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20 Ramadan, muslims celebrate the Conquest of Mecca by Muhammad
The conquest of Mecca (Arabic: فتح مكة fatḥ makkah) is the historical event when Mecca was opened for and conquered by Muslims on 11 December 629 CE (Julian), 18 Ramadan, 8 AH in the ancient (intercalated) Arabic calendar. Muhammad started the journey on 6 Ramadan and entered Mecca on 18 Ramadan.
In 628, the Meccan tribe of Quraysh and the Muslim community in Medina signed a 10-year truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. According to the terms of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, the Arab tribes were given the option of joining either of the parties, the Muslims or Quraysh. Should any of these tribes face aggression, the party to which it was allied would have the right to retaliate. As a consequence, Banu Bakr joined Quraysh, and Khuza'ah joined Muhammad. They thus lived in peace for some time; but ulterior motives stretching back to the pre-Islamic period, ignited by unabated fire of revenge, triggered fresh hostilities.
Banu Bakr, without concern for the provisions of the treaty, attacked Banu Khuza'a in a place called Al-Wateer in Sha'ban, in 8 AH. Quraysh helped Banu Bakr with men and arms, taking advantage of the dark night. Pressed by their enemies, the tribesmen of Khuza'ah sought the Holy Sanctuary, but here too, their lives were not spared, and, contrary to all accepted traditions, Nawfal, the chief of Banu Bakr, chased them in the sanctified area — where no blood should be shed — and massacred his adversaries. Khuza'ah at once sent a delegation to Medina to inform the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, of this breach of truce and to seek help from Muslims of Medina being their allies.
After the incident, Quraysh sent a delegation to Muhammad, petitioning to maintain the treaty with the Muslims and offering material compensation. The Muslim forces had gathered in strength to settle account with Quraysh and for the final attack and the opening of Mecca.
After Abu Sufyan ibn Harb's departure, Muhammad immediately assembled a large army. The objective of the operation was kept secret and even Muhammad's close friends and commanders did not know his plans. Muhammad intended to assemble and attack the Quraysh using the element of surprise. For further secrecy, Muhammad sent Abu Qatadah towards "Batan Izm" to give the impression that he wanted to go there.
The Muslim army set out for Mecca on Wednesday, 29 November 629 (6 Ramadan, 8 hijra.) Volunteers and contingents from allied tribes joined the Muslim army on the way swelling its size to about 10,000 strong. This was the largest Muslim force ever assembled as of that time. The army stayed at Marr-uz-Zahran, located ten miles northwest of Mecca. Muhammad ordered every man to light a fire so as to make the Meccans overestimate the size of the army.
Meanwhile, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb travelled back and forth between Muhammad and Mecca, still trying to reach a settlement in order to avoid conquest. According to the sources, he found assistance in Muhammad's uncle Al-Abbas, though some scholars[who?] consider that historians writing under the rule of Abbas' descendants, the Abbasid Dynasty, had exaggerated Abbas' role and downplayed the role of Abu Sufyan, who was the ancestor of the Abbaside's enemies.
Mecca lies in the Valley of Ibrahim, surrounded by black rugged hills reaching heights of 1,000 ft (300 m) at some places. There were four entry routes through passes in the hills. These were from the north-west, the south-west, the south, and the north-east. Muhammad divided the Muslim army into four columns: one to advance through each pass. The main column in which Muhammad was present was commanded by Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. It was tasked to enter Mecca through the main Madina route, from the north-west near Azakhir. Muhammad's cousin Az Zubayr commanded the second column and it would enter Mecca from the south-west, through a pass west of Kuda hill. The column entering from the south through Kudai was under the leadership of Muhammad's cousin Ali. The last column under Khalid ibn al-Walid was tasked to enter from the north-east, through Khandama and Lait.
Their tactic was to advance simultaneously from all sides targeting a single central objective. This would lead to the dispersion of enemy forces and prevent their concentration on any one front. Another important reason for this tactic was that even if one or two of the attacking columns faced stiff resistance and became unable to break through, then the attack could continue from other flanks. This would also prevent any of the Quresh from escaping.
Muhammad emphasized on refraining from fighting unless Quresh attacked. The Muslim army entered Mecca on Monday, 11 December 629 (18 Ramadan 8 hijrah). The entry was peaceful and bloodless entry on three sectors except for that of Khalid's column. The hardened anti-Muslims like Ikrimah and Sufwan gathered a band of Quresh fighters and faced Khalid's column. The Quresh attacked the Muslims with swords and bows, and the Muslims charged the Quresh's positions. After a short skirmish the Quresh gave ground after losing twelve men. Muslim losses were two warriors.
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