29.4 Abu Sufyan as Emissary
They sent Abu Sufyan, the greatest of their nobles, as a herald of peace. Abu Sufyan feared going directly to Mohamed for he knew they were in the wrong. So he went first to the house of his daughter, Umm Habiba, who was the Prophet's wife. His reception was ominous. She asked him not to sit on Mohamed's bed. Hearing this, the respected Abu Sufyan did not know what to think, so he asked her whether she considered him too great for the bed or the bed too good for him. She answered,
"You are an unclean polytheist, and this is the Prophet's bed."
"Woe, woe, child, evil has befallen you after me," he said in spleen.
Angry and indignant, he now went to Mohamed. He offered peace and the extension of the treaty of AI-Hudaybiya for another ten years. Mohamed was very truthful, he would not attempt to mislead an enemy as many would in war today, but at the same time he could not declare war openly, for he hoped and prayed to enter Mecca without bloodshed, and this would not happen unless he could take it by surprise. So he rose and left Abu Sufyan without a word, good or bad.
Next Abu Sufyan tried to seek Abu Bakr's help in conciliation - the kind-hearted; gentle, conciliatory Abu Bakr, but he had misjudged Abu Bakr. All his life Abu Bakr was gentle and mild, except when it was a matter of principle. Now Abu Bakr was as firm as Mohamed himself.
Almost in despair, Abu Sufyan tried Umar. Umar, forthright as always, said,
"I speak for you! If I had only my bare hands, I would still fight you with them!"
Abu Sufyan went to Ali ibn Abi Talib next, but Ali told him that he could do nothing for him. He tried lesser men, men who before Islam would have been only too happy to speak for the great Abu Sufyan, but it was of no avail. Then at last he took his weary, humiliated, undesirable person out of Medina.