when dhul qa‘da month approached towards the close of the seventh year a.h., the prophet [pbuh] ordered his people, and the men who witnessed al-hudaibiyah truce treaty in particular, to make preparations to perform ‘umrah (lesser pilgrimage). he proceeded with 2000 men besides some women and children [fath al-bari 7/700], and 60 camels for sacrifice, to visit the holy sanctuary in makkah. the muslims took their weapons with them fearing the treachery of the quraishites, but left them with a party of two hundred men at a place some eight miles from makkah. they entered the city with the swords in their scabbards [za'd al-ma'ad 2/151; fath al-bari 7/700], with the prophet [pbuh] at their head on his she-camel, al-qaswa’, while the surrounding companions attentively focusing their look on him, all saying: "here i am! at your service o allâh!" the quraishites had left the place and retired to their tents on the adjoining hills. the muslims performed the usual circumambulation vigorously and briskly; and on recommendation by the prophet [pbuh] they did their best to appear strong and steadfast in their circumambulation as the polytheists had spread rumours that they were weak because the fever of yathrib (madinah) had sapped their strength. they were ordered to run in the first three rounds and then walk in the remaining ones. the makkans meanwhile aligned on the top of qu‘aiqa‘an mount watching the muslims, tongue-tied at witnessing their strength and devotion. when they entered the holy sanctuary, ‘abdullah bin rawaha walked before the prophet [pbuh] reciting:
"get out of his way, you disbelievers, make way, we will fight you about its revelation with strokes that will remove heads from shoulders and make friend unmindful of friend."
after ritual walking and running between the two hills of makkah, safa and marwah, the prophet[pbuh] with the muslims halted at the latter spot to slaughter the sacrificial animals and shave their heads.
the main body of the pilgrims had now performed the basic rites of the lesser pilgrimage, but there remained those who were entrusted the charge of the weapons. the prophet had these relieved, and they went through the same devotions as the others did.
on the morning of the fourth day of the pilgrimage, the notables of quraish asked ‘ali bin abi talib to tell the prophet [pbuh] to leave makkah along with his companions. he, of course, could not conceive of violating the terms of al-hudaibiyah treaty, therefore he ordered his men to depart for a village called sarif where he stayed for some time.
it was during this visit of the prophet [pbuh] to makkah for pilgrimage that his uncle ‘abbas offered the hand of his sister-in-law, maimuna — the daughter of harith, to him. the prophet [pbuh] was kind enough to accept this offer since it was an effective step towards cementing the ties of relationship between the prophet [pbuh] and the influential men of makkah. the wedding took place in sarif. [za'd al-ma'ad 2/152]
narrators attached different designations to this lesser pilgrimage. some called it the compensatory lesser pilgrimage, performed instead of that uncompleted of hudaibiyah; and the other one, given preponderance by jurists, is the lesser pilgrimage consequent on certain terms of a treaty already agreed upon.
on the whole, compensatory, judicial consent, retribution and reconciliation are all terms applicable to that visit.
some military operations, directed against some still obdurate desert arabians, took place at the conclusion of the lesser pilgrimage, of which we could mention:
- a platoon of 50 men led by ibn abi al-‘awja’ was despatched by the prophet [pbuh] to the habitations of bani saleem inviting them to embrace islam, but all the words fell on deaf ears. fierce fighting erupted between both parties during which the muslim leader was wounded, and two of the enemy were captured.
- ghalib bin ‘abdullah at the head of 200 men was despatched to fadak where they killed some rebels and a lot of booty fell to their lot.
- banu quda‘a had gathered a large number of men to raid the muslim positions. on hearing the news, the prophet [pbuh] despatched ka‘b bin ‘umair al-ansari at the head of 15 men to deal with this situation. they encountered the army, and called them to enter into the fold of islam but the rebels gave a negative response and showered the muslims with arrows killing all of them except one who was carried back home later seriously wounded. [rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/231]
there was also an insignificant skirmish that occurred in rabi‘ al-awwal 8 a.h. shuja‘ bin wahab al-asadi, along with 25 men, marched towards bani hawazin tribe where they encountered no resistance but managed to gain some booty. [talqeeh fuhoom ahl al-athar p.33; rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/231]