Mahomet had attained his aims, and whether he could keep what he had now rested with himself alone. After this period of calm there is a diminution in his energy and fiery zeal. The effort of that continual warfare had kept him in perpetual fever of action; when its strain was removed he felt the weight of his kingdom and the religion he had so fearlessly reared. Until the end of his life he kept his hold upon his subjects, and every branch of justice, law, administration, and military policy felt his detailed guiding, but with the attainment of peace for Arabia under his sway, his aggressive strivings vanished. Virtually he had accomplished his destiny, and with the keen prescience of those who have lived and worked for one object, he knew that the outermost stronghold of those which Islam was destined to subdue had yielded to his passionate insistence. His successors would carry his work to higher attainments, but his personal part was done, and it was with a sense of finality that almost brought peace to his perpetually striving nature that he prepared for his last witness to the glory and unity of Allah, the performance of the Greater and Farewell Pilgrimage.
“This day have I perfected your
religion for you, and have filled
up the measure of my favours upon you; and it is my pleasure that
Islam be your religion.”—The Kuran.
A year had passed since Abu Bekr’s purgatory Pilgrimage, and now the sacred month drew near once more and found Mahomet secure in his adopted city, the acknowledged spiritual and political leader among the Arabian tribes. Not since his exile had the Prophet performed in their entirety the rites of the Greater Pilgrimage. Now he felt that his achievements would receive upon them the seal of Allah and become attested in the eyes of the world if he should undertake a complete and purified Pilgrimage in company with the host of his followers. The Pilgrimage was proclaimed abroad in Islam, and every Believer who could by any means accomplish it assumed the Pilgrim’s garb, until the army of the devout numbered about 40,000 men. All the Prophet’s wives accompanied him, and every Believer of any standing in the newly formed state was his close attendant. It was felt, indeed, that this was to be the Pilgrimage that was to ordain and sanction the rite for all time. In the deepest spirit of religion and devotion it was undertaken and completed. Islam was now to show to the world the measure of its strength, and to succeeding generations the sum of its being and the insistence of its call.