The Liberation of Makkah: A Symphony of Values
All thanks are due to Allah who made the days turn around, who divided the powers amidst his bondsmen and who gave more leverage to the people of righteousness as long as they abided by it. May the blessings, peace and prayers of Allah be upon the noblest of his creations, the seeker of righteousness, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and his companions and followers till Judgment Day!
Dear listeners; May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all!
In the history of Islam there are some truly glorious days for which we all long because of the lessons and wisdoms embedded in them, and because of the real treasures they carry to us if we could properly use them to restore our lost glory and splendor.
The liberation of Makkah is one of those days attested by history to be one of the greatest and loftiest days ever. This day also attests how the Prophet (SAWS) instilled some of the highest values that preceded other civilizations.
Apart from any narrative of events, that most of us know, I would like to stop at a range of these values which are epitomized by the practical reality of our days. The Prophet (SAWS) gave, through these values, the best example in subliming himself from any grudges teaching us a lesson we’re all in a dire need for to salvage our societies from stooping low into the abhorrent spitefulness of inhumanity.
It could be proper, before getting into these values, to highlight the genius of the leader Muhammad (SAWS), this genius that manifested itself so openly during this particular day and the days that preceded it. It is for this very same reason that Allah considers the Hudaybiya Treaty day to be the real day of liberation even though the Prophet (SAWS) accepted this treaty in contrary to the senior companions who sided with the decision of invading Makkah. Hence Allah brought down the verses, “Truly, We have granted you a clear victory.” (TMQ, 48:1).
A Muslim leader must always be visionary and able to envision what no other person can see. This was the most prominent characteristic in the Prophet (SAWS) and in this we must all take his lead so as to realize that leadership is an art and that the leader must excel in this art before venturing into it.
One the manifestations of his genius was the liberation plan that he set and how he hid his intention and the destination of the army even from the closest people to his heart (his beloved wife Lady Aisha and her father -his most intimate friend- Abu-Bakr). He even used a strategic decoy which was something he always resorted to in grave situations that are related to what we call these days; national security issues.
From this lesson the Prophet (SAWS) is teaching us that some particular figures in the government, or in some institutions, must retain any information they might think can jeopardize the security of the state; and that everyone else must realize the gravity of this issue.
In a narration by Al-Bukhari, Kaab Ibn-Malek describes the great attention Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) gave to setting the decoys and retaining all the strategic secrets of the state saying, “The Prophet (SAWS) never intended to go in a battle except that he would give misleading information about his intention.” There is no wonder about that when the Prophet (SAWS) always said that “war is trickery”.
This was so clear on this glorious day when the Prophet (SAWS) refused to divulge the secret even to the closest people to his heart. One of the things that Ibn-Katheer said in his book “Al-Bedaya Wal-Nehaya – The Beginning and the End” was that when Abu-Bakr (RA) asked his daughter Lady Aisha (RA) what the Prophet intended she said, “He never said anything to us…” Other times she would keep silent and in both cases this means that she knew nothing in particular from the Prophet (SAWS).
To make the decoy even more misleading the Prophet (SAWS) sent a brigade led by one of his companions (Abu-Qatada) to another spot away from Makkah (called Batn Idm) so the spies would convey this intelligence to the enemies who would be baffled by it and no one but the Prophet (SAWS) would know the real intention.
This was the level of his excellence in leadership and he even did far more than that to perfect his role. He taught the nation what leadership is all about and how to be keen on major national secrets.
This keenness and this wise leadership was only part of a whole set of values that were displayed like a symphony on the day of Makkah’s liberation; so harmonious as harmony can ever be. No one will forgive except in what he owns, no one will be humble except if he is able and no one will be sincere except if his victory did not keep him from being sincere.
The Prophet (SAWS) set these values and observed them because they complemented this great ingenuity Allah blessed him with. From the start of the journey and ever since he declared his intention clearly he started spreading the messages of peace and forgiveness among his companions to confirm to them that the Muslims are liberators not invaders; they spread Islam not bloodshed, they return to Makkah carrying goodness not in personal revenge.
That’s why the Prophet (SAWS) urged his leaders, when he commanded them to enter Makkah, not to fight except the ones who fight them. He also persisted on his peaceful stance even after his victory and he issued a general amnesty on all Quraysh in saying, “Go! You are all free!”
He observed the integrity of the individual just as he observed the integrity of the group as he intended, from the start, for this glorious day. He said, “This is the compassion-day not the odyssey-day.”
For this same reason he became so angry when the tribe of Khuzaa (one of the tribes participating in the Prophet’s expedition) killed a man from the tribe of Hudhail for revenge. The Prophet (SAWS) became so angry from Khuzaa and he stood up to give a sermon where he declared his dissatisfaction with this action and he even paid the blood-money for the tribe of Hudhail.
Values can never be compromised and the blood of one is like the blood of all! People who have real values never waste the rights no matter who the owners of these rights were and even if they differed with them in faith, race and nationality.
A closer look at the details of some of the Prophet’s and the companions’ stances from the liberation of Makkah is the best proof that it was indeed a symphony of higher human values as endorsed by Islam.
The leader of the Ansar (Saad Ibn Ubada) as narrated by Al-Bukhari, was so happy and exhilarated by the victory that he cried out loud, “This is the odyssey-day! This is the day the Ka’ba is appropriated!” But the Prophet (SAWS) quickly said, “Saad lied! This is the day the Ka’ba is honored, this is the day the Ka’ba is clothed.”
To assert the mistake of this overzealous cry, the Prophet (SAWS) – as narrated by Ibn-Katheer – took the banner from Saad and ordered his son Qays Ibn Saad to carry it instead of him as a reproach for Saad.
These are the values that should govern the Muslim! You might say: Why didn’t the Prophet (SAWS) leave his companions to have fun and to enjoy this victory? Haven’t they suffered enough at the hands of the Qurayshis? What harm would it be if they cried whatever they wanted in the spur of the moment? It’s just a cry after all?
But for the Prophet (SAWS) values can never be compromised and the ends can never justify the means. He never accepted bad words even if they were directed against enemies. So the cries of the Muslims, even in demonstrations, must always be a model of high manners and values; away from any degeneration of obscenity. Otherwise, what would be the difference between us and our enemies?
Another situation that conveys this same meaning was manifest when Ali Ibn Abu-Talib (his beloved cousin and son-in-law) came requesting to be given the key of the Kaaba so that Banu Hashim would have the honors of both custodianship of the House and the watering of the pilgrims.
What did the Prophet (SAWS) do? Just imagine that the one who made the request is the Prophet’s cousin and his son-in-law and imagine that he was requesting the key of the Kaaba; an unmatched and an incomparable honor for all the Arabs at large! It would have been quite natural for the Prophet (SAWS) to accept this request siding with his cousin and his family; but since faithfulness was his temperament he could not do that. Has there ever been anything more faithful than that?
He sent requesting the presence of Othman Ibn Talha (since he and his family were since the old times in charge of the Ka’ba’s key) and he gave him the key saying, “Here goes your key Othman! Today is the day of righteousness and faithfulness.” ~Ibn Hisham
All Glory be to Allah! Indeed righteousness and faithfulness, the temperament of the greatest and the temperament of those who only seek to please their Lord without a real wish for void leadership or perishing kingdoms.
The only thing left for me to say is that these behaviors of the Prophet (SAWS) that place values in such high regards have stunned his enemies and urged them to utter the truth and to express their wonder from his actions that gave the most glorious examples so high above any human capacity.
In his book “The Life of Mohammed” Washington Irving says commenting on this day that the way the Prophet behaved after the liberation of Makkah only proved that he was a sent Prophet not just a victorious leader. He showed much mercy to the citizens even when he had the upper hand. He crowned his success and victory with mercy and forgiveness.
Émile Dermenghem in his book, The Life of Mahomet, also says, “He commanded his soldiers to spare the feeble, the old, women and children; he forbade them from destroying houses, making off with harvests or cutting down fruit trees... he prescribed the use of the sword only in cases of necessity. We see him publicly condemning some of his subordinates and giving recompense for the damage done by them. The gaining of a single soul, he declared, is worth more than the richest conquest.”
We are not citing these quotes because we need a prove the greatness of our Prophet (SAWS) or the majesty of Islam and its high values that govern our behavior as Muslims, we only cite these quotes to confirm that when the Muslims abide by the values of their religion they will eventually be revered by everyone; friend and foe.
May Allah restore us all to His religion, may He guide us to be followers not imposters and may he bless us with good perception and understanding.
May the blessings, peace and prayers of Allah be upon the noblest of his creations, the seeker of righteousness, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) and his companions and followers till Judgment Day!