varying opinions on madinah's defense
the prophet-may god's blessing be upon him!-suggested that the muslims should hold fast to madinah, reinforce themselves therein, and keep out the quraysh. should the enemy decide to attack, the muslims would fight from within and, knowing their own ground, should be better able to repulse the enemy. `abdullah ibn ubayy ibn salul agreed with the prophet and added: "prophet of god, in the past we always fought our enemies in madinah by placing our women and children safely in the upper stories of the houses and building walls connecting one house with another on the perimeter of the city, thus making the town a single fortress. when the enemy advanced on us, the women and children would hit them with stones with which they had been amply provided while we would meet them with our swords in the streets. our city, o prophet of god, has never been violated by an enemy because none has ever entered it without meeting defeat. on the other hand, we have never met an enemy outside our city without loss to ourselves. please listen to me in this matter and follow this wise plan which i inherited from the greatest leaders and wise men of madinah who have gone before."
the prophet as well as the prominent among the prophet's companions, whether muhajirun or ansar, agreed with this view. however, the young muslims who had not participated in badr, as well as others who had witnessed badr but became thereafter convinced that muslim power was invincible, desired to go out of madinah and meet the enemy wherever he might be. they were disturbed by the idea that unless they spoke to this effect, they might be suspected of cowardice. they argued that since the enemy was not too far from madinah, the muslims would be stronger than at badr when they fought many miles away from their people and land. an advocate of this view said
"i hate to see the quraysh return to makkah saying that they have locked up muhammad in the houses and buildings of yathrib and have prevented him and his companions from going out. such talk would undoubtedly incite the quraysh to further acts of aggression. now that they have entered our very orchards and plantations, shown off their numbers and strength, and incited the arab tribes and abyssinian clients to follow them, how could we allow them to blockade us in our own homes and let them return without injury? should we do that, they would surely return to raid our frontiers, to blockade us again, and to cut off our roads to the outside world." a number of other speakers spoke in favor of going out to meet the enemy, arguing that in case god gave them victory they would have met their objective. this would be a substantiation of the promise which god made to his prophet. on the other hand, should they be defeated and die, they would have fallen as martyrs and would have won paradise.