Sohail, the spokesman of the Meccan deputation, immediately objected, “It is the custom of the Meccans to begin, ‘In Thy name, O God.’”
“So be it,” assented the prophet; then, continuing, he dictated the opening of the body of the treaty—“’These are the conditions on which Mohammed, the apostle of God, has made peace with those of Mecca.’”
A deep murmur of disapproval arose throughout the Meccan embassy.
“Not so, O Mohammed!” cried Sohail again. “Had we indeed acknowledged you as the prophet of God, think you we would have sent Khaled Ibn Waled with armed men against you? Think you we would have closed the streets of Mecca against one whom we recognized as an ambassador of the Most High? No, Mohammed, son of Abdallah, it must not be ‘apostle of God.’”
Mohammed again bowed in token of submission. “Write thus, then, O Ali,” he said. “’These are the conditions on which Mohammed, son of Abdallah, has made peace with those of Mecca.’”
He then proceeded to the terms of the treaty, stipulating that the prophet and his followers should have access to the city at any season during the period of truce, provided they came unarmed, habited as pilgrims, and did not remain over three days at a time.
This business concluded, the embassy from Mecca retraced its way; and Mohammed, changing his mind about entering the city at that time, ordered that prayers should be offered up on the spot, that seventy camels should there be sacrificed, and that the pilgrims should then return home.
This was accordingly done, and the people went back in some disappointment to Medina, where the prophet announced the success of his mission in a new passage from the Koran:
“Now hath God verified unto his apostle the vision wherein he said, Ye shall surely enter the holy temple of Mecca, if God please, in full security.”
THE SIEGE OF KHAIBAR.—KEDAR.
“The drying up a single
tear has more of honest fame than
shedding seas of gore.”
In the same year, the seventh year of the Hejira, Mohammed made the expected attack on Khaibar. The chief, Kenana, got word of his approach, and ordered that the country for miles around the capital should be laid waste. For days the long roads leading into the city from every direction, swarmed with a moving line of anxious-faced people, driving their camels and sheep ahead of them, and leading mules laden with household property. Low wagons creaked beneath the weight of fodder for the animals, and corn and dates for the people; and the loud “Yakh! Yakh!” of the camel-drivers mingled with the thud of the camel-sticks falling upon the thick hides of the lazy animals.
Asru was given charge of the expedition for laying waste the country; and never was a more considerate destroyer.
“Here, here!” he would cry to an aged man, “let me load that animal for you!” and he would lift the heavy burden to the back of the pack-mule, while the old man would say, “You are surely a kind soldier after all.”