28.1 The Pilgrimage
The year passed and in accord with the treaty of Al-Hudaybiya it was the Muslims' right to enter Mecca as pilgrims. Mohamed announced his intention of going as a pilgrim and thousands flocked around him, even more than the previous year. They all went unarmed, except for swords in their scabbards, observing the terms of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiya. Mohamed, feeling he could not trust Quraysh, sent a hundred horsemen before them as scouts and gave them strict orders not to enter the Sacred Precincts.
Hearing of Mohamed's approach, Quraysh decided to leave the Sacred Precincts to the Muslims and took refuge in the mountains where they erected their tents and awaited the arrival and eventual departure of this strange man who, although one of them, would fight the whole world, if need be, for what he believed.
The Muslims approached from the north and as soon as they could see the Ancient House, they called out,
"I come in answer to Thee, my Lord, I come in answer to Thee."
In awe, hope, and fear, they approached the Ancient House of Abraham and Ishmael with Mohamed leading the way on his white camel. When he reached the mosque he went down and baring his right arm he went to the Kaaba and said,
“My Lord, have mercy upon a man who has let them see strength in him today.”
Then he went to the comer where the Black Stone lay and began the rites of pilgrimage and all those who were with him followed his example and as they circled the Kaaba, their bared right arms faced outwards towards the on looking Quraysh.
Abdullah ibn Rawaha, the poet, saw Quraysh staring awestruck at them, and out of sheer joy and excitement he wanted to hurl the battle-cry at them, but Umar restrained him. This was not the moment. Mohamed said to him,
"Patience, Ibn Rawaha, rather say this: there is no deity but Allah. He gave victory to His slave and power to His soldiers and alone defeated the tribes."
Ibn Rawaha repeated these words and all the Muslims repeated them after him, and they were carried by the winds and echoed by the mountains until they encircled all Mecca.
After going round the Kaaba seven times, Mohamed went to Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, as the Arabs since the time of Abraham had done, and the Muslims followed his example. Next he sacrificed the offerings at AI-Marwa, and then shaved his head, according to the rites of pilgrimage.
They remained for three days in Mecca, the three days allowed them in the treaty of Al-Hudaybiya. The Emigrants visited their homes and their relations, and took the Supporters along with them as honored guests. There was an atmosphere of rejoicing and reunion, tender memories, and cherished hopes.
The Meccans were much impressed by this stately yet simple faith, and by the noble change that had come over the Muslims. In Mecca there lived among Quraysh four lovely sisters who, although Muslims, could not leave their home city. Mohamed called them the four devout sisters, the oldest of them being the wife of his uncle, Al-Abbas. Her youngest sister, Maymuna, longed to be with the Muslims, and to be near the Messenger. She confided to her sister who spoke to her husband who approached his nephew. Maymuna came from one of the noblest families of Quraysh, and she was the aunt of Khalid ibn Al-Walid. When AI-Abbas asked Mohamed to marry her, and to refuse would have been considered an insult to the family, Mohamed thought this a good opportunity to soothe the hurt pride of Quraysh by accepting to be connected to them. He hoped it would promote the atmosphere of friendship and good-will.
During these three short days the Muslims tried to satisfy their longing for the Ancient House and the Holy Precincts by offering prayers of thanks, and took the opportunity to walk upon the soil of their beloved Mecca to visit those too old to emigrate and to console the weak who were shackled to the polytheists by unbreakable ties, At the end of the prescribed period, two representatives of the eminent Qurayshis went to Mohamed and asked him to leave with the Muslims according to the treaty. Mohamed, in an effort to open Mecca to the Muslims by amiable means, suggested that he marry Maymuna in Mecca and celebrate his honeymoon among them with banquets and feasting. The Meccans nobles bluntly refused; they had seen how much all the Meccans longed to be with the Muslims, and if they accepted to sit at table with him, then Mecca would be forever open to the Muslims.
Mohamed did not tarry long in Mecca after that. He gave his followers the order for departure and asked that Maymuna be escorted to Sarif and there they were married. She was the last of the wives of the Prophet and lived fifty years after him. When she came to die, she asked to be buried in Sarif where she had spent her honeymoon with him.