29.7 The General Pardon, the Trust, More on Pardon
Quraysh came to find out what their fate would be. They had harassed, injured, persecuted, killed and imprisoned Muslims for years and now they were in the hands of the Muslims, in the hands of Mohamed, the man they had done everything in their power to destroy.
He looked at them smiling and said,
"People of Quraysh, what do you think I shall do to you?"
"You are a gracious brother and an honorable kinsman," they said.
"Go, you are all free men," he said.
Then he entered the Kaaba. Inside, on the walls there were pictures of the prophets and the angels. He looked at the painting of Abraham and said,
"May Allah forgive them. Is this how they paint an old, venerable man?"
The angels were painted as beautiful women, and he explained that angels were neither male nor female but something quite different. He asked to have all these paintings erased and the walls made a pure white. Then he took a chain and went with it to idol after idol and broke them to pieces while reciting these verses from the Koran:
And say, "The truth has come and the false has perished away.
The false always perishes." (17:81)
Thus the Ancient House of Abraham was purified from idolatry and returned to being the House of Allah alone as it had been in the days of Mohamed's ancient grandfathers, Ishmael and Abraham. Then Mohamed went to pray by Al-Safa.
In order to allow the Messenger to enter the Kaaba, Ali ibn Abi Talib had gone to the custodian of the Kaaba who was a polytheist and taken the keys by force. The man protested, saying that if he knew Mohamed to be the Messenger of Allah he would have given him the keys himself.
After performing the rites of visiting the Ancient House, Mohamed returned the keys to the polytheist custodian. Completely amazed, the man asked why he was giving him the keys again. The Muslims were in power and the city was completely under their dominion. Whereupon Mohamed read to him these words from the Koran:
Allah commands you to restore trusts to their owners,
and if you decide between people, decide fairly. (4:58)
Talha, the polytheist custodian, entered into Islam in awe of Him who made men submit to the right, even when might and victory was theirs. The keys of the Kaaba returned to him by the Prophet remained a sacred trust inherited from father to son until today.
When the Supporters, the native inhabitants of Medina, saw the simple, yet majestic and awe-inspiring Kaaba, the curious position of Mecca surrounded by fort-like hills, its atmosphere of strange, spiritual beauty, and how well this background suited Mohamed, they said to each other,
"Mecca has the Sacred House, Mecca has Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, Mecca has the Place of Abraham, it was Mohamed's homeland where he lived and grew up, surely he is not going to leave all this to go back to Medina with us."
The Muslims of Medina feared he was lost to them now that he had recovered his own. After finishing prayers, for Mohamed had been praying while they conversed, he rose and asked them what they had been discussing. Hesitant and shy, they explained their fears.
"Allah forbid," he said.
"My life is with you and my death will be among you."
As always Mohamed was true. He would not go back on his word to them nearly ten years earlier when they swore the oath of Al-Aqaba. These were the people who had opened their city and their homes to him when all else had rejected him, and no matter what sanctity or love for Mecca he had in his heart, he would not prefer it to them.
The Meccans looked in awed wonder at the Prophet and at the Muslims, these people who had become so mellowed, so refined, so benevolent. They saw how his followers loved Mohamed, and how they loved and trusted each other, and how kind and good they were to all mankind and to all creation. They looked at the serene security, the tranquility these people enjoyed - a tranquility that had nothing to do with material circumstances, but was a spiritual content, the feeling that the truth, the secret of the whole universe was within one's grasp.
In spite of the general pardon, some of the Meccans feared lest Mohamed remembered what they had done. There were those who had tortured Muslims, and there was Hind, who had mutiliated the body of Hamza, the Prophet's uncle and foster brother who had been so dear to him. Hamza was perhaps the greatest warrior and huntsman the Arabs had ever known, but Hind had cut open his body and chewed his liver. Mohamed did not have it in his nature to bear a grudge or hurt those who had become the weaker party. He forgave all, pardoned all. In his goodness of heart he told the Meccans that he loved them dearly and that he would have never have made another people their equals if they had not driven him out. Mohamed sent guarantees of peace and safe conduct to the people who had fled from Mecca when he arrived. They could return to their homes and families unmolested. Of all the people in Mecca only four men were put to death. These were men who had committed murder for personal reasons and so were put to death according to the decrees of Islam.
Now most of Quraysh entered into Islam -men, women, and children. They swore allegiance to Mohamed and began to be instructed in the religion that would be their refuge, hope, and pride for all the generations to come. Mohamed remained in Mecca for fifteen days. Every day Bilal would give the call to prayer and all the Muslims, Emigrants, Supporters, Meccans, and tribesmen would respond, leaving everything and heading towards the Kaaba to pray. Then Mohamed would lead prayers. No more strife, no more discord, all were brothers in Islam.