Mohammad The Last Prophet A Model For All Time || The Expedition of Ta'if

The siege of the Thaqif

The soldiers of Thaqif who had escaped from Hunayn retreated to Ta'if. They locked the city gates after storing sufficient provisions for a year. Then they prepared for war against the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah and his army went to Ta'if at once and pitched camp outside the city wall. The gates remained locked against them. The Thaqif, who were good archers, shot so many arrows at the Muslims that the air seemed to be filled as if with a swarm of locusts.

The Muslims moved their camp back out of range of the arrows and laid siege to Ta'if. For more than twenty days heavy fighting continued and volleys of arrows were exchanged. In this prolonged siege the Messenger of Allah used a catapult for the first time. The enemy arrows took their toll of several Muslims' lives.

When the siege was tight and the battle showed no signs of ending, the Messenger of Allah commanded that the vineyards of the Thaqif be cut down. The enemy relied on these fine grapes for their livelihood. When the Thaqif begged him to spare the vines, the Messenger of Allah replied, 'I will leave them to Allah and kinship between us.'

He ordered that an announcement be made, 'Any slave who comes out to us is free.' About ten men came out.

The Messenger of Allah had not been given leave by Allah to conquer Ta'if so he told 'Umar ibn al-Khattab to declare that the siege was over and the army could depart. The announcement caused an uproar and soldiers said, 'We are leaving without conquering Ta'if!'

The Messenger of Allah said, 'Alright, go and fight.' They attacked the enemy but many Muslims were wounded.

The Messenger of Allah then said, 'We are going tomorrow, Allah willing,' and this time they felt relief.

The booty of Hunayn

On his way back from Ta'if, the Messenger of Allah stopped at al-Ji'irranah with his army. He waited for more than ten days for the Hawazin to come to him to say they had accepted Islam. When this did not happen, he began to distribute the spoils. The first people he gave to were the Mu'allafat-al-Qulub, those whose hearts still needed to be won.

Returning the captives

A delegation of fourteen Hawazin came to the Messenger of Allah and requested him to return to them their kinsmen and property. He replied, 'You see the people with me? What I love most is the truth. Which are dearest to you, your children and your wives or your property?'

In unison they said, 'We do not consider anything equal to our children and wives.'

He advised them, 'Rise tomorrow when I pray and say, "We seek the intercession of the Messenger of Allah with the Muslims and we seek the intercession of the Muslims with the Messenger of Allah to return our wives and children to us."

When he prayed Zuhr, they got up and did as they had been advised. The Messenger of Allah then said, 'As for what belongs to me and the Banu 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, it is yours, and I will make a recommendation to others for you.'

The Muhajirun and Ansar said, 'What we have belongs to the Messenger of Allah.'

Three of the Banu Tamim, Banu Fazarah and Banu Sulaym refused to hand over their shares. The Messenger of Allah said to them, 'These people have come as Muslims. I waited for them and I gave them a choice but they do not consider anything equal to their children and wives. Whoever has any of them and is happy to return them he should do just that. Whoever wants to keep his captives should also return them and he will be given six shares in exchange from the first booty Allah gives us.'

Everyone replied, 'We are content with the Mes- senger of Allah.'

He said, 'I do not know who among you is pleased and who is not. You go back now and your chief will tell correctly about your affairs. All of them returned their captives' women and children to them so that none of them were left behind. The Messenger of Allah made a gift of a garment to each released captive.

A noble gesture

Among those who were brought to the Messenger of Allah was ash-Shayma' bint Halimah as-Sa'diyah, his foster-sister. She had been treated roughly as they did not know who she was. When she said that she was the milk-sister of their companion, they did not believe her.

When ash-Shayma' was taken to the Messenger of Allah, she said, 'Messenger of Allah! I am your foster- sister!'

He said, 'Can you prove that?'

She replied, 'I still have the scar where you bit me on my back when I was carrying you.'

The Messenger of Allah recognized the mark. He spread out his cloak for her to sit on, and treated her courteously.

He said, 'If you like, you may live with me in affection and honour or, if you wish, I will give you provision and you can go back to your people.'

She said, 'Give me provision and return me to my people.'

She accepted Islam before she left, taking with her three slaves, a slavegirl, and some cattle and sheep.

The Thaqif's decision

When the Muslims were returning from Ta'if, the Messenger of Allah asked the Muslims to recite, 'We are returning, repenting, worshipping and glorifying our Lord.'

Some said, 'Messenger of Allah, curse the Thaqif!'

He raised his hands and entreated, 'O Allah, guide the Thaqif to the right path and bring them here.'

'Urwah ibn Mas'ud ath-Thaqafi caught up with the Messenger of Allah before he entered Madinah. He became a Muslim and returned to invite his people to Islam. He was very popular and well-respected in his tribe, but when he called them to Islam, they turned against him. They shot arrows at him; one hit him and he was killed as a martyr.

The Thaqif held out for some months after killing 'Urwah, but after taking counsel among themselves, they decided that they had no hope of defeating all the Arab tribes around them which had accepted Islam. They decided to send a delegation to the Messenger of Allah.

No leniency

When the Thaqif arrived, a tent was pitched for them in a corner of the mosque. They accepted Islam and asked the Messenger of Allah to let them keep their idol al-Lat for three years. The Messenger of Allah refused. But they continued to ask him, first for two years and then for one. Still he refused. Finally they asked for it for one month after their return. He refused this too, and sent Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah, one of their people, to destroy it. The Thaqif also asked the Messenger of Allah to excuse them from offering prayers. He told them, 'Nothing remains in a religion without prayer.'

After the delegation returned home, Islam spread among the Thaqif until every last person in Ta'if was a Muslim.

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