the Jews, who were then a source of danger, it was only a temporary expedient
and Muslim authorities do not consider it binding on them now that the 'verse of
killing' has been revealed.
Muhammad did not go to Mecca at the usual time of the annual pilgrimage, for
heathen people were still present; 1 so in the ninth year of the
Hijra he sent Abu Bakr with a small body of pilgrims. Still this condition of
things could not be allowed to go on, and so a revelation came releasing the
Prophet from any obligation to respect the heathen Arabs. This revelation was
given by Muhammad to 'Ali, who, starting after Abu Bakr and the pilgrims had
left, joined him and his party at Mecca. Towards the close of the pilgrimage,
'Ali read out the revelation, which Muhammad had given him as God's message, to
a large multitude of the Arabs assembled for the pilgrimage.2 The
opening words are:
An immunity from God and His Apostle to those polytheists with whom ye have
made a league among the polytheist Arabs.
Go ye, therefore, at large in the land four months; but know that God ye shall
not weaken,3 and that God will put to shame the infidels.