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Conquest of Mecca

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Early Islam
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Conquest of Mecca (Arabic:فتح مكة) is the event of conquering Mecca by Muslims led by the Prophet (s) in 8/630 as a response to Quraysh's breaking Hudaybiyya treaty. One of its results was that the polytheists of Arabian Peninsula turned to Islam in the following years. Chiefs of the polytheists of Quraysh such as Abu Sufyan became Muslim before Muslims entered Mecca. The Prophet (s) called, "Al-Yawm, yawm al-marhama" ["Today is the day of mercy"] and granted an amnesty for all.

Cause of the War

The cause of this war was that Quraysh broke Hudaybiyya peace treaty. In 6/627-628 after the three great wars of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq, finally Muslims and polytheists signed a peace treaty with polytheists in Hudaybiyya region according to which, for ten years, there would be peace between the two parties.[1]

However, after two years, Quraysh broke this treaty. Banu Khuza'a tribe were allied with Muslims and Banu Bakr tribe were allied with Quraysh. In a battle in 8/629, a war occurred between the two tribes and some men from Quraysh killed some of Banu Khuza'a taking side with Banu Bakr. This meant to break Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty and although Abu Sufyan himself went to Medina for apologizing, his apology was not accepted and in a short time, the Prophet (s) went to conquer Mecca with a great army who were mobilized at the time of peace.[2]

Mobilizing the Army

The Prophet (s) sent a message to Bedouin Muslim Arabs that if someone believes in God and the Day of Judgment should come to Medina for the month of Ramadan. The Prophet (s) sent some delegates to different tribes to mobilize them. The number of Muslim soldiers have been reported about ten thousand and from different tribes as following:

  • Immigrants: 700 men, 300 horses
  • Ansar: 4000 men, 500 horses
  • Mazina: 1000 men, 100 horses, 100 armors
  • Aslam: 400 men, 300 horses
  • Juhayna: 800 men, 50 horses
  • Banu Ka'b b. 'Amr: 500 men
  • Banu Salim: 700 men
  • Bani Ghifar: 400 men
  • Other tribes: about 1500 men[3]

Beginning of the Expedition

The Prophet (s) moved towards Mecca with the army. Before moving of the army, one of the Immigrants whose name was Khatib b. Abi Balta'a sent the news of their moving to Quraysh through a woman called Sara,[4] but the Prophet (s) found out about their spying and missioned Imam 'Ali (a), Zubayr and Miqdad to find and capture that woman.[5]

They found her in the middle of the way to Mecca, in a place called Rawda Khakh, or as in another report, in Khaliqa and took her to the Prophet (s).[6]

The Prophet (s) was very careful that Quraysh do not become aware about the movement of Muslims' army. Thus, before the army arrived at Marr al-Zahran, few kilometers away from Mecca, people of Mecca and their spies were fully unaware of the coming of the army of Muslims.[7]

Submission of the Elders of Mecca

When the army of Muslims arrived at Marr al-Zahran, the Prophet (s) ordered to light up fire in different places. Ten thousand fire were lit up. Abu Sufyan, Hakim b. Hizam and Budayl b. Warqa' who had come to get information were terrified when they saw the fire and thought that Hawazin tribe is about to attack them. When Abu Sufyan went closer, he saw the army of Muslims. Abbas, uncle of the Prophet (s) took Abu Sufyan to the Prophet (s) to accept Islam. Abbas told the Prophet (s), "I have accepted their refuge and they want to come to your presence." The Prophet (s) accepted. They stayed in the tent of the Prophet (s) all night. The Prophet (s) asked them about some news and invited them to Islam and asked them to say, "'La ilah-a ill-Allah' (There is no God but Allah) and admit that I am the messenger of God." Both of them said so, but after saying 'La ilah-a ill-Allah', Abu Sufyan said, "O Muhammad! I am not happy with this, let it be for later." And he testified to the prophethood of Muhammad (s) the next morning.[8]

Date of Entering Mecca

On Ramadan 10th, the Prophet (s) led a great army of ten thousand Muslims including the Immigrants, the Helpers and tribes around Medina towards Mecca.[9] Some historians and biography writers have mentioned the date of conquering Mecca 13th of Ramadan,[10] but most Shi'a and Sunni scholars have mentioned it 20th of Ramadan.[11]

The slogan of Muslims on the day of conquering Mecca was, "We are truly true servants of God."[12]


On the day of conquering Mecca, a thousand armored soldiers entered Mecca with the Prophet (s). When Sa'd b. 'Ubada passed with the banner of the Prophet (s) in front of Abu Sufyan, he shouted, "O Abu Sufyan! Today is the day of spilling bloods and God will humiliate Quraysh." When the Prophet (s) reached Abu Sufyan, Abu Sufyan said, "Have you ordered to kill your relatives? May I ask you by God about your own people and you are the most benevolent and affiliative among people." The Prophet (s) said, Today is the day of mercy. Today is the day God makes Quraysh faithful and honorable."[13]

Then, the Prophet (s) ordered Imam 'Ali (a) to take the banner from Sa'd b. 'Ubada.[14]

After the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet (s) stood at the door of Ka'ba and granted an amnesty for all. He turned to the elders of Quraysh and said, "What do you say now?" They said, "Goodness! You are our brother and nephew who has come to power." The Prophet (s) said,

"But I say what my brother Joseph (a) told his brothers; that today you are not admonished. May God forgive you for He is the most Merciful of all the merciful."[15]

Tulaqa' Group

Abu Sufyan and others who were embraced in the mercy of the Prophet (s) were called Tulaqa' (meaning "the freed") after the saying of the Prophet (s) when he (s) said, "What do you think I would do with you?" They said, "Goodness! You are a benevolent brother, son of a benevolent brother." The Prophet (s) said, "Go for you are the freed."[16]

Elsewhere, the Prophet (s) said,

"The freed from Quraysh and the released from Thaqif, some of them are friends of some in this world and the hereafter."[17]

People regarded this title as mean and considered it a kind of ill-fame.[18] 'Umar did not consider Tulaqa' and their children deserving caliphate and reminded it to the people of the Six-member council.[19] In a letter to Mu'awiya, Imam 'Ali (a) mentioned this and called him among Tulaqa'.[20]

Exemptions from Amnesty

After the Prophet (s) ordered for granting the amnesty for all, he (s) exempted some people from it and ordered that anyone sees them anywhere should kill them, even if they are hidden under the curtain of Ka'ba.[21] However, not all of them were killed and more than half of them received safe-conducts.

Men: 'Akrama b. Abi Jahl, Safwan b. Umayya, 'Abd Allah b. Abi Sarh, 'Abd Allah b. Khutal, Huwayrath b. Naqidh, Maqis b. Subata or Dubata, Aslam b. Zab'ari, Wahshi b. Harb (who martyred the holy Prophet's (s) uncle, Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib but received amnesty).

Women: Hind bt. 'Ataba (Mu'awiya's mother), Sarah, maid of 'Amr b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, two maids of 'Abd Allah b. Khutal called Qariba and Faratna.

A Part of the Prophet's (s) Speech

"Any blood or property you were indebted for and any honor in vain from the Age of Ignorance has been trampled and wiped out. God wiped the arrogance of the age of Ignorance and boasting about the ancestors. A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim and all Muslims are brothers. All of you are from the soil and the most honorable before God is the most pious among you. Their distant ones are like close ones. The powerful and the weak among them in the war will have the same share from booties. Blood of a Muslim is honored and must be kept. Muslims need to be united and in harmony against the enemy. No Muslim should be killed against an infidel and no one in a bond should be killed during the bond."[22]

Breaking the Idols

After conquering Mecca, the Prophet (s) broke the idols. As the Prophet (s) suggested, 'Ali (a) went up on the shoulders of the Prophet (s) and throw down the idols one after another.[23] After the breaking of the idols, the following verse was revealed:


The event of mounting of Imam 'Ali (a) on the shoulders of the Prophet (s) has been reported by great Sunni scholars in their books including: Ahmad b. Hanbal, Abu Ya'la Musili, Abu Bakr al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad , Muhammad b. Sabbagh Za'farani in Al-Fada'il, Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi, Qadi Abu 'Umar, and 'Uthman b. Ahmad in their books, al-Tha'labi in his commentary [on the Qur'an], Ibn Mardawayh in Al-Manaqib, Ibn Manda in Al-Ma'rifa , al-Tabari in Al-Khasa'is , al-Khatib Khwarizmi in Al-Arba'in and Abu Ahmad Jurjani in Al-Tarikh.[25] Also, Abu 'Abd Allah Ju'al and Abu l-Qasim Hasakani and Abu l-Hasan Shadhan have written books to prove this occasion.[26]


On this day, no one were killed except two Muslims called Karz b. Jabir al-Fihri[27] and Khanis b. Khalid al-Ash'ari[28] or Khalid al-Ash'ari[29] who had lost their ways and had gone from another way and were captured by the enemies and were killed.[30]


After the conquest of Mecca, the promise of God for achieving the power by Muslims was fulfilled. Mecca was seized by Muslims and the polytheists of Quraysh were defeated forever. By the conquest of Mecca, the greatest military force in the peninsula was formed, no tribe or tribal united forces was able to stand against it. After a while, almost all the peninsula was turned to Islam. This conquest had great religious, political and social fruits for Mecca.

See also


  1. Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 2, p. 204.
  2. Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 2, p. 239-244.
  3. Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī, vol. 2, p. 58.
  4. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 354.
  5. Ibn Khaldūn, al-ʿIbar, Translation, vol. 1, p. 441.
  6. Ibn Khaldūn, al-ʿIbar, Translation, vol. 1, p. 441.
  7. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 3, p. 50.
  8. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 2, p. 655.
  9. Ibn Khaldūn, al-ʿIbar, vol. 2, p. 458.
  10. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 4, p. 326.
  11. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 343.
  12. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 5, p. 47.
  13. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 2, p. 822.
  14. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 1, p. 53.
  15. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 701.
  16. Ḥimyarī, Qurb al-isnād, p. 384; Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʾ,vol. 1, p. 391.
  17. Ṭūsī, al-Amālī, p. 268.
  18. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 301.
  19. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 70.
  20. Naṣr b. Muzāhim, Waqʿat Ṣiffīn, p. 29.
  21. Thaqafī, al-Ghārāt, p. 125.
  22. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 639-640.
  23. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Taraʾif fī maʿrifat madhāhib al-ṭawāʾif, vol. 1, p. 80.
  24. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Taraʾif fī maʿrifat madhāhib al-ṭawāʾif, vol. 1, p. 80.
  25. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Taraʾif fī maʿrifat madhāhib al-ṭawāʾif, vol. 1, p. 81.
  26. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Taraʾif fī maʿrifat madhāhib al-ṭawāʾif, vol. 1, p. 81.
  27. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 1310.
  28. Ibn al-Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 1, p. 319.
  29. Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʾ, vol. 1, p. 391.
  30. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 1310.


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