After the conquest of Makkah, the Muslims remained in Makkah for two weeks during which they showed their joy over the victory which Allah had granted to them. They gave thanks that such a great victory had been achieved with such little bloodshed. The Muhajireen visited their old houses, their relatives and friends whom Allah had guided to the truth after the conquest. Everybody was satisfied that Islam was now fully established.
The formidable Bedouin tribe, the Hawaazin, the Banu Thakif and various other tribes pastured their flocks on the territories bordering Makkah. Some of these tribes possessed strongly fortified towns like Taif, and they were unwilling to render obedience to the Muslims without resistance. They formed a union with the intention of over powering Rasulullah before he could make preparations to repulse (drive back) their attack. Anxious to prevent such a tragedy, they thought this hour of Muslim happiness and joy with victory, as the right time to get their forces together for an attack. It was the greater intention of these tribes of wrecking the Muslims' general plan of uniting all the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula under the banner of Islam.
It was towards this end, that Malik ibn Awf al Nidri succeeded in uniting the Hawaazin and Thakif tribes and gathered the tribes of Nasr and Jusham in one front opposing the Islamic movement as a whole. Only the Ka'ba and Kilaab clans of Hawaazin refused to join the new alliance. They also engaged the services of Durayd bin Simmah to advice them on war strategy.
Durayd bin Simmah, of the Jusham tribe, was a very old and blind man, too old to fight, but he was extremely wise and had the advantage of an extensive military experience and career.
After eight years the victorious Muslims were back in the land of their birth; free to walk the streets, and mingle with their kith and kin; pay homage to sacred Ka'bah; listen to the soul stirring Adhaan of Hazrat Bilal Habshi (R.A.) and postrate before the creator five times a day. But all this newly found peaceful life was shattered by the news of the planned attack by the Hawaazin and Thakif tribes.
When Rasulullah heard of the coming attack, he sent out a scout Hazrat Abdullah bin Hadr Aslami (R.A.) to get information of the enemy. He reported that the enemy was camped in the valley of Hunain, with 4000 men, their families and their animals. This valley was situated 24 kilometres from Makkah near Taif; in a corner of Dhul-Majaz. The Muslims set out under the leadership of Nabi with such power and such number that they themselves had never seen before. There was twelve thousand of them, ten thousand of which were those who conquered Makkah and two thousand were new comers from the Quraish including Hazrat Abu Soofyaan ibn Harb (R.A.). Their war equipment was excellent and their armies were preceded by their cavalry (soldiers on horse back) and camels carrying their provision and ammunition. Theirs was an army the like of which the Arabian and Peninsula had never seen before. It consisted of many tribes, and each tribe had its own banner which it carried high above its ranks. They arrived at the valley of Hunain in the evening of the 1st Shawwal 8 A.H. and camped at the entrance of the valley until dawn, unaware that the enemy lay in ambush in the narrow crevices of the hills.
At dawn the following morning the army began to move, and Rasulullah riding his white mule 'duldul' was in the rear while Hazrat Khalid- ibn Walid (R.A.), commanded a group of soldiers from the Banu Sulaym, was in the front rank. Hazrat Ishaaq bin Jaabir ibn Abdullah (R.A.) states:
'Shortly before daybreak we reached the 'Wadi' (valley) of Hunain, at the entrance of an extremely narrow and deep pass'.
As the Muslims passed through the canyon (narrow pass), Malik ibn Auf Nadri ordered his army to attack in the darkness before dawn, first with arrows then with general charge. No sooner was the entire Muslim army in the pass pressed together shoulder to shoulder, when a lengthy whistling murmur was heard in the air like great swarms of locusts; clouds of arrows darkened the sky. The arrows were showered on the Muslims aimed from the ridges, overlooking the pass. The Muslims had fallen into an ambush organised by the cunning old man Durayd ibn Simmah.
The Muslims' rank broke up and were striken with panic. There was chaos and confusion and the Muslims began to retreat. Witnessing what had befallen the Muslims, Hazrat Abu Soofyaan ibn Harb (R.A.) felt no little pleasure at the temporary setback of his previous enemies who until now had been celebrating their victory over Makkah. He said:
'The Muslims will not be defeated until they are thrown into the sea'.
In this confusion of the ferocious attack of the enemy, Rasulullah stood his ground and was surrounded by a number of Muhajireen, Ansaar and immediate relatives. As the Muslim soldiers passed by Rasulullah called out to them and tried to rally them back to the ranks. But they did not hear his call. At one moment Rasulullah almost plunged with his mule into enemy lines to stop their torrent of blows. Hazrat Abu Sufyaan bin Harith bin Abdul Mttalib (R.A) held back the reins of the mule and prevented it from carrying Rasulullah forward.
Hazrat Abbas ibn Abdul Muttailb (R.A) a man of large stature and with a thunderous voice was asked by Rasulullah to call out:
"O Ansaar! O men who opened their homes and helped Muhammad O Muhajireen! O men who pledged their allegiance under the tree Muhammad is still alive. Charge forward with him".
Hazrat Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (R.A) repeated his call until the whole valley resounded with its echo. The Muslims rallied with cries of "Labbaiq" (Here I am to do Thy bidding my Lord). The Muslims charged upon the enemies. They were convinced that theirs would be the victory and the fate of the martyr would even be greater than that of the surviving victor. The battle raged and men fell on all sides. Soon Hawaazin, Thaqif and their allies realised that their efforts were in vain and that they faced destruction and defeat. They turned around and started to flee, leaving behind their women, children and all their properties: 22,000 camels; 40,000 goats and 113400 grams of silver. The captives which numbered 6,000 were transported under Muslim protection to the valley of Ji'ra'nah where they were held until the Muslims returned from their pursuit of the enemy and from their blockade of the Thaqif tribe in the city of Taif.
The besieged kuffar shot arrows from the top of the walls and a few Muslims were martyred. Rasulullah ordered the use of catapults which could sling heavy stones at the enemy. At one stage the Muslims began to cut down heavy palm groves behind which the enemy took shelter and attacked the Muslims. But the people of Ta'if pleaded with Rasulullah not to cut the palms and he readily agreed to this request.
The siege of Ta'if lasted for eighteen days. During the siege Rasulullah sent Hazrat Ali ibn Abu Talib (R.A) to the temples of Banu Thaqif around Ta'if to destroy all idols. The famous idols of 'Laat' at Ta'if, the idol of "Wu'ud" at Dawmat al Jandal were destroyed.
Rasulullah offered freedom to those slaves of Thaqif who sought shelter with the Muslims.
One night, during the siege, Rasulullah dreamt that he was offered one bowl of liquid butter, but a fowl toppled the bowl over, spilling the butter. He asked Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) for its interpretation. Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) replied that his opinion was that the Muslims will not be able to succeed in capturing the fort of Ta'if. Rasulullah ordered the Muslims to raise the siege and prayed:
"O Allah, enlighten the people of Ta'if and inspire them with desire to come to Thy Rasool of their own free will".
Rasulullah arrived at Jiranah where he distributed the War booty according to lslamic principles. There were 22,000 camels, 40,000 goats and 113,400 grams of silver and 6,000 prisoners among whom were many women and children.
While he was at Jiranah, Rasulullah received a deputation from the Banu Hawaazin reminding him of his link to the tribe to which Hazrat Halima Sadia (R.A.) belonged. The Hawaazin begged for forgiveness for their part in the war and requested the release of their people who were taken prisoners. Rasulullah and the Sahaba agreed to this request and released.all the Hawaazin captured in the war. Among them Rasulullah found his foster sister Shai'ma, the daughter of Hazrat Halima Sadia (R.A.) He offered to take her to Madinah to live with him as his sister if she so wished. Shai'ma embraced Islam but preferred to return to the Hawaazin. Nabi showered her with abundance of gifts including two slaves.
Regarding the distribution of the war booty Rasulullah was obliged to resort to the most skillful political means in order to avoid all kinds of ill feelings, and to prevent dangerous jealousy arising among the Sahaba (R.A.). All the spoils, nevertheless, were nearly all allotted and he seemed to have forgotten his devoted Ansaar who naturally expected to rank amongst the first to be rewarded. With ever increasing surprise they saw no share offered to them, and the rich bounty flowing into the hands of the Quraish and the Bedouins. The Ansaar exchanged bitter remarks:
"By Allah, Rasulullah thinks only of his own people. Now that he has returned victoriuos to his birthplace we are forgotten".
Hazrat Sa'd ibn Ubadah (R.A.) having heard these complaints went to Rasulullah and informed him of the feelings of the Ansaar. Rasulullah asked him to call the Ansaar together.
When they were assembled, Rasulullah said:
"O Ansaari It has been reported to me that you were personally angry, that you do not approve of my distribution of the booty. Do tell me, I came to you, did I not find you sunk in misguidance and error and did not Allah guide you to the truth through me? Did I not find you in a state of need and did not Allah make you happy? Did I not find you enemies of one another and did not Allah reconcile your hearts?"
The Ansaar answered. "Truly! Allah and His Rasool have been very generous and very loving;" and they fell into silence. Rasulullah continued:
- "Did you not welcome me with love and generosity when I was homeless? Have you not the right to say to me: 'You came to us rejected as an imposter and we believed in you, you came as a helpless fugitive and we assisted you, poor and an outcast and we gave you shelter, comfortless and we gave you comfort.' Had you replied to me in this manner you would have said nothing but the truth and I would have had to agree. O Ansaar, are you angry because I have given away some goods to those whom I seek to win to lslam? O Ansaar why disturb your hearts beacuse of the things of this life? Are you not satisfied, O Ansaar, that all the people return from this conquest loaded with goods and camels whereas you return with the Rasool of Allah. By Him who dominates Muhammed's soul in His hands, there is no people whom I love to belong beside the Ansaar. If all mankind went one way and the Ansaar went another, I would certainly join the Ansaar. O Allah, show mercy to the Ansaar and bless them, and their children. Show Your mercy to them and keep them under Your protection".
Rasulullah said these words with great affection for all the men of the Ansaar who had pledged their loyalty and allegiance to him, who had helped him and who had found their strength in him. Indeed Rasulullah was so moved by his feelings for them that he cried. The Ansaar cried with him and declared with one voice:
"Verily, we accept our share of the booty, for the most beautiful portion is ours".
Rasulullah left Jiranah to visit Makkah. After performing the Umrah, he appointed Hazrat Attab ibn Usayd governor of Makkah, and Hazrat Mu'adah ibn Jabal (R.A.) to teach the 'deen and the Qur'aan'. On the 24th of Zil-Qadah 8 A.H. Rasulullah returned to Madinah with all the Sahabah (R.A.). In due course a leader of Ta'if, Urwa bin Mas'ud arrived in Madinah and embraced Islam. He sought Rasulullah 's permission to go back to Ta'if and preach to his people to become Muslims. But Rasulullah warned him that the people of Ta'if would certainly kill him because they were very arrogant and proud of the fact that the Muslims could not defeat them. No sooner did Hazrat Urwa (R.A.), returned to Ta'if and started to preach, his people killed him.