THE PROPHET ON THE BATTLEFIELD
The Quraishites, mortified at the escape of the Prophet (Peace be upon
him) along with his devoted companions, and jealous of his growing power in Madinah, kept a stringent watch over the Muslims
left behind and persecuted them in every possible way. They also initiated clandestine contacts with Abdullah bin Uabi bin
Salul, chief of Madinese polytheists, and president designate of the tribes Aws and Khazraj before the Prophets emigration.
They senthim a strongly-worded ultimatum ordering him to fight or expel the Prophet, otherwise they would launch a widespread
military campaign that would exterminate his people and proscribe his women.
His pride wounded and kingship no longer his, Abdullah bin Uabi bin Salul,
a priori responded positively to his Quraishite co-polytheists. He mobilized his supporters to counteract the Muslims. The
Prophet (Peace be upon him) on hearing about this unholy alliance, summoned Abdullah and admonished him to be more sensible
and thoughtful and cautioned his men against being snared in malicious tricks. The men, on grounds of cowardice, or reason,
gave up the idea. Their chief, however, seemingly complied, but at heart, he remained a wicked unpredictable accomplice with
Quraish and the envious Jews. Skirmishes and provocations started to pave the way for a major confrontation between the Muslims
and polytheists. Sad bin Muadh, an outstanding Helper, announced his intention to observe Umrah (lesser pilgrimage)
and headed for Makkah. There Omaiya bin Khalaf provided tutelage for him to observe the ritual circumambulation. Abu Jahl,
an archenemy of Islam saw him in the Sacred Sanctuary and threatened he would have killed him if he had not been in the company
of Omaiya. Sad, fearlessly and defiantly, challenged him to committing any folly at the risk of cutting their caravans off.
Provocative actions continued and Quraish sent the Muslims a note threatening
to put them to death in their own homeland. Those were not mere words, for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) received information
from reliable sources attesting to real intrigues and plots being hatched by the enemies of Islam. Precautionary measures
were taken and a state of alertness was called for, including the positioning of security guards around the house of the Prophet
(Peace be upon him) and strategic junctures. Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allâhs Messenger (Peace
be upon him) lay down on bed during one night on his arrival in Madinah and said: Were there a pious person from amongst my
Companions who should keep a watch for me during the night? She [Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her)] said: We were in
this state when we heard the clanging noise of arms. He [the Prophet (Peace be upon him)] said: Who is it? He said: This is
Sad bin Abi Waqqas. Allâhs Messenger (Peace be upon him) said to him: What brings you here? Thereupon he said: I harboured
fear (lest any harm should come to) Allâhs Messenger (Peace be upon him), so I came to serve as your sentinel. Allâhs Messenger
(Peace be upon him) invoked blessings upon him and then he slept.
This state of close vigilance continued ceaselessly until the Words of
Allâh were revealed saying:
Allâh will protect you from mankind.[5:67]
Here, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) peeped from the dome of his house
asking his people to go away, and making it clear that Allâh would take the charge of protecting him.
The Prophets life was not the only target of the wicked schemes, but rather
the lives and the whole entity of the Muslims. When the Madinese provided the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his Companions
with safe refuge, the desert bedouins began to look at them all in the same perspective, and outlawed all the Muslims.
At this precarious juncture with Quraish, intent on pursuing their aggressive
and devilish plans, Allâh, the All-High, gave the Muslims the permission to take arms against the disbelievers:
Permission to fight is given to those (i.e. believers against those disbelievers),
who are fighting them, (and) because they (believers) have been wronged, and surely Allâh is Able to give them (believers)
This verse was revealed in a larger context of Divine instructions to eradicate
all aspects of falsehood, and hold in honour the symbols and rites of Allâh:
Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) order
for Iqamat-as-Salât: [i.e. to perform Salât (prayer) the five compulsory, congregational prayers (the males
in Mosques)], to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity), and they enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all
that Islam orders one to do), and forbid Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism and all that Islam has forbidden) [i.e.
they make the Qurân as the Law of their country in all the spheres of life]. [22:41].
Doubtlessly, the permission to fight was revealed in Madinah after emigration,
not in Makkah, still the exact date where of is in doubt.
The permission to fight was already there, but in the light of the status
quo, it was wise for the Muslims to bring the commercial routes leading to Makkah under their control. To realize this strategic
objective, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had to choose either of two options:
- Entering into non-aggression pacts with the tribes inhabiting either the
areas adjacent to the routes or between these routes and Madinah. With respect to this course of action, the Prophet (Peace
be upon him) had already signed, together with the Jews and other neighbouring tribes, the aforementioned pact of cooperation
and good neighbourliness.
- Despatching successive armed missions for harassment
along the strategic commercial routs.
Next Episode:PRE-BADR MISSIONS AND INVASIONS: