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The Opening of Makkah

Pages from the Seerah: Some Aspects of the Opening of Makkah (Fath ul Makkah)
[Adaptation and translation of an extract from Seerah Nabawiyah (Fiqh al Seerah) by Dr Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al Buthy.]

The opening of Makkah for the Muslims occurred in Ramadan of the 8th year of Hijrah. The Quraish broke the Treaty of Hudaybiyah by attacking an ally of the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. ordered the mobilization of the Muslim army.

The Quraish regretted their action and sent Abu Sufyan to mediate but the Muslims were adamant. A woman among the Muslims tried to send a letter to tell of the Muslim preparations but was intercepted. She gave her reasons in order to protect her family in Makkah and not because her being an apostate or to betray the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. forgave her because she was with them in the battle of Badr. In Surah Mumtahanah: 1, Allah s.w.t. admonishes and warns Muslims against revealing the secrets of Muslims out of love for their kin and clan.
The Muslims gathered an army of 10,000 strong. From afar the Quraish emissaries who included Abu Sufyan could see the huge bonfires lit by the Muslim encampments. They were all captured by Muslim guards and brought to the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. Upon seeing Abu Sufyan, the Prophet s.a.w. asked Abu Sufyan was is not time for him to accept Islam. Abu Sufyan replied that he was ready to accept there is no God but Allah but although he accepted the nobleness, graciousness and honesty, he hesitated in accepting Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah. Finally, he accepted the Prophethood of Muhammad s.a.w.

At the mouth of the valley, Abbas r.a. purposely brought Abu Sufyan to see the Muslim army in formation. One by one the regiments moved with their banners unfolded until he could see the Prophet s.a.w. in the middle of the Muhajirin and the Ansar regiments. Abu Sufyan was astounded and exclaimed that there would be no army that could challenge it and that Abbas’s nephew (i.e. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.) was a great emperor. Abbas replied that it was not being king or emperor but Prophethood.

To win the heart of Abu Sufyan, it was declared that those who seek refuge in Abu Sufyan’s house shall be safe. It was announced as well that those who remained in the houses and in the sanctuary of the Masjidil Haram were safe.

The Prophet s.a.w. entered the city of Makkah with great humility, reciting aloud Surah al Fath repeatedly, in remembrance and gratefulness of Allah s.w.t. He wore a green turban with his head bowed low. He bowed so low that his beard almost touched the hump of the camel he was riding on.

He went straight to the Ka’bah. The idols around and inside the Ka’bah were destroyed. He asked for the key to the Ka’bah from its keeper and afterwards returned it to him.

He asked Bilal r.a. to climb up the Ka’bah make the call of adhan (call to prayers). People gathered in droves to accept and come into Islam.

The Prophet s.a.w. reminded the Muslim troops to avoid bloodshed and there were only some light skirmishes.

The Prophet s.a.w. accepted pledges of loyalty from the men and women of Makkah.

The Prophet s.a.w. reopened the city of Makkah in peace. It was a great victory (al fath ul adzhim).

Some of the Lessons

From the seerah, we witness the events of the great victory granted by Allah s.w.t. upon the Prophet s.a.w. and his companions r.a.a. It showed the value of the work of da’wah before it and its significance of its events. The secrets and wisdom of it all is unfolded. We appreciate the meaning of Hijrah, the price of sacrifice and hardship in the cause of Allah s.w.t. Not any of it is in vain as long as it is for the sake of Islam. Nothing is of value to us if Islam is lost.

As we ponder upon this great victory, we realize the meaning of jihad, martyrdom and the trials and tests accompanying them. All the sufferings and tribulations are not in vain. No drop of Muslim blood is in vain. No suffering borne by the Muslims in their struggle and their journey is without meaning and value. It is all to be accounted. It is all part of the price of victory and success. It is the sunnatullah of the humble servants of Allah s.w.t. There is no victory without true Islam, no Islam without true submission, without sacrifice, humility and strive in His path. We witness the meaning of the Hudaybiyah Treaty to understand the secrets that even the close companions were astonished.

All of these testify to the essence of Prophethood (al nubuwwah) which governs the life of the Messenger of Allah s.a.w.

Do we not remember the way the Prophet s.a.w. left Makkah inconspicuously, strategically, using hidden trails, by way of caves and hills and crossing open deserts to reach Yathrib? So it was with the companions who had to flee and forsake their properties, their kinfolk and their birthplace in order to uphold their religion. But now they have returned and coming back in numbers and with strength. They are now greeted and welcomed with utmost respect by those who had earlier ousted them. The people of Makkah entered Islam and Bilal who was once tortured by the Musyrikin can now rise up to call them to prayers.

That is the essence of Islam however much its detractors in their ignorance and stubbornness refuse to adhere.

A lesson from the incident of Abu Sufyan is that at the moment of becoming a Muslim, the person is only required to submit himself and in speech to the religion of Allah, worshipping none but Allah and testifying that Muhammad s.a.w. is His Messenger. As of iman, it develops in tandem with the continuation of commitment to Islam. What is required is not complete purification of the heart but reform of what is obvious.

The Prophet s.a.w. entered Makkah in atmosphere of worship in witnessing the conclusion of His Lord’s commandment and the fruit of the hardships suffered. Moments filled with gratefulness full of worship (‘ubudiah). That is the way for all Muslims be they in hardship or in happiness, whether victorious or vanquished.

The Prophet s.a.w. ‘s dialogue and address on the day of the opening:

He started by praising Allah s.w.t. who brought the succour, the support and fulfilled the promise of victory. He then announced to the Quraish and the whole world of the new and high society as portrayed in Surah al Hujurat: 13. By this all the teachings and traditions of jahiliyyah, the days of the Ignorance are over. All humans are from Adam and Adam comes from the earth. The Quraish pledged to Prophet s.a.w., there is no superiority and privilege of the Arab over the non-Arab except in taqwa.

Women participated themselves in the pledge on the basis of equality in the responsibilities of every Muslim towards Islam. That is why Muslim women are obliged to learn the religion the same way as for men. They have to equip themselves with knowledge, consciousness and awareness so that they not fall to the lures of the detractors of Islam for they have to fulfill their pledges.

The Prophet s.a.w. entered and opened Makkah in peace and with strength. He did not come as a conqueror and he did not seize properties nor did he make the inhabitants prisoners. Makkah is a holy city and a sacred place and so it stayed the way it was in the opening of the city by the Messenger of Allah s.a.w.

Islamic Outreach Usrah Notes

Adaptation and translation of an extract from Seerah Nabawiyah (Fiqh al Seerah ) by Dr Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al Buthy.
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