It was, in fact, a great step forward towards his ultimate goal. It involved his recognition by the Kureisch as a power of equal importance with themselves. No longer was he the outcast fanatic for whose overthrow the Kureisch army was not required to put forth its full strength. No longer even was he a rebel leader who had succeeded in establishing his precarious power by the sword alone. The treaty of Hodeibia recognises him as sovereign of Medina, and formally concedes to him by implication his temporal governance. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that his mood on returning to the city was one of rejoicing and praise to Allah who had made such a victory possible.
Henceforward the dream of universal sovereignty took ever more distinctive lineaments in his mind. He pictured first a great and united Arabia, mighty because of its homage to the true God, and supreme because of its birthing of the world-subduing faith. To say that these thoughts had been with him since his first hazardous entry into Medina is to grant him a long-sightedness which his opportunist rule does not warrant. The creator of them was his boundless energy, his force of personality, which kept steadily before him his unquenchable faith and led him from strength to strength. By diplomacy and the sword he had carved out his kingdom, and now he purposed to extend it by suasion and cunning, which nevertheless was to be supported by his soldier’s skill and courage. The next phase in his career is one in which reliance is placed as much upon statecraft as warfare, in which he tries with varying success to array his state and his religion along with the great empires and principalities of his Eastern world.
THE FULFILLED PILGRIMAGE
“O ye to whom the Scriptures have been given! Believe in what we have sent down confirmatory of the Scriptures which is in your hands, ere we efface your features and twist your head round backward, or curse you as we cursed the Sabbath-breakers: and the command of God was carried into effect.”
The end of Dzul-Cada saw Mahomet safe in his own city, but with his promises of booty and warfare for his followers unfulfilled. He remained a month at Medina, and then sought means to carry out his pact. He had now determined upon a pure war of aggression, and for this the outcast Jews of Kheibar offered themselves as an acceptable sacrifice in his eyes. In Muharram he prepared an expedition against them, important as being the first of any size that he had undertaken from the offensive. It is a greater proof of his renewed security and rapidly growing power than all the eulogies of his followers and the curses of his enemies. The white standard was placed in the hands of Ali, and the whole host of 1000 strong went up against the fortresses of Kheibar. The Jews were taken completely off their guard. Without allies and with no stores of food and ammunition they could make no prolonged resistance. One by one their forts fell before the Muslim raiders until only the stronghold of Kamuss remained. Mahomet was exultant.