In this part, we will see how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) accepted the conversion of Wahshi ibn Harb who had killed Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Hamzah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, though Prophet Muhammad could not stand the sight of Wahshi. We will also see how Prophet Muhammad accepted the conversion of Hind bint `Utbah though she had mutilated his uncle, Hamzah. Prophet Muhammad kept Wahshi and Hind alive and did not kill them in retaliation for Hamzah’s murder.
We will also know how Prophet Muhammad dealt with the Arabian poet, Al-`Abbas ibn Mirdas, who blamed him in poetic verses. We will also see how Prophet Muhammad treated harsh nomads and double-faced hypocrites.
Wahshi ibn Harb
Wahshi ibn Harb was a slave who killed Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Hamzah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib. About this incident, Wahshi related: “… Hamzah killed Tu`aymah ibn `Adi at Badr Battle. So my master, Jubayr ibn Mut`am, told me: ‘If you kill Hamzah in retaliation for my uncle’s killing, you will be set free.’ When people went out for Uhud Battle, I went out with them for fighting … Then, I waited for Hamzah under a rock. When he approached me, I hurled my spear at him. I threw it at his pubic area. So it went out from between his hips … When people came back, I came back with them. Then, I resided at Mecca until Islam spread over there. Then, I went to Al-Taif and lived there until they dispatched a messenger to the Messenger of God. Then, I was told that he (Prophet Muhammad) did not disturb messengers. Then, I went out with the delegation to the Messenger of God. When he saw me, he wondered: ‘Are you Wahshi?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ He further wondered: ‘You killed Hamzah?’ I replied: ‘The matter is as you knew.’ He then said: ‘Can you hide your face from me?’ Then, I went out …” (Al-Bukhari)
Prophet Muhammad accepted Wahshi’s conversion to Islam and did not punish or take revenge on him in retaliation for the killing of his uncle Hamzah.
Hind bint `Utbah
Hind bint `Utbah was a Qurayshi woman who mutilated Hamzah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, Prophet Muhammad’s uncle. During Uhud Battle, after the killing of Hamzah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, Hind cut open his abdomen, took his liver out and tried to chew it.
However, upon the Conquest of Mecca, Hind converted to Islam and became a good Muslim. It is reported that she went to Prophet Muhammad and said: “O Messenger of God, I did not like that the inhabitants of a tent should be dishonored on the face of the earth more than the inhabitants of your tent. But, today I do not like that the inhabitants of a tent should be honored more than the inhabitants of your tent.” (Al-Bukhari)
Al-`Abbas ibn Mirdas
Al-`Abbas ibn Mirdas was a companion of Prophet Muhammad. He was an elder of Sulaym Tribe. In command of Sulaym tribe members, Al-`Abbas fought Hunayn Battle with Prophet Muhammad.
However, at the end of this battle, after the victory of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad allotted him a small share in the spoils. He was given only four camels. Thereupon, in poetic verses, he blamed Prophet Muhammad for that.
He indicated that though he fought the battle quite courageously, most of the spoils he along with other Muslims got were distributed among other people like `Uyaynah ibn Hisn and Al-Aqra` ibn Habis.
When Prophet Muhammad was told about the verses of Al-`Abbas, he metaphorically instructed: “Take him away and cut his tongue off for me.” Some people misunderstood Prophet Muhammad as commanding the mutilation of Al-`Abbas. However, the Companions of Prophet Muhammad understood that he ordered giving more camels to Al-`Abbas so that he would be pleased with him and stop blaming him.
Thus, Al-`Abbas was given a satisfactory share in the spoils. It is purported that he was given one hundred or fifty camels. (Ibn Ishaq)
Al-Aqra` ibn Habis
Prior to his conversion to Islam, Al-`Aqra` ibn Habis had said to Prophet Muhammad: “Only the robbers of pilgrims from the tribes of Aslam, Ghifar, Muzaynah, and Juhaynah pledged allegiance to you.” Prophet Muhammad then replied: “If Aslam, Ghifar, Muzaynah, and Juhaynah are better than the tribes of Tamim, `Amir, Asad, and Ghatafan, do you think that they (the latters) have failed and lost?” Al-Aqra` replied: “Yes!” Then, Prophet Muhammad affirmed: “By the One in Whose Hand myself rests, they (the formers) are better than them (the latters).” (Al-Bukhari)
Even when Al-Aqra` went to Prophet Muhammad to talk to him about Islam, he did not communicate with him properly. He, along with the other members of his delegation, kept calling out loudly outside Prophet Muhammad’s one-chamber houses, saying: “O Muhammad, get out to us!”
Therefore, the following verses were revealed:
Indeed, those who call you, [O Muhammad], from behind the chambers – most of them do not use reason. And if they had been patient until you [could] come out to them, it would have been better for them. But Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Hujurat 49:4-5)
When Prophet Muhammad got out to the delegation of Tamim Tribe, Al-Aqra` said to him: “O Muhammad, my praise is honor and my dispraise is dishonor (for the intended person).” Then, Prophet Muhammad commented: “That is God (rather than you).”
However, when Al-Aqra` decided to convert to Islam by bearing witness that there is no deity but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad reassured: “You will not be harmed for what you had done before.” Moreover, Prophet Muhammad appointed him as the commander of his people.
Mu`attib ibn Qushayr
Mu`attib ibn Qushayr was such a hypocrite who used to question Prophet Muhammad’s attitudes and prophecies and discourage Muslims.
According to Al-Isabah Fi Tamyiz As-Sahabah, at Uhud battle, as quoted in the Qur’an, he said:
If there was anything we could have done in the matter, some of us would not have been killed right here. (Aal `Imran 3:154)
At Al-Khandaq (Ditch) Battle, Mu`attib said: “How come Muhammad promises us the treasures of Khosrau and Heraclius though one of us is not safe enough to go to empty bowels.” (At-Tabarani)
About the above statement of Mu`attib and similar statements by other hypocrites, the following verses were revealed:
And [remember] when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, “Allah and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion” (Al-Ahzab 33:12)
According to Al-Waqidi, commenting on Prophet Muhammad’s distribution of spoils after Hunayn Battle, Mu`attib said: “He did not intend by this (distribution) the sake of God.” When Prophet Muhammad knew about that, he said: “May God be merciful to Moses. He was harmed more than that, but he kept patient.”
Anonymous Bedouins Coveting Shares in Spoils
At the end of Hunayn Battle, after Muslims’ victory over Hawazin and Thaqif tribes, Prophet Muhammad and Muslims got the most numerous spoils Muslims ever won during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime.
That is why all hypocrites and unfaithful Arabians who converted to Islam asked for as large shares in such spoils as possible, whether or not they were really entitled to any such shares.
For example, Anas ibn Malik reported: “While I was walking with the Messenger of God who was wearing a thick-bordered Najrani garment, a nomad caught up with him and kept pulling him so strongly that when I looked at the shoulder of the Messenger of God, I noticed that the garment border affected it out of the strength of pulling. He demanded: ‘Command them to give me from the property of God which you have.’ Then, Prophet Muhammad turned to him while he was laughing and ordered his Companions to give him from the spoils.” (Al-Bukhari)
Jabir ibn `Abdullah also reported that a man came to Prophet Muhammad after Hunayn Battle while he was taking silver from Bilal’s garments and give to people. Then, he said: “O Muhammad, be fair!” Then, Prophet Muhammad replied: “Woe betide you! Who will be fair if I am not fair? I will fail and lose if I am not fair.” Then, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab said: “O Messenger of God, let me kill this hypocrite!” Then, he replied: “God forbid! Lest people should say that I kill my Companions. Indeed, though this man and his companions recite the Qur’an, it does not exceed their throats. They mistake it just as an arrow mistakes a game animal.” (Muslim)
1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)
2- Sahih Al-Bukhari
3- Sahih Muslim
4- Al-Mu`jam Al-Kabir, by At-Tabarani
5- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Ishaq