after making full preparation, the prophet [pbuh] proceeded to makkah at the head of ten thousand soldiers on the 10th of ramadan, 8 a.h. he mandated abu ruhm al-ghifari to dispose the affairs of madinah during his absence. when they reached al-juhfa, al-‘abbas bin ‘abdul muttalib and his family came to join the prophet [pbuh]. at al-abwa’, the muslims came across abu sufyan bin al-harith and ‘abdullah bin omaiyah, the prophet’s cousins, but, on account of the harm they had inflicted, and their satiric language, on the believers, they were not welcomed. ‘ali addressed abu sufyan to go and beseech the prophet [pbuh] for pardon and confess his ill-behaviour in a manner similar to that of yusuf’s (the prophet joseph) brothers:
"they said: ‘by allâh! indeed allâh has preferred you above us, and we certainly have been sinners.’" [al-qur'an 12:91]
abu sufyan observed ‘ali’s counsel, to which the prophet quoted allâh’s words:
"he said: ‘no reproach on you this day, may allâh forgive you, and he is the most merciful of those who show mercy!’" [al-qur'an 12:92]
abu sufyan recited some verses paying a generous tribute to the prophet [pbuh] and professing islam as his only religion.
the muslims then marched on in a state of fasting until they reached a place called al-qadeed where water was available. there they broke fast [sahih al-bukhari 2/613] and resumed their movement towards mar az-zahran. the quraishites were quite unaware of the development of affairs, but the prophet [pbuh] did not like to take them by surprise. he, therefore, ordered his men to kindle fire on all sides for cooking purposes. the idea behind this was that quraish should be afforded full opportunity to assess the situation in which they were pitchforked correctly, and should not endanger their lives by leaping blindly in the battlefield. ‘umar bin al-khattab was entrusted with the guard duty.