|The Conquest of Khaibar. 6A.H. (628 A. D.)|
Khaibar is situated about a hundred miles to the north east of Medina, and means literally a fortified place. The Jews of Khaibar constituted a serious threat to the Muslims : The Jews who had lost their fights against the Holy Prophet, had slowly and imperceptibly collected in the vicinity of this fort, and had begun to incite their brethren to wage war against the Muslims. The valley surrounding Khaibar was considered as one of the most fertile of the desert oasis, and its great gardens of date palms were most jealously guarded by the various Jewish tribes whose territory it was. The Jews of Khaibar were considered the bravest warriors, and they posed a most powerful challenge to the supremacy of Islam.
Sorties of The Jews.
The valley of Khaibar was studded with fortresses strongly situated on rocky hillocks, which numbered about ten, and some of which such as Al-Qumas, Al-Qatieba, Al-Watih and Sulalim were deemed impregnable. Outside help was now impossible. The Jews, counting upon their numbers - far greater than those of the comparatively small horde of the enemy - upon their valour as well as upon their strongholds, resolved to resist. But when besieged in any of their citadels, they could not resist very long and eventually evacuated it after one or two sorties. Thus all the inferior fortresses, with which the Muslims had begun their attacks, fell one after the other into their hands.
The Citadel of Khaibar
At last the Jews rallied round their chief, the king of their nation, named Kinana, son of Al Rab and grandson of Abul Haqiq. He lived in a strongly fortified citadel of Khaibar named Al-Qamus, built on a steep rock which was considered impregnable, having high and frowning walls; it was well defended by bulwarks closely guarded by brave soldiers as it also contained his treasures. As soon as the Prophet happened to glance at the fortification, he first of all offered prayers to the all-powerful Lord, praying for successful delivery of the citadel into the hands of the Muslims; and as long as he remained encamped before it, he daily offered prayers on a great stony rock named Mansela, and every day he made seven circuits around it. In later times a mosque was erected at this spot in memory of the Prophet's worshipping place, and it became an object of veneration to the pious Muslims.
The Siege of The Citadel
The siege of A I -Qamus was an extremely difficult task for the Muslims, who had never before forced their way into such a stronghold. It lasted for some time and tried the skill and patience of the Muslims, who had fallen short of provisions, and the country all around was laid waste by the Jews during the period - about a month - when they were engaged in storming the minor fortresses. The Jews had destroyed even the date palms round their citadel to starve the enemy; and, having resolved to fight desperately, they had posted themselves in front of the citadel. The besiegers attempted to force their approach, but every attack was repulsed. The Prophet, who was during these days suffering badly from a headache, handed over his Standard to Abubekr b.Abu 0ohafa._ directing him to lead the assault, but the latter was strongly repulsed by the Jews and forced to retreat. Next the Prophet sent his men headed by Omar b. Al-Khattab, carrying his Standard, but the result was no better than a forced retreat. The Prophet, having thus been disappointed by the failure of his prominent Companions, exclaimed, "Tomorrow I shall hand over my Flag to one who loves God and His Prophet, and who is the beloved of the Lord and His Prophet, and who is a fearless charger who' never turns his back upon a foe; at his hands the Lord will give victory". Every one of the Prophet's Companions was anxious to be signalized on the morrow as the "beloved of God and His Prophet." They passed the night in great anxiety as to which one would prove to be the blessed one. No one thought of Ali, the cousin and the Vicegerent of the Prophet, the hero of all previous wars, because he was suffering badly from sore eyes and could not see anything. The longed for morning dawned, but the Prophet appeared not to take notice of any particular individual. When he broke the silence he asked for Ali, and all of them with one voice answered, that he was at a considerable distance at the time and was also badly suffering from sore eyes, and that he was utterly unable to look around. The Prophet commanded them to bring Ali to him. Selma b. Aku fetched Ali. The Prophet taking Ali's head into his lap, applied the saliva of his mouth to his eyes. Instantaneously his eyes became so clear as if he had never suffered from the disease. It is said that throughout his life, he never had any trouble with his eyes again.
The Prophet confided his Sacred Banner into the hands of Ali, armed him with his sword the Zulfiqar, and thus designated him the man whom God and His Prophet loved. He directed him to lead the assault and to fight till the Jews acknowledged submission. Ali, clad in a scarlet vest over which was buckled a cuirass of steel, issued forth with his followers and scrambling up the great stony rock in front of the fortress planted the Standard over its top, and resolved never to recede until the citadel was taken.
The Jews sallied forth to drive down the assailants. Jewish monk asked Ali his name, which he gave out as Ali b. Abi Talib or Haidar. The monk, hearing the name, warned his men that the assailant would not withdraw without capturing the citadel. However, Harith, a Jewish champion, who had vigorously repulsed the previous attacks, stepped forward and slew several of his Muslim antagonists. Perceiving this, Ali himself advanced and slew Harith, in a hand to hand fight. The brother of Harith was a man of gigantic stature and huge form. He was unequalled in valour among the Jews. To revenge the death of his brother, he came out, covered from his neck to the waist with a double coat of mail, having on his head a helmet for protection from the stroke of a scimitar. He had a huge gird on both his sides and brandished a big spear with tripleforked sharp pointed heads. Stepping forward from the Jewish lines, he challenged his adversaries to a single combat. "I am Marhab", he cried, "as all Khaibar knoweth, the greatest warrior in the world. None among the Muslims could dare come forward to confront him. Ali himself advanced from the Muslim line in response to his vainglorious challenge saying, "I am he whom his mother named Haidar, a lion of the wilderness; I weigh my foes in a gigantic balance(i.e. I make short work of my enemies.)" Ali's words were not meaningless. Ali knew, through inspiration that Marhab had lately dreamt of a rugged lion tearing him to pieces; so he reminded Marhab of the dream. The words had their effect; as when the two combatants accosted each other, Ali measured him with the eye and found him wavering. As they closed, Marhab made a thrust at Ali with his three-pronged lance, which Ali dexterously warded off, and before he could recover himself, Ali dealt him a blow with his irresistible scimitar, the Zulfiqar, which divided his buckler, passed through his head in two, through the helmet, right down to his chest or down to his saddle, as some traditions say, severing him in twain. He fell lifeless to the ground and the winner announced his victory by his usual shout, "Allah-o-Akbar," i.e. Great is the All Powerful Lord. And everyone knew that Ali was victorious.
Ali's superhuman feats of prowess
The Muslims now rushed forward in a body and there was a melee. Seven of the Jews' most distinguished warriors viz. Marhab, Antar, Rabi, Dzajij, Daud, Morra and Yasir, having fallen by Ali's sword, the Jews retreated into the citadel with the Muslims hotly in pursuit. In the heat of the battle, a Jew dealt a blow on Ali's arm knocking his shield which fell to the ground and another Jew ran away with it. Ali being enraged, performed superhuman feats of prowess, he jumped over a trench, approached the iron gate of the fortress, wrenched it off its hinges and used it as a buckler for the remainder of the battle.
Abu Rafe, one of those who stormed the fort with Ali, testified that, after the war, he examined the gate and tried with seven other persons to turn it over but the attempt failed. The citadel was captured and the victory was decisive. The Jews lost ninety-three men, while: on the Muslim side, only. nineteen were killed throughout the campaign.
According to Suyuti in Tarikhul-Khulafa, Ali held the gate in one hand, making his companions stand on the flat gate, went on placing them across the ditch by a movement of his hand. Suyuti adds that later the gate could not be moved by eighty persons.
Ali's services appreciated.
After capturing the citadel Ali came back victorious to his Camp, the Prophet, seeing him coming, came out of his tent with open arms to receive him. Warmly embracing Ali, the Prophet kissed his brow and declared that his services to the Divine cause were appreciated by the Almighty Judge as well as by himself and added.
1 "Ali, had I not been afraid that the Muslims would start regarding you as Christians regard Christ, I would have said things about you which would have made the Muslims venerate you and to consider the dust of your feet as something worth venerating; but it will suffice to say that you are from me and I am from you; you will inherit me and I will inherit you; you are to me what Aaron was unto Moses; you will fight for my causes, you will be nearest to me on the day of judgment; you will be next to me on the fountain of Kauser; enmity against you is enmity against me; a war against you is a war against me; your friendship is my friendship; to be at peace with you is to be at peace with me; your flesh is my flesh; your blood is my blood; who will obey you will obey me; truth is on your tongue, in your
________________________ 1 Yanabi-al-Mowaddat (Bombay Edition, page 107).
heart and in your mind. You have as much faith ht God as I have. You are a door to me. As per the order of God, I give you these tidings that your friends will be rewarded in Heaven and your enemies are doomed for Hell".
Ali shed tears of joy at this intelligence. The Apostle revived their faith by the example of Ali on whom he bestowed the surname of the "Lion of God". Gibbon, D. & F. of Roman Empire Vol. V. p. 365.
Surrender of the Jews.
After the defeat, the fortress surrendered on condition that the inhabitants were free to leave the country after giving up their whole property to the conqueror, each one taking a camel load of food stuffs with him. Concealment of the valuables was to be deemed an infraction of the conditions, and the violator was liable to capital punishment. People preferring to live in the country might occupy and reside in the houses possessed by them and might also cultivate the land they occupied; but no immoveable property was to be owned by them, they being treated as tenants bound to cede half of their products to the conqueror, who could put them to exile at his will and pleasure.
The Massacre of The Bani Khuzaa.
By virtue of the Hudaibiya Treaty, the Bani Khuzaa had declared themselves in alliance with the Prophet. With all the tribes in and around o Medina knowing the strength of the Muslims, the Holy Prophet might have hoped for a peaceful year to come, but it was not to be, because the Meccans had no intention of keeping to the terms of the treaty. As the first year of the treaty drew to a close, the Meccan Quraish violated it in a most ruthless manner. At their direct instigation the tribe of Bani Bakr invaded the Bani Khuzaa, pillaged their territory and massacred them. Those who escaped the massacre fled to Medina and sought the Prophet's help and a redress of their grievances. The Holy Prophet came to the conclusion that the time to put an end to this rule of iniquity and oppression that prevailed at Mecca was long overdue. To the people of Bani Khuzaa the Prophet made a promise that he would take up their cause as his very own.
He ordered an army of ten thousand to get ready to take the field against the Meccans. It was at this stage that Abu Sufyan, the Governor of Mecca realising the gravity of the danger, came to Medina to seek the Prophet's forgiveness. The Holy Prophet knew Abu Sufyan too well to waver in his determination, having lost all faith in the Meccans.
March on Mecca.
On the 10th Ramazan, 8 A. H. or the 1st January 630 A. D. Muhammad took the road to Mecca with a fully equipped army of ten thousand strong, and marched in all haste towards the Holy City of Mecca. The Muslim army continued its unopposed march to Marr-uz-Zuhraan, within sight of Mecca. Here they were ordered to camp and to await developments, and they were permitted to light camp fires. Soon the heights were ablaze with a thousand fires, and the Meccans who had not received any tidings of the impending danger, were struck with terror at this sight.
Realising that Islam could no longer be prevented from spreading, Abu Sufyan sought to save his skin by a profession of the faith. The Holy Prophet did not trust him any more than at the time of Ohad. Hence he did not expose his army to any surprise move on the part of the Meccans. He ordered his forces to surround the city and to enter from four different points. To Ali, who commanded a large body of cavalry, was confided the Sacred Banner, which he was to plant on Mount Hajun, and which he was to maintain there until the Prophet joined him.
Express orders were given to all Generals to practise forbearance, and under no circumstances make the first attack. The main body of the army advanced without molestation. Muhammad brought up the rearguard, clad in a scarlet vest, and riding on his favourite camel A 1-Qaswa. He proceeded slowly, his movements being impeded by the immense multitude which thronged around him. Arriving at Mount Hajun, where Ali had planted the Standard of the Faith, he had a tent pitched for himself. Here he alighted, put off his Scarlet garment, and assumed the black turban and the pilgrim's garb.
Not long after this, accompanied by Ali, he proceeded direct to the sanctuary of Kaaba, kissed the sacred stone, performed the seven circuits round the sanctuary, and offered his devout prayers.
The city was at his mercy, but history does not afford a similar example of the magnanimous generosity and forbearance which was displayed by Muhammad. "What can you expect at my hands?" He asked them. "Mercy", they replied. Tears came into the eyes of the Prophet when he heard them beg for mercy. "I will speak to you", he continued, "as Joseph spoke to his brethren. I will not reproach you today. God will forgive you, for He is merciful and loving. Go; ye are free!" can anything be more sublime than this? (Eternal Peace be upon him and his Holy Progeny).
There were three hundred and sixty symbols around the Kaaba representing the pagan Arab Gods. The Prophet pointed to each with his staff whilst reciting the verse, "Truth has come and falsehood being perishable has vanished" and the symbols fell on their faces. Pictures of Abrahaml and Ishmael and of the angels in female form, which covered e walls of the Kaaba were obliterated. Hobal the Symbol treated as the greatest deity of Mecca, was fixed on a high position beyond reach. To destroy it, the Prophet desired Ali to mount on his shoulders. Ali hesitated for a moment. "Do as you are told" reiterated the voice of the Master. Ali then got up on the Holy Prophet's shoulders and completed the destruction. He threw down all the symbols, replica of the "Age of Ignorance", and then jumped down from the shoulders of his Master. Then the Prophet asked Ali, "how did you feel when you were mounting my shoulders?" To this Ali replied, "While there I found that my hand reached to a height as high as Heaven, and that I could remove whatever I wanted with ease." The Holy Prophet replied, "O Ali! I congratulate you on performing a Divine duty, and lucky am I indeed that I held the Divine burden on my shoulders." The Holy Prophet's order to Ali to mount on his shoulders was nothing but a Divine Revelation which signified that Ali was a partner in this Divinely ordained Command of the Lord.
The Bani Jazhima.
The Bani Jazhima, who lived at a day's march from Mecca, had already embraced Islam, but none of them had turned up to pay respects to the Prophet at Mecca. The Prophet deputed Khalid with a small detachment to enquire, with difinite instructions not to provoke a struggle. Khalid secretly rejoiced to get this commission which afforded him a chance to take revenge for the murder of his uncle some years ago at the hands of the Jazhimites. Revenge he did take by ordering the execution of some of them.
The Prophet, grieved at receiving the sad news of the outrage, raised up his hands to Heaven and called God to witness that he was innocent of what Khalid had done. On his return, when Khalid was upbraided, he shifted the blame to Abd-al-Rahman, but the Prophet indignantly rejected the imputation.
Accordingly, the Holy Prophet sent Ali with a sum of money for distribution among the people to compensate for the bloodshed, and to restore to them what Khalid had wrested from them. The generous Ali executed the commission faithfully. Inquiring into the losses and sufferings of each individual, Ali paid as much compensation as they demanded. When all blood was atoned for and all the sufferers were satisfied, he distributed the remaining money among them, gladdening every heart by his bounty. The Prophet applauded this generosity, praised and thanked Ali. Khalid was rebuked and reproved.
The Battle of Hunain. 8 A. H.
The formidable Bedouin tribes, the Hawaazin, the Thakif and various others pastured their flocks on the territories bordering Mecca. Some of them possessed strongly fortified towns like Tayef, and were unwilling to render obedience to the Muslims without resistance. They formed a league with the intention of overwhelming Muhammad before he could make preparations to repulse their attack.
The threatening information compelled the Prophet to cut short his stay in Mecca. He left Mecca with his ten thousand followers, who had come with him from Medina, and two thousand from Mecca who had volunteered to fight by his side. Ali as usual, held the Sacred Standard of the Prophet. In the dead of night the army reached the Hunain valley, which lies about midway between Mecca and Tayef. In order to reach the fertile valley of Tayef, they had to pass through a narrow defile called Hunain. This was the key point of the enemy's defence. It was a narrow and dismal place leaving little room for an army to pass through, except in single file, nor could camels and horses be manoeuvred within its narrow walls. Concealing themselves under the precipitous side of the rocky valley, the tribesmen, from the heights, showered avalanches of rocks and arrows on the Muslims, and prevented all attempts by the Muslim cavalry to organise a charge. Panic began to spread amongst the Muslim troops and defeat seemed very probable. All except the Holy Prophet, Ali, Abbas and a few others started to run and panic seized the whole army. According to Habib-us-Siyar and Rouzath-ul-Ahbab, Khalid Bin Walid was the first to leave the field. As they ran helter skelter, the Holy Prophet called out to them, "Where are you going ? The Apostle of the Lord is here! Return! Return! Where are you going? The Apostle of the Lord is here ! Return! Return!"
At this critical moment Ali rallied the disorganised forces around him inspiring them to fight with fresh valour. At the same time the Holy Prophet asked his uncle Abbas, who held his mule, to call aloud at the top of his voice:
"O citizens of Medina! O men of the Treaty of Fealty (alluding to those who took the oath under the tree at Hudaibiya)! 0 Ye of the Sura Baqar (reminding them of their paying homage at the time of embracing Islam)! The stentorian voice of Abbas, as he repeatedly called aloud, was heard by the fleeing columns and it was answered with Labbaik (we are coming) from all sides and the men began to return. About a hundred men, all Ansars* (Abul Fida ; Ibn Hisham), gaining the narrow Pass, checked the advance of the enemy. The standard bearer of the enemy, a man of extraordinarily tall stature and stout built, came forward and challenged the Muslims to single combat. As usual, Ali stepped forward and engaged him and within a short time put an end to him. Now both the parties closed with each other and a hand to hand fight ensued. The conflict was terrible. The Prophet, who was watching the struggle from an eminence, taking a handful of gravel, cast it towards the enemy saying, "Ruin seize them". The enemy became panicky within a short time and finally took to flight, chased by the Muslims, and many of them were killed. The battle was won. The enemy, lost seventy of their bravest, of whom forty fell under the sword of Ali.
As a result of this victory, enormous booty fell into the hands of the Muslims. The battle of Hunain, is one of the most famous events in the history of Islam. It was notable for the strategy of Ali regrouping the Muslim army, turning defeat into victory. It also showed the clemency with which the prisoners were treated. Six hundred of the enemy were freed without having to pay ransom.
Mention of this battle has been made in the Holy Quran vide Sura IX-25 and 26.
25 "Already hath God helped you in many engagements, and on the day of Hunain when you prided yourself on your numbers, it availed you nothing. The earth became too strait for you although it was widely large, then did ye turn your backs in flight."
26 ("Then God sent down His tranquillity upon His Apostle and upon the faithful and sent down hosts (troops of angels) invisible to you ; and chastised those who disbelieved, and that is the reward of the ungodly."
Operations against the People of Al-Tavef. S A. H.
After the battle of Hunain, Malik ibn Auf, fled to Tayef where he was given asylum. The people of Tayef were formidable warriors who worshipped an idol called Allat, and attributed all their success to him. It was the Prophet's desire to destroy this idol, and prove to the people of Tayef that only God was to be worshipped. Hence a force was sent to lay siege to Tayef.
The warriors of Tayef proved their mettle, and resolved to fight to a finish against the Muslim assaults, and they replied with counter assaults, until the casualties among the Muslims started piling up. When the Muslims laid waste their vineyards and date palms, they offered formidable resistance and refused to surrender.
Finally the Holy Prophet decided to send Ali to Tayef with an invitation oto the people to accept Islam. On his arrival in the territories bordering on Tayef, Ali began to destroy the pagan symbols whenever he came across one. This greatly incensed the local tribesmen, men of the Banu Khusham, who were feudatories of the Tafefites. In a skirmish with them Ali killed their formidable leader, Shahab. This caused panic amongst the forces of the Banu Khusham, who surrendered. Other feudatories of Tayef, the men of Hawazan and the Banu Thakeef were also quickly defeated by Ali, who marched on to Tayef, where he found its people now anxious to surrender. A deputation of the people of Tayef then went to the Holy Prophet to pray for forgiveness and to ask permission to enter the Islamic fold.
The deputation asked the Holy Prophet to give them short respite for the continued worship of their symbols, begging first for one year's grace then for six months, and finally for just a month. The Holy Prophet rejected their request emphatically. "Then" said they, "Exempt us from the five daily prayers". The Holy Prophet replied, "Faith without prayers is no faith at all". As a last appeal they said, "Give us exemption from Zakat (the obligatory tax)". The Holy Prophet said to them, "You have to observe prayers and fasting and to pay the obligatory tax if you accept Islam. These are all articles of Faith, and can never be dispensed with. And should you deviate a hair's breadth from the Commands of God, I will send you a man, like me in all respects and he will put you to the sword, and ignominious will be your lot". Then the Holy Prophet caught hold of Ali's hand and said, "Verily he is the man who will do this job".
Ali inspired with Divine Secrets.
During the period when the army was sitting round the besieged town of Tayef, the Prophet sent out a detachment under the command of Ali to invite the tribes inhabiting the vicinity of Tayef, to embrace Islam. Ali had some encounters, especially the Khotham clan offered opposition but after their chief named Shabab was slain by Ali, they submitted. When Ali returned after faithfully and successfully executing his mission, the Prophet on seeing him exclaimed 'Allaho Akbar' and took him alone to his sacred apartment to have a long and confidential talk with him. His companions1 began to murmur, wondering why the Prophet so long engaged Ali in a secret conference, not allowing others to be present. Hearing this, the Prophet said that God Himself had inspired Ali with Divine Secrets, and it was for this reason that he was engaged in confidential discourse so long.
Wadi-al-Ramal or Zhat-al-Salasal Expedition.
In the year 9 A.H., the Prophet received intelligence that the tribes inhabiting the Wadi-al-Ramat valley contemplated a raid upon Medina, and that they were collecting arms and men for the purpose. The valley was surrounded on all sides by hills and thorny bushes and trees which served as ambuscade. Two expeditions failed due to the difficult terrain which was an asset to tote enemy to ambush the Muslims.
At last, the Prophet despatched Ali at the head of an army. Ali, at the start, took another direction and after some stages turned suddenly towards his destination through a rugged tract, marching by night and halting for rest in the day. His companions protested against the dangers of the route, but Ali paid no heed to them and proceeded on. At length one morning he surprised the enemy and ravaged the valley, avenging the loss they had inflicted upon the preceding expeditions.
________________________ 1 Habib-al- Siyar; Maar ij-al-Nabawat; Kanz-al-Ummal.
1 The Prophet received a revelation as contained in Sura C of the Quran and he announced the glad tidings of Ali's victory to his Companions. When Ali was coming back victorious, the Prophet went out with his followers to receive him. Seeing the Prophet, Ali got down from his horse, but the Prophet bade him remount, and told him his services were approved by God and His Prophet. On hearing this Ali wept with joy.
This expedition is known as Zhat-al-Salasal expedition. which is related by some historians as having taken place in the year 8 A.H.
Operations against the Banu Zubuda.
Banu Zubuda was a clan living to the west of Medina. and had accepted Islam. Their leader was a warrior known as Omar bin Kurb. Omar had a feud with another warrior of the same clan named Ushus Khusee, who had killed his father. Anxious to avenge his father's death, Omar took Ushus prisoner and desired to slay him. The matter went up to the Prophet for arbitration. The Holy Prophet decreed that after the acceptance of Islam, the seeking of revenge for the blood of relatives, which had become a system during the time before Islam, did not now arise. This decision upset Omar so much that he renounced Islam. Omar then killed Harrith Ibn Kaab, the chief of a tribe which had become a feudatory to Islam. This killing of an ally of the Muslims could not be tolerated by the Holy Prophet.
He deputed Ali to lead a force against the Banu Zubuda. Before the general battle began, Omar came out and challenged Ali to a single combat. At this Ali, The Lion
________________________ 1 Kashfal Ghamma.
of God', came thundering out of the ranks, and chanting verses in which he glorified the valour of the Muslim heroes, struck such awe in the heart of the adversary that he fled from the battlefield. This left the tribe of Banu Zubuda without a leader, and they promptly took to flight. Ali pursued them, took several of them prisoners and returned to Medina in triumph.
The Tabuk expedition, and the appointment of Ali as Governor of Medina.
In the middle of 9 ASH. 631 A.D. news reached the Prophet that the Roman Emperor Heracles was mobilising a huge army to surprise the Muslims at Medina. Receiving this intelligence, the Prophet resolved to meet the enemy on their way, and issued explicit orders to his men to make preparations for the expedition. The Holy Prophet appointed Ali, his Vicegerent, as Governor of Medina. Besides commanding the Medina garrison, Ali was to officiate at prayers and to perform all those duties that had hitherto devolved on the Holy Prophet. In addition to maintaining law and order, he was also required to look after the Prophet's household, a duty which more than all others epitomised the love and trust in which he was held by his beloved Master. He accepted the trust with great reluctance, having been accustomed always to accompany the Prophet and share all his perils.
After the departure of the Holy Prophet, rumours began to circulate to the effect that Ali had been deliberately left behind because the Prophet had been apprehensive about the dangers of the Tabuk expedition. These rumours were started by one of the leaders of the hypocrites, Abdullah ibn Ubay, an old enemy of Islam since the days of Badr.
( 67 ) To a man of Ali's nature, accusations of cowardice were more than could be borne. Stung by this suggestion, Ali hastened after the Prophet, overtaking him on the road to Tabuk and informed him of the various rumours prevailing in Medina. The Holy Prophet managed to pacify Ali and spoke thus : "These men are liars. They are the party of the Hypocrites and Doubters, who would breed sedition in Medina. I left thee behind to keep watch over them, and to be a guardian to both our families. 1 I would have thee to be what Aaron was to Moses; excepting that thou canst not be like him, a Prophet; I being the last of the Prophets." The Holy Prophet also explained to Ali that although Abu Sufyan had embraced Islam, the danger of an intrigue at Medina was still so great, that only Ali would be able to curb the mischievous designs of the enemies within the city.
Ali left post-haste for Medina where he sought out the house of Abdullah Ibn Ubay and dragging him outside proceeded to give him a bit of his mind. Though the Holy Prophet had been lenient in his dealings with the Hyprocrites, Ali made it very clear to them that he would not tolerate their double-dealings. He believed in harsher measures and he made it abundantly clear, that, as long as he was in charge of Medina, he would neither brook any insult nor endure any form of intimidation.
Announcement of Sura Baraat
2 The pilgrims at the annual pilgrimage 'to Mecca were for the most part heathens, who mingled idolatrous practices
________________________ 1 Suyuti.
2 Abut Fida; Tarikh-al-Khamis.
with the holy rites, and the Prophet had hitherto abstained from being present at these ceremonies, and contented himself with the Lesser Pilgrimage or Umra as in previous years. The sacred season of the year 9 A.H. was now drawing near. By this time the Prophet had received a revelation forbidding the unrighteous to perform the pilgrimage after this year, as mentioned in the opening verses of Sura IX of the Quran. The Prophet therefore deputed Abubakr to proceed on pilgrimage to Mecca, in order to promulgate the revelation to the Pilgrims. Three hundred Muslims accompanied Abubakr and twenty camels were given to him to be sacrificed on behalf of the Prophet.
Shortly after the departure of Abubakr, the Prophet received Command from God, and in obedience to the Command, he despatched Ali 1 on his swiftest camel, the Al-Ghadzba, with orders to overtake the caravan and to take back the book (Verses of Sura IX) from Abubakr. and to proceed himself with it to announce it to the pilgrims at Mecca.
Ali overtook the caravan at Araj, and taking the book from Abubakr proceeded to Mecca. Abubakr returned dejected to Medina and asked the Prophet whether he being replaced by Ali for conveying the revelation to the people of Mecca was based on any Command of God!
The Prophet answered that he had a revelation from God to the effect, that, "I should not depute anyone for this proclamation except myself or someone from me. Ali is from me and I am from him. He is my Brother,
________________________ 1 Tirmizhi; Ahmad Hanbal; tabari; Alamin-al-wara; Task Mo'alim-al-Tanzil; Abul Fida.
my Vicegerent, the Executor of my will, and he is my Successor and performs all those duties that devolve on me."
According to Hishami the Prophet answered that he had a revelation to the effect that none should deliver the revelation to the people but he himself or a man of his family, or (according to Tirmizhi and Nasai) that none should deliver it to the people but he himself or Ali.
Reaching Mecca, Ali read aloud, towards the close of the Pilgrimage, on the great Day of Sacrifice, to the vast concourse of the pilgrims, the recitation of the passage of the Quran. Having finished it, he continued: "I have been ordered to explain to you, (1) that no one shall hence forward make the circuits of the Holy House in a state of nakedness, (2) that any treaty, made by anyone with the Prophet, shall remain in force till its termination, that four months 9f liberty are allowed to all, after which the obligation devolving on the Prophet will cease, (3) that no unbeliever will enter Paradise, (4) that the unrighteous must not come on Pilgrimage after this year.
Operations against the Banu Tay-Spring 630 A.D.
The tribe of Banu Tay was instigated by its priests to defy the authority of the Holy Prophet. One of the chiefs of this famous tribe was the illustrious Hatim, whose prodigious achievements had passed into the classics of oriental literature. Poets and minstrels had sung the tales of Hatim's generosity and munificence, and his romantic tales fill the pages of many oriental books to which people revert for pastime and pleasure. Hatim had died some time before this insurrection, and when the leadership fell on his son Abi, the Banu Tay had a chief who equalled his father in the performance of charitable deeds.
As a warrior Abi was lacking in valour, for when the Holy Prophet sent a force under Ali to quell the rebellion, Abi fled to Syria, leaving behind his sister Sufana and his clansmen to their fate. Ali took them prisoner and sent them to Medina where the Prophet set Sufana at liberty. She refused however to accept her freedom, saying, "O Apostle of God! My father is dead, and when your army approached our territory, my brother and other relations took to flight to save their skins. My father was an illustrious chief known as Hatim Tay, and was famous for his munificence. He used to ransom prisoners, feed the poor and needy, protect the honour of women, and console the sick and the afflicted. I am daughter of that chief who would never have accepted liberty unless the men of his tribe were also released." "O young lady" said the Holy Prophet, "I accede to your request, and set all your tribesmen free. There is no doubt that your father had all the virtues of a Muslim." The Holy Prophet bestowed precious gifts on Hatim's daughter and sent her away with all honour and respect.
When Sufana went to Syria, she appraised her brother Abi, the wonderful bounty granted out to her by the Prophet of Islam. Upon hearing the wonderful details of Sufana's stay in Medina, a strange longing overcame Abi to meet the Holy Prophet. He hastened to Medina and threw himself at the feet of the Holy Prophet and accepted Islam. This was the signal for the rest of his clan to embrace Islam. In the subsequent wars, the people of Banu Tay remained steadfast in the faith and rendered valiant services to the cause of Islam.