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For the son of Harith, see Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith.


Sakhr ibn Harb ( ), more commonly known as Abu Sufyan (560-650), was a leading man of the Quraish of Meccamarker. He was a staunch opponent of the Arabian prophet Muhammad before accepting Islam later in his life.

Family

Women and children

1. From Hind/Hinda daughter of 'Utbah ibn Rabī'ah:
    Son: Mu'āwiyah I
          Son: Yazīd
                Sons: Mu'āwiyah II, Khālid
                Daughter: 'Ātikah (married to 'Abd al-Mālik ibn Marwān)
2. From Ṣāfiyah d. Abu al-'Āṣ:
    Daughter: Ramlah (Umm Ḥabībah)(Married to 'Ubayd-allah ibn Jaḥsh, followed by Muḥammad         after 'Ubayd-allah renounced Islam in Abyssinia)
                Son: Abd-allah ibn Jaḥsh
                Daughter: Ḥabībah d. Jaḥsh
3. From the daughter of Abu 'Amr ibn 'Umaiyah:
    Son: 'Amr (Captive in the Battle of Badr)
4. From Ṣāfiyah d. 'Abd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim: 1 son

Other children:Ḥanzalah (Killed in the Battle of Badr),Yazīd,Ḥārith,Umm Ḥakam,'Utbah (son: Walīd)

Biography

Opposition to Islam

Abu Sufyan was the chieftain of the Banu Abd-Shams clan of the Quraish tribe, which made him one of the most powerful and hated men in Meccamarker. Abu Sufyan viewed Muhammad as a threat to Mecca's social order, a man aiming for political power and a blasphemer of the Quraish gods.

When several muslims emigrated to Abyssinia to escape harassment in Mecca, Abu Sufyan's daughter Ramlah was among those emigrating to Abyssinia for refuge.

Military conflict with Muhammad

After Muhammad had migrated to Medinamarker in 622, the Quraish confiscated the belongings they had left behind. From Medina, the Muslims attacked several of the Quraish's caravans coming from Syriamarker to Meccamarker. In 624, Abu Sufyan was the leader of such a caravan and as a Muslim force moved to intercept him, he called for help from the Quraish. This resulted in the Battle of Badrmarker, which ended in a Muslim victory. Abu Sufyan however managed to bring his caravan home to Mecca. The death of most Quraish leaders in the battle left him the leader of Mecca.

Subsequently he was the military leader in the Meccan campaigns against Medina, such as the Battle of Uhud in 625 and the Battle of the Trench in 627, but could not attain final victory.

Eventually the two parties would agree to an armistice, the Treaty of Hudaybiyya in 628, which allowed Muslims to make the pilgrimage to the Kaaba.

Muslim Conquest of Mecca

When the armistice was violated in 630 by allies of the Quraish, Muhammad moved towards conquering Mecca. Abu Sufyan, sensing that the balances were now tilted in Muhammad's favour and that the Quraish were not strong enough to hinder the Muslims from conquering the city, travelled to Madina, trying to restore the treaty. No agreement was reached between the two parties and Abu Sufyan returned to Mecca empty handed. These efforts ultimately ensured that the conquest occurred without battle or bloodshed.

Abu Sufyan travelled back and forth between Mecca and Madinah, still trying to reach a settlement. According to the sources, he found assistance in Muhammad's uncle al-Abbas, though some scholars consider that historians writing under the rule of Abbas's descendants, the Abbasid dynasty, had exaggerated Abbas's role and downplayed the role of Sufyan, who was the ancestor of the Abbasids' enemies.

At Conquest of Mecca, Prophet Mohammad honored him and declared house of Abu Safyan as House of peace for people of Mecca. It was announced that any one who would enter in his house would get peace from Muslim Army and none would harm that person.

Later life

After the conquest of Mecca, Abu Sufyan fought as one of Muhammad's lieutenants in the subsequent wars. During the Siege of Taif, he lost an eye.

When Muhammed died in 632, Abu Sufyan was in charge of Najranmarker..

Abu Sufyan also fought in the Battle of Yarmouk in 636, in which he lost his second eye. He played a very important role in war. He was naqeeb of war from muslim army. He fought under command of his son Yazid bin Abi Sufyan.

Abu Sufyan died at the age of ninety in 650 at Madina. His kinsman Uthman Ibn Affan, who had become the third Caliph in 644 led the prayer over his grave.

Legacy

Abu Sufyan's son Mu'awiyah became the founder of the Umayyad dynasty, the first Muslim dynasty which ruled the Islamic world for a century, from 661 to 750. Mu'awiyah waged a series of battles against Ali ibn Abi Talib, and Mu'awiyah's son, Yazid, succeeded him as caliph. Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah commanded the murder of Husayn ibn Ali because the latter refused to pledge allegiance to him.

Shi'i Muslims view Abu Sufyan as a hypocrite, who converted only after Muslims had conquered Mecca and who managed to infiltrate the Muslim ranks and be included among the Muslim community.

His daughter Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan was married to Holy Prophet. She is more famously known as "Umm Habibah."

References



  1. John Glubb, The Life and Times of Muhammad, Lanham 1998, p. 304-310.
  2. Abu Al-Abbas Ahmad Bin Jaber Al-Baladhuri, The people of the Islamic State (translated by Philip Khuri Hitti), p. 107.
  3. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, p. 393.
  4. http://www.sahaba.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=62
  5. www.al-islam.org


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