The Compensatory `Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage)

When the month of Dhul-Qa`dah approached, towards the end of 7th A.H., the Prophet ordered the people, and particularly those who witnessed the treaty of al-Hudaibiyah to make preparations to perform `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). The Prophet left `Uwaif bin Al-Adbat Ad-Dailami (May Allah be Pleased with him), or Abu Ruhm Al-Ghifari (May Allah be Pleased with him) in charge of Madinah, and proceeded with two thousand men, along with some women and children, and sixty sacrificial camels, to visit the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah. The Muslims took with them their weapons, fearing treachery from the Quraish, but eventually left them with a group of two hundred men at a place eight miles from Makkah. They entered the city with the swords in their scabbards, and the Prophet leading them on his shecamel, Al-Qaswa’. The surrounding Companions attentively focused their attention on him, all saying: “Here I am! at Your service O Allah!’’ The Quraish had left the place and retired to their tents on the adjoining hills. The Muslims performed the usual circumambulation vigorously and elegantly; on the recommendation of the Prophet, they did their best to appear strong and firm in their circumambulation as the polytheists had spread rumors that they were weak because the fever of Yathrib (Madinah) had drained their strength. They were ordered to run in the first three rounds and then walk in the remaining ones. Meanwhile, the Makkans aligned themselves on the top of Mount Qu`aiqi`an watching the Muslims, tonguetied at their strength and devotion. When they entered the Holy Sanctuary, `Abdullah bin Rawahah walked before the Prophet reciting:

“Get out of his way, you disbelievers, make way, we will fight you about its Revelation, with strokes that will remove heads from shoulders and make friend unmindful of friend.”

After completion of the ritual walking and running between the two hills, Safa and Marwah, of Makkah,, the Prophet with the Muslims halted at the latter to slaughter their sacrificial animals and shave their heads.

The main body of the pilgrims had now performed the basic rites of `Umrah; however, those who were entrusted in charge of the weapons still remained. The Prophet relieved them from their duty and they went through the same devotions as the others.

On the morning of the fourth day, the Quraish nobles asked `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him) to tell the Prophet to leave Makkah along with his Companions. He could not violate the terms of the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyah, so he ordered his men to depart for a village called Sarif, where he stayed for some time.

During this visit of the Prophet to Makkah, his uncle `Abbas offered the hand of his sister-in-law, Maimunah bint Harith, to him in marriage. The Prophet was kind enough to accept this offer since it was an effective step towards cementing the ties of relationship between the Prophet and the influential men of Makkah. The wedding took place in Sarif.

Narrators have attached different designations to this `Umrah. Some called it the compensatory `Umrah, which was performed in lieu of the one that was incomplete during the incident of Al-Hudaibiyah. Another designation, and which is given preference by jurists, is the `Umrah consequent to certain terms of a treaty already agreed upon.

On the whole, compensatory, judicial consent, retribution and reconciliation are all terms applicable to that visit.

Some military operations directed toward some unyielding Bedouins took place at the conclusion of the lesser pilgrimage. We shall mention some:

  1. A platoon of fifty men, led by Ibn Abul-’Awja’ (May Allah be Pleasedwith him), was dispatched by the Prophet to the habitations of Bani Sulaim inviting them to embrace Islam. However, the call fell on deaf ears. Instead, fierce fighting took place between the two parties in which the Muslim leader was wounded and two people from the enemy were captured.
  2. Two hundred men, lead by Ghalib bin `Abdullah (May Allah be Pleasedwith him), were dispatched to Fadak. There they killed some rebels and a lot of booty was captured.
  3. On receiving the news that Banu Quda’ah had gathered a large number ofmen to raid Muslim positions, the Prophet dispatched fifteen men, led by Ka`b bin `Umair Al-Ansari (May Allah be Pleased with him), to deal with this situation. They encountered the army, and called them to accept Islam.

The rebels replied in the negative and showered the Muslims with arrows, killing all of them except one who was carried back home later seriously wounded.

  • An insignificant clash also occurred in Rabi`ul-Awwal, 8 A.H. Shuja` binWahb Al-Asadi (May Allah be Pleased with him), along with 25 men, marched towards the tribe of Bani Hawazin. They encountered no resistance but managed to gain some booty.

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