On the authority of At-Tabari, the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him asked 'Aishah ÑÖì Çááå ÚäåÇ, his spouse three days prior to receiving news relating to breaching of covenant, to make preparations peculiar to marching out for war. Abu Bakr, meanwhile, came in and asked 'Aishah ÑÖì Çááå ÚäåÇ what the matter was, showing surprise at the preparations being made as it was not, as he said, the usual time for war. She replied that she had no idea. On the morning of the third day 'Amr bin Sâlim Al-Khuza'i arrived in the company of forty horsemen to brief the Prophet peace be upon him on the plight of his people and seeking the Muslims' help for retaliation. People of Madinah then got to know that Quraish had breached the covenant. Budail followed 'Amr, and then Abu Sufyan and the news was unequivocally confirmed.
With view of securing a complete news black-out concerning his military intentions, the Prophet peace be upon him despatched an eight-men platoon under the leadership of Qatadah bin Rab'i in the direction of Edam, a short distance from Madinah, in Ramadan 8 A.H., in order to divert the attention of people and screen off the main target with which he was preoccupied.
There was so much dread and fear everywhere that Hatib, one of the most trusted followers of the Prophet peace be upon him secretly despatched a female messenger with a letter to Makkah containing intimation of the intended attack. The Prophet peace be upon him received news from the heaven of Hatib's action and sent 'Ali and Al-Miqdad with instructions to go after her. They overtook the messenger, and after a long search discovered the letter carefully hidden in her locks. The Prophet peace be upon him summoned Hatib and asked him what had induced him to this act. He replied, "O Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him! I have no affinity of blood with Quraish; there is only a kind of friendly relationship between them and myself. My family is at Makkah and there is no one to look after it or to offer protection to it. My position stands in striking contrast to that of the refugees whose families are secure due to their blood ties with Quraish. I felt that since I am not related to them, I should, for the safety of my children, earn their gratitude by doing good to them. I swear by Allâh that I have not done this act as an apostate, forsaking Islam. I was prompted only by the considerations I have just explained."
'Umar wanted to cut his head off as a hypocrite, but the Prophet peace be upon him accepted his excuse and granted him pardon, then addressed 'Umar saying: "Hatib is one of those who fought in the battle of Badr. How do you know that he is a hypocrite? Allâh is likely to look favourably on those who participated in that battle. Turning then, to Hatib, he said: "Do as you please, for I have forgiven you."
After making full preparation, the Prophet peace be upon him proceeded to Makkah at the head of ten thousand soldiers on the 10th of Ramadan, 8 A.H. He mandated Abu Ruhm Al-Ghifari to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence. When they reached Al-Juhfa, Al-'Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib and his family came to join the Prophet peace be upon him. At Al-Abwa', the Muslims came across Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith and 'Abdullah bin Omaiyah, the Prophet's cousins, but, on account of the harm they had inflicted, and their satiric language, on the believers, they were not welcomed. 'Ali addressed Abu Sufyan to go and beseech the Prophet peace be upon him for pardon and confess his ill-behaviour in a manner similar to that of Yusuf's (the Prophet Joseph) brothers:
"They said: 'By Allâh! Indeed Allâh has preferred you above us, and we certainly have been sinners.'" [12:91] Abu Sufyan observed 'Ali's counsel, to which the Prophet quoted Allâh's Words:
"He said: 'No reproach on you this day, may Allâh forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!'" [12:92]
Abu Sufyan recited some verses paying a generous tribute to the Prophet peace be upon him and professing Islam as his only religion.
The Muslims then marched on in a state of fasting until they reached a place called Al-Qadeed where water was available. There they broke fast and resumed their movement towards Mar Az-Zahran. The Quraishites were quite unaware of the development of affairs, but the Prophet peace be upon him did not like to take them by surprise. He, therefore, ordered his men to kindle fire on all sides for cooking purposes. The idea behind this was that Quraish should be afforded full opportunity to assess the situation in which they were pitchforked correctly, and should not endanger their lives by leaping blindly in the battlefield. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab was entrusted with the guard duty. In the meanwhile, Abu Sufyan along with Hakim bin Hizam and Budail bin Warqua', two terrible polytheists, went out to reconnoiter. Before they got near the camp, they met 'Abbas, the Prophet's uncle. He apprised Abu Sufyan of the situation and advised him to accept Islam and persuade his people to surrender before Muhammad peace be upon him; otherwise, his head would be struck off.
Under the prevailing compelling circumstances, Abu Sufyan went in the company of 'Abbas seeking the Prophet's peace be upon him audience. The Muslims were furious to see Abu Sufyan and wanted to kill him on the spot. But the two men managed, not without difficulties, to see the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him who advised that they see him the following day. The Prophet peace be upon him addressed Abu Sufyan saying: "Woe to you! Isn't it time for you to bear witness to the Oneness of Allâh and Prophethood of Muhammad?" Here, the archenemy of Islam began to beseech the Prophet peace be upon him in the most earnest words that testify to the Prophet's generosity and mild temper begging for pardon and forgiveness, and professing wholeheartedly the new faith. On request by 'Abbas, the Prophet peace be upon him, in the context of the general amnesty he proclaimed, gave Abu Sufyan, who had a liking for bragging, a special privilege, saying: "He who takes refuge in Abu Sufyan's house is safe; whosoever confines himself to his house, the inmates thereof shall be in safety, and he who enters the Sacred Mosque is safe."
On the morning of Tuesday, 17th. Ramadan, 8 A.H., the Prophet peace be upon him left Mar Az-Zahran. He ordered Al-'Abbas to detain Abu Sufyan at a commanding gorge that could afford a full view of the Muslim army parading on its way towards Makkah, and hence give him the chance to see the great and powerful soldiers of Allâh. The different tribes successively passed with their banners flown up, until at last the battalion of the Emigrants and Helpers with the Prophet peace be upon him at their head heavily armed marched by. Abu Sufyan began to wonder who those people were, to which Al-'Abbas told him that they were Muhammad peace be upon him and his Companions. Abu Sufyan said that no army however powerful could resist those people and addressing Al-'Abbas, he said: "I swear by Allâh that the sovereignty of your brother's son has become too powerful to withstand." Al-'Abbas answered, "It is rather the power of Prophethood," to which the former agreed.
Sa'd bin 'Ubadah carried the flag of the Helpers. When he passed by Abu Sufyan, he said "Today will witness the great fight, you cannot seek sanctuary at Al-Ka'bah. Today will witness the humiliation of Quraish." Abu Sufyan complained about this to the Prophet peace be upon him who got angry and said "Nay, today Al-Ka'bah will be sanctified, and Quraish honoured," and quickly ordered that Sa'd should be stripped off the flag, and that it should be entrusted to his son Qais, in another version, to Az-Zubair.
Al-'Abbas urged Abu Sufyan to hasten into Makkah and warn the Quraishites against any aggressive behaviour towards the Muslims. There in Makkah, he shouted at the top of his voice and warned against any hostilities advising them to seek safety in his house. His wife got indignant and tugged at his moustache cursing him and abusing his cowardly stance. The people within Makkah mocked Abu Sufyan and dispersed in different directions, some into their houses, others into the Holy Sanctuary while some undisciplined reckless ruffians led by 'Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Omaiyah and Suhail bin 'Amr encamped themselves in a place called Khandamah, with a murderous intent in their minds.
The Prophet peace be upon him, on his part, was quite modestly and calmly drawing the final touches for the military breakthrough awaiting the Muslims, by Allâh's Will. He appointed Khalid bin Al-Waleed as a leader of the right flank of the army with Aslam, Sulaim, Ghifar, Muzainah and Juhainah tribes under his command to enter Makkah through its lower avenues. Az-Zubair bin 'Awwam was to lead the left flank and would storm Makkah from the upper side holding up the Messenger's banner. Abu 'Ubaidah took command of the infantry and was to penetrate into the city via a side valley. They were given full and decisive orders not to kill unless in self defence and in that case they would exterminate any aggressive elements and quell any opposition.
The Muslim battalions marched out each in its already drawn route to fulfill the missions they were supposed to carry out. Khalid bin Al-Waleed worked his way into the heart of the town quite successively killing twelve of the ruffians and sustaining two martyrs. Az-Zubair set out and reached the fixed destination where he planted the banner at Al-Fath (conquest) Mosque and waited there for the arrival of the Prophet peace be upon him. A tent was pitched for him where he offered prayers of thanks to the All-Mighty Allâh, Who, out of His immense grace, had granted him a splendid victory. But he did not repose long. He, in the company of the Helpers and Emigrants, got up and proceeded towards Al-Ka'bah, the Sacred House, which is an emblem of the Oneness and Supremacy of Allâh. It was unfortunately infested with idols that numbered 360. He knocked them down with his bow while reciting the verse of the Noble Qur'ân:
"And Say: 'Truth (i.e. Islamic Monotheism or this Qur'ân or Jihâd against polytheists) has come and Batil (falsehood, i.e. Satan or polytheism, etc.) has vanished. Surely! Batil is ever bound to vanish.'" [17:81] And Allâh further said:
"Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "The Truth (the Qur'ân and Allah's Inspiration) has come, and Al-Batil (falsehood - Iblis) can neither create anything nor resurrect (any thing)." [34:49] He then started the usual circumambulation on his ride. He was not in a state of Ihram (ritual consecration) then. On completion, he called for 'Uthman bin Talhah, the janitor of Al-Ka'bah, from whom he took the key. He went in and saw images of Prophets Ibrahim and Ishmael, ÚáíåãÇ ÇáÓáÇã, throwing divination arrows. He denounced these acts of Quraish and ordered that all idols be dismantled, images and effigies deleted. He then entered the sacred hall to face the wall opposite the door and there again performed devout prostrations, and went around acclaiming Allâh's Greatness and Oneness. Shortly afterwards, he returned to the door-way and standing upon its elevated step, gazed in thankfulness on the thronging multitude below and delivered the following celebrated address:
"There is no god but Allâh Alone. He has no associates. He made good His Promise that He held to His slave and helped him and defeated all the Confederates along. Bear in mind that every claim of privilege, whether that of blood, or property, is under my heel, except that of the custody of Al-Ka'bah and supplying of water to the pilgrims. Bear in mind that for anyone who is slain, even though semi-deliberately, with club or whip, for him the blood-money is very severe: a hundred camels, forty of them to be pregnant.
"O people of Quraish! surely Allâh has abolished from you all pride of the pre-Islamic era and all conceit in your ancestry, (because) all men are descended from Adam, and Adam was made out of clay." He then recited to them the verse:
"O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you near Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqûn: i.e. pious and righteous persons who fear Allâh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware." [49:13] He further added:
"O you people of Quraish! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you?" They replied:
"O noble brother and son of noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you." Upon this he said:
"I speak to you in the same words as Yusuf (the Prophet Joseph) spoke unto his brothers: He said: "No reproach on you this day," [12:92] go your way, for you are freed ones." As for the door-keeping of Al-Ka'bah and supplying of water to pilgrims, the Prophet peace be upon him ordered that these jobs remain in the hand of 'Uthman bin Talhah and that the key will stay with him and his descendants for ever.
When time for prayer approached, Bilal ascended Al-Ka'bah and called for prayer. Abu Sufyan bin Harb, 'Itab bin Usaid and Al-Harith bin Hisham were meanwhile sitting in the yard. 'Itab bin Usaid commented on the new situation (Bilal ascending Al-Ka'bah and calling for prayer) saying that Allâh honoured Usaid (his father) having not heard such words. The Prophet peace be upon him approached and assisted by Divine Revelation told them that he had learnt about what they had spoken of. Al-Harith and 'Itab, taken by incredible surprise, immediately professed Islam and bore witness to the Messengership of Muhammad peace be upon him adding that "We swear by Allâh that none had been with us to inform you."
On that very day, the Prophet peace be upon him entered 'Umm Hani's house where he washed and offered prayers of victory. 'Umm Hani had sheltered two Makkan relatives of hers in her house in which act she was granted support by the Prophet peace be upon him.
Shedding blood of nine arch-criminals was declared lawful even under the curtains of Al-Ka'bah. Nevertheless, only four of them were killed while the others were pardoned for different reasons. As for those who were killed, mention could be made of 'Abdul 'Uzza bin Khatal who had become a Muslim and then deputed to collect alms-tax in the company of a Helper. They had also a slave with them. 'Abdullah, in a fit of rage, killed the Helper's slave on account of a mere trifling dispute, and joined the pagan Arabs as an apostate. He was never repentant at this heinous crime but rather employed two women singers and incited them to sing satirically about the Prophet peace be upon him.
The other man who was put to death was Miqyas bin Sababa. He was a Muslim. A Helper accidently killed his brother Hisham. The Prophet peace be upon him had arranged the payment of blood money to him, which he had accepted. His revengeful nature, however, was never appeased, so he killed the Helper and went to Makkah as an apostate.
Similarly, Huwairith and one woman singer went to death.
On the other hand, every attempt was made to grant pardon to the people. 'Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, who had attacked Khalid's detachment at the time of the entry into Makkah, was forgiven. To Wahshi, the murderer of Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle, and to Hind, who had chewed his liver, was also extended his generous clemency. The same generous treatment was accorded to Habar who had attacked the Prophet's daughter with a spear, while on her way from Makkah to Madinah, so grievously that she ultimately died of the fatal injuries.
In the same context of magnanimity peculiar to Muhammad peace be upon him, two chiefs of Quraish were pardoned once they had embraced Islam. They were Safwan bin Omaiyah and Fudalah bin 'Umair. The latter had attempted to assassinate the Prophet peace be upon him while circumambulating in the Holy Sanctuary. The Prophet's matchless tolerance and broad-mindedness instigated by his mission as 'A mercy to all people', converted a terrible hypocrite into a faithful devout believer.