A Critical Exposition of the Popular 'Jihád'/Introduction/9
[Sidenote: Mohammad, owing to the attacks, inroads and threatening gatherings from the Koreish and other Arab tribes, had hardly time to think of offensive measures.]
9. But Mohammad, harassed and attacked every year by the Koreish and other hostile Arab tribes, had hardly any time to wage an aggressive war against his Koreshite foes, to establish his imperilled rights, or to redress the injuries of the Moslems or his own wrong; much less of taking up arms to compel them to renounce idolatry and believe in his Divine mission. During the first year after their expulsion from Mecca, the Moslems were in constant danger from the ferocity of the Koreish, and when Mohammad was contracting treaties of neutrality with the neighbouring tribes, Kurz-bin-Jábir, a Koreish of the desert, committed a raid upon Medina. In the course of the second year the Koreish fought the battle of Badr, followed by a petty inroad of theirs upon Medina at the end of the year. The Bani Nazeer treasoned against Medina by giving intelligence to, and entertaining, the enemy. In the beginning of the third year, the nomad tribes of Suleim and Ghatafán, inhabitants of the plains of Najd, and descendants of a stock common with the Koreish, twice projected a plundering attack upon Medina. At the same time the Moslems were defeated at the battle of Ohad, near Medina, by the Koreish, which circumstance greatly affected the prestige of the Prophet, who was threatened with a similar fate the next year by his victorious enemies. With the opening of the fourth year, the inimical spirit of many of the Bedouins, as well as that of the Jews of Bani Nazeer, was perceptible, and in various quarters large masses were organized to act against Mohammad and to take advantage of the defeat at Medina. The tribes of Bani Asad and Bani Lahyán were brought together to follow the victory of the Koreish at Ohad. And last, not least, the Moslem missionaries were cut to pieces at Ráji and Bir Máuna. At the close of the year, the people of Medina were alarmed by an exaggerated account of the preparations at Mecca to attack Medina as promised last year (Sura III, v. 176). During the fifth year certain tribes of Ghatafán were assembling with suspicious purposes at Zat-al-Rikaa and the marauding bands near Dumatal Jandal threatened a raid upon Medina. The Bani Mustalik, a branch of Khozaa, hitherto friendly to Mohammad's cause, took up arms with a view of joining the Koreish in the intended attack upon Medina. At the end of the year, the Koreish, joined by an immense force of the Bedouin tribes, marched against Medina, and laid siege to it for many days. The Bani Koreiza, having defected from Mohammad, joined the Koreish army when Medina was besieged.
In the beginning of the sixth year Uyeina, the chief of the Bani Fezárá, had committed an inroad upon Medina. A Medinite caravan, under the charge of Zeid-bin-Háris, was seized and plundered by the Bani Fezárá. In the month of Zul-Kada, (the eleventh month of the Arab lunar year), when war was unlawful throughout Arabia, but much more so within the sacred precincts of Mecca, Mohammad and his followers, longing to visit the house of their Lord and the sacred places around it, and to join the yearly pilgrimage which they had grown from their childhood to regard as an essential part of their social and religious life, not to mention their intense desire of seeing their houses and families from which they were unjustly expelled, started from Medina for performing the lesser pilgrimage. They were under the impression that, in the peaceful habits of pilgrims, the Koreish would be morally bound by every pledge of national faith to leave them unmolested, and Mohammad had promised them a peaceful entry. But the Koreish armed themselves and opposed the progress of the Moslems towards Mecca, notwithstanding the pious object and unwarlike attitude of the pilgrims. At length a treaty, in terms unfavourable to the Moslems, but in fact a victory won by Islam, was concluded by Mohammad and the Koreish at Hodeibia. By this peace war was suspended for ten years.
From my brief sketch of Mohammad's first six years' sojourn in Medina, it is evident that during this time Medina was constantly in a sort of military defence. The Moslems were every moment in the danger of an invasion, attack, or inroad from without, and treachery, conspiracy and treason from within. They either had to encounter superior numbers or to disperse hostile gathering or to chastise sometimes marauding tribes. So Mohammad could scarcely breathe freely at Medina, but much less could he find time and opportunity to mature a scheme of attacking the Koreish at Mecca in order to revenge himself and his refugees for the persecutions which the Koreish had inflicted on the Moslems, to redress their wrongs, and to re-establish their rights of civil and religious liberty, or to make converts of them or any other tribes at the point of sword.
- Bani Ashja, Murra Fezárá, Suleim, Sád, Asad, and several clans of Ghatafán, the Jews of Wady-al-Koraa and Khyber.
- A party of Moslems at Zil Kassa was slain, and Dihya, sent by Mohammad to the Roman Emperor, on his return, was robbed of every thing by the Bani Juzám beyond Wady-al-Kora.
- The Jews at Khyber were enticing the Bani Fezárá and Bani Sad-bin-Bakr and other Bedouin tribes to make depredations upon Medina.