In this part, we will see how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forgave and released the captives of Hawazin and Thaqif and refused to continue his siege to the forts of Al-Taif to avoid annihilating its people and give them some time to accept Islam, though they were going to smash him as well as Muslims and they had disbelieved him.
Hawazin & Thaqif Tribes
The great conquest of Mecca met with an adverse reaction by the big Arabian tribes in the vicinity of Mecca, namely the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif. The elders of those tribes met and let Malik ibn `Awf, the elder of Hawazin, assume their leadership. They decided to proceed to fight Prophet Muhammad and Muslims.
Malik ibn `Awf took Muslims by surprise. All of a sudden, arrows were being shot from everywhere. Hawazin and Thaqif carried out an all-out attack. During the battle, Jabir ibn `Abdullah Al-Ansari complained: “O Messenger of God, the arrows of Thaqif burnt us. So invoke God against them. But, Prophet Muhammad invoked: “O Lord, grant Thaqif guidance!” (At-Tirmidhi)
It is reported that, at Hunayn Battle, Prophet Muhammad passed by a woman who was killed by Khalid ibn Al-Walid while people were gathering round her. Thereupon, he said to one of his Companions: “Catch up with Khalid and tell him: ‘The Messenger of God prohibits you from killing a newborn, woman or wageworker.’” (Ibn Ishaq)
When God granted Prophet Muhammad and Muslims a victory, Muslims kept chasing those tribes until the latters entered their forts and closed gates. To lay a tight siege to the forts, Prophet Muhammad ordered Muslims to cut down the outside trees.
Then, Sufyan Al-Thaqafi called out: “O Muhammad, why should you cut down our trees? Either you seize them if you defeat us or let them standing for the sake of God and kinship relationship as you allege.” Then Prophet Muhammad replied: “I will let them standing for the sake of God and kinship relationship.”
Then, Prophet Muhammad declared that Thaqif slaves who got out and gave themselves up to Muslims would be emancipated. Therefore, twenty three slaves went out and gave themselves up to Muslims. They were actually emancipated.
When the captives of Hawazin decided to convert to Islam about twenty days after Hunayn Battle, Prophet Muhammad then gave them the choice between release or the recovery of their property. So they chose release. So Prophet Muhammad decided to release them. Thereupon, six thousand captives, including boys and women, were set free.
Anas ibn Malik reports that at Hunayn Battle there was a polytheistic man who attacked Muslims and kept pounding and smashing them. Then, one Companion of Prophet Muhammad vowed to behead this man if he was captured. Thereupon, Prophet Muhammad kept silent. When Hawazin and Thaqif tribes were beaten, this man was captured.
Upon seeing Prophet Muhammad, the man said: “O Prophet of God, I have turned to God in repentance.” Prophet Muhammad then refrained from accepting his pledge of allegiance so that the Muslim man would fulfill his vow. However, this Muslim man kept looking at Prophet Muhammad, waiting for a command to kill the man, while fearing the reaction of Prophet Muhammad if he killed him without permission. When Prophet Muhammad saw that the Muslim man did not do anything, he accepted the man’s pledge of allegiance. Then, the Companion said: “O Prophet of God, what about my vow?” Then, Prophet Muhammad replied: “I refrained from accepting his pledge of allegiance only so that you would keep your vow.” Then, the Companion regretted: “Why did you not wink at me?” Then, Prophet Muhammad said: “A prophet cannot give a wink.” (Ahmad)
Moreover, Prophet Muhammad returned to Malik ibn `Awf An-Nadri his property and maintained him as the elder of his people. It is reported that, in the aftermath of Hunayn Battle, Prophet Muhammad asked his Companions about Malik ibn `Awf. They told him that he was in Al-Taif with Thaqif. He then said to them: “Tell him that if he comes to me as a Muslim, I will return to him his family members and property and I will give him one hundred camels.”
When Malik was told about that, he caught up with Prophet Muhammad. Thereupon, Prophet Muhammad returned to him his family members and property and gave him one hundred camels. Then, he embraced Islam and became a good Muslim. (Ibn Ishaq)
Therefore, Malik praised Prophet Muhammad in a standalone poem including the following verses:
I have never seen or heard about somebody like Muhammad. He gave profusely upon asking for giving. Whenever you like, he will tell you about what will happen tomorrow.
It is reported that in the wake of Hawazin Battle a woman came to Prophet Muhammad and said: “O Messenger of God, I am your sister (by suckling). I am Shayma’ bint Al-Harith.” He replied: “If you are truthful, you still bear an indelible trace from me.” Then, she uncovered her arm and said: “Yes, Messenger of God! When you were young, you bit me this bite.” Thereupon, the Messenger of God spread out his garment for her and said: “Just ask and you will be given. Just intercede and I will accept your intercession.” (Al-Bayhaqi)
It is also reported that, after Hunayn Battle, Prophet Muhammad’s father by suckling came to him. Then, Prophet Muhammad spread out a part of his garment for him to sit down. Then, his mother by suckling came to him. Then, he spread out a part of his garment on the other side for her to sit down. Then, his brother by suckling came. So Prophet Muhammad got up and let him sit down before him.
It is noteworthy that when Prophet Muhammad was a baby, he was given to Sa`ad Clan (a clan of Hawazin Tribe) to bring him up for it was an Arabian custom to send male babies to the desert tribes for upbringing so that they will be strong enough.
When he was a baby, Prophet Muhammad was suckled at Sa`ad Clan. Therefore, their preacher, Zuhayr ibn Sard, said: “O Messenger of God, the women who are in the sheds are your mothers (by suckling), maternal aunts (by suckling) and wet nurses. So oblige us so that God may oblige you.” He then improvised the following poetic verse:
Oblige women you used to suckle from. Your mouth used to be filled with milk from them. Oblige women you used to suckle from…
Therefore, Prophet Muhammad released all captives of Hawazin and Thaqif. (Abu Dawud)
Prophet Muhammad chose to lift the siege and withdraw from the forts of Al-Taif and give its people more time lest they should have been annihilated. Next Ramadan, they actually came to Prophet Muhammad to declare their conversion to Islam.
Finally, it is worth noting that some people of Al-Taif had disbelieved and personally abused Prophet Muhammad when he once invited them to Islam. At the time, the angel in charge of mountains appeared to Prophet Muhammad and said: “O Muhammad, your Lord extends you His greetings and He heard the statements and replies of the people. If you like, I will close AlAkhshabayn (two mountains in Mecca) down on them.” Then, Prophet Muhammad replied: “No, give them more time so that God will bring out from their descendants those who worship God, alone, and do not ascribe partners to Him.” (Al-Bukhari)
1- Sahih Al-Bukhari
2- Sunan Abu Dawud
3- Sunan At-Tirmidhi
4- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Ishaq
5- Dala’il An-Nobowwah, by Al-Bayhaqi