A key leader of Meccan opposition to Prophet Muhammad was Abu-Sufyan. He was responsible for expelling, murdering, and torturing Muslims and the holy Prophet’s family and had led the pagans of Mecca in the battles of Uhud and Khandaq in 625 and 627 AD. In 628, a truce was signed between the Meccan tribe of Quraysh and the Muslim community in Medina, which was broken by the Meccans in 630 AD. So Prophet Muhammad moved towards conquering Mecca with an army of about ten-thousand Muslims.

At the time, Abu-Sufyan realized that the pagans under his command were not prepared enough for war and that their defeat was certain. So he sent one of his soldiers to ask for a respite. Prophet Muhammad granted him respite until morning. In the morning, Abu-Sufyan was brought to Prophet Muhammad, and he accepted Islam as his religion on the surface to avoid prosecution. The Prophet said to him, “return, you and the ones in your house are safe. Tell the residents, whoever stays home and closes the doors of his house is safe”.

Prophet Muhammad’s plan for secretly moving the Muslim army towards Mecca startled the Non-Believers, who took to their houses and left only a few to fight. As a result, the Muslim army conquered Mecca with minimum fighting, which ties in with the Prophet’s command of “do not engage in war unless the opposing party initiates it”.

This historical account clearly illustrates that the Prophet managed to conquer Mecca with the least possible fighting, and even then granted security to Abu-Sufyan instead of killing or captivating him. In addition, the others who had taken shelter in their houses were pardoned in spite of their enmity against Islam.

When the Muslims arrived in Mecca, they began chanting, “today is the day of bloodshed”. But, Prophet Muhammad commanded them to stop and instead recite, “today is the day of mercy and forbearance”.

This forbearance resulted in:
1- The attraction of Non-Believers to Islam (due to the noble moral of the Prophet)
2- The prevention of bloodshed and further hatred;
3- The welcoming of Islam by Non-believers, who were under severe financial losses and casualties caused by their leaders, which in effect helped the growth of Islam.

Prophet Muhammad’s approach was that of forbearance and benevolence. Today many have killed and tortured Muslims and Non-Muslims in the name of Islam. They claim to be followers of Islam. But truly they are not. They use the name of Islam to advance their own personal agendas, while hurting many along the way.