The Year of Emissaries of 9th A.H.
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger
Description: The momentum of vast multitude of conversion to Islam entails the pouring of delegations into Madinah to meet the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The 9th A.H is known as the Year of Emissaries, being the year in which the various tribes of Arabia submitted to the call of Islam and sent emissaries to render homage to him.
These tribes had been awaiting the outcome of the war between the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)and the Quraish. However, as soon as the Quraish; the principal tribe of the whole nation and the descendants of Prophet Ishmael, offered and had submitted to the Call of Muhammad , they realised that it was not in their power to oppose Muhammad. Hence their emissaries flocked into Medinah to make their submission to him.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was delighted of the arrival of a delegation from Tujib. They asked questions and the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) got the answers to their questions written for them. Then they made a request on being told more about the Qur’an and the Sunnah which caused the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to express fondness for them. He instructed Bilal to entertain them well. However, they stayed for a few days with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and returned. When they were asked why they wanted to depart so soon, they replied:
“We want to go back to tell our people how we met the Messenger of Allah(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), what talks we had with him and what replies he gave to our questions.”
Thereafter they returned and again called upon the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) during the pilgrimage in 10 A.H. when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was at Mina. [Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. II, p. 43]
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also recieved emissaries from Bani Fazara, Bani Asad, Bahra and ‘Adhara, and all of them accepted Islam. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) promised them the capture of Syria, but forbade them to have recourse to seers for divination of the future and commanded them to cease offering the sacrifices they had been doing hitherto. He also told them that only the sacrifice on the occasion of ‘Id-ul-Adha was lawful for them.
When the delegations of Bali, Dhi Murrah and Khawlan called upon the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) he asked them about the idol of Khawlan to which they had been paying divine honors. They replied:
“God bless you! God has replaced it by what has been brought by you. There are, however, a few elderly persons and senile women who are devoted to it but we will break it when we go back”.
Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also received delegations from Muharib, Ghassan, Ghamid and Nakh’a. They wanted to learn about Islam and its institutions, watched the graceful and genial behavior of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and benefited from the company of the Prophet’s companions. Tents were often set-up for them in the courtyard of the Prophet’s mosque from where they saw the Muslims offering solat and reciting the Qur’an. They spoke plainly and frankly, asked whatever they wanted while the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied to their questions in sobriety, explained the wisdom of Islam and quoted excerpts from the scripture which were instrumental to their certitude and peace of heart.
The five princes of the tribe of Himyar also professed Islam and sent ambassadors to notify Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)of their conversion. They were the princes of Yemen, Mahra, Oman, and Yamama.
The Ta'if idolaters, who had driven the Messenger of Islam with violence and contempt, sent a delegation to seek forgiveness and wanted to be his followers. They begged, however, for temporary preservation of their idols. As a last appeal they begged for one month of grace only. This was not conceded. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said Islam and the idols could not exist together. They then begged for exemption from the daily prayers. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied that without devotion, religion would be nothing. At last they submitted to all that was required of them. However, they asked to be exempted from destroying the idols with their own hands. This was granted.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) selected Abu Sufian and Mughira to destroy the idols of Ta'if, the chief of which was the notorious idol of Al-Lat. This was carried out amidst cries of despair and grief from the women of Ta'if.
The conversion of this tribe of Ta'if is worthy of notice. This tribe, which to have proved hostile to the new faith. A small detachment under Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallahu'anhu) was sent to convince about the new faith and to destroy their idols. The prince of the tribe was 'Adyy ibnu Hatim. Hatim was known for his generosity. On the approach ‘Ali’s force, 'Adyy fled to Syria, leaving his sister with his principal clansmen, to fall into the hands of the Muslims. Ali bin Abu Talib took her with every sign of respect and sympathy to Medinah. When the daughter of Hatim came before the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), she addressed the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in the following words:
"Messenger of Allah, my father is dead; my brother, my only relation fled into the mountains on the approach of the Muslims. I cannot ransom myself; I count on your generosity for my relief. My father was an illustrious man, the prince of his tribe, a man who set free prisoners, protected the honor of women, fed the poor, clothe afflicted, and was deaf to no appeal."
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied: "Your father had the virtues of a true Muslim; if it were permitted to invoke the mercy of Allah on any whose life was passed away in idolatry, I would pray to Allah for mercy for the soul of Hatim." Then, addressing the Muslims around him, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "the daughter of Hatim is free; her father was a generous and humane man; Allah loves and rewards the merciful."
After the amnesty to the daughter of Hatim, all her people were set at liberty. She then proceeded to Syria and told to her brother the generosity of Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). 'Adyy was touched by gratitude, hastened to Medinah, where he was kindly received by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He professed Islam and returned to his people and persuaded them to abandon idolatry. They all submitted and became devoted Muslims.
The Tabuk Expedition
In the 9th A.H, hearing that an army was again being assembled in Syria against the Muslims, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)called on all the Muslims to support him in a great campaign. In spite of illness, the Prophet led (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) an army against the Syrian frontier in midsummer.
The purpose of the expedition was to discourage the growing belligerence of the neighboring forces to the North with a show of strength.
The move to Tabuk took place in Rajab, 9 A.H; Tabuk was situated halfway between Madinah and Damascus, about 700 km from Madinah. The march was against the Romans and their allies of the Arabian tribes of the North. The Muslim force was made of 30,000 soldiers.
When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw that there was no movement of troops by the enemy who seemed to have abandoned their military mobilization of the border towns, he gave orders for the return march. The objective of the expedition having been achieved and converting several tribes. But the campaign ended peacefully.
Declaration of Immunity
Although Makkah had been conquered and its people were now Muslims, the official order of the pilgrimage had not been changed; the pagan Arabs performing it in their manner, and the Muslims in their manner.
It was only after the pilgrims’ caravan had left Medinah towards the end of 9th A.H, when Islam was dominant in North Arabia, that what is known called the Declaration of Immunity was revealed. Its purport was that after that year Muslims only were to make the pilgrimage, exception being made for such of the idolaters as had an ongoing treaty with the Muslims and had never broken their treaties nor supported anyone against those they had treaties with. Such, then, were to enjoy the privileges of their treaty for the term thereof, but when their treaty had expired they would be as other idolaters. This proclamation marked the end of idol-worship in Arabia. 'Ali bin Abu Talib was delegated by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to read a proclamation that ran as follows:
"No idolater shall after this year perform the pilgrimage; no one shall make the circuit of the Ka'abah naked [such a disgraceful custom was practiced by the pagan Arabs]; and treaty with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) shall continue in force but four months are allowed to every man to return to his territories; after that there will be no obligation on the Prophet SAW, except towards those with whom treaties have been concluded."
Commandment for Zakat
The divine commandment making it incumbent upon the Muslims to pay Zakat i.e. a mandatory charity at a fixed rate in proportion to the worth of the property was revealed in the 9th Hijrah. [Tarikh Tabri, Vol. IV, p.724] The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent the order for collection of poor-due to all the functionaries appointed in the areas where the people had accepted Islam.
The vast multitude who had listened to the above declaration returned to their homes, and before the following year was over the majority of them were Muslims.
During the 10th A.H, as in the preceding one, numerous embassies continued to pour into Medinah from all parts of Arabia, to testify to the allegiance of their chiefs and their tribes. Teachers were sent by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) into the different provinces to teach the new converts the principles and precepts of Islam. These missionaries were invariably given the following injunctions when they were about to depart on their mission:
"Deal gently with the people, and be not harsh; cheer them, and do not look down upon them with contempt. You will meet with many believers in the Holy Scriptures, who will ask you: 'What is the key to heaven?' Answer them it [the key to heaven] is to bear witness to the divine truth and to do good."
Thus, the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was now almost accomplished; the whole work was achieved in his lifetime. Idolatry with its nameless abominations was entirely destroyed. The people who were sunk in superstition, cruelty, and vice in regions where spiritual life was utterly unknown were now united in one bond of faith, hope and charity.
The tribes which had been from time immemorial engaged in perpetual wars were now united together by the ties of brotherhood, love, and harmony. Henceforth, their aims were not confined to this earth alone; but there was something beyond the grave - much higher, purer, and diviner - calling them to the practice of charity, goodness, justice, and universal love. They could now perceive that Allah was not that which they had carved out of wood or stone, but the Almighty Loving, Merciful, the Creator of the Universe.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
See: Prophet Muhammad.25