aba Cobeis, which overhang the city. It was Abu Cuhafa, the aged parent of Abu Bakr. To his frequent inquiry whether anything was yet in sight, the maiden at last replied: "A dark moving mass has just emerged from yonder valley." "It is the Army!" said the aged man. "And now I see a figure hasting to and fro amid the columns of that mass."- "This is the leader marshalling the force." "But the blackness is dispersing rapidly. It spreads " - continued the girl. "Ah! then the Army is advancing!" exclaimed Abu Cuhafa. "haste thee, my daughter, and lead me to my house." It was full time to do so, for the troops were already sweeping along the approaches to the town on every side; and a rude assailant snatched the maiden's silver necklace from her neck while she was yet guiding her father's tottering steps toward their home.

1 Hishami makes the standard to hare been made over to Ali; but, besides that the Secretary is decisively in favour of the statement in the text, it is not likely that the Medina standard would have been given to any one but a citizen of Medina.

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Khalid encounters opposition, and pursues his enemy into Mecca.

The several columns entered peaceably, excepting that of KhAlid. On the road by which he was to approach, the bitterest of Mahomet's enemies, and those most deeply implicated in the attack upon the Bani Khozaa, had taken up a defensive position, or perhaps in despair they were preparing for a hasty flight towards the sea-shore. They were led by Safwan, Suheil, arid Ikrima son of Abu Jahl. As the battalion of Khalid appeared in view, it was saluted by a discharge of arrows. But Khalid was ready to receive his opponents, and soon put them all to flight. Flushed with success, and unmindful of the Prophet's order he pursued with his wild Bedouins the fugitive Coreish into the streets of Mecca., The leaders escaped; but eight-and-twenty citizens were killed in the conflict. Kha1id lost only two men.1

Mahomet's concern at this encounter

As this encounter was going forward, Mahomet, following the column of the Refugees, crossed the

1 Hishami says twelve or thirteen men were killed. The Secretary more accurately gives the number at twenty-four of the Coreish, and four of the Hodzeil. The two men killed on Khalid's side, Kurz ibn Jabir (the Arab who attacked Medina, vol.iii. p.68), and a Khozaite, are said to have lost their way, and to have thus fallen into the enemy's hands. The absence of other casualties on the side of Mahomet shows the defence to have been hasty, and entirely wanting in solidity and organization. If the army was expected by this road, and a defence was really intended, one would have looked for some more effective effort than this.

The road to Jedda and Yemen led out from this quarter, so that the supposition of flight being contemplated by the leaders and their followers is also tenable.

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eminence of Adzakhir, and a full view of the valley burst upon him. But his pleasure at the grateful prospect was at once turned into concern as his eye caught the gleaming of swords on the farther side of the city, and the troops of Khalid in pursuit. "what!" he cried in surprise and anger, "did I not strictly command that there should not be any fighting?" The cause was soon explained, and Mahomet said,- "That which the Lord decreeth is the best."1

Mahomet reposes in his tent

From the pass, Mahomet descended into the valley, at a spot not far from the tombs of Abu Talib and Khadija. He was there joined by the division of Zobeir, and having assured himself that Mecca was now wholly at his will, he directed his tent of leather to be pitched in the open space to the north of the city2 "Wilt thou not alight at thine own house?" inquired his followers. "Not so," he said," for have

1K Wackidi 127; Hishami, 361.

2 See the map, v.i. p.5. The pathway north of Jebel Hind brought him into the valley near the burying round of Al Juhun; a little below this he pitched his tent, and the two northern divisions of the army encamped. The two other divisions were probably encamped to the south of the city.

The tradition of the Prophet's route is still retained, though it is a loose and inaccurate form. "Mounting our animals," says Burton, "we followed the road to the Jannat al Maala, the sacred cemetery of Mecca. A rough wall, with a poor gateway, encloses a patch of barren and grim-looking round, at the foot of the chain which bounds the city's western suburb; and below Al Akaba, the gap through which Khalid bin Walid entered Mecca with the triumphant Prophet." As regards Khalid, this (as will have been seen from the text) is wrong. Vol. iii. p. 549.

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they left me yet any house within the city ?"1 The great banner was planted at the door of his tent, and Mahomet entered to repose, and to reflect on the accomplishment of the dream of his life. The abused, rejected, exiled, Prophet now saw the city at his feet. Mahomet was lord of Mecca.

Worships at the Kaaba and destroys the idols there

But Mahomet did not long repose. Again mounted on Al Caswa, he proceeded to the Kaaba, reverently saluted with his staff the sacred stone, and made the seven circuits of the temple. Then pointing with the same staff one by one to the numerous idols placed around, he commanded that they should be hewn down. The great image of Hobal, reared as the tutelary deity of Mecca in front of the Kaaba, shared the common fate. "Truth hath come," exclaimed Mahomet, as it fell with a crash to the ground, "and falsehood hath vanished; for falsehood is evanescent."2 Going now to the Station of Abraham, twenty or thirty paces from the Kaaba,3 he bowed himself in worship; and sitting down, he

1 K. Wackidi 227. The original is "Hath Ackil left for me yet any house?" Ackil, the son of Abu Talib, had probably taken possession of all the family property at Mecca.

1 K. Wackidi 127, quoted from Sura, xvii. 82 Tradition says that there were three hundred and sixty idols ranged round the Kaaba, and that as Mahomet pointed to each in succession with his staff; reciting the verse above quoted, the idol fell forwards on its face. The use of a metaphorical expression in describing the actual scene would easily give rise to these tales.

1 See the Plate II. vol. ii. p.18; and the account of the Kaaba, pp.84, et seq. (where the Plate should have been Inserted).

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sent Bilal to summon Othman ibn Talha with the key of the temple. When it was brought, he took the key, and opening therewith the door of the Kaaba, he entered and again performed devout prostrations. He then returned to the doorway, and standing upon the elevated step seized hold of the two rings attached to the door, and gazed around on the multitude which thronged below. "Othman ibn Talha!" he called aloud,-"here take back the key to be kept in custody by thee and thy posterity, - an hereditary and perpetual office. No one shall take it from thee save the unjust.-And thou Abbas," turning to his uncle, - "I confirm thee in the office of giving drink unto the pilgrims: it is no mean privilege this which I give now unto thee."1

Mahomet's attachment to Mecca

Having destroyed the images and obliterated the pictures of Abraham and of the angels which, it is said, covered the walls of the Kaaba,2 Mahomet

1 Hishami represents Ali as standing with the key before Mahomet, and urging that the custody of the Kaaba should be conferred on him. The request was refused, on the ground that Mahomet wished to settle everything on its previous basis ;- "it is for me a day of kindness and fufilment of claims." This is evidently an Alyite tradition to excuse Ali's having been passed over in the assignment of these offices.

2 It is said that Omar was sent to perform this task, and that Mahomet did not enter the Kaaba until every picture had been erased. K. Wackidi 128 ½. Hisami adds that the first thing Mahomet saw on entering was the wooden figure of a dove, which he broke with his own hands. On the wall, beside the angels, was a figure of Abraham in the act of divining by arrows, at the sight of which Mahomet was greatly indignant. Hishami, 364.

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sent a crier through the streets of Mecca with this proclamation,- "Whoever believeth in God and in the last day, let him not leave in his house any image whatever, that he doth not break in pieces." He likewise deputed a party of the Bani Khozaa to repair the boundary pillars around the sacred territory.1 Thus he gave practical proof that, while determined to root out idolatry from the land, he was equally resolved to cherish and perpetuate the sanctity of Mecca. He won the hearts of the inhabitants by his passionate declaration of attachment to their city:-"Thou art, the choicest portion of the earth unto me," he said, "and the most loveable thereof. If I had not been cast forth from thy borders, I never had forsaken thee!" The men of Medina now began to fear that as the Lord had given him the victory over his native city and country, he would return to it as to his home. Mahomet overheard them conversing thus, and calling them around him, assured them all that he would never quit Medina: "God forbid it," he said, - "where ye live there shall I live, and there too shall I die."2

1 The Alamain were then, as at the present day, pillars placed at the limits of the sacred territory on either side of all the main roads leading to Mecca. See Burton, v. iii. 251, 341, 369. They had probably become neglected or injured, as Mahomet may have observed in passing. The distance of these land-marks from Mecca seems to vary in different directions. On the Jedda road they are nine miles from Mecca; towards Al Omra, only three.

2 Hishami, 366. This is said to hare occurred on Safa, as he was praying on that eminence. For the account popularly given

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Abu Bakr brings his father to Mahomet

Mahomet now retired again to his tent. Soon after, Abu Bakr approached the door, leading his father, Abu Cuhafa, who was bowed down with great age, and his locks "white as the flower of the mountain grass."1 Mahomet accosted him kindly: "why didst thou not leave thine aged father in his house, Abu Bakr? and I would have gone and seen him there." "It was more fitting that he should visit thee, O Prophet, than that thou shouldst visit him." Mahomet seated Abu Cuhafa beside himself, and affectionately pressing his hand upon the old man's breast, invited him to make profession of the Moslem faith, which he readily did.

Citizens proscribed

From the general amnesty extended to the citizens of Mecca, Mahomet excluded ten or twelve persons. Of these, however, only four were actually put to death.

Huweirith and Habbar the former executed

Huweirith and Habbar were proscribed in consequence of their barbarous conduct in having pursued Zeinab, Mahomet's daughter, while endeavouring to effect her escape from Mecca.2 The former of Mahomet's receiving the pledge of loyalty from the citizens of Mecca, I can find no authority. M. C. de Perceval, v. iii. p. 238.

1 Hishami, 360. The fine image is spoiled by the addition that Mahomet desired him to dye his snow-white hair.

2 See above, p.9. Huweirith, as there stated, is accused of having perpetrated a similar attack on Fatima and Omm Colthum when they were on the road to Medina under charge of Abbas; the circumstance is noticed nowhere else; and it will be remembered that these ladies were taken to Medina by Zeid and not by Abbas. I have little doubt that Huweirith was proscribed in consequence

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was put to death by Ali; the latter concealed himself; and some months later, appearing at Medina, a repentant convert, he was forgiven.

Two murderers and a singing girls put to death

The two next were renegade Moslems, who, having shed blood at Medina, had fled to Mecca, and abjured Islam. They were both slain, and also a singing girl belonging to one of them, who had been in the habit of annoying the Prophet by abusive verses.1

Abdallah, an apostate escapes

The rest escaped. Among them was another apostate, Abdallah ibn Sad,2 whom Mahomet had employed at Medina in writing out passages of the Coran from his dictation. His foster brother sheltered him till quiet was restored, then brought him forward and implored forgiveness for him. The Prophet, unwilling to pardon so great an offender, for some time held his peace; but at last granted him quarter. When Abdallah retired, Mahomet thus addressed his companions who were seated about him: "Why did not one of you arise and smite Abdallah on the neck. I remained silent expecting this." But thou gavest no sign unto us," replied

of his having been the accomplice of Habbar in the attack on Zeinab. As Ali put him to death, the tradition might naturally grow un that it was his wife Fatima, and not his sister, to whom the was offered.

1 There names are Abdallah ibn Khalal and Mikyas ibn Subaba. The murder committed by the former is said to have been wilful, that of the latter unintentional. Abdallah had two singing girls. Both were sentenced to death, but one escaped and afterwards obtained quarter; the execution of the other appears to have been the worst act committed by Mahomet on the present occasion. Abdallah was killed clinging to the curtain of the Kaaba.

2 Abdallah is also called Ibn Abi Sarah.

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one of them. "To give signs," said Mahomet, "is treachery; it is not fitting for a Prophet in such fashion to ordain the death of any."

Safwan, Ikrima, Hind, and Sarah escape

Safwan and Ikrima, after eluding the pursuit of Khalid, fled towards the sea-shore; they were on the point of embarking, when the assurance of forgiveness reached them and they were persuaded to return.1 Hind, the wife of Abu Sofian, and Sarah, a singing girl who had in the discharge of her profession given offence to Mahomet, escaped the sentence of death by an opportune submission.2

1 Ikrima was brought back to his wife who, had obtained a pardon from Mahomet, and hurried after him to Jedda. M.C. de Perceval tells a romantic story of her reaching the shore just as he had embarked, and waving her scarf to bring him back, v. iii., 239.

Omeir, a Meccan chief, went after Safwan, taking as a pledge the red striped turban worn by Mahomet around his head as he entered Mecca. He asked for two months' quarter; Mahomet gave him four Hishami, 367.

2 Sarah is said by Abul Feda to have been the same that carried Hatib's letter. But this is not mentioned by the Secretary, or by Hishami, as it would, no doubt, if it had been true. The cause assigned is, that she persecuted Mahomet at Mecca. Of others not mentioned among the proscribed, is Abdallah ibn Zibara, a poet who used to write satirical verses against Mahomet. He fled to Najran, but was induced to return to Medina by some friendly verses of Hassan.

Wahshi, the Abyssinian slave, who slew Hamza, fled to Tayif, and eventually obtained pardon, in company with its inhabitants.

Omm Hani gave refuge to two men of her husband's tribe whom her brother Ali wished to kill. She went to Mahomet to ask quarter for them. He received her graciously saying, "I give protection to whomsoever thou dost give protection." A curious scene is at the same time described of Mahomet's camp life. The Prophet, wearied and covered with dust, had retired to

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Treatment of Mecca by Mahomet, magnanimous and forbearing

The proscriptions were thus comparatively few in number; and capital sentence, where actually carried into effect, was, perhaps, (with a single exception1) justified by other crimes than mere political antagonism. The conduct of Mahomet on the conquest of Mecca, was marked by singular magnanimity and moderation. It was indeed for his own interest to forgive the past, and to cast all its slights and injuries into oblivion. But it did not the less require a large and generous heart to do this.2 And he had his reward, for the whole population of his native city at once gave in their adhesion, and espoused his cause with alacrity and apparent devotion. There were no "disaffected" inhabitants at Mecca, as there had been at Medina. Within a few weeks we find two thousand of the citizens fighting faithfully by his side.

Bloodshed prohibited

On the night after the occupation of Mecca, some men of the Bani Khozaa, to gratify an old standing enmity, rose upon a party of the Bani Hodzeil, and

a corner of the tent across which Fatima held a screen; there he bathed himself and then came forth to meet the persons waiting for him.

M. C. de Perceval mentions seventeen persons proscribed. Vol. iii p.230. 1 do not find authority for so many. K. Wackidi, 129; Hishami, 368.

1 I allude to the singing girl of Abdallah, as explained in a previous note. The murder committed by Mikyas, though described as not wilful, was probably attended with some other act of criminality, or he would not have fled from Medina.

2 Mahomet is said to hare compared himself in his treatment of Mecca to Joseph forgiving the injuries of his brethren. K. Wackidi, 128 ½.

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put one of them to death. The day following, Mahomet took advantage of the incident, and addressed the congregation which had assembled in front of the Kaaba for the mid-day prayer in these words "Verily the Lord hallowed Mecca in the day that he framed the heavens and the earth. Nor was it common unto me, but for a single watch of the day, - then it returned to its sacredness as before. Neither was the plunder thereof lawful unto me. Let him that is present tell it unto him that is absent. Ye Bani Khozaa! withdraw your hands from shedding blood. The man whom ye have killed, I will myself pay the compensation for him; but whoso slayeth any man after this, verily the blood of him that is murdered shall be required at his hands."

Parties sent out to destroy the images

During the succeeding fortnight, which was occupied in the arrangement of public affairs at Mecca, Mahomet sent forth several armed parties to destroy the idolatrous shrines in the vicinity, and secure the submission of the surrounding tribes. Khalid demolished the fane of Al Ozza at Nakhla, - the famous goddess of the Meccan tribes; Amru broke in pieces Suwa, an image adored by the Bani Hodzeil; and Manat, the divinity worshipped at Cudeid, was destroyed by a band of the citizens of Medina who had formerly been especially devoted to its service.1

1 Some traditions assign the command in this last expedition to Ali but the balance of evidence is in favour of the statement in the text; and it was, moreover, in keeping with his character that Mahomet would send its former worshippers to destroy the image. It used to be worshipped by the Bani Awn, Khazraj, and Ghassan.

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Cruelty of Khalid to the Bani Judzima

On his return from Nakhla, Khftlid was sent with a large detachment to require the adhesion of the Bani Jadzima, who dwelt a day's march south of Mecca. They tendered an immediate submission, professed themselves converts,1 and at the bidding of Khalid, laid down their arms. But Khalid, actuated by an ancient enmity, and thus early giving proof of the unscrupulous cruelty which marked his subsequent career, and gained for him the title of The Sword of God, made them all prisoners, and gave command for their execution. A portion were put to death by his Bedouin followers, but fortunately there were also present some citizens of Medina and Refugees, who interposed and saved the rest. Mahomet, displeased and grieved at the intelligence, raised up his hands to Heaven, and said: "O Lord! I am innocent in thy sight of that which Khalid hath done." 'To prove the sincerity of his displeasure, he sent forth Ali with money to make compensation for the slain, and for the plunder.

Curious stories are told about these deities. When Khalid returned from Nakhla, Mahomet asked him what he had seen. He replied, Nothing. "Then thou hast not yet destroyed the goddess? Return and do so." On his going back, a naked female, black, and with dishevelled hair, rushed out, and Khalid cut her in pieces. "That was Ozza," said the Prophet, when it was reported to him. A similar tale is told of Manut. K. Wackidi, 129.

The servitor of one of the images, after suspending his sword about its neck, retired to an adjoining hill, and cried out to the image to wield the sword and save itself. Hishami, 371.

1 M.C. de Perceval says that they professed themselves Sabeans, but I do not find this stated in any of my authorities. Vol. iii. p.243.

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