6. Islam spreads throughout
End of Holy Prophet's life
The fall of Makka was a signal to the whole of Arabia. In fact,
the Quraish were generally at the bottom of all organized opposition.
With the sole exception of the battle of Hunain, which had to be
undertaken against the Hawazin immediately after the conquest of
Makka, regular warfare between the Muslims and the non-Muslims in
the whole of Arabia now came to an end, and even at Hunain, the
unbelieving Makkans fought on the side of the Muslims.
Islam was now free from trouble from within, but the Christian
power on the north viewed its strength with a jealous eye, and persistent
news as to preparations of the Roman Empire to attack Arabia could
not be ignored. Accordingly, an expedition of 30,000 men was led
by the Prophet personally to the northern frontier in the ninth
year of the Flight. When he reached Tabuk, however, he found that
his march had a restraining effect on the enemy, and there being
no hostile force in the field, the Prophet returned without either
attacking the Romans or declaring war against them. In fact, the
Prophet always observed the Quranic injunction to fight only with
those who took up the sword first to fight against the Muslims.
After the return from Tabuk, peace was apparently established
in the peninsula, but the Islamic territory was infested with hordes
of marauders belonging to the tribes that had entered into agreement
with the Muslim state, but had little respect for their treaties:
Those with whom thou makest an agreement, then they
break their agreement every time and then have no regard for their
These people had become a menace to the security of life and property,
and accordingly, towards the end of the ninth year of the Hijra, the
Prophet sent Ali to make an important declaration of immunity regarding
such agreements at the annual pilgrimage at Makka. This declaration
is contained in the opening verses of the chapter entitled The
"This is a declaration of immunity by Allah and
His Messenger towards those of the idolaters with whom you made
an agreement." [9:1]
By idolaters were meant the idolaters spoken of in the previous chapter,
already referred to, "those with whom Thou makest an agreement
then they break their agreement every time." This is made
clear in the next few verses by making an exception in favour of those
who had not violated their treaties:
Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an
agreement then they have not failed you in anything and have not
aided any one against you, so fulfil their agreement to the end
of their term, for Allah loves those who have regard for their obligations.
How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with
Allah and His Messenger, except those with whom you made an agreement
at the Sacred Mosque; so as long as they are true to you be true
to them, for Allah loves those who have regard for their obligations.
How can it be ! For if they prevail against you, they will not pay
regard in your case to ties of relationship, nor those of their
covenant; they please you with their mouths while their hearts do
not consent and most of them are transgressors.... They do not pay
regard to ties of relationship nor those of covenant in the case
of a believer, and these are they who exceed the limits. [9:7-10]
The idolaters concerned met Ali with the retort: "O Ali ! Deliver
this message to thy cousin (i.e. the Prophet) that we have thrown
the agreements behind our backs, and there is no agreement between
him and us except smiting with spears and striking with swords."
The result of the Prophet's firm attitude was that such tribes surrendered,
and a settled condition of peace prevailed throughout the peninsula.
This declaration of immunity towards the violators is sometimes
misunderstood as meaning an abrogation of the conditions of war
laid down at the beginning: "Fight with those who fight
with you and do not exceed this limit" (2:190). As a matter
of fact, the condition laid down remained effective to the end.
The Prophet's return from Tabuk without attacking either the Roman
territory or the territory of any other tribe is a dear evidence
of this. And even after the declaration of immunity, the Muslims
were required to fight with those who attacked them first:
What ! Will you not fight a people who broke their
oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger and attacked you
Deputations which had already started coming to the Prophet in the
ninth year of the Flight to learn the truth about Islam now became
more abundant. People came from different corners from all over Arabia
and embraced Islam of their own free will. As soon as peace was established,
Islam spread be leaps and bounds, and the tenth year of the Flight
witnessed the conversion of the whole of Arabia to Islam, including
some Christian tribes. It was not only a conversion in the sense that
idolatry was given up for the purest monotheism from one end of the
vast peninsula to the other; it was a reformation in all spheres of
life. The whole course of life of an entire nation was changed - ignorance,
superstition and barbarism giving place to the spread of knowledge
and to a rational outlook in all aspects of life.
At the end of the tenth year of the Hijra, the Prophet set out
to perform the pilgrimage to Makka. As the whole of Arabia was now
Muslim, there was not a single idolater in the huge concourse of
124,000 pilgrims assembled at Makka from all corners of the country.
The very spot where the Prophet was only twenty years ago a rejected
person, to whose word no one was willing to lend his ear, was now
the scene of marvellous devotion to him. To whichever side he turned
his eye, he saw hosts of devoted friends who recognized him both
as their temporal as well as their spiritual head. An inspiring
manifestation of Divine power to him as well as to those who had
It was here on the ninth day of Dhul Hijja, the day of the assembling
of the pilgrims at Mount Arafat, that he received a revelation from
on High which sent a thrill of joy through the vast gathering:
This day have I perfected your religion for you and
completed My favour to you and chosen for you al-Islam as a religion.
Obviously the Prophet perceived that the message of the perfection
of religion meant his approaching end. Here he delivered the following
sermon - Islam's sermon on the Mount to the whole of Arabia through
representatives of tribes coming from every quarter:
O people ! Lend an attentive ear to my words, for
I know not whether I shall ever hereafter have the opportunity to
meet you here.
Then the Prophet cried at the top of his voice:
I apprise you that your lives, your properties and your honour
must be as sacred to one another as this sacred day in this sacred
month in this sacred town. Let those present take this message
to those absent.
You are about to meet your Lord Who will call you to account
for your deeds....
O people ! This day Satan has despaired of re-establishing
his power in this land of yours. But should you obey him even
in what may seem to you a trifling matter, it will be a source
of pleasure for him. So you must beware of him in the matter of
O my people ! You have certain rights over your wives and
so have your wives over you.... They are the trust of Allah in
your hands. So you must treat them with all kindness ... And as
regards your slaves, see that you give them to eat of what you
yourselves eat and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves.
O people ! Listen to what I say and take it to heart. You
must know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim.
You are all equal, and members of one brotherhood. It is forbidden
to any of you to take from his brother save what he should willingly
give. Do not do injustice to your people. ........
O Allah ! I have delivered Thy message,
and the valley resounded with the words:...
Aye ! That thou hast.
This is known as the Prophet's Farewell pilgrimage. A little while
after his return to Madina, he fell ill. At first he went to the mosque
to lead the prayers even during his illness, but later on he became
too weak and appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayers. After about twelve
days' illness, on the 12th of Rabi' I on a Monday in the 11th year
of the Flight, at the age of sixty-three, he commended his soul to
his Maker, his last words being:
Blessed companionship on High.