Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/47

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introduction.

the long-expected pilgrimage took place. With two thousand followers the prophet entered the Holy City, and the Meccans having retired to the neighbouring hills, all passed off quietly.

In the course of the short three days′ sojourn in Mecca the Muslim ranks were strengthened by the accession of two influential personages, ‘Hâlid, who had conquered them at Ohod, and ‘Amr, the future conqueror of Egypt.

In this year the Muslim army experienced a terrible defeat at Mûta on the Syrian frontier, in which the prophet′s friend Zaid was slain. His prestige, however, was soon re-established by fresh successors and the accession of numerous border tribes.

Two years after the truce of ‘Hudâibîyeh, a tribe who were under the protection of Mohammed, were attacked unawares by another tribe in alliance with the Meccans, and some Meccans in disguise were recognised amongst the assailants. This was a violation of the treaty, and Mohammed, on being appealed to by the sufferers, was nothing loth to take advantage of the opportunity afforded him for recommencing hostilities. The Meccans sent Abu Sufiyân to Medînah to offer explanations and procure a renewal of the truce, but without success. Mohammed began to make preparations for an expedition against Mecca, but concealed his plans even from his immediate followers; his Bedawîn allies were ordered either to join him at Medînah, or to meet him at certain appointed places on the route, but it was not until the last moment that his troops knew that their destination was the Holy City. While they were encamped in the immediate neighbourhood, and before the Meccans had any certain knowledge of their approach, the camp was visited at night by Abu Sufiyân, who was introduced to Mohammed by his uncle ‘Abbâs, the latter having become converted to Islâm now that he saw that its cause must certainly triumph. Mohammed promised Abu Sufiyân that all those inhabitants of Mecca who should take refuge in his house or in the Kaabah or even in private houses, provided the doors were closed, should be