Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/48

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the qur′ân

unmolested, and dismissed him to carry this news to his fellow-citizens, not however before he and ʿAbbâs had persuaded the Meccan chief to become a Muslim, which he somewhat unwillingly consented to do. There is good reason to suppose that the whole affair was arranged between Mohammed, ʿAbbâs, and Abu Sufiyân, and that the meeting by night at the camp with the somewhat theatrical details with which the historians relate it, and the sudden conversion of the two hitherto irreconcilable chiefs, were part of a plan designed to save Mecca from unnecessary bloodshed now that Mohammed’s increased power and the overwhelming numbers he brought with him made a capture of the city inevitable. At any rate it had this effect, the Muslim army entered Mecca almost without resistance, only a few Bedawîn under the command of ʿHâlid being assailed with arrows by some of Mohammed’s bitterest opponents, whom he quickly dispersed. Mohammed, seeing him in pursuit of his assailants, was excessively angry until it was explained to him that ʿHâlid’s action was unavoidable and only in self-defence.

Mohammed was at length master of the capital of Arabia; his first act was to repair to the Kaabah, and after making the circuit seven times and respectfully saluting the black stone with his staff, he entered the building and caused the idols to be destroyed. Actuated both by sound policy and by the strong feeling of attachment to his own tribe, which is inherent in every Arab’s breast, he proclaimed a general amnesty, and the Meccans readily embraced Islâm and marched under its banner, hoping for the reward of Paradise, and sure of rich booty here on earth. The Bedawîn tribes in the neighbourhood gave him more trouble, but these too were brought into at least nominal subjection; the tribe of the Thaqîf at Tâʼif still held out, and Mohammed attacked them in the valley of ʿHonein, where they were surprised by the enemy in a narrow defile, and were in imminent danger of a defeat, had not Mohammed rallied them by appealing to them as ‘ Ye men of the “ Sûrah of the Heifer! Ye men of the “ Tree of Fealty! ’