Muhammad reorganizes Yathrib, where he is at the same time the religious, political and military leader. Muhammad relies both on the two Arab tribes and the three Jewish tribes living there. A compact-constitution governing the relations between different religious communities that inhabit the city, guaranteed all citizens the freedom of conscience. This would, in the opinion of Professor Muhammad Hamidullah, be the first written constitution in history. However, this new order came to frustrate the interests of the city, which Ubayy ibn Abd Allah ibn Salul and the Jewish tribes of Medina.
Some Jews, out of conviction, recognizing the prophet Muhammad as expected Messiah in the case of Rabbi Abdullah ibn Salam , or because of opportunism, embrace Islam. But the Jews of Medina did not convert en masse. Over time, Muslims distance themselves from the “people of books.” The break is marked when the direction of prayer becomes the Ka’ba in Mecca and not Jerusalem.
Muslims are under attack from Makkans and respond. During the month of Ramadan in the year 624, the Battle of Badr begins. This is the first conflict conducted by a Muslim army. It would have 317 Muslim soldiers opposed to a thousand Mecca soldiers. The victory against the bases of the Makkans gives the nascent Muslim state a victory and is a psychological advantage for the Muslims. The month of fasting, Ramadan, is then fixed the anniversary month that began the revelation of the Koran or, as another version to commemorate the battle of Badr.
The Makkans take their revenge at the Battle of uħud in the year 625. Supporting the evil grip of Muslim Medina, some of the Jews, like Salam ibn Abi Al-Haqiqa, have benefited from this defeat and went to Mecca and encourage Makkans to return to the fight. In order to end the threat posed to them by this new group the Makkans form a coalition of several Arab tribes whith Gatafan, Sulaym Banu, Banu Asad, Fazarah and Ashja. In the year 627, an army of ten thousand soldiers march on Medina, who take shelter behind a gap on the proposal of the companion of Muhammad, the Persian Salman Al-Farisi. The siege of the city itself is long. Diplomatic Makkans tried secretly and managed to bribe the Jewish tribe of Banu Quraydhah who was in charge of part of the front. Muhammad sent four envoys to the Banu Quraydhah to ensure the effectiveness of their support, but envoys are poorly received and noted the defection of Banu Quraydhah. In parallel, a man named Ghatafan Masud ibn Nuaym secretly converted to Islam and is about to drive a wedge between the coalition. He managed to cast doubt on Banu Quraydhah and the solidarity of the coalition in case of defeat and the first to question the sincerity of its allies. Exhausted by the siege and the weather, the coalition decided to lift the siege leaving Banu Quraydhah to their fate. After a siege of 25 days, they are subjected to the Torah by their former ally of Saad ibn Muadh: men of the tribe were killed, their property confiscated and their wives and children are enslaved.
In 628, Mohammed goes on a pilgrimage to Mecca at the head of a convoy of 400 pilgrims as a sign of his peaceful intentions. The Makkans refuse them access to the shrine, but the Muslims sign the truce called Al-Hudaybiyah. In 632 after the Hegira (in 629 – 630), the truce is broken when a tribe allied to Mecca attacked a tribe allied to Medina. Muhammad was secretly running Mecca at the head of ten thousand soldiers. At the gates of the city, he guarantees the security of any non-combatant and declares a general amnesty. Mecca then went unopposed. Forced conversions of former opponents are reported.
It took nine years for all of Arabia to embrace Islam. Muhammad ordered the cessation of raids between Arab tribes declaring in his Farewell Sermon “The Muslim is sacred to the full Muslim, his blood is sacred, their property is sacred, honor is sacred. “
The unification of the Arabian peninsula under the banner of Islam is not likely to leave its powerful neighbors indifferent. Mohammed decides to send his ambassadors to Egypt, Persia and Byzantium, among other destinations, to convey his message. The era of conquest beyond the peninsula will begin.
Having reorganized the administration and seated influence of Islam in Mecca, he returned to Medina, where he died June 8 632 aged sixty-three after a short illness. He was buried in his apartment adjoining the mosque.
After his death, his disciples continued to transmit orally and in written form the words of Muhammad, before they were finally collected into one book, the Koran, by the third Caliph Uthman at least twenty years after the death of Muhammad
Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam (1977)
Muhammad, Encyclopædia Britannica
Lapidus, Ira (2002). A History of Islamic Societies (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Neusner, Jacob (2003). God’s Rule: The Politics of World Religions. Georgetown University Press.
Dakake, Maria Massi (2008). The Charismatic Community: Shi’ite Identity in Early Islam. SUNY Press.