rendered them every assistance, their attacks were unsuccessful. At length one cold winter's night a violent storm of wind and rain arose, and a complete panic took place in the camp of the Meccans, who broke up and precipitately retired to their homes. This was the siege of the Confederates alluded to in the Qur'ân.
The enemy having disappeared, Mohammed at once marched against the traitorous tribe of Qurâidhah, and besieged them in their fortress, about six miles south-west of Medînah. Being quite unprepared, these were obliged to surrender after fourteen days, which they did on condition that the Benu Aus, their allies in Medinah, should decide their fate. Mohammed chose for arbitrator one of the chiefs of the Aus tribe, named Saad ibn Moâdh, a fierce soldier, who was at the time dying of the wounds which he had received in the attack upon the fortress. He ordained that the men should be beheaded one and all, the women and children sold as slaves, and the property divided amongst the soldiers. This terrible sentence was promptly executed, and the men, to the number of 800, were beheaded, and the women and children bartered to the Bedawîn in exchange for arms and horses.
Mohammed's power and influence was now extending every day.
For six years neither he nor his followers had visited the Kaabah, or performed the sacred rites of the pilgrimage, and in the year 628 A.D. he resolved to attempt it. The time chosen was in the sacred month of Dhu'l Qa'hdah, when the Lesser Pilgrimage was wont to be performed, rather than Dhu'l 'Higgeh, that of the Greater Pilgrimage, as less likely to lead to a collision with the other tribes. Fifteen hundred men only accompanied Mohammed, bearing no other arms than those usually allowed to pilgrims, a sheathed sword for each. The Meccans contemplated Mohammed's advance with no small apprehension, and not believing in his pacific
- Chapter XXXIII.