After the treat of Hudaibiya, Banu Baqr allied itself with Quraish while Banu Khuza’a aligned itself with Muslims of Madinah. Both resided in Makkah, though and were bitter rivals.
On the suggestions of Quraish, Banu Baqr attacked Banu Khuza’a members and that too in Kaaba where bloodshed was strictly prohibited. The members of Khuza’a along with their chief hurried to Madinah to ask for help.
It is also necessary to express here that the Quraish leadership was itself divided over the future course. Abu Sufyan of Umayya bloc was against inciting Banu Baqr while members of Banu Makhzum incited Banu Baqr and wanted to somehow throw away the treaty of Hudaibiya.
Consequently, the Prophet presented Makkans with three options 1. To pay blood money 2. Leave Banu Baqr unprotected 3. Renounce the treat null and void.
All three options were a dilemma for the Makkans. Paying blood-money would leave their image tarnished. Leaving Baqr unprotected would grow apprehensions among their other allies. And abrogating the treaty altogether meant war, which most of the Quraishites were not ready to fight, except for few leaders of Makhzum.
The Prophet Marches on Makkah: 630 A.D.
The Prophet had already decided to march to Makkah. He kept hi plan a secret till the end. On January 1, 630 an army of 10,000 warriors left Madinah for Makkah.
The Prophet had asked for allied tribes to provide with men and supplements, which they willingly did. The army after arriving there, lit thousands of goblet fires. First, it sent a signal to Makkans that an army has arrived. Second, everyone was to light his /her own fire. Since there were a lot of fires, it looked like a big army had marched.
The majority of the Quraish wanted to surrender except for few. Abu Sufyan rushed to the army camp to submit himself to Islam, which he finally did. Next morning, he was sent by the Prophet back to Makkah to deliver a message that anyone who takes a shelter under Abu Sufyan or Kaaba would be forgiven and left unhurt.
Right after that, the Prophet marched with dividing his army into 4 columns. They all were to cover different parts of the Makkah city.
A bloodless occupation
All the columns were strictly prohibited from initiating the attack or even trying to incite one. For example, Sa’ad bin Obaidiah uttered some foul words when
he entered Makkah, but the Prophet at once went to him and had him replaced by his son Qays bin Sa’ad.
All columns met no resistance, except for Khalid bin Walid’s. He was to enter from Southern side where resided die hard Makhzums. The leaders of Makhzum fought a bit, but after seeing their inevitable loss ran on their heels. 19 Makkans were killed there and 2 Muslims too.
The Prophet entered Makkah, a place that had mercilessly persecuted Muslims and attacked Madinah repeatedly, with no feeling of vengeance or hostility. He entered as a “Prophet of Peace” rather than as a “Prophet of War”.
He directly went to Kaaba to perform a Tawaf. Then he set on to smash the idols present inside it.
After conquering Makkah, he called all Makkans to Mount Safa. There he asked them what kind of punishment they were expecting. Their mind went wild thinking of all the atrocities they had committed upon the Prophet and his followers.
The Prophet said: No blame on you this day. Go, you are free.
The statement had profound effect on the Makkans. They came in flocks to submit to Islam. Even the bitter enemies were forgiven. Hind bin Utbah, wife of Abu Sufyan and daughter of Utbah bin Rabia, came to ask for forgiveness which was readily accepted. Note that she was the one who ate the Prophet’s uncle’s liver after battle of Ohud.
Wife of Ikrima, son of Abu Jahal, came to submit and asked for forgiveness of her husband. Both were forgiven. Ikrima returned. Suhail bin Amr, too, submitted through his son.
In short, it was conquest not through arms but through peace and mercy.
After the submission, then the Prophet went on to destroy the idols present inside the Kaaba.
Significance of the conquest
Sir William Muir writes, “The magnanimity with which Muhammad treated a people who had so long hated and rejected him is worthy of all admiration. It was indeed for
his own interest to forgive the past and cast into oblivion its slight and injuries. But this did, nonetheless, require a large and generous heart.”
It opened the way to all-out unification of Makkah. The enemies that had rallied all smaller enemies to counter Islam were now faithful friends.
All the nomadic tribes that had still not come in the fold of Islam came under it after this event. They were now sure that he was the Prophet since his bitter enemy has accepted it.
Soon after the fall of Makkah, a tribe named Hawazin rose to challenge the Prophet. It lay at the South-East of Makkah. They had great relations with Persia and were already subtle rivals of Quraish due to Quraish’s trade and spiritual supremacy.
They were met at Hunayn, where they were beaten by Muslim army. The POWs that included women and children were released which softened their hearts and most of them accepted Islam. The first one to do so was their Chief Malik.