Rethinking the Problem of Quraysh and Makkah
muhammad continued to consolidate the civilization for which his teaching and example provided the foundation. together with his muhajirun companions, he thought over the problem of quraysh, which had vexed them ever since their emigration. the muslims were moved by many considerations. in makkah stood the ka'bah, the house of ibrahim, pilgrimage center to them as well as to all the arabs. until their exile, they had performed this sacred duty in season, every year. in makkah too many of their friends, relatives, and loved ones had stayed behind and were still practicing the old idolatry. in makkah, their wealth, worldly goods, trade, and properties were still under the jurisdiction of the quraysh. madinah itself was struck with epidemic diseases which attacked the muslims and inflicted upon them great suffering; indeed, the very trip to madinah on foot and without provisions had so worn them out that they entered the city on their first arrival already diseased and exhausted. this hard journey had naturally increased their longing for their hometown. moreover, they did not leave makkah of their own accord but under compulsion and full of resentment for their overlords who threatened them with all kinds of punishments and sanctions. it was not in their nature to suffer such injustices or to submit to such tyranny for long without thinking of avenging themselves. besides these determinants, there was the natural motivation of longing to return to one's homeland, to one's home where one was born and grew up. there was the natural longing for the land, the plain, and the mountains, the water and the vegetation, all of which had constituted their earliest associations, friendships, and love. the land in which he grows and to which he returns at the end of his life has a special appeal for man. it determines his heart and his emotion and moves him to defend it with all his power and wealth as well as to exert all possible effort indeed his life -for its guardianship and well being. it is to the land from which we came out, as it were, that we want to return and be buried in at death. this natural feeling added a degree of intensity to the other emotions. indeed, the muhajirun could never forget makkah nor stop thinking about the problem of their relation with the quraysh. from the very nature of the case, and after thirteen long years of persecution and conflict in which they held their ground firmly, the muslims could not possibly entertain any ideas of withdrawal or giving up. the religion itself to which they had converted and for the sake of which they had emigrated did not approve of weakness, despair, servile submission, or the patient bearing of injustice. although it was strongly opposed to aggression and condemned it in no uncertain terms, and although it called for and promoted fraternity and brotherhood, it demanded that man rise up to the defense of his person, of his dignity, of the freedom of religion, and the freedom of homeland. it was for this defense and purpose that muhammad concluded with the muslims of yathrib the great covenant of al `aqabah. now the question posed itself how may the muhajirun fulfill this duty imposed upon them for the sake of god, his holy house, and their beloved homeland, makkah? toward the realization of this objective will the policy of muhammad and of the muslims now turn. this objective was to preoccupy them all until the conquest of makkah had been achieved, and the religion of god, and the truth which it proclaimed, had become supreme.