The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud

 Part I: In the Time of the Prophet (SAWS)


Page: 2

"And I have lost my son, Handhalah." said Abu Sufyan. "My thirst for revenge is no less than yours. I shall be the first to prepare and launch a powerful expedition against Muhammad."1

At this conference they all took the pledge of revenge; this time none would stay back. An expedition would be prepared such as had never assembled at Makkah before, and other local tribes would be invited to join the expedition and take part in the annihilation of the Muslims. The entire profit from the caravans, amounting to 50,000 dinars, would be spent on financing the expedition- Abu Sufyan was unanimously elected as the commander of the Quraish army.

Abu Sufyan now gave two decisions, the first of which was more or less universally accepted. This was to the effect that there should be no weeping and no mourning of any kind for those who had fallen at Badr. The idea behind this order was that tears would wash away the bitterness in their hearts, and that this bitterness should be kept alive until they had taken their revenge against the Muslims. However, those whose burden of sorrow was too heavy to carry wept secretly.

The second decision related to the prisoners who were in Muslim hands. Abu Sufyan forbade all efforts to get them released for fear that if these efforts were made immediately, the Muslims might put up the price. This decision, however, was not followed by everyone. Within two days a man left Makkah secretly at night to ransom his father; and when others came to know about this, they took the matter into their own hands and got their dear ones released. Abu Sufyan had no choice but to revoke his decision.

The rate of ransom varied. The top rate was 4,000 dirhams and there was a graduated scale down to 1,000 dirhams for those who could not afford to pay more. A few prisoners who were too poor to pay but were literate, earned their freedom by teaching a certain number of Muslim children to read and write. Some destitute ones were released by the Prophet without ransom on condition that they would never again take up arms against Muslims.

Among those who went to negotiate the release of the prisoners were Ikrimah, Khalid (who had missed the battle of Badr on account of his absence from the Hijaz) and Khalid's brother, Hisham. Khalid and Hisham arranged the release of their brother, Waleed. When Hisham heard that the ransom would be 4,000 dirhams, he began to haggle for a lower sum but was rebuked by Khalid. The sum of 4,000 dirhams was duly paid for the release of Waleed, whereafter the three brothers left Madinah and camped for the night at a place called Zhul Halifa, a few miles away. Here, during the night, Waleed slipped away from the camp, returned to Madinah, reported to the Prophet and became a Muslim. He thereafter proved a devout Muslim and became very dear to the Prophet; and in spite of his new faith, his relations with Khalid remained as warm and loving as ever.

While at the Quraish conference the main theme of the discussion had been revenge, another factor which drove the Quraish to war with the Muslims was economic survival. The main route of the Quraish caravan to Syria and Palestine lay along the coastal road which now, after the Battle of Badr, was no longer open to them. In November, Safwan bin Ummayya felt the need for more trade, and despatched a caravan towards Syria on another route which he thought might be safe. This caravan left Makkah on the road to Iraq, and after travelling some distance turned north-west towards Syria, bypassing Madinah at what Safwan considered a safe distance. But the Holy Prophet came to know of this caravan and sent Zaid bin Harithah with 100 men to capture it, which Zaid did.

Safwan then went to Abu Sufyan, and both leaders agreed that since the economic well-being and prosperity of the Quraish depended on their profitable trade with Syria, the sooner the Muslims were crushed the better. Ikrimah also was impatient and pressed for speed. Abu Sufyan, however, as a wise old chief, knew that it would take time to prepare the expedition and purchase the camels, the horses and the weapons. He promised to do his best.

The preparations for the expedition now began in right earnest. While they were in progress, an unbeliever of doubtful character approached Abu Sufyan with a proposal. This man was Abu Amir of Madinah. He had taken exception to the arrival of the Holy Prophet at Madinah and to the speed with which members of his own clan, the Aws, had begun to embrace Islam. Consequently he had left Madinah and sworn never to return as long as Muhammad remained in power. At Makkah he took to inciting the Quraish against the Muslims. In the old days Abu Amir had been known as the Monk, but the Holy Prophet had given him the nickname of the Knave! Thus the Muslims knew this man as Abu Amir the Knave.2

1. Waqidi: Maghazi, pp. 156-7
2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 67.