In this siege there was a Jewish tribe in Medinah that had been treacherous to the Mohammedans, deserting them in their hour of need, and going over to the enemy. This caused Mohammed great difficulty and might easily have brought about his defeat.
There is practically no editing, and no attempt is made to explain when, or how, or why the various speeches were delivered. The earliest native writers and commentators on the Koran arranged its suras in two main classes: Those uttered at Mekka before the flight in A.D. 622; those written at Medinah during the next ten years.
The style of the Medinah suras resembles that of the Mekkan revelations of the third period, only they are still more matter of fact and restrained, and are largely made up of appeals to Jews, Christians, and others to abandon their "unbelief," and to accept the prophet who had come to them with the true religion, a religion as old as Abraham, though forgotten for many ages.
This in Hindostani, to choose a well-known tongue, must be smothered with words thus: "What book was by me given to you yesterday by night, that book bringing to me, come!" I have alluded to these subjects in a previous work upon the subject of Meccah and El Medinah. This is one of the stock complaints against the Moslem scheme. Yet is it not practically the case with ourselves?
That was all that was needed. The entire Mohammedan army charged, shouting the names of Allah and Mohammed, and the battle was won. Many horses and camels and much valuable plunder were captured, and word was sent back to Medinah that a great victory had been gained. The Meccans swore vengeance and in due time another army was advancing against Mohammed.
In some of the skin-hongs that I entered, the walls were ornamented with coloured plans of Mecca and Medinah, bought in Chentu, the capital city of the province of Szechuen. In Chaotong I engaged three new men to go with me to Tongchuan, a distance of 110 miles, and I rewarded liberally the three excellent fellows who had accompanied me from Suifu. My new men were all active Chinamen.
So, when a frightened messenger brought word to the Meccans that a number of Mohammed's followers were plundering the Meccan caravans, the people of Mecca raised an army to raze Medinah to the ground and put an end for all time to the man that had so troubled their affairs. Mohammed, however, had already designed to march against Mecca and had raised an army for that purpose.
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid once slept with three slave-girls, a Meccan, a Medinite and an Irakite. The Medinah girl put her hand to his yard and handled it, whereupon it rose and the Meccan sprang up and drew it to herself. Quoth the other, "What is this unjust aggression? And they tell a tale of
However, the Meccans were too exhausted to pursue his men for a time and they believed that Mohammed himself had been slain, which was the first of their desires. So they returned to Mecca. For about two years there was little fighting, and then the Meccans planned an attack against Medinah, and advanced upon it with a large army.
He was engaged in prayer when the word was brought to him that the Meccans were coming and at once he summoned his followers and exhorted them to do their utmost and to die in defense of the faith. With his army at his heels Mohammed went forth from Medinah and pitched his camp near Mount Uhud, only a bowshot away from his enemies.