Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/49

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introduction.

reminding them of the first portion of the Qur′ân revealed at Medînah, and of the oath of fealty which they had sworn as he sat beneath a tree at ‘Hudâibîyeh. On this occasion he took a rich booty, and in order to conciliate the Meccan chiefs he gave them more than their fair share at the division of the spoils. This was particularly displeasing to his Medînah followers, who were only appeased by his declaring his regard for them, and promising never to desert their city or again take up his residence at Mecca. These events are alluded to in the Qur′ân, Chap. Ⅸ. After the battle of ‘Honein, Mohammed laid siege to Tâ′if, and though he was unable to reduce the place, he so devastated the country around that ambassadors were sent to propose terms of capitulation; they offered to embrace Islâm, provided that their territory should be considered sacred, that they should be excused the more onerous duties of the creed, and should be allowed to retain their favourite idol Allât for at least a year. To these conditions Mohammed was at first inclined to accede, but after a night′s reflection, and indignant remonstrance addressed by the fiery Omar to the Thaqîfite messengers, they were definitely refused, and the tribe surrendered unconditionally.

The ninth year after the flight is known as the ‘Year of Deputations,’ the Bedawîn tribes one after another sending in their adhesion to his cause and acknowledging his spiritual and temporal supremacy.

In the same year Mohammed conducted the expedition against Tabuk, which was undertaken with a view to reduce the Syrian tribes to submission, they having been induced by Byzantine influence to rise in insurrection upon the frontier. Sûrah Ⅸ contains a violent denunciation of those who on various false pretences held back on the occasion. This was the last military enterprise conducted by Mohammed in person.

The Arabs, with their well-known fickleness, did not continue for long in their allegiance to Islam and its prophet; even in Mohammed′s lifetime, tribe after tribe raised the