25. PEACE RESTORED TO MADINA
The victorious Muslims were making the long return journey to Madina. News of the Muslim victory over the mighty Makkan had already reached Madina and the people were looking forward to receiving their heroes. However, certain groups of people refused to believe these facts and instead said the Muslims had been soundly beaten! These groups included the Jews of Madina and the hypocrites. They knew deep down that the Muslims had won but hoped that the news was false.
On the journey to Madina, the war booty was divided amongst the Muslims that had taken part in the battle. A fifth of it was put aside for Allah and His messenger (pbuh). There was still an issue with what should be done with the prisoners who were now accompanying the Muslim army - this issue would be resolved on arrival in Madina.
The Prophet (pbuh) was with the first group of Muslims to arrive at Madina and the thrilled Muslims greeted them with much enthusiasm. This had been no ordinary victory because the Makkans were much superior in number and weaponry. It would have been almost impossible for any army to overcome them let alone this small ill-equipped army.
The return to Madina was a happy occasion. The only sadness came when Uthman bin Affan returned after having performed the funeral prayer and burial of his beloved wife Rukhiya. He had remained behind to nurse his extremely ill wife and had not gone to Badr. The Prophet (pbuh) had also wished that Uthman remain behind and look after Rukhiya who was also one of Muhammad's (pbuh) beloved daughters.
The prisoners followed the next day accompanied by the rest of the Muslim army. The prophet (pbuh) commanded that the prisoners should be well looked after and not mistreated in any way. He told different Muslims to look after the prisoners in their own homes. The prisoners were effectively treated as guests as the Muslims shared with them their food and drink.
Afterwards, one off the Makkan prisoners said that he felt ashamed at times because he was given such good treatment and the food he was given was better that the food the family ate themselves. He recalled how he would eat bread whilst his hosts would be eating only dates.
After the battle of Badr, the Makkans had decided that they would not go to Madina to collect their relatives and would not pay any ransom. They also agreed that they would not mourn the death of the deceased in case the Muslim found out. They felt that the news of mourning would please the Muslims.
Abu Sufyan was effectively the chief of Makkah and he stuck to this rule by not sending anyone to collect his son or paying a ransom. However, Abu Sufyan arrested one of the pilgrims from Madina who was later swapped for his son. This aggression against the pilgrim was against the rules of the pilgrimage, which had been honoured from the time of Ibrahim (as) by everyone.
The rest of Makkans made a journey to Makkah to collect their captured family members and pay the ransom for their release. Some of the poor Makkans who could not afford freedom were set free on the condition that they wouldn't get involved in any conspiracy against the Muslims again.
Some of the prisoners were allowed freedom after they had taught ten children to read and write. Being literate was the honour of very few people in Arabia at the time. This deal improved the situation of the children and allowed the prisoners to earn their freedom through this noble act.
One of the prisoners was Abbas, the prophet's uncle. During the journey to Madina, he had been tied up like the other prisoners and the prophet (pbuh) was unable to sleep .The shackles of Abbas were then loosened due to his discomfort at the request of the Prophet (pbuh). The condition of all the prisoners was kept comfortable throughout the journey to Madina.
Abbas later told prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that he was a Muslim now and was unable to pay any ransom because of poverty. The prophet (pbuh) reminded him of a private incident where Abbas had told Umm al-Fadl (his wife) to bury some money for him. This money would be divided up between his three sons if Abbas had been killed in the battle.
Abbas was shocked that the prophet (pbuh) knew this as the conversation had taken place privately between Abbas and Umm al-Fadl only. At this point Abbas knew that Muhammad (pbuh) was the true messenger of Allah and whole-heartedly accepted Islam. The prophet (pbuh) did not give Abbas special treatment because he was his uncle but was even-handed and fair with all the people.
Abu al-As ibn al-Rabi had also been taken prison by the Muslims. He was the husband of Zaynab, another daughter of the prophet (pbuh). The prophet (pbuh) had held him in esteem because he remained faithfully married to Zaynab when the Makkans had pressurised him to leave her. They had offered Abu al-As marriage to any woman he chose as long as he left Zaynab. In the early days, they wanted to hurt Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in every way possible.
Zaynab sent the ransom for her husband, which included a necklace given to her by her mother Khadija. When the prophet (pbuh) saw this, he recognised it instantly and was greatly saddened. He returned the necklace to Zaynab along with the rest of the money. The Ansars released Abu al-As on the condition set by Muhammad (pbuh) that he sends Zaynab when he returns to Makkah.
Abu al-As was freed and soon returned to Makkah to join his wife. Zaynab made the preparations for the journey to Madina before departing. During the journey to Madina, she was stopped and harassed by the Makkans brandishing spears that caused Zaynab to have a miscarriage. She was taken back to Makkah and a few days later made the journey to Madina in secrecy, accompanied by her brother-in law, Kinanah and an Ansar.
Many years later, Abu al-As accepted Islam and became a Muslim. He declared his conversion to the Makkans after completing all his unfinished business. He then migrated to Madina to his wife Zaynab. Both Abu al-As and Zaynab continued to live happily in Madina after that.
Umayr Ibn Wahb and Safwan were sitting together and talking about the grave situation caused by the defeat of the Makkan Army. Umayr said to Safwan that if it wasn't for the fact he was poor; he had a young family to look after and he had many debts to repay, he would have gone to Madina and assassinated the Prophet (pbuh). He said he had the perfect excuse to go to Madina to collect his son. In Madina, whenever he had the opportunity, he would attack the prophet (pbuh).
Safwan said that he would pay all his debts and look after his family if Umayr was to carry out this treacherous deed. In Madina, Umayr would kill the prophet (pbuh) as soon as the first opportunity arose. If Umayr was slain during his mission, Safwan himself would make sure his family was looked after and all his debts were paid.
This dreadful plan was hatched and the two men agreed on this deal. Umayr sharpened his sword that morning and applied some poison to its blade before he made the trip to Madina. As soon as he got to Madina, he went to see the Prophet (pbuh). Umar thought something sinister might be going on so he intercepted Umayr and accompanied him to the mosque.
Both men appeared before the prophet (pbuh) and the prophet asked Umar to leave Umayr alone. The Prophet (pbuh) questioned Umayr and asked him why he had come. Umayr tried to trick the Prophet (pbuh) by saying that he had only come to collect his son. Umayr tried to deceive the prophet (pbuh) by hiding the real motive.
The Prophet (pbuh) then recounted the conversation Umayr had with Safwan in exact detail. He then told him of the real reason why Umayr had come to Madina. Umayr was gob smacked and immediately accepted Islam. He was taught all about Islam from the Muslims so that he could follow Islam fully and adhere to its noble principles. Umayr became a just and pious Muslim
Umayr then requested permission to return to Makkah where he could speak to his people about Islam in that hostile environment. The prophet (pbuh) gave him permission and Umayr began preaching in Makkah. People did not like it but a few of them accepted Islam and became Muslims. Umayr had been hostile towards Islam in the past and this courageous act was a way of putting some of those wrongs to right.
Thus the problem with all the prisoners was resolved with all of them being returned to their families and tribes or were set free by the noble Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This was the first time people had witnessed such kind and humane treatment to prisoners of war. This led some people to question their opposition and hostilities towards Islam and some of the prisoners also accepted Islam.
In the meantime, some of the allies and friends of the Makkans were causing problems for the Muslims and many were collecting together their small armies to attack them. There were a few small skirmishes against the Muslims including Abu Sufyan bringing an army to the outskirts of Madina and then returning after hassling and attacking a few people.
The prophet (pbuh) despatched a number of units against these rebels and soon they were brought to justice with little or no bloodshed in most cases. This strengthened the Muslim's position and also helped peace to prosper throughout the region.
The Muslims had enforced an embargo on Makkah through the northern routes, preventing the Makkans from trading with Syria. The Makkans still tried to use these routes but in some cases they were caught or there was a confrontation between the Muslims and Makkan traders.
However, as normality was returning to the Madina, there was another great danger looming over the Muslim community. There were rumours that the Makkans were planning to amass a large army with the intention of attacking Madina itself. They wanted to take revenge for their humiliating defeat. This time, the Makkans were more determined than ever before and were maddened with rage and humiliation. They had sworn that they would take revenge and had looked forward to this encounter from the day of Badr itself.
More next time, Inshallah.