Life of Mahomet [Volume IV Chapter 19]

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THE BIOGRAPHY OF MAHOMET, AND RISE OF ISLAM.
CHAPTER NINETEENTH.

Pilgrimage to Al Hodeibia. Dzul Cada, A.H. VI.

March, A.D. 628.

Mahomet and his followers anxious so perform pilgrimage to Mecca

Six years had by this time passed away since Mahomet, and those who emigrated with him, had seen their native city: had visited the Holy house, and the sacred places around it: or joined in the yearly pilgrimage, which from childhood they had grown up to regard as an essential part of their social and religious life. They longed to re-visit these scenes, and once more to unite in the solemn rites of the Kaaba.

Political considerations which added force to the desire

No one shared in these feelings more earnestly than Mahomet himself. It was, moreover, of great importance to his cause that he should practically show his attachment to the ancient faith of Mecca. He had, indeed, in the Coran, insisted upon that faith as an indispensable element of the new religion; he had upbraided the Coreish for obstructing the approach of pious worshippers to the Temple of God; and had denounced them, because of their idolatrous practices, as not the rightful guardians of it.1 Yet

1 Sura viii. 38. After threatening the Coreish, the passage proceeds, - " And what have they to urge that God should not


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something more than this was needed practically to exhibit his attachment to the ancestral creed and customs of the Coreish. If he made no effort to visit the holy places, and fulfil the sacred rites, he would lay himself open justly to the charge of lukewarmness and neglect. His precept must be supported by example.

Inducements for making the lesser pilgrimage in the month of Dzul Cada

Meditating thus, Mahomet had a vision in the night. Followed by his people, he dreamed that he entered Mecca in peaceful security, and having made the circuit of the Kaaba, and slain the victims, completed all the ceremonies of the pilgrimage. The dream was communicated to his followers, and every one longed for its realization. It foretold nothing of fighting or contest; the entrance was to be quiet and unopposed. Now the sacred month of Dzul Cada was at hand, in which the Omra, or lesser pilgrimage,1 might with much propriety and merit be undertaken. There would then be less' chance of. collision with hostile tribes, than at the general pilgrimage in the succeeding month. Furthermore, in the month of

chastize them, seeing that they have hindered his servants from the snored Temple; and they are not the Guardians thereof;---- verily, none are its Guardians but the pious. But the greater part of them do not consider.

"And their prayers at the Temple are nought but whistling through the fingers, and clapping of the hands. Taste, therefore, the punishment of your unbelief."

1 See vol.i. p., ccv.


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Dzul Cada, war was unlawful throughout Arabia, much more within the inviolate precincts of Mecca. If Mahomet and his followers, therefore, should at this time approach the Kaaba in the peaceful garb of pilgrims, the Coreish would be bound by every pledge of national faith to leave them unmolested. On the other hand, should their advance be opposed, the opprobrium would rest with the Coreish; and even in that case, the strength of the pilgrim band would secure its safety,----- if not a decisive victory.

The surrounding tribes invited to join the pilgrimage, but most of them decline

So soon as this course was resolved upon, the people of Medina were invited to join the Prophet in the lesser pilgrimage, and all made haste to prepare themselves. To swell the camp and render it more imposing, the Arab tribes around, who had tendered their allegiance to Mahomet, were also summoned.1 But few of them responded to the call; the most part alleged that their occupations and families prevented their leaving home.

Mahomet and his followers set out from Medina, Dzul Cada, A.H. VI. February, A.D. 628

Early in the month of Dzul Cada, in the sixth

1 I see no reason for holding with M. C. de Perceval (v. lii. p.175,) that any of those summoned were heathen tribes. On the contrary, those who declined the summons are all reprobated in terms implying that they had professed themselves at the disposal of Mahomet, and consequently were Moslems. Sura xlviii. v.2; and it is added as a punishment that they would not be permitted to go on any subsequent expeditions in which plunder might be expected. v.16. et seq The commentators say that the Bani Aslam Joheina, Mozeina, and Ghifar, are the tribes intended.


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year of the Hegira, arrangements for the pilgrimage being completed, Mahomet entered his house, bathed himself and put on the two pieces of cloth which constitute the covering of the pilgrim. He then mounted his camel, Al Caswa, and led the cavalcade, numbering about fifteen hundred men, across the valley Al Ackick, to Dzul Huleifa, on the road to Mecca.1 There they halted, and Mahomet with the rest entered the pilgrim state by repeatedly uttering the cry,----- Labbeik! Labbeik! which signifies, "Here am I, O Lord!" or ---- "I am entering, Lord, upon thy service!"2 The victims were then consecrated for sacrifice; their heads haying been turned towards Mecca, the customary ornaments were hung about their necks, and a mark affixed upon their right sides. Seventy camels, were thus devoted ; amongst them was the famous camel of Abu Jahl, taken on the field of Badr. This done, the pilgrims moved forward by the ordinary stages. A troop of twenty horse marched

1 The Secretary gives the number at sixteen hundred: but adds that some traditions say fourteen hundred, others fifteen hundred and twenty-five. Hishami says that one account gives the number at seven hundred; but that has evidently grown out of the fact that there were seventy camels, and that each camel was sacrificed for ten of the pilgrims. The remaining pilgrims had of course other animals, sheep, goats, &C for sacrifice. K. Wackidi; 118 ; Hishami, 320.

1 From this moment the pilgrim assumes the ceremonial state, and observes the abstinence enjoined in consequence, until the rites are ended and the victims slain, when the restrictions cease. See vol i. p. ccv.; and Sura ii. 197, and xxii. 28.


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in advance to give notice of danger. The pilgrims carried no arms but such as were allowed by custom to the traveller, namely, each a sheathed sword.1 The Prophet took one of his wives, Omm Salma, with him.

Alarm of the Coreish, who arm themselves and oppose the advance of Mahomet

Tidings of Mahomet's approach soon reached Mecca; and, notwithstanding the pious object and unwarlike attitude of the Medina pilgrims, filled the Coreish with apprehension. They did not credit these peaceful professions; and, perhaps not without reason, suspected treachery. The citizens of Mecca, with their allies of the surrounding tribes, were soon under arms, and occupied a position on the Medina road,2 resolved to perish rather than allow the enemy to enter. A body of two hundred horsemen, under Khalid and Ikrima,3 was pushed forward in advance.

Mahomet leaves the direct road, and encamps at Al Hodeibia.

Mahomet had nearly reached Osfan,4 when a spy returned with this intelligence :----- "The Coreish," he said, "are encamped at Dzu Towa, clothed in panther's skins;5 their wives and little ones are with

1 Some add among "the travellers' weapons" a bow and a quiver full of arrows; but generally, the sword in its sheath alone is mentioned. Mahomet had a bow and quiver, as will be seen below.

2 At Baldah . The horse were posted at Aura al Ghamim, the place Abu Bakr formerly advanced to. See p.8, note.

3 Son of Abu Jahl.

4 He had reached as fun a spot called Ghadir al Ashtzatz

5 Expressive symbolically of the fixed resolution of the Coreish to fight to the last, like beasts of prey.


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them; and they have sworn to die rather than let thee pass." Shortly after, the Meccan cavalry came in sight, and Mahomet's horse went forward to hold them in check. Further advance on the high road was now evidently impossible, without a pitched battle; and for this Mahomet was not yet prepared. Having therefore halted and procured a guide, he turned off in the evening towards the right, and after a fatiguing march through rugged and difficult defiles, reached the open space called Al Hodeibia, on the verge of the sacred territory which encircles Mecca. Here his camel stopped, and planting her fore legs firmly on the ground, refused to advance another step. "She is wearied;' said the people, as they urged her forward. "Nay;" exclaimed Mahomet, "Al Caswa is not weary; but the same hand restraineth her that aforetime held back the elephant,"----- alluding to the preservation of Mecca from the invasion of Abraha.1 "By the Lord!" he continued, "no request of the Coreish this day, which they shall make for the honour of the holy place, shall be denied by me." So he alighted, and all the people with him, at Hodeibia. Some wells were on the spot, but having been choked by sand, there was

1 See vol i. p. cclxvii. The inference intended is, that God was again interposing to prevent bloodshed and the devastation of Mecca, by staying the farther advance of Mahomet in the same supernatural manner as that by which he held back Abraha from advancing on the city. "The Elephant," the "Year of the Elephant," were used to designate the inroad of Abraha.


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little or no water in them. Mahomet, accordingly, taking an arrow from his quiver (the only implement at hand), desired one of his followers to descend a well, and with it dig and scrape away the obstructing sand. Abundance of water soon accumulated.1

Negotiations between the Coreish and Mahomet

The road through Hodeibia led by a circuitous route to Lower Mecca.2 The Coreish no sooner learned that the pilgrims had taken this direction, than they fell back on the city for its defence, and began sending deputations to ascertain the real intentions of Mahomet. Hodeibia being only a short stage distant, the communications were rapid and frequent.3 Bodeil, a chief of the Bani Khozaa, with a party of his tribe, was the first to approach. He acquainted Mahomet with the excited state of the Coreish, and their resolve to defend the city to the last extremity. The Prophet replied, that it was not for war he

1 This has been magnified into a miracle. As soon as the arrow was planted in the hitherto empty well, the fountain gushed up, So rapidly that the people sitting on tbe brink could draw water at ease. By another account, Mahomet spat into the well, on which the spring immediately bubbled up. According to a third tradition, he thrust his hand into a vessel, on which the water poured forth as it were from between his fingers, and all drank therefrom :- "The stream would have sufficed for a hundred thousand people" K. Wackidi, 118 , 119.

2 It probably joined the Jedda road, some little distance from Mecca.

3 The Secretary of Wackidi (p.118 ), makes Hodeibia nine Arabian miles from Mecca. M. C. de Perceval makes it twelve hours: vol iii. 177: but it can hardly have been so far.


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had come forth. "I have no other design," he said, "but to perform the pilgrimage of the holy house: and whosoever hindereth us therefrom, we shall fight against them." Orwa,, a chief from Tayif; connected with the Coreish, was the next ambassador. He came, saying "that the people of Mecca were desperate. They will not suffer this rabble of thine to approach the city. I swear that even now I see thee as it were, by the morrow deserted of them all." At this Aba Bakr started tip and warmly resented the imputation. Orwa, not heeding him, became still more earnest in his speech, and (according to the familiar Bedouin custom) stretched forth his hand to take hold of Mahomet's beard. "Back!" cried a bystander, striking his arm. Hold off thy hands from the Prophet of God!" "And who is this?" said Orwa, surprised at the interposition of the youth. "It is thy brother's son, Moghira." "O ungrateful!" he exclaimed (alluding to his having paid compensation for certain murders committed by his nephew), "it is but as yesterday that I redeemed thy life." These and other circumstances which transpired at the interview, struck Orwa with a deep sense of the reverence and devotion of the Moslems towards their Prophet; and this he endeavoured to impress upon the Coreish, when he carried back to them a message similar to that of Bodeil.1 But the Coreish were firm. Whatever his

1 Orwa had married Abu Sofian's daughter. There were frequent intermarriages between the inhabitants of Tayif and Mecca.


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intentions, Mahomet should not approach the city with the show of force, and thus humble them in the eyes of all Arabia. "Tell him," they said, "that this year he must go back; but in the year following, he may enter Mecca and perform the pilgrimage." One of their messengers was Jalis, chief of the Arab tribes that dwelt around Mecca. The goodly row of victims, with their sacrificial ornaments, and the marks upon their necks of having been long tied up for this pious object, at once convinced him of the sincerity of Mahomet's peaceful professions. But the Coreish, on his return, refused to listen to him. "Thou art a simple Arab of the desert," they said, "and knowest not the devices of other men." Jalis was enraged at this slight, and swore that if they continued to oppose the advance of Mahomet to the Kaaba, he would

Orwa was rough of speech: his dialogue with Mahomet and his followers is given with great detail and vividness by Hishami, p.823. He told the Coreish that he had seen many kings,---- the Chosroes, the Caysar, the Najashi, &C - but never had witnessed such attention and homage as Mahomet received from his followers;----they rushed to save the water in which he had performed his ablutions, to catch up his spittle, or seize a hair of his if it chanced to fall. But these are all fabrication. of later days,- the intense veneration of which was reflected back upon this period, vol i Introd. pp. xxix. and lxiii. There is no reason to believe that there was any such abject worship of Mahomet during his lifetime. - Orwa, however, saw enough to convince him of the extraordinary influence which Mahomet had gained over his followers; and what he saw perhaps contributed to his own conversion. We shall find him in the end a martyr of Islam.


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retire with all his Arabs. The threat alarmed the Coreish. "Have patience for a little while," they said, "until we can make such terms as are needful for our security." Negotiations were then opened in greater earnest.

Deputation of Othman to the Coreish

The first messenger from the Moslem camp to Mecca, a convert from the Bani Khozaa, the Coreish had seized and treated roughly; they maimed the Prophet's camel on which he rode, and even threatened his life.1 But the feeling was now more pacific, and Mahomet desired Omar to proceed to Mecca as his ambassador. Omar excused himself on account of the personal enmity of the Coreish towards him; he had; moreover, no influential relatives in the city who could shield him from danger; and he pointed to Othman as a fitter envoy. Othman consented, and was at once despatched. On entering Mecca, he received the protection of a cousin, and went straightway to Abu Sofian and the other chiefs of the Coreish. "We come," said Othman, "to visit the holy house, to honour it, and to perform worship there. We have brought victims with us, and after slaying them we shall then depart in peace." They replied that Othman, if he chose, might visit the Kaaba and worship there; but as for Mahomet, they had sworn that this year he should not enter the

1 Hishami also says that a party or forty or fifty Coreish went round about Mahomet's camp, seeking to cut off any stray followers; and that having attacked the camp itself with atones and arrows, they were caught and taken to Mahomet, who pardoned and released them. The Secretary has nothing of this


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precincts of their city. Othman declined the offer, and returned with their message to the camp.

The Pledge of the Tree, in consequence of the report of the murder of Othman, who had been sent as ambassador to Mecca

Meanwhile, during the absence of Othman, there had been great excitement at Hodeibia. Some delay having occurred in his return, a report gained currency that he had been murdered at Mecca.1 Anxiety and alarm overspread the camp. Mahomet himself began to suspect treachery: he summoned the whole company of the pilgrims around him, and taking his stand under the thick shade of an acacia, required a pledge from each of faithful service even to death. When all had thus sworn, striking one by one their hand upon the hand of Mahomet, the Prophet struck his own left hand upon his right, as a pledge that he would stand by his absent son-in-law. While war and revenge thus breathed throughout the pilgrim camp, their fears were suddenly relieved by the reappearance of Othman. But "the pledge of the tree" is a scene to which Mahomet, and all who were then present, ever after loved to revert; for here the strong feelings of devotion and sympathy between the Prophet and his followers had found a fitting and ardent expression 2. Their martial spirit and religious fervour

1 Hishami says that Othman was actually placed in confinement at Mecca. But this is not stated by the Secretary; and it does not appear that his return was so long delayed as to render this probable.
It is called "the oath of good pleasure well pleasing to the Lord, referring to Sura xlviii. 17, which will be quoted below.


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had been excited to the highest pitch; and they were prepared to rush upon their enemy with a resistless onset. It was one of those romantic occasions which lives in the memory of an Arab.

The Treaty between Mahomet and the Coreish

After some farther interchange of messages, the Coreish deputed one of their chiefs, Soheil ibn Amr, and other representatives, with full powers to conclude a treaty of peace. The conference was long, and the discussion warm. But at last the terms were settled. Mahomet summoned Ali to write them from his dictation. And thus he began:-

"IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL!" - "Stop!" said Soheil. "As for God, we know him; but this new title of the Deity, we know it not. Say, as we have always said, In thy name, O God!" Mahomet yielded. "Write," he said

"IN THE NAME, OF GOD! These are the conditions of peace between Mahomet the Prophet of God, and of Soheil, son of" - "Stop again!" interposed Soheil. "If I acknowledged thee to be the Prophet of God, I had not taken up arms against thee. Write, as the custom is, thine own name and the name of thy father."1 "Write then;" continued Mahomet calmly, "between Mahomet the son of Abdallah, and Soheil the son of Amr. War shall be suspended for ten years. Neither side shall attack the other. Perfect

1 The second interruption by Soheil is not mentioned by the Secretary.


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amity shall prevail betwixt us. Whosoever wisheth to join Mahomet, and enter into treaty with him, shall have liberty to do so; and whoever wisheth to join the Coreish, and enter into treaty with them, shall have liberty so to do. If any one goeth over to Mahomet, without the permission of his guardian, he shall be sent back to his guardian. But, if any one from amongst the followers of Mahomet return to the Coreish, the same shall not be sent back. Provided, - on the part of the Coreish,--- that Mahomet and his followers retire from us this year without entering our city. In the coming year, he may visit Mecca, he and his followers, for three days, when we shall retire therefrom. But they may not enter it with any weapons, save those of the traveller, namely, to each a sheathed sword.1 The witnesses hereof are Abu Bakr, &C"2

1 I have mainly followed the Secretary of Wackidi, p.119; his version is the same in substance as that of Hishami, p.326; it differs, however, in one or two important points, in the arrangement of the clauses. It is clear from this that no copy of the treaty was preserved, but that the contents have been handed down by oral tradition. There is a separate tradition given by the Secretary (p.119 1/2) to this effect: - "And Mahomet wrote at the foot of the treaty, The same shall be incumbent upon you towards us, as is incumbent upon us towards you."

2 Here follow eight other names, viz,---Omar, Abd al Rahman, Sad ibn Abi Wackkas, Othm an, Abu Obeida, Muhammad ibn Maslama, Huweitib ibn Abd al Ozza, Mukriz ibn Hafaz (the two last belonged to the Coreishite party, See Hishami, p.347), and below all followed this sentence : - "The upper part of this was written by Ali" (meaning probably the text of the treaty above the signatures.) Wackidi, 119.


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The deputies of the Coreish depart

A copy of this important document, duly attested, was made over to Soheil and his comrades, who then took their departure. The original was kept by Mahomet himself.

Mahomet and his followers sacrifice their victims

Though unable to enter Mecca, Mahomet resolved to complete such ceremonies of the pilgrimage as the nature of the spot admitted of. So he sacrificed, the victims and concluded the solemnity by shaving his head. The rest of the pilgrims having followed his example,1 the whole assembly broke up, and began their in march homewards.2

Although the people were disappointed, the Treaty gave to Mahomet great political advantages

The people, led by the Vision to anticipate an unopposed visit to the Kaaba, were disappointed at this imperfect fulfilment or the Pilgrimage, and crestfallen at the abortive result of their long journey. But, in truth, a great step had been gained Mahomet. His political status, as an equal and independent Power, was acknowledged by the treaty: the ten years' truce would afford opportunity and time for the new Religion to expand, and to force its claims upon the conviction of the Coreish; while

1 Some cut their hair instead of sharing it. There is a great array of tradition to prove that Mahomet blessed the "Cutters," as well as the "Shavers," of their hair.

Among the miracles mentioned on the occasion is this, "that the Lord sent a strong wind and swept the hair of the Pilgrims into the sacred Territory," which was within a stone's throw of the camp ; - thus signifying acceptance of the rite, notwithstanding its performance on common ground. K.Wackidi, 120 .

2 Mahomet's detention at Hodeibia is said by some to have lasted ten, by others twenty days. K. Wackidi, 119.


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conquest, political and spiritual, might be pursued unshackled in other directions. The stipulation that no one under the protection of a guardian should leave the Coreish without his guardian's consent, was in accordance with the settled principles of Meccan society; and the Prophet had sufficient confidence in the loyalty of his people, and the superior attractions of his cause, to fear no ill effect from tile counter clause, that none should be delivered up who might desert his own standard. Above all, the great and patent success in the negotiation was the free permission accorded to Mahomet and his people to visit Mecca in the following year, and for three days to occupy the city undisturbed. A Revelation was accordingly produced, to place in a clear light this view of the treaty, and to raise the drooping spirits of the pilgrims.

In the Coran it is styled a victory.

At the close of the first march, the people might be seen hurrying across the plain, urging their camels from all directions, and crowding round the Prophet. "Inspiration hath descended on him," passed from mouth to mouth throughout the camp. Standing on his camel, Mahomet began his address with the opening words of the Forty-eighth Sura:-

"Verily WE have given unto thee an evident Victory;-
"That God may pardon thee the Sin that is past and that is to come, and fulfil his Favour upon thee, and lead thee in the right way;----
"And that God may assist thee with a glorious assistance."

Nature and effects of the "Victory."

This Victory has puzzled many of the commentators, who seek to apply it to other occasions; but


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all their applications are far-fetched and untenable.1 When the passage was ended, it is said that a bystander inquired, "What! is this the Victory ?"- "Yea," Mahomet replied, "by Him that holdeth in his hand my breath, it is a Victory." Another reminded him of the promise that they should enter into Mecca unmolested. "True; the Lord hath promised that indeed," said the Prophet, "but when did He promise that it should be in the present year?" The comments of Zohri (though somewhat exaggerated) are very much to the purpose.2 "There was no previous Victory," he says, "in Islam, greater than this. On all other occasions there was fighting: but here War was laid aside, tranquillity and peace restored; the one party henceforward met and conversed freely with the other, and there was no man of sense or judgment amongst the idolaters who was not led thereby to join Islam. And truly in the two years that followed, as many persons entered the Faith as there belonged to it altogether before, or even a greater number." - "And the proof of this," adds Ibn Hisham, "is that, whereas Mahomet went forth. to Hodeibia with only fourteen hundred (or fifteen hundred) men, he was followed two years later, in the attack on Mecca, by ten thousand."3

1 As for instance, the conquest of Kheibar, of Mecca, &C In vv. 18-21, it is true that such future victories are promised. But the words here are descriptive of an event already passed.

2 Hishami, p.331.

3 Ibid. 328. The truth is, that men looked back upon this treaty


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The Bedouins denounced for not joining the pilgrimage

In the Sura of which I have just quoted the opening verses, the Arab tribes which neglected the summons to go forth with Mahomet to the pilgrimage are severely reprimanded; and (the severest punishment for on Arab) they are forbidden to join the true believers in any future marauding excursion.1

in the light of subsequent events. It appeared strange that he who, in less than two years was supreme dictator at Mecca, could be now suing for permission to enter that city, and that he was not only satisfied with these scanty terms, but could even call them a "Victory." His present weakness was overlooked in the consideration of later triumphs. hence the vaunting speech put into Omar's mouth, that "had these terms been fixed by any other than by Mahomet himself; - even by a commander of his appointment, he would have scorned to listen to them;" K. Wackidi, 120; and the indignant conversation he is said to have held with Abu Bakr:-- "What! Is not Mahomet the Prophet of God? Are we not Moslems? Are not they Infidels? Why then is our divine religion to. be thus lowered?" &C Hishami, 325. Hence also the alleged unwillingness of the people to kill their victims at Hodeibia; for, says Hishami, they were like men dying of vexation p. 326.

1 Not to swell the text unreasonably with quotations, I transcribe the passage in this note: -

The Arabs who stayed behind will say to thee, - Our Possessions and our Families engaged us; wherefore thou ask Pardon for us. They say that with their tongues which is not in their hearts; say ;- And who could procure for you any (other) thing from God, if he intended against you Evil,- or if he intended for you Good. Verily God is acquainted with that which ye do.

"Truly ye thought that the Apostle and the Believers would not return to their Families again for ever; this thought was decked out in your Hearts; ye imagined an evil Imagination; and ye are a corrupt People.

Those that stayed behind will say when ye go forth to seize the Spoil, Suffer us to follow you. They seek to change the word of God. Say ; - Ye shall not follow us, for thus hath God already spoken. And they will say; -Nay but ye grudge us (a share in the Booty). By no means. They are a People that understandeth little.


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The pilgrims who took the solemn oath under the tree are in the same Sura applauded for their faithfulness; it was the hand of God himself; not the hand of his Apostle merely, which was upon theirs when the pledge was given ;1 Victory and great spoil shall be their reward:-

Notices of this expedition in the xlviii Sura

"Verily God was well pleased with the Believers, when they pledged themselves to Thee under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, and he caused Tranquillity 2 to descend upon them, and granted them a speedy Victory;-

"And Spoils in abundance, which they shall take;3 and God is Glorious and Wise.

"God hath promised you great Spoil, which ye shall seize; and He hath sent this (Truce) beforehand.4 He hath restrained the

Say unto the Arabs that stayed behind, Ye shall hereafter be called out against a People of great might in war, with whom ye shall fight, or else they shall profess Islam. then if ye obey, God will give you a fair reward, but if ye turn back as ye have turned back heretofore, he shall chastise you with a grievous chastisement." Sura xlviii. 11, et seq.

The meaning apparently is that these Arabs would first have to prove themselves in real and severe fighting (perhaps in Syria or elsewhere) before they were again allowed to join in easy expeditions for booty.

1 v.10.

2 Sekina, or Shechina, ie Divine influence overshadowing the heart.

3 This may allude to the promise of future spoils. Mahomet had no doubt Kheibar, and other expeditions northward, In his mind's eye at the moment: the prospect is also intended to aggravate the grief of the Arabs at the loss of so fine a prize.

If any portion of these or the following verses are to be construed in the past tense as booty already granted, we must suppose them to have been revealed after the conquest of Kheibar, and then placed in their present context. But this supposition I do not think necessary.

4 That is, cleared the way for victories by this preparatory truce.


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hands of men from you, that it may be a sign unto the Believers, and that He may guide you into the right way.

"And yet other (Spoils are prepared for you), over which ye have (now) no power. But God hath encompassed them; for God is over all things Powerful.

"If the Unbelievers had fought against you, verily they had turned their backs.

"It is God that restrained their hands from you, and your hands from them, in the Valley of Mecca, after he had already made you superior to them ;1 and God observed that which ye did.

"These are they which disbelieve, which hindered you from visiting the holy Temple; and (hindered) the Victims also, - which were kept back, so that they readied not their destination.

"And had it not been for believing men, and believing women, whom ye know not, and whom ye might have trampled upon, and blame might on their account unwittingly have fallen on you (God had not held thee back from entering Mecca; but he did so) that God might cause such as He pleaseth to enter into his Mercy. If these had been separable, verily we had punished those of them 2(the inhabitants of Mecca) that disbelieve, with a grievous Punishment.

"When the Unbelievers raised scruples in their own hearts,-

1 Or, "given you the victory over them." This is by some referred to the body of forty or fifty Coreish said to have been captured in their attempt to do mischief to the pilgrim camp, and wino were liberated by Mahomet See above, note p.81. But even if that incident were certain, the mention of it would be here irrelevant, the words refer generally to the alleged superiority in the negotiations, which it was Mahomet's interest and object to assume throughout

2 i.e. those of the Coreish. Mahomet would here make it appear that there were numerous Believers in his mission at Mecca unknown to him, and that God held him back from attacking Mecca lest these should have been involved in the common destruction.


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the scruples of Ignorance,1- then God sent down Tranquillity upon his Apostle, and upon the Believers, and fixed in them the word of Piety;2 - and they were the best entitled to it, and worthy of the same; - for God comprehendeth all things.

"Now hath God verified unto His Apostle the Vision in truth; -Ye shall surely enter the holy Temple, if it please God, in security, having your heads shaven and your hair cut. Fear ye not: for he knoweth that which ye know not. And he hath appointed for you after this, a speedy Victory besides.

"It is He who hath sent His Apostle with Guidance, and the true Religion,-that he may exalt it above every other."3

The Bani Khozan join alliance with Mahomet; the Bani Bakr with the Coreish

One of the first political effects of the Treaty was that the Bani Khozaa, who bad from the first shown favour to the new faith,4 entered immediately into open alliance with Mahomet. The Bani Bakr, another tribe resident in the vicinity of Mecca, adhered to the Coreish.

The son of Soheil given up by Mahomet

The stipulation for the surrender of converts at the instance of their guardians, was soon illustrated by one or two peculiar incidents. The son of Soheil, himself the representative of the Coreish, appeared at Hodeibia, just as the Treaty was concluded, and desired to follow Mahomet. But his father claimed

1 Alluding to their having objected to the use of the epithets of the Deity, &C at the beginning of the treaty.

2 i.e. the right profession of faith, which ought to have been in the treaty. All this is a sort of apology for having yielded to Soheil.

3 Sura, xlviii. 18-28.

4 See vol. i. p. cclxii. They had or old been closely connected with the branch of Abdal Muttalib, as distinct from that of Omeya.


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him, and although the lad earnestly remonstrated, the claim was admitted. "Have patience, Abu Jandal!" said Mahomet to him, - "put thy trust in the Lord. He will work out for thee, and for others like thee, a way of deliverance."1

Abu Basir gathers a band of marauders and harasses the Coreish

Some little time after the return of Mahomet, Abu Basir, a young convert, effected his escape from Mecca, and appeared at Medina. His guardians sent two servants with a letter to Mahomet, and instructions to bring the deserter back to his home. The obligation of surrender was at once admitted by Mahomet, and Abu Basir set out for Mecca. But he had travelled only a few miles, when be treacherously seized the sword of one of his conductors, and slew him. The other servant fled back to Medina; Abu Basir himself followed with the naked sword in his hand, reeking with blood. Both soon reached the presence of Mahomet; the servant to complain of the murder, Abu Basir to plead for his freedom. The youth contended that as the Prophet

1 The story is told by tradition with much over-colouring. Abu Jandal came up just as the treaty was completed, having escaped from Mecca in his chains. His father beat him and dragged him away. He screamed aloud to the Moslems to save him: but Mahomet said that be could not diverge from the terms of the treaty just concluded. Omar walked by the lad as he was being led back, and comforted him with such ideas as these :- "The blood of these infidels is no better than the blood of dogs." The whole story is so exaggerated, that it is difficult to say what degree of truth there is in it. But I think it must have had that foundation in fact.


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had once fulfilled the letter of the Treaty in delivering him up, he was now free to remain behind. Mahomet gave no direct reply. His answer was enigmatical: after an exclamation in praise of his bravery,1 he added in a voice of admiration "What a kindler of War, :if he had but with him a body of adherents!" Thus encouraged, Abu Basir quitted Medina and went to Al Is, by the sea shore, on the caravan road to Syria. The words of Mahomet were not long in becoming known at Mecca, and the restless youths of the Coreish, receiving them as a suggestion to follow the Same example, set out to join Abu Basir; who was soon surrounded with about seventy followers desperate as himself. They waylaid every caravan from Mecca (for since the truce, traffic with Syria had again sprung up), and spared the life of no one. The Coreish were at length so harassed by these attacks, that they solicited the interference of Mahomet; and, on condition that the outrages were stopped, waived their claim to have the deserters delivered up. Mahomet acceded to the request, and summoned the marauders to Medina, where they took up their abode.2

Mahomet's support of him in contravention of the spirit of the treaty

It seems obvious to remark that, however much Mahomet may have been within the letter of the

1 "Alas for his mother!" signifying that his bravery would likely lead him to be killed in some daring conflict.

2 The story of Abu Basir is not given by the secretary.


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truce in this proceeding, the encouragement held out by him to Abu Basir and his comrades, in their hostility to the Coreish, was a breach of its spirit. Abu Basir professed himself an adherent of Islam, and, as such, implicitly subservient to the commands of the Prophet. To incite him, therefore, to a course of plunder and rapine, was a virtual contravention of the engagement to promote amity and peace.

Rule as to women who fled from Mecca to Medina

The stipulation for the surrender of deserters made no distinction as to sex. A female having fled to Medina, whose guardians were at Mecca, her brothers followed her, and demanded her restoration under the terms of truce. Mahomet demurred. The Divine Oracle was called in, and it gave judgment in favour of the woman. All women who came over to Medina, were to be "tried," and if their profession was found sincere, they were to be retained. The unbelief of their husbands dissolved the previous marriage; they now might legally contract fresh nuptials with believers, provided only that restitution were made of any sums expended by their former husbands as dower upon them. The marriage bond was similarly annulled between believers and their unbelieving wives who had remained behind at Mecca;- and their dowers might be reckoned in adjusting the payments due to the Coreish on account of the women retained at Medina. Though the rule is thus laid down at length in the Coran, page 45

but few cases of the kind are cited by tradition.1

1 Hishami, p.330. The woman there mentioned as coming over to Medina was daughter of Ocba, so cruelly executed by Mahomet after Badr. See vol. iii. p 116. Another similar refugee is noticed by M. C. de Perceval as married to Omar (iii. 187). On the other hand, Omar divorced Coreina, his wife, who remained at Mecca, and who was then married by Abu Sofian. Another similar case is cited by Hishami, 330.

The rule is given in the Sixtieth Sura. It opens with strong remonstrances against making friends of Unbelievers; for Mahomet probably found that his people were, since the truce, becoming too intimate with the Meccans, and feared lest the tendency of such friendships would relax the discipline and espirit de corps of Islam.

Then follows the passage regarding the women "O ye that believe! When believing women come over unto you as Refugees, then try them; God well knoweth their faith. And if ye know them to be believers, return them not again unto the infidels; they are not lawful (as wives) unto the infidels; neither are the infidels lawful (as husbands) unto them. But give unto them (the infidels) what they may have expended (on their dowers). It is no sin for you that ye marry them, after that ye shall have given them (the women) their dowers.

"And retain not the (honour or) patronage of the unbelieving women; but demand back that which ye hare spent (in their dowers); and let the infidels demand back what they have spent (on the women which come over to you).

"This is the judgment of God, which he establisheth between you; and God is knowing and wise.

"And if any or your wives escape from you unto the infidels, and ye have your turn (by the elopement of their wires unto you), then give to those whose wives have gone (out of the dower of the latter) a sum equal to that which they hare expended (on the dowers of the former); and fear God in whom ye believe.

"O Prophet! When believing Women come unto thee, and plight their faith unto thee that they will not associate any with God, that they will not steal, neither commit adultery, that they


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Mahomet's dream of universal submission to Islam.

The pilgrimage to Hodeibia is the last event of importance which occurred in the Sixth year of Mahomet's residence at Medina. But towards its close a new and singular project occupiea his attention. It was nothing less than to summon the sovereigns of the surrounding States and Empires to his allegiance! The principles of Mahomet had been slowly but surely tending towards the universal imposition of his faith. Wherever his arms had reached, the recognition of his Divine mission, and of his spiritual authority as the Apostle of God, was peremptorily required. An exception indeed was made in favour of Jews and Christians; but even these, if they retained their faith, must pay tribute, as an admission of its inferiority. It may seem a chimerical and wild design in the Prophet of

will not kill their children, nor promulgate a calumny forged between their hands and their feet, and that they will not be disobedient unto thee in that which is reasonable,--- then pledge thy faith unto them, and seek pardon of God for them. For God is Gracious and Merciful." Sura ix. 10-12.

Stanley on Corinthians (1 Cor. vii. 1-40) quotes the above passage, and says that the rule it contains "resembles that of the Apostle." Vol. i. p.145. But there is really no analogy between them; the gospel rule differs toto coelo from that of Mahomet "if any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away."--- And similarly the case of a believing wife with an unbelieving husband (1 Cor. vii 12-16). Whereas Mahomet declares the marriage bond de facto annulled by the unbelief of either party, which indeed was only to be expected from his loose ideas regarding the marriage contract.


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Medina, - scarcely able as he was to maintain his own position, helplessly besieged twelve months before, and forced but lately to retire from Mecca with his purpose of pilgrimage unaccomplished,---- that he should dream of supremacy, either spiritual or political, over Egypt, Abyssinia, and Syria, nay over the Roman and Persian Empires. But so it was. Besides the stedfast and lofty conviction which he had of his duty and mission as the Apostle of God, it is not to be supposed that a person so sagacious and discerning should have failed to perceive in the signs of the times a grand opportunity of success. The Roman Empire was broken and wearied by Successive shocks of barbarous invasion: and together with the Kingdom of Persia it had been wasted by a long and devastating war. Schism had rent and paralyzed the Christian Church. The Melchites and the Jacobites, the Monothelites and the Nestorians, regarded each other with a deadly hatred, and were ready to welcome any intruder that would rid them of their adversaries. The new faith would sweep away all the sophistries about which they vainly contended: holding fast the substratum of previous Revelation, it substituted a reforiped and universal religion for the effete and erring systems which the priesthood had introduced. The claims of truth, enforced by the army of God, would surely conquer. Such perhaps were the thoughts of Mahomet, when he determined to send


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embassies to the Cansar and the Chosroes, to Abyssinia, Egypt, Syria and Yemama.1

Seal engraved and despatches prepared for foreign princes.

It was suggested by one of his followers that the kings of the earth did not receive despatches, unless they were attested by a seal. Accordingly Mahomet had a seal made of silver, and engraved with the words MAHOMET THE APOSTLE OF GOD.2 Letters were written and sealed, and the six messengers simultaneously despatched to their various destinations, on the opening of the new year, as shall be farther related in the following chapter.3

1 Weil (p.190) thinks that the good treatment of the Refugees by the Najashy (Abyssinian Prince) May have suggested the idea. But Mahomet's views had evidently, by degrees, been taking a wider range, independently of that circumstance.

2 K. Wackidi; 49 : see vol.i. p. lxxvii.

3 It is pretended that his messengers, "like the Apostles of Jesus," were immediately endowed with the faculty of speaking the language of the country to which they were deputed. K. Wackidi, 51. But Mahomet evidently selected for. the purpose risen who, a travellers, merchants, or otherwise, had before visited the respective countries. So Dehya was sent to Syria. See above, p.10.

Less trustworthy authorities make these embassies to have started from Medina, on various dates. But Wackidi's secretary states distinctly that all set out on the same day, in Moharram, A.H. VII K. Wackidi, 49.

In one place (p.89 ) the Secretary says that the embassy to Abyssinia started on the 1st Rabi, i.e. two months later than the date above given. The discrepancy may perhaps be accounted for by supposing that the original tradition placed the date seven years after the Hegira of Mahomet; - one set of traditionists counting from the nominal opening of the Hegira era (Moharram), the other from the actual arrival of Mahomet in Medina, two months later. See vol. ii. p.261.


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

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