The Expedition of Umrah

(Sixth year of the Migration, the month of Dhulqada / March 13, 628)

The Dream of the Prophet

One night, the Messenger of God saw in his dream that he and his Companions went to Makkah and circumambulated the Kaaba without any fear or worry, and that some of his friends shaved and others trimmed their hair.[1]

When the Prophet told his Companions about his dream, they became very happy and excited. Six years had passed since the muhajirs had migrated to Madinah from Makkah. During those six years, many big and small incidents took place but they were still missing their homeland. They always dreamed of rejoining the land in which they were born and grew up. The land that they missed was not an ordinary place; it was the holy land in which the Kaaba was located and which they turned toward five times a day during the daily prayers.   

Therefore, the glad tiding of the Messenger of God, “You shall enter the Sacred Mosque!” was welcomed by the Muslims. They thought and expected that they would circumambulate the Kaaba that year.  

The Quran informs us about this dream of the Messenger of God.[2]

Setting off from Madinah

The Prophet appointed Abdullah b. Umm Maktum as his deputy in Madinah. He set off on Monday with two clothes of Yemen style. About one thousand and four hundred Muslims set off with him. There were also four women Companions. One of those women was Umm Sa­lama, one of the wives of the Prophet. Only two hundred Muslims had horses. They only had swords, which they always had when they travelled; the swords were in their sheaths. There were also seventy camels to be slaughtered.[3]

Hazrat Umar and Sa’d b. Ubada Express their Concern

The Prophet reached the place called Dhul-Hulayfa with his Companions.

Meanwhile, Hazrat Umar went to the presence of the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of God! Will you go to the land of the tribe that is in a state of war with you without weapons and horses? Shall we not take our weapons to fight them when necessary?”

The Messenger of God said, “My aim is to perform umrah; I do not want to carry weapons.” Thus, he stated that their intention was not fighting but performing umrah only; that is, visiting the Kaaba.  

Sa’d b. Ubada, one of the notables of Ansar, expressed the same concern:

 “O Messenger of God! I wish we had our weapons with us. If we perceived any suspicious acts from them, we would attack them.”

The Prophet answered him in the same way: “I will not carry weapons. I set off with the intention of umrah only.”[4]

Dhul-Hulayfa is the place of miqat; that is, entering ihram. The Prophet entered ihram after performing the noon prayer here. He had the seventy camels to be sacrificed marked.

Some of the Muslims also entered ihram there.

After performing the noon prayer, the Prophet turned toward the qiblah and uttered the talbiya: “Labbayk! “Labbayk! Allahumma Labbayk! Lab­bay­ka la sharika Laka Labbayk! Innal hamda wan’ni­ma­ta la­ka wa’l-mulka la sharika laka. (Here I am, O God, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner.)”

This lofty voice gave the environment a luminous atmosphere. The Companions were very excited.

Before leaving Dhul-Hulayfa, the Messenger of God sent Busr b. Sufyan to Makkah to find out about the state of the polytheists and to tell Makkans why he was going to Makkah. Busr had come to Madinah to visit the Prophet. He was returning to Makkah with the Prophet upon his request.

The Decision of the Qurayshi Polytheists

The polytheists found out that the Prophet was coming to Makkah with a large group of Companions and made this decision: “Muhammad and his friends will not be allowed to enter Makkah” Therefore, they sent a group of cavalrymen consisting of two hundred people under the command of  Khalid b. Walid to the place called  Kurau’l-Ghamim. On the other hand, they gave a feast to the tribes of Ahabish in order to persuade them to help them in case of a clash.

Busr b. Sufyan, who had been sent to observe the state of the polytheists, returned and told the Prophet the definite decision of the polytheists and their efforts.

When the Messenger of God heard about it, he said, “Woe on the Qurayshis! They will be destroyed. Wars have already demolished them. I wish they had not prevented me from talking to other Arab tribes. If they defeat me, that is what they want. If God makes me defeat them, they will accept Islam all together if they wish. If they do not do so, it means they take the risk of fighting. Alas! Do the Qurayshi polytheists think they have a great power? By God, I will not stop fighting them until I make the religion that God sent dominant and superior and until my head is cut off my body.”[5]

The Prophet got very sorry when he heard that the Qurayshi polytheists were getting ready to prevent them. Even the fiercest enemies used to circumambulate the Kaaba together like brothers during the forbidden months. The polytheists did not use to prevent them. They wanted to prevent only the Prophet and the Muslims from visiting the Kaaba, which was an innocent, lofty, holy and righteous desire. 

The Prophet Changes the Route

The intention of the Messenger of God was to visit the Kaaba only. Therefore, he did not want any clashes to occur. When he heard that a Qurayshi group of cavalrymen under the command of Khalid b. Walid had reached the place called Ghamim, he said to his Companions, “Khalid b. Walid is in the place called Ghamim with some cavalrymen to watch us. Therefore, follow the way on the right.” Thus, the Prophet changed the route of the Muslims and led them through another way. When Khalid b. Walid saw the Islamic army from a distance, he returned to Makkah to inform the Qurayshis about the situation.   

Consultation with the Companions

Upon those conditions, the Messenger of God wanted to evaluate the situation. He called the Companions and asked them about their views.

They said, “God and His Messenger know the best. We came here with the intention of umrah only. We did not come here to fight anyone; however, if they want to prevent us from performing umrah, we will definitely fight them.”

The Prophet became glad when he heard that his Companions were determined and said, “Then, walk in the name of God.”

The Muslims who had set off with the intention of an innocent and holy aim only, that is, visiting the Kaaba, started to walk toward Makkah and the Kaaba with takbirs and talbiyas.

Qaswa Suddenly Kneels

The Messenger of God was riding his camel called Qaswa. When, Qaswa reached the border of Makkah, she wanted to kneel. The Companions tried to prevent her from kneeling but Qaswa resisted them and knelt down without moving even one step. They tried to make her stand up but they could not.

Thereupon, the Prophet said, “She never used to kneel like that. However, the one that had prevented the elephant from entering Makkah once is preventing Qaswa now. I swear by God, in whose hand of power my life is, that I will accept what Qurayshis want no matter how hard they are, meaning the respect to the things that God forbids within the boundaries of Makkah.”[6]

Indeed, if Qaswa had not knelt down, the Muslims would have walked toward the Qurayshi polytheists, which could have started a clash.

However, the Muslims had their swords only. They were deprived of the other weapons. They were not very crowded. On the other hand, The Qurayshis had more weapons and they were more than the Muslims in number because the other tribes living around supported them.

Nevertheless, the Muslims would not avoid fighting. The Muslims who acted like one body could defeat the Qurayshis despite their number and lack of weapons with their courage and heroism and with the help of God. However, it would mean disrespect to the Kaaba. The Prophet and the Muslims never wanted something like that. 

Besides, there were many Muslims, men and women, that were living in Makkah but that were concealing that they were Muslims. The Muslims of Madinah did not know them; it was possible that they could be killed during a clash.

Furthermore, it was possible that many Qurayshi notables would embrace Islam soon and would serve Islam and that they would bring up many good children.

These were some of the reasons behind the fact that Qaswa knelt down unexpectedly.

Qaswa, who did not stand up and walk despite all of the efforts of the Companions, stood up and started to walk when the Prophet asked her to stand. However, she did not walk toward the Qurayshis but the dry well at the end of the place called Hudaybiyah. Thereupon, the Prophet ordered the Muslims to settle there.[7]

Like a Fountain with Ten Taps…

The place where the Muslims stopped at Hudaybiyah was a dry place. They were without water that day.

Meanwhile, when they saw that the Prophet wanted to make wudu from his pitcher, the Companions ran toward him. The Messenger of God said, “What is the matter with you?”

They said, “We are ruined, O Messenger of God! We have no water to drink or make wudu except the water in your pitcher.”

The Messenger of God put his hand on the pitcher and said, “Take, Bismillah!” Suddenly, water started to gush from among his fingers as if coming from taps. The Muslims drank from that water, made wudu and filled their pitchers up to the brim.  

When Jabir b. Abdullah, who narrated this miracle of the Messenger of God, was asked  “How many of you were there?”, he answered,  

“It would have been enough even if there were a hundred thousand of us! However, there were about one thousand and five hundred of us.”[8]

The Second News

When the Messenger of God was in Hudaybiyah with his Companions, Budayl Ibn Warqa, the leader of the Khuzaa tribe, came to his presence with a few people from his tribe. The tribe of Khuzaa, which was one of the tribes of Tihama, had been the allies of Sons of Hashim, to which the Prophet belonged, during the Era of Jahiliyyah. After the emergence of Islam, they showed respect to that alliance and supported the Prophet. All of them, whether they were Muslims or polytheists, informed the Prophet about what was happening in Makkah.

Budayl said to the Prophet, “The Qurayshis swore that they would fight you. They will never let you visit the Kaaba.”

The Messenger of God repeated their aim of coming to Makkah: “We did not come here to fight anyone. Our aim is to make umrah and to circumambulate, and to visit the Kaaba. Wars have battered, weakened and harmed the Qurayshis. If they want, we can declare a period of cease fire. During this period, they will be safe. They should not prevent me from talking to other tribes. If I persuade those tribes and if they embrace Islam, the Qurayshi polytheists can become Muslims, too, if they want. If I cannot persuade the other tribes, then, they will be relieved and strengthened. If the Qurayshis do not accept what I offer and attempt to fight me, I swear by God, in whose hand of power my life is, I will fight them in the way of this religion, which I convey, until my head is cut off my body. Then, God will definitely keep his promise to help me.”[9]

Budayl said, “I will report the Qurayshis what you have told me.” Then, he left.

Budayl wanted to tell the Qurayshis about what the Prophet had said when he returned to Makkah but they said, “We do not need any news from him. We want him to know one thing: He cannot enter Makkah even if there is only one of us alive.”

However, Urwa b. Mas’ud, one of their notables intervened and said, “Why do you not want to listen to what Budayl and his friends will say? Listen to them! If you like what Budayl says, you can accept it; if not, you can reject it.”

Thereupon, they listened to Budayl. He told them the reason why the Prophet had come to Makkah and his offer of cease fire.[10]

The Qurayshi Envoy in the Presence of the Prophet

Urwa b. Mas’ud, one of the notables of the Quraysh found what Budayl said appropriate and said, 

“Indeed, Budayl came here to show you the way of honesty and peace. Accept his offers and let me go and talk to him.”

The Qurayshi polytheists did not like what Urwa said. They said to him as if scolding him, “Go to Muhammad but do not come and tell us your view.”

However, Urwa went to the presence of the Prophet. He told the Prophet about the preparations of the polytheists, that they were waiting next to the Hudaybiyah Well and that they had decided not to allow anybody into Makkah.

The Prophet said to Urwa, “O Urwa! Speak for God: Is it appropriate to prevent these camels from being slaughtered, to prevent us from visiting the Kaaba and circumambulating it?” He continued,

“We have not come here to fight. We want to perform umrah and slaughter the camels that we want to sacrifice.

Tell this to my tribe, my family and my people: War has weakened them. Let them decide a period of cease fire between us. Tell them to let us visit the Kaaba. Tell them to let us perform umrah and sacrifice our animals. Otherwise, I swear by God that I will not stop fighting them until God keeps His promise that He will spread the religion of Islam on earth and until my head is cut off my body.”[11]

Urwa b. Mas’ud was talking to the Prophet and at the same time observing their attitudes and acts toward the Messenger of God. He admired the respectful acts of the Companions toward the Prophet and their submission to the Prophet.

When he returned to the Qurayshi polytheists, he told them about the aim of the Prophet and his observations expressing his admiration. He said,

“O my people! I have been to the presence of many rulers as an envoy. I swear by God that I have never seen any men showing respect to their rulers as his Companions showing respect to him. No Companion spoke without getting permission from him. When Muhammad ordered them something, everybody competed with each other to fulfill it. When the Companions talked near him, they spoke in a very low voice; they did not stare at him due to their respect to him and lowered their gazes. I realized that they would never leave him alone and they would not surrender even one hair of him to anybody; they would not let anybody touch his body. You can think of the rest yourselves!”[12]

Then, he said, “He offered peace; Come on! Let us accept his offer.”

The Qurayshi notables did not like this offer of Urwa; they even scolded him because of the way he spoke. Being disturbed by their scolding, Urwa left them and set off to Taif. 

The Envoy of the Prophet

Both parties started to make negotiations in their headquarters and sent each other envoys with offers. The Prophet sent Khirash b. Umayya from the tribe of Khuzaa to the Qurayshis in order to inform them about his aim of coming. Thus, Khirash became the first envoy sent by the Messenger of God to the Qurayshis.[13]

Khirash b. Umayya told the polytheists about the aim of the Messenger of God but they did not want to understand him. They treated him harshly, slaughtered his camel and even wanted to kill him. However, when the people of Ahabish intervened, they released him. Khirash b. Umayya saved his life with difficulty; he returned to the Prophet and told him what had happened. 

The Messenger of God did not attack them though they tried to kill his envoy. He acted cautiously and patiently. He waited for their new offers. His aim was not to shed blood.

One More Envoy from the Quraysh…

When the Qurayshis saw that the Prophet did not return despite what was said, they sent Hulays b. Alqama, the leader of the Ahabish tribe as their envoy to the Prophet. The Prophet recognized Hulays from a distance. He said to his Companions, “This man is from a tribe that shows respect to animals to be sacrificed. Release the camels to be sacrificed and direct them toward him.”[14]

The Muslims directed the camels toward Hulays and uttered talbiya: “Lab­bayk! Allahumma Labbayk!”

When Hulays saw this lofty and innocent scene, he started to cry. He could not help shouting,

“Subhanallah! It is a very ugly act to prevent this magnificent congregation from circumambulating and visiting the Kaaba. I swear by the Lord of the Kaaba that the Qurayshis will be destroyed due to those wrong attitudes and acts. The Muslims came here in order to perform umrah only.”

The Prophet heard the words of Hulays and said, “Yes, you are right; O Brother from Sons of Kinana.”

Hulays had nothing else to say when he saw the scene. He did not want to approach the Prophet and talk to him due to his respect to the Messenger of God. He went directly to the Qurayshis.

Hulays and the Qurayshi Polytheists

The lofty scene impressed and softened the spirit and the heart of Hulays so much that he said to the polytheists bluntly,  

“I think it is not appropriate to prevent the Prophet from circumambulating the Kaaba.”[15]

However, the notables of the Quraysh had the view that nobody other than themselves could think truly. They were astonished and even infuriated when they heard what Hulays said. They insulted him by saying,

“You are an Arab of the desert! You are ignorant! Keep silent; you do not know about these issues.”

Hulays got very angry when he heard those words. He said, by defending the Prophet, “How can we prevent a person who came here to show respect to the Kaaba? I did not make an agreement with you regarding this issue. By God, either you will allow Muhammad to do what he wants or I will take all of the members of the Ahabish tribe and leave.”[16]

However, even this threat did not persuade the Qurayshi polytheists. They persuaded Hulays by telling several lies and prevented him from breaking their alliance.

The Second Envoy: Hazrat Uthman

Negotiations through envoys continued.

The Messenger of God wanted to attain a definite result as soon as possible. He wanted to send Hazrat Umar to the Qurayshis in order to tell them why they had come.

Umar said, “O Messenger of God! The Qurayshi leaders know what a fierce enemy I am. I fear that they might assassinate me. There is nobody from my tribe in Makkah to protect me. However, if you definitely want me to go, I will go.”

The Prophet kept silent.

Thereupon, Hazrat Umar said, “It would be more appropriate if Uthman b. Affan went for this task because he has many people from his tribe and many relatives in Makkah.”

Indeed, Sons of Umayya, who were among the notables of Makkah, were all Uthman’s cousins.

The Messenger of God accepted Umar’s offer and summoned Uthman. He said to Uthman,

“Go to the Qurayshis. Tell them we have not come here to fight anyone; we have come here to visit the Kaaba. We will sacrifice these camels and return. Then, call them to Islam.”

The Prophet also told Uthman to meet the Muslims who are forced to conceal their religion and console them and to tell them that Makkah would be conquered soon and that they would not have to conceal their religion.

Hazrat Uthman went to the Qurayshi polytheists. He told them why the Prophet had come there and called them to Islam.

However, this negotiation did not yield a positive result, either. They said to Uthman, “Go and tell the person who sent you that he will never be able to enter Makkah and circumambulate the Kaaba.”

About ten muhajirs went with Hazrat Uthman to visit their relatives upon the permission of the Prophet. They also told their Muslim relatives that Makkah would be conquered and rejoiced them.

Hazrat Uthman does not Circumambulate the Kaaba Though he is Given Permission

Meanwhile, The Qurayshi notables said to Hazrat Uthman, “Circumambulate the Kaaba if you wish.”

Hazrat Uthman said, “No. I will not circumambulate it unless the Messenger of God (pbuh) does.”

The Qurayshis were disturbed by what Hazrat Uthman said and retained him for a while.

However, this news reached the Prophet as if Hazrat Uthman and the muhajirs with had been martyred by polytheists.[17]


[1]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 3, p. 336.

[2]al-Fath, 27.

[3]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 322; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 95; Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 2, p. 690.

[4]Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 72; Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 2, p. 689.

[5]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 321.

[6]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 324; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 96.

[7]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 324.

[8]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 98.

[9]Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 74.

[10]Tabari, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 74.

[11]Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 4, p. 324; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Vol. 3, p. 85.

[12]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 328; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 4, p. 324.

[13]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 328; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 96.

[14]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 324; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 324.

[15]Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 324; Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 75.

[16]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 326; Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 75-76.

[17]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 329.

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