The purpose of the expedition was to discourage the growin belligerence of the neighboring forces to the North with a show of strength.
The move to Tabuk took place in Rajab, 9 A.H.; Tabuk was situated halfway between Madinah and Damascus, about 700 km from Madinah. The march was against Romans and their allies of the Arabian tribes of the North.
The Muslim force was 30,000 soldiers. When the Prophet saw that there was no movement of troops by the enemy who seemed to have abandoned their military mobilization of the border towns, he gave orders for the return march; the objective of the expedition having been achieved.
THE YEAR OF DEPUTATIONS
The Prophet of God peace be and blessings upon him felt happy on the arrival of a deputation from Tujib. They asked questions about a number of things and the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him got the answers to their questions written for them. Then they made a request on being told more about the Qur’an and the Sunnah which caused the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him to express fondness for them. He instructed Bilal to entertain them well. However, they stayed but for a few days with the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him and expressed the desire to return to their homes.
When they were asked why they wanted to depart so soon, they replied, “We want to go back to tell our people how we met the Messenger of God peace be and blessings upon him, what talks we had with him and what replies he gave to our questions.”
Thereafter they returned and again called upon the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him during the pilgrimage in 10 A.H. when the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was at Mina.
(Zad al‐Maʹad, Vol. II, p. 43)
Deputation also called upon the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him from Bani Fazara, Bani Asad, Bahra and ‘Adhara, and all of them
accepted Islam. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him promised them the capture of Syria, but forbade them to have recourse to seers for divination of the future and commanded them to cease offering the sacrifices they had been doing hitherto.
He also told them that only the sacrifice on the occasion of ‘Id‐ul‐Adha was lawful for them. When the delegations of Bali, Dhi Murrah and Khawlan called upon the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, he asked them about the idol of Khawlan to which they had been paying divine honors. They replied, “God bless you! God has replaced it by what has been brought by you. There are, however, a few elderly persons and senile women who are devoted to it but we will break it when we go back.
Deputations also came to the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him from Muharib, Ghassan, Ghamid and Nakh’a. (The envoys of Arabian tribes coming to Madinah learned about Islam and its institutions, watched the graceful and genial behavior of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him and benefited from the company of the Prophet’s companions (may Allah be pleased with them).
Tents were often set‐up for them in the courtyard of the Prophet’s mosque from where they saw the Muslims offering prayers and reciting the Qur’an. They spoke plainly and frankly, asked whatever they wanted while the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him replied to their questions in all sobriety, explained the wisdom of Islam and quoted excerpts from the scripture which were instrumental to their certitude and peace of heart.