The Quraysh Testing the Muslims
In spite of Muslims fleeing persecution and settling in Medina, the Quraysh were still determined to destabilize and continue persecuting the Muslims. As already pointed out, the Quraysh polytheists wrote letters to the leaders of Medina, ordering them to drive the Muslims out of Medina or else they threatened to come down to kill their children, their wives, making no distinction whether Muslim or non-Muslim (See evidence: Quraysh Threatened Madinah’s Leaders For Giving Sanctuary To Muslims).
An interesting incident happened concerning Sa’d ibn Muadh. Sa’d bin Muadh went to Mecca to perform Umrah (minor pilgrimage). As he was there circumambulating the Kab’ah, he was confronted by Abu Jahl.
Abu Jahl knew whom he was. He was one of those who gave safe sanctuary to the Muslims in Medina. Abu Jahl was very angry at Sa’d Ibn Muadh for giving safety to the Muslims. The reports give us the following information:
“Sa`d bin Mu`adh came to Mecca with the intention of performing `Umrah, and stayed at the house of Umaiya bin Khalaf Abi Safwan, for Umaiya himself used to stay at Sa`d’s house when he passed by Medina on his way to Sham. Umaiya said to Sa`d, “Will you wait till midday when the people are (at their homes), then you may go and perform the Tawaf round the Ka`ba?” So, while Sa`d was going around the Ka`ba, Abu Jahl came and asked, “Who is that who is performing Tawaf?” Sa`d replied, “I am Sa`d.” Abu Jahl said, “Are you circumambulating the Ka`ba safely although you have given refuge to Muhammad and his companions?” Sa`d said, “Yes,” and they started quarrelling. Umaiya said to Sa`d, “Don’t shout at Abi-l-Hakam (i.e. Abu Jahl), for he is chief of the valley (of Mecca).” Sa’d then said (to Abu Jahl). ‘By God, if you prevent me from performing the Tawaf of the Ka’ba, I will spoil your trade with Sham.” Umaiya kept on saying to Sa`d, “Don’t raise your voice.” and kept on taking hold of him. Sa`d became furious and said, (to Umaiya), “Be away from me, for I have heard Muhammad saying that he will kill you.” Umaiiya said, “Will he kill me?” Sa`d said, “Yes.” Umaiya said, “By God! When Muhammad says a thing, he never tells a lie.” Umaiya went to his wife and said to her, “Do you know what my brother from Yathrib (i.e. Medina) has said to me?” She said, “What has he said?” He said, “He claims that he has heard Muhammad claiming that he will kill me.” She said, By Allah! Muhammad never tells a lie.” So when the infidels started to proceed for Badr (Battle) and declared war (against the Muslims), his wife said to him, “Don’t you remember what your brother from Yathrib told you?” Umaiya decided not to go but Abu Jahl said to him, “You are from the nobles of the valley (of Mecca), so you should accompany us for a day or two.” He went with them and thus Allah got him killed.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: volume 4, Book 56, Hadith 826)
Musnad Ibn Hanbal:
“3794. It was narrated that Abdullah said: Sa’d bin Mu’adh set out to do Umrah and he stayed with Safwan bin Umayyah bin khalaf. When Umayyah went to Syria and passed by Medina he used to stay with Sa’d. Umayyah said to Sa’d: Wait until midday, when there are not many people around, then go and do tawaf. Whilst Sa’d was doing tawaf, Abu Jahl came to him and said: Who is this who is circumambulating the Ka’bah in safety? Sa’d said: I am Sa’d. Abu Jahl said: Are you circumambulating the Ka’bah in safety when you have given refuge to Muhammad? And they traded insults. Umayyah said to Sa’d: Do not raise your voice to Abul-Hakam, for he is the leader of the people of the valley. Sa’d said to him: By Allah, if you prevent me from circumambulating the House, I shall certainly cut off your trade with Syria. Umayyah kept saying: Do not raise your voice to Abul-Hakam, and he tried to hold him back. Sa’d got angry and said: Leave us alone, for I heard Muhammad (p) saying that he going to kill you. Umayyah said: Me? He said: Yes. He said: By Allah, Muhammad (p) does not tell lies. Then when they left, he went back to his wife and said: Do you know what the Yathribi [i.e. Sa’d] said to me? And he told her about it. When the call for mobilization came and they set out for Badr, his wife said: Don’t you remember what your brother the Yathribi said? He wanted not to go out, but Abu Jahl said to him: You are one of the nobles of the valley; come with us for a day or two. So he went with them, and Allah, may He be exalted and glorified, caused him to be killed.” (Musnad Ibn Hanbal, volume 3, page 369 – 370)
“Sa’d bin Mu’adh was an intimate friend of Umaiyah bin Khalaf and whenever Umaiyah passed through Medina, he used to stay with Sa`d, and whenever Sa`d went to Mecca, he used to stay with Umaiya. When Allah’s Messenger (p) arrived at Medina, Sa`d went to perform `Umra and stayed at Umaiya’s home in Mecca. He said to Umaiya, “Tell me of a time when (the Mosque) is empty so that I may be able to perform Tawaf around the Ka`ba.” So Umaiya went with him about midday. Abu Jahl met them and said, “O Abu Safwan! Who is this man accompanying you?” He said, “He is Sa`d.” Abu Jahl addressed Sa`d saying, “I see you wandering about safely in Mecca inspite of the fact that you have given shelter to the people who have changed their religion (i.e. became Muslims) and have claimed that you will help them and support them. By Allah, if you were not in the company of Abu Safwan, you would not be able to go your family safely.” Sa`d, raising his voice, said to him, “By Allah, if you should stop me from doing this (i.e. performing Tawaf) I would certainly prevent you from something which is more valuable for you, that is, your passage through Medina.” On this, Umaiya said to him, “O Sa`d do not raise your voice before Abu-l-Hakam, the chief of the people of the Valley (of Mecca).” Sa`d said, “O Umaiya, stop that! By Allah, I have heard Allah’s Messenger predicting that the Muslim will kill you.” Umaiya asked, “In Mecca?” Sa`d said, “I do not know.” Umaiya was greatly scared by that news. When Umaiya returned to his family, he said to his wife, “O Um Safwan! Don’t you know what Sa`d told me? “She said, “What has he told you?” He replied, “He claims that Muhammad has informed them (i.e. companions that they will kill me. I asked him, ‘In Mecca?’ He replied, ‘I do not know.” Then Umaiya added, “By Allah, I will never go out of Mecca.” But when the day of (the Ghazwa of) Badr came, Abu Jahl called the people to war, saying, “Go and protect your caravan.” But Umaiya disliked going out (of Mecca). Abu Jahl came to him and said, “O Abu Safwan! If the people see you staying behind though you are the chief of the people of the Valley, then they will remain behind with you.” Abu Jahl kept on urging him to go until he (i.e. Umaiya) said, “As you have forced me to change my mind, by Allah, I will buy the best camel in Mecca. Then Umaiya said (to his wife). “O Um Safwan, prepare what I need (for the journey).” She said to him, “O Abu Safwan! Have you forgotten what your Yathribi brother told you?” He said, “No, but I do not want to go with them but for a short distance.” So when Umaiya went out, he used to tie his camel wherever he camped. He kept on doing that till Allah caused him to be killed at Badr.” (Sahih Bukhari volume 5, Book 59, Hadith 286)
“By God, if you prevent me from performing circuits around the Ka’bah, I will cut of your trade (routes) to Ash-Sham (Syria and surrounding regions’).”(Dalaail An-Nabuwwah – Al-Baihaqee volume 3, page 25).
From the above reports we gather the following facts:
(1) Sa’d Ibn Muadh went to Mecca to perform lesser pilgrimage (Umrah)
(2) He was confronted by Abu Jahl because Sa’d gave safety to Muslims in Madina and Abu Jahl was not happy about that.
(3) Abu Jahl threatened Sa’d ibn Muadh. Had it been not for the protection from Umayya bin Khalaf, he wouldn’t have returned home.
(4) This incident occurred before Badr, these reports proves and shows that Muslims did not just began raiding caravans when they settled in Medina. Rather, it was only when the Quraysh became more hostile and started attacking the Muslims, that the Muslims responded with attacking their merchandise so as to weaken Quraysh financially and also to retrieve stolen property that was taken by the Quraysh when the Muslims fled to Mecca (Read further on Quraysh stealing from Muslims, here: ‘Property Of Muslims Stolen – Robbed By Quraysh In Makkah’). This was the only way for Quraysh to understand and to be stop them from persecuting Muslims further, hitting their pockets.
Furthermore, what this shows and proves is that until Abu Jahl showed open hostility to the Muslims in Medina, trading caravans that were travelling pass Medina were going there safely without any attack by the Muslims. The Muslim community in Medina made no attempts to stop Quraysh’s trade going to Syria. This proves that the Muslims then didn’t treat them as enemies, raiding any of their caravans.
This was until the leaders of the Quraish started to declare war against the Muslims in Medina. The Muslims were treated as being enemies for merely proclaiming that God is One, believing in the Message of Islam and expressing their conscience thereof. Therefore, this proves that the people who began war, were the polytheists from Quraish, not the Muslims.
Read also: Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?
These authentic reports thoroughly debunk the baseless and fictitious claims made by some, that when Muhammad (p) moved to Medina, he just went on robbing and looting the Quraysh caravans. On the contrary, history is supreme witness that the hostilities were started by the Quraysh when they continuously persecuted the Muslims to the extent that they made them flee their birth-place to Medina. No sooner the Muslims fled the Meccan persecution to Medina, then the Meccans followed them there still to threaten and declare war against them. Hence, the Muslims, 1400 years ago, had no choice but to defend their community for survival. And this was the cause and the beginning of the hostilities.