on the morning of tuesday, 17th. ramadan, 8 a.h., the prophet [pbuh] left mar az-zahran. he ordered al-‘abbas to detain abu sufyan at a commanding gorge that could afford a full view of the muslim army parading on its way towards makkah, and hence give him the chance to see the great and powerful soldiers of allâh. the different tribes successively passed with their banners flown up, until at last the battalion of the emigrants and helpers with the prophet [pbuh] at their head heavily armed marched by. abu sufyan began to wonder who those people were, to which al-‘abbas told him that they were muhammad [pbuh] and his companions. abu sufyan said that no army however powerful could resist those people and addressing al-‘abbas, he said: "i swear by allâh that the sovereignty of your brother’s son has become too powerful to withstand." al-‘abbas answered, "it is rather the power of prophethood," to which the former agreed.
sa‘d bin ‘ubadah carried the flag of the helpers. when he passed by abu sufyan, he said "today will witness the great fight, you cannot seek sanctuary at al-ka‘bah. today will witness the humiliation of quraish." abu sufyan complained about this to the prophet [pbuh] who got angry and said "nay, today al-ka‘bah will be sanctified, and quraish honoured," and quickly ordered that sa‘d should be stripped off the flag, and that it should be entrusted to his son qais, in another version, to az-zubair.
al-‘abbas urged abu sufyan to hasten into makkah and warn the quraishites against any aggressive behaviour towards the muslims. there in makkah, he shouted at the top of his voice and warned against any hostilities advising them to seek safety in his house. his wife got indignant and tugged at his moustache cursing him and abusing his cowardly stance. the people within makkah mocked abu sufyan and dispersed in different directions, some into their houses, others into the holy sanctuary while some undisciplined reckless ruffians led by ‘ikrimah bin abi jahl, safwan bin omaiyah and suhail bin ‘amr encamped themselves in a place called khandamah, with a murderous intent in their minds.
the prophet [pbuh], on his part, was quite modestly and calmly drawing the final touches for the military breakthrough awaiting the muslims, by allâh’s will. he appointed khalid bin al-waleed as a leader of the right flank of the army with aslam, sulaim, ghifar, muzainah and juhainah tribes under his command to enter makkah through its lower avenues. az-zubair bin ‘awwam was to lead the left flank and would storm makkah from the upper side holding up the messenger’s banner. abu ‘ubaidah took command of the infantry and was to penetrate into the city via a side valley. they were given full and decisive orders not to kill unless in self defence and in that case they would exterminate any aggressive elements and quell any opposition.