LIFE HISTORY OF MOHD.PROPHET (CONTD)
The Military Activities between Badr and Uhud
The battle of Badr was the first armed encounter between the Muslims and Quraish. It was in fact a decisive battle that gained the Muslims a historic victory acknowledged by all the Arabs, and dealt a heavy blow to the religious and economic interests of the polytheists. There were also the Jews who also used to regard each Islamic victory as a heavy blow to their religioeconomic entity. Both parties were burning with rage and fury since the Muslims had achieved that great victory:
# "Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews and Al-Mushrikűn (polytheists, pagans, idolators and disbelievers, etc.)." [5:82]
Both resentful parties had their much more indignant suite in the form of hypocrites who faked Islam just to save their faces; at the head of whom came ‘Abdullah bin Ubai and his retinue. The desert bedouins living in tents pitched in the vicinity of Madinah, who depended on plundering and looting as a means of living, were totally indifferent to this axial question of belief and disbelief. Their worry derived from fear of losing their perverted avenues of subsistence in case a powerful nascent Muslim state should rise up and put an end to such ill-practices, hence the grudge they nursed against Islam and the Muslims, in general, and the person of Muhammad , in particular.
The whole cause of Faith was thus at stake with four furious parties laying ambushes against the new religion, each in its style: Pretension to Islam embedded with conspiracy plots and provocative deeds within Madinah, explicitly uncovered animosity pregnant with indignation and fire of rage on the part of the Jews, and there in Makkah open and persistent calls for vengeance coupled with open intentions to mobilize all potential resources available to silence the voice of Islam once and for all. This was later translated into military action, Uhud Invasion, which left a very bad impression on the good name and esteem that the Muslims were painstakingly working to merit and preserve.
The Muslims were always obliged to be on the lookout for any hostile movements, and it was imperative on them to launch pre-emptive strikes in all directions in order to enjoy a reasonable degree of security in this great instability-provoking ocean of unrest. The following is a list of military activities conducted in the post-Badr era:
The scouting body of Madinah reported that Banu Saleem of Ghatafan were engaged in mustering troops to invade the Muslims. The Prophet took the initiative himself and mounted a surprise attack on them in their own homeland at a watering place called Al-Kudr. Banu Saleem, on receiving the news, had fled before he arrived. He stayed there for three days, took their 500 camels as booty and distributed them to the fighters after he had set aside the usual one-fifth; each one gained two camels.
This invasion took place in Shawwal in the year 2 A.H., seven days after the event of Badr.
An Attempt on the Life of the Prophet :
The impact of defeat at Badr was so great that the Makkans began to burn with indignation and resentment over their horrible losses. To resolve this situation two polytheists volunteered to quench their thirst and muffle the source of that humiliation i.e. the Prophet .
‘Umair bin Wahab Al-Jumahi, a terrible polytheist, and an archenemy Safwan bin Omaiyah sat together privately lamenting their loss and remembering their dead and captives. ‘Umair expressed a fervent desire to kill the Prophet and release his captured son in Madinah, if it was not for the yoke of debts he was under and the large family he had to support. Safwan, also had his good reasons to see the Prophet killed, so he offered to discharge ‘Umair’s debts and support his family if he went on with his plan.
‘Umair agreed and asked Safwan to be reticent on the whole scheme. He left for Madinah, having with him a sword to which he applied some kind of lethal poison. ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw him at the door of the Mosque and understood that he had come with evil intentions. He immediately went into the Mosque and informed the Prophet . He was let in looped by the sling of his sword and in greeting he said "good morning", to which the Prophet replied that Allâh had been Gracious and taught them the greeting of the dwellers of the Paradise: "peace be upon you!" To a question raised by the Prophet , about his object, ‘Umair said that he had come to see that his captured son was well treated. As for the sword, which the Prophet asked him about, he cursed it and said that it gained them nothing. On exhorting him to tell his real goal, he remained obdurate and did not divulge the secret meeting with Safwan. Here the Prophet got impatient and he himself revealed to ‘Umair his secret mission. ‘Umair was taken by surprise, and incredible astonishment seized him, and immediately bore witness to the Messengership of Muhammad . He then began to entertain Allâh’s praise for having been guided to the ‘Straight Path’. The Prophet was pleased and asked his Companions to teach ‘Umair the principles of Islam, recite to him the Noble Qur’ân and release his son from captivity.
Safwan, meanwhile, was still entertaining false illusions as to the approaching redemption of honour, and burying the memory of Badr into oblivion. He was impatiently awaiting ‘Umair’s news but to his great surprise, he was told that the man had embraced Islam and changed into a devoted believer. ‘Umair later came back to Makkah where he started to call people unto Islam and he did actually manage to convert a lot of Makkans into Islam.
Invasion of Bani Qainuqa‘:
We have already spoken about the treaty that the Prophet signed with the Jews. He was very careful to abide by it to the letter and the Muslims did not show the least violation of any of its provisions. The Jews, however, whose natural disposition is closely linked to treachery, betrayal and covenant-breaching, could not rid themselves of the tradition of theirs, and started a process of intrigues and troublemaking with the aim of producing schism in the growing solid Muslim ranks. Here is a relevant model of their behaviour: Shas bin Qais, an elderly Jew, a terrible disbeliever and a greatly envious man of the Muslims, passed by a group of Muhammad ’s followers of Aws and Khazraj. He perceived a prevalent spirit of reconciliation and an atmosphere of rapport and amity enveloping the whole group; an unusual scene categorically in conflict with the animosity and hatred that characterized their pre-Islam behaviour. He, therefore, sent a youth of his to sit among them, remind them of Bu‘ath war between them and recite some of their verses which they used to compose satirizing each other; all of this with the intention of sowing the seeds of discord and disagreement and undermining the new Islamically-orientated inter-tribal relations. The youth did in fact succeed and the two parties at no time recalled the old days and pre-Islam tribal fanaticism sprang to the front to bring about a state of war.
The Prophet was reported of this account, and immediately, at the head of some Emigrants, set out to see to the situation. He began to rebuke them but in the manner of the great instructor and the tolerant spirit of the understanding guide: "O, Muslims! Do you still advance pre-Islamic arguments after I have been sent to you (as a Messenger). Remember that it is not rightful for you to turn backward after Allâh has guided you to the Straight Path, delivered you from disbelief and created amity between you." The Muslims readily realized that it was a Satanic whim and a plot hatched by the enemies. They directly embraced each other and went back home quite satisfied and in full obedience to the Messenger of Allâh .
Such were the practices of the Jews, trouble-making, dissension-sowing, falsehood-fabrication, faking belief in the day, and practising disbelief at night. In everyday life, they used to tighten the ropes of financial dealings on the Muslims. If they happened to owe a Muslim something, they would shirk their obligations on grounds that he had converted into a new religion and they would allege the basis of agreement was no longer valid. If it was the other way, they would never cease to harass him day and night to pay back the debt, all of which in a desperate attempt to demolish the great edifice of the new religion that was rapidly gaining ground and speedily towering up skyward.
The Qainuqa‘ Jews breach the Covenant:
Seeing that Allâh sided with the believers and granted them a manifest victory and perceiving the Muslims’ awesome presence in Madinah, the Jews could no longer contain themselves or conceal indignation. They started a series of provocative and harmful deeds publicly. The most wicked amongst them were the tribe of Banu Qainuqa‘, who lived in quarters within Madinah named after them. As for jobs, they took up goldsmithery, blacksmithing and crafts of making household instruments, that is why war weaponry was available in large quantities in their houses. They counted 700 warriors, and were the most daring amongst the Jewish community in Arabia, and now the first to breach the covenant of cooperation and non-aggression which they had already countersigned with the Prophet . Their behaviour grew too impolite and unbearable. They started a process of trouble-making, jeering at the Muslims, hurting those who frequented their bazaars, and even intimidating their women. Such things began to aggravate the general situation, so the Prophet gathered them in assemblage, admonished and called them to be rational, sensible and guided and cautioned against further transgression. Nevertheless they remained obdurate and paid no heed to his warning, and said: "Don’t be deluded on account of defeating some Quraishites inexperienced in the art of war. If you were to engage us in fight, you will realize that we are genuine war experts."
In this regard, the Words of Allâh were revealed saying:
# "Say (O Muhammad ) to those who disbelieve: ‘You will be defeated and gathered together to Hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest.’ There has already been a Sign for you (O Jews) in the two armies that met (in combat — i.e. the battle of Badr): One was fighting in the cause of Allâh, and as for the other (they) were disbelievers. They (the believers) saw them (the disbelievers) with their own eyes twice their number (although they were thrice their number). And Allâh supports with His Victory whom He pleases. Verily, in this is a lesson for those who understand." [3:12,13]
The answer of Banu Qainuqa‘ amounted, as seen, to war declaration. The Prophet suppressed his anger and advised the Muslims to be patient and forbearing and wait for what time might reveal.
The Jews, went too far in their transgression, presumptuous behaviour and licentious practices. One day a Jewish goldsmith provoked a Muslim woman whose genitals become uncovered when he had tied the edge of the garment to her back. A Muslim man happened to be there and killed the man; the Jews retaliated by killing that Muslim. The man’s family called the Muslims for help and war started.
On Saturday, Shawwal 15th, 2 A.H., the Prophet marched out with his soldiers, Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib, carrying the standard of the Muslims and laid siege to the Jews’ forts for 15 days. Allâh cast fear into their hearts, and they were obliged to defer to the Messenger ’s judgement on their lives, wealth, women and children; their hands were tied behind their backs.
At this point, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul started his hypocritical role and began to intercede for them persistently on grounds of former alliance between those Jews and His tribe Khazraj. Muhammad dealt with this man as being a Muslim -- He had faked conversion into Islam for only one month, by that time -- and so he granted him his request; for Islam accepts people at their face value. Banu Qainuqa‘ handed over all materials, wealth and war equipage to the Prophet , who set aside one fifth and distributed the rest to his men. After that they were banished out of all Arabia to Azru‘a in Syria where they stayed for a while and soon perished away.
Two-pronged hostile activities were being independently conducted against the Prophet ; plots and intrigues being hatched by Safwan bin Omaiyah, the hypocrites and Jews on the one hand, going on and on parallel lines with military hostilities being prepared by Abu Sufyan aiming at saving the face of his people and impressing on the other Arabs that Quraish was still a military power to be counted for. In the aftermath of Badr, Abu Sufyan was burning for revenge and took a solemn vow he would never bathe off impurity unless he had avenged himself on Muhammad and his followers. He set out at the head of 200 men towards Madinah but was not brave enough to attack it in broad daylight. He, instead resorted to acts of piracy that are performed in the dark. He infiltrated into the Prophet ’s town and went to see an old ally Huyai bin Akhtab, who was too cowardly to let him in, so he left for Salam bin Mashkam, chief of Bani Nadeer, a tribe of Jews. The Jew entertained and gave him a full account of the situation therein. Late at night he despatched a group of his men to raid Al-‘Uraid, a suburb of Madinah. There, the men felled and burnt the palm trees, killed two Muslims and then took swiftly to their heels.
On hearing the news, the Prophet gathered his men and set out at their heels, but could not catch them. The Muslims brought back the provisions (Sawiq, a kind of barley porridge) which the polytheists had thrown aside in order to lighten their loads and hasten their escape; hence this campaign was called As-Sawiq Invasion. It took place in Dhul-Hijjah 2 A.H., two months after the event of Badr.
Dhi Amr Invasion, Muharram, 3 A.H:
The Prophet ’s intelligence personnel reported that Banu Tha‘labah and Banu Muhârib were mustering troops with the aim of raiding the outskirts of Madinah. The Prophet at the head of 450 horsemen and footmen set out to handle this new situation. ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan was asked to dispose the affairs of the Muslims in Madinah. On their way, they captured a man who embraced Islam and acted as a guide for the army. When the enemies heard of the approach of the Muslims, they hurriedly dispersed in the mountains and disappeared. The Muslims encamped at a watering place called "Dhi Amr" for the whole of Safar 3 A.H. The Prophet aimed to impress upon the desert bedouins in the area, that the Muslims were then powerful enough to cast fear and awe into the hearts of their enemies.
Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf, killed:
Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf was the most resentful Jew at Islam and the Muslims, the keenest on inflicting harm on the Messenger of Allâh and the most zealous advocate of waging war against him. He belonged to Tai’ tribe but his mother to Banu Nadeer. He was a wealthy man known for his handsomeness, and a poet living in luxury in his fort south east of Madinah at the rear of Banu Nadeer’s habitations.
On hearing the news of Badr, he got terribly exasperated and swore that he would prefer death to life if the news was true. When this was confirmed he wrote poems satirizing Muhammad , eulogizing Quraish and enticing them against the Prophet . He then rode to Makkah where he started to trigger the fire of war, and kindle rancour against the Muslims in Madinah. When Abu Sufyan asked him which religion he was more inclined to, the religion of the Makkans or that of Muhammad and his companions, he replied that the pagans were better guided. With respect to this situation, Allâh revealed His Words:
# "Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture? They believe in Jibt and Taghűt, and say to the disbelievers that they are better guided as regards the way than the believers (Muslims)." [4:51]
He then returned to Madinah to start a fresh campaign of slanderous propaganda that took the form of obscene songs and amatory sonnets with a view to defaming the Muslim women.
At this stage, the situation became unbearable and could no longer be put up with. The Prophet gathered his men and said: "Who will kill Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf? He had maligned Allâh, and His Messenger." Thereupon, Muhammad bin Maslamah, ‘Abbad bin Bishr, Al-Harith bin Aws, Abu ‘Abs bin Hibr and Salkan bin Salamah, Ka‘b’s foster brother, volunteered to do the job.
Muhammad bin Maslamah said: "O Messenger of Allâh, do you wish that I should kill him?" He said: "Yes." He said: "Permit me to talk (to him in the way I deem fit)." He said: "Talk (as you like)." So, Muhammad bin Maslamah came to Ka‘b and talked to him, saying: "This man (i.e. the Prophet ) has made up his mind to collect charity (from us) and this has put us to a great hardship." When he heard this, Ka‘b said: "By Allâh you will be put to more trouble by him." Muhammad bin Maslamah answered: "No doubt, now we have become his followers and we do not like to forsake him until we see what turn his affairs will take. I want that you should give me a loan." He said: "What will you mortgage?" Muhammad answered: "What do you want?" The immoral and heartless Jew demanded women and children as articles of security against the debt. Muhammad said: "Should we pledge our women whereas you are the most handsome of the Arabs; and the son of one of us may be abused by saying that he was pledged for two wasq (measurement unit of weight) of dates but we can pledge you (our) weapons." Ka‘b agreed. Salkan bin Salamah, Abu Na’ilah, at another time, went to see Ka‘b for the same purpose and there were more or less the same subjects, only that Abu Na’ilah would bring him some companions. The plan was successful and provided for the presence of both men and weapons. On Rabi‘ Al-Awwal 14th, at night, the year 3 A.H. the people said good bye to the Prophet and set out in the Name of Allâh to implement the carefully drawn plan. The Prophet stayed back praying for them and supplicating Allâh to render them success. The men went and called upon him at night. He came down although his wife warned him not to meet them alleging that: "I hear a voice which sounds like the voice of murder." He said: "It is only Muhammad bin Maslamah and my foster brother Abu Na’ilah. When a gentleman is called at night even if he be pierced with a spear, he should respond to the call." Abu Na’ilah said to his companions: "As he comes down, I will extend my hand towards his head to smell and when I hold him fast, you should do your job." So when he came down, they talked together for about an hour. They then invited him to go out and spend a nice time in the moonlight. On the way out, Abu Na’ilah remarked: "I smell the nicest perfume from you." Ka‘b said: "Yes, I have with me a mistress who is the most scented of the women of Arabia." Abu Na’ilah again said: "Allow me to smell (the scent on your head)". He said: "Yes, you may smell." So he caught it and smelt. Then he said: "Allow me to do so(once again)." He then held his head fast and said to his companions: "Do your job." And they killed him. The group of men came back after fulfilling their mission. One of them Al-Harith bin Aws was wounded by mistake with the swords of his men, and was bleeding badly. When they reached Baqee‘ Al-Gharqad, they shouted, "Allâh is Great". The Prophet heard them and realized that they had killed the enemy of Allâh. As they saw him, he said: "Cheerful faces are yours." In reply, they said: "And yours O Messenger of Allâh." They handed the head of the tyrant over to him. He entertained Allâh’s praise for their success. He then applied his saliva to Al-Harith’s wound and it healed on the spot.
When the Jews learned about the death of their tyrant, Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf, they were scared and even their stonelike hearts were in the grip of inexpressible panic. They realized that the Messenger of Allâh would thenceforth never hesitate to use force when good words and admonition failed. They remained silent and resigned, and faked adherence to covenants.
Now the Prophet was free to collect his thoughts and give himself up to resolving foreign affairs, and facing dangers that could be carried with hostile wind blowing again from Makkah.
The Invasion of Buhran:
In Rabi‘ Ath-Thani, the year 3 A.H. the Prophet led a campaign comprising 300 warriors to Buhran in the area of Al-Furu‘. He stayed there till Jumada Al-Ula, 3 A.H. No fighting took place in the process of this patrolling invasion.
Zaid bin Harithah leads a Campaign on the Trade Routes of Quraish:
This was the most successful campaign prior to Uhud Battle. It took place in Jumada Ath-Thaniyah, the year 3 A.H.
Summer approached and it was high time for the Makkan trade caravans to leave for Syria. The people of Quraish whose lives depended mainly on a mercantile economy consisting of summer caravans to Syria and winter caravans to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), were now at a loss as to what route they would have to follow in order to avoid the backbreaking military strikes that the Muslims successfully inflicted on the polytheists.
They held a meeting to discuss the chances of escaping the economic blockade and decided to go along a trade route across Najd to Iraq. Furat bin Haiyan was appointed as a guide for the caravan. Safwan bin Omaiyah led the caravan along the new route. News of the meeting leaked out through Na‘im bin Mas‘ud Al-Ashja‘i under the effect of wine, and it flew fast to Madinah by Sulit bin An-Nu‘man. The Prophet immediately mustered 100 horsemen under the leadership of Zaid bin Harithah Al-Kalbi and despatched them to intercept and capture the caravan. They caught up with the camels at a place called Al-Qardah. They took the polytheists by surprise and arrested their guide and two other men. Safwan and his guards fled away without showing the least resistance. The caravan was carrying silver and wares whose value amounted to 100 thousand dirhams. The booty was distributed among the Muslim warriors after one-fifth had been set aside for the Prophet . Furat bin Haiyan embraced Islam out of his own sweet free will.
As a result of this episode, the Muslims foiled Quraish’s plans to find a new trade route. The economic siege laid to Makkah was thus consolidated and had a great impact on the mercantile economy of Makkah. The Makkans were terribly anxious and worried about their prospects of life now at stake with no hope whatsoever for any possible rehabilitation of commercial life or redemption of former prestige at the socio-political level except through two avenues categorically contrasting: Relinquishing all symbols of arrogance and all attitudes of haughtiness through reconciliation with the new status quo, and peaceableness with the Muslims; or launching a decisive overwhelming war with the aim of crushing down the military forces of Madinah. It was apparent through the process of events that Quraish had opted for the second alternative. Loud cries were being heard everywhere in Makkah demanding immediate vengeance and quick retaliatory action. These movements on all levels constituted the direct preliminaries to the battle of Uhud.
The Battle of Uhud
The defeat at Badr was an ignominy which the Quraishites pride could not leave unavenged. Revenge was, therefore, the catchword all over Makkah. The Makkans even forbade lamenting over their murdered people, or ransoming their captives at Badr Battle lest the Muslims should realize the grave degree of sadness and feeling of tragedy they were experiencing.
In the wake of Badr event, Quraish was in common consent and started fresh preparations to launch an overall war against the Muslims in order to restore their blemished prestige and wounded pride. The most enthusiastic polytheists desiring to go into a new battle were ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Omaiyah, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Rabi‘a. They were determined to crush the commonwealth of Islam once and for all. Emissaries were sent to all the tribes to make common cause against the rising Faith. As a consequence of this, they managed to enlist the support of two well-known tribes Kinana and Tihamah besides some desert bedouins Ahabish. It was also decided that the profits of the escaped caravan headed by Abu Sufyan, which amounted to 1000 camels and 50 thousand Dinars, should be devoted for providing equipment to the army. The Noble Qur’ân has alluded to this decision of theirs in the following words:
# "Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allâh, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcomed." [8:36]
They also devised other ways of recruitment including hiring poets to entice the tribes into fighting the Muslims. Safwan bin Omaiyah allured Abu ‘Azza, the poet to work in this context in return for riches after the war or supporting his daughters if killed. Incidentally, this poet was prisoner of war (in the context of the Badr events) in the hands of the Muslims and the Prophet was gracious enough to release him unransomed provided he would not engage in fight against him.
Abu Sufyan nursed the most grudge against Muslims because he had lost most of his supplies in As-Sawiq invasion, let alone the heavy economic losses that Quraish had sustained in the aftermath of the events that featured the platoon of Zaid bin Harithah.
In the light of these successive failures, Quraish precipitated and accelerated their preparations for a decisive battle with the Muslims. At the turn of the year everything was ready for the move. The Makkans also decided to take their women along with them for they might arouse them to fight manfully. Thus a contingent of three thousand pitched warriors, of whom seven hundred were mailed soldiers and two hundred well-mounted cavalry with three thousand camels and fifteen women marched towards Madinah. The general leader was Abu Sufyan bin Harb, the cavalry under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Waleed assisted by ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, and Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar were entrusted with the flag.
Old deep-seated feelings of hatred, with heart-based grudge enveloped the whole process foreshadowing bitter, bloody revenge-instigated fighting between the two parties.
Meanwhile Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib, was closely watching the military movements and preparations for war, and these were all included in an urgent message sent by him to Prophet who received it while he was in Qubâ’ Mosque. Ubai bin Ka‘b read the letter to the Prophet , who asked him to be reticent with respect to its serious contents. He hurried back to Madinah, convened a meeting with the Helpers and Emigrants and conducted with them serious consultations as regards the measures to be taken.
The whole of Madinah was put on the alert and all men were heavily armed even during prayer in anticipation of any emergency. A group of Helpers volunteered to guard the Prophet and kept watchful eye all night at his door, amongst whom there were Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, Usaid bin Hudair and Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah. Lest they should be taken by surprise, armed groups of the Madinese began to police the entrances and roads leading to the city. To reconnoitre the movements of the polytheists, Muslim platoons began to patrol the routes for any probable enemy raids.
The Makkan army, on the other hand, continued the march along the usual western road. On reaching Al-Abwâ’, Hind bint ‘Utbah, Abu Sufyan’s wife, suggested that they dig up the grave of the Prophet ’s mother, but the leaders of the army refused to do so for fear of the consequent results. The army then followed Wadi Al-‘Aqeeq and turned right to encamp themselves at a place called ‘Ainain near Uhud Mountain. That was on Friday, 6th Shawwal, 3 A.H.
A Consultation Assembly for a Defence Plan:
The scouting party of Madinah conveyed the news of the Makkan army step by step. Then the Messenger of Allâh held a head military consultation assembly to exchange views about the situation. He told them about a dream he had. He said: "By Allâh, I have dreamt of — I implore Allâh to be a dream of bounty — cows slaughtered and that there was a groove at the pointed top of my sword, and that I had inserted my hand into an immune armour."
The interpretation of ‘the cows’ was that some of his men were killed, and ‘the groove at the pointed top of his sword’ was that a member of his House would be hurt. As for ‘the armour’ it was Madinah. Then he offered a suggestion that his Companions should not go out of Madinah and that they should encamp themselves within the city. He was of the opinion that the enemies should be left in the open to exhaust themselves and thus the Muslims would not risk a battle. But if they thought of attacking Madinah, Muslim men would be ready to fight them at the mouths of lanes; whereas Muslim-women would help from over the house roofs." ‘Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul — the head of the hypocrites; who attended the meeting as a chief of Al-Khazraj — supported the Prophet ’s plan.
As a matter of fact his agreement was not based on the righteousness of the plan but rather on personal benefit. He did not want to fight. On the contrary he secretly aimed at being far away from fight. However it was Allâh’s Will that he should be disclosed and disgraced in public — for the first time. It was His Will that the curtain which concealed their disbelief behind should be uncovered and pulled down. Allâh’s Will enabled the Muslims to recognize the reality of those snakes that were creeping within their garments and inside the sleeves of their clothes. Thanks to Allâh they recognized them in one of the most critical times of their lives.
Some of the best honourable Companions, who had missed Al-Jihâd in Badr invasion, suggested that the Prophet should go out of Madinah and urged him to accept their point of view. One of them said: "O, Messenger of Allâh , for long time we have been looking forward to this day; and we have implored Allâh to make such a day draw near. Thanks to Allâh it is time to fight. So let us go out and fight our enemies lest they should think that we have lost heart and do not dare to fight them." Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib the paternal uncle of the Prophet , who had already covered the ornaments of his sword with idolaters’ blood in Badr Battle, was ahead of those enthusiastics who urged him to go out and meet the disbelievers. He said to the Prophet : "By Allâh, Who has sent the Book down unto you, I will not taste food till I fight them with my sword outside Madinah."
After weighing carefull the pros and cons of the issue, it was decided that the enemy should be resisted outside the city at Uhud.
Dividing the Islamic Army into Phalanxes and Departure to the Battle-field:
Ascending the pulpit at the Friday congregational prayer, the Prophet urged the people in his sermon to fight courageously. "If you remain steadfast," he said "you will be helped by the Power of the All- Mighty." Then he commanded his men to make ready for the battle. Most of them rejoiced greatly.
He led the afternoon prayer with crowds of people. Then he entered his house accompanied by his two friends Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. They helped him dress and wear his headcloth. He armed himself and wore two armours one over the other. He wore his sword and went out to meet people.
People were waiting for him impatiently. Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh and Usaid bin Hudair blamed people for pressing on the Prophet . They said: "You have forced the Messenger of Allâh to fight the enemy outside Madinah." Therefore they were determined to leave the whole matter to the Prophet , and blamed themselves for what they had already done. When the Prophet came out, they said: "O Messenger of Allâh, we should have not disagreed with you. So, you are free to do what you desire. If you prefer to stay inside Madinah we will stay with you. Upon this the Messenger of Allâh remarked: "It does not become a Prophet that once he had put on armour, he should take it off, until Allâh has decided between him and the enemy."
The Prophet divided his army into three battalions:
1. Al-Muhajireen battalion, under the command of Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair Al-‘Abdari.
2. Al-Ansari-Aws battalion was commanded by Usaid bin Hudair.
3. Al-Ansari-Khazraj battalion with Al-Hubab bin Al-Mundhir to lead it.
The army consisted of a thousand fighters; a hundred of them armoured; another fifty horsemen. He appointed Ibn Umm Maktum to lead the people in prayer in Madinah. Departure was announced and the army moved northwards with the two Sa‘ds, who were armoured, running in front of the army.
Upon passing along Al-Wada‘ mountain trail he saw a well-armed battalion, which were detached from the main body of the army. The Prophet inquired who they were and he was told that they were Jews and were allies of Al-Khazraj. They told him that they wanted to contribute to the fight against the idolaters. "Have they embraced Islam?" The Prophet asked. "No," they said. So he refused admitting them and said that he would not seek the assistance of disbelievers against the idolaters.
Parading the Army:
As soon as he reached a location called Ash-Shaikhan, he paraded his army. He dismissed those whom he considered to be disabled or too young to stand the fight. Among them were ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. Usama bin Zaid; Usaid bin Zaheer, Zaid bin Thabit, Zaid bin Arqam. ‘Araba bin Aws, ‘Amr bin Hazm, Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri, Zaid bin Haritha Al-Ansari, Sa‘d bin Habba and Al-Barâ’ bin ‘Azib, Sahih Al-Bukhari pointed out that he had shared in the fight that day.
The Messenger of Allâh allowed both Rafi‘ bin Khadaij and Samura bin Jundub to join the army — though they were too young. The former proved to be skillful at shooting arrows; the latter wrestled the former and beat him. The admission of Rafi‘ made Samura say: "I am stronger than him, I can overcome him." When the Prophet heard this saying he ordered them to wrestle. They did. Samura won so he was also admitted.
Passing the Night between Uhud and Madinah:
As night fell upon them there, they performed both the sunset and the evening prayers and spent the night there as well. Fifty people were chosen to guard the camp and go round it. Muhammad bin Maslama Al-Ansari, the hero of the brigade of Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf, was in charge of the guards. Whereas Dhakwan bin ‘Abd Qais undertook the responsibility of guarding the Prophet , in particular.
The Rebellion of ‘Abdullah bin Ubai and his Followers:
At the end of the night and just before it was daybreak, the Prophet moved and when he got to Ash-Shawt he observed the dawn prayer. There he was close enough to the enemy that they could see one another. It was there that ‘Abdullah bin Ubai — the hypocrite — rebelled against the Muslims. One-third of the army withdrew with him — that is to say three hundred fighters. He said, "We do not know why we shall kill ourselves." He claimed that his withdrawal was no more than showing protest against the Messenger of Allâh who had already refused his opinion and accepted that of the others.
Undoubtedly that was not the real cause of his detachment. If it had been the refusal of his opinion — as the hypocrite claimed — there would have no sense whatsoever for his joining the Prophetic army. If it had been so, he would have refused to go out with the army from the very beginning of the march. As a matter of fact the real purpose of this rebellion, withdrawal and detachment — at this delicate and awkward position and time — was to produce bewilderment, confusion of mind, and disorder in the Muslims army who were within the sight and hear range of the enemy who were also looking forward to seeing more and more dissension on the side of the Muslims, like themselves. They also aimed at breaking the high morale of the believers. That would accelerate — in their opinion — the breakdown and consequently the death of Muhammad, his faithful Companions and Islam as a whole. The way would then be clear for the reclaim of presidency, which that hypocrite had lost on the advent of Islam into Madinah.
Short of Allâh’s Care, the hypocrite’s plot would have been successful. Banu Haritha of Al-Aws and Banu Salama of Al-Khazraj were partially impressed by the hypocrite’s behaviour. Both of them were overwhelmed by confusion and they had almost started to withdraw, but Allâh’s Care saved them from that disgrace. About their incident Allâh says:
# "When two parties from among you were about to lose their heart, but Allâh was their Wali (Supporter and Protector). And in Allâh should the believers put their trust." [3:122]
‘Abdullah bin Haram — the father of Jabir bin ‘Abdullah — attempted to stop their withdrawal. He reminded the hypocrites of their duty at this delicate and awkward condition, but in vain. He followed them, reproached them and urged them to go back saying: "Come and fight in the way of Allâh or at least be defenders." They said: "If we had known that you would really fight we would have not gone back." Having despaired of them, he addressed them saying: "May Allâh cast you away, you enemies of Allâh. Allâh will certainly suffice His Prophet." Allâh says about those hypocrites:
# "And that He might test the hypocrites, it was said to them: ‘Come, fight in the way of Allâh or (at least) defend yourselves.’ They said: ‘Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you.’ They were that day, nearer to disbelief than to Faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allâh has full knowledge of what they conceal." [3:167]
The Remainder of the Islamic Army are on the Move to Uhud:
With the remainder of fighters, the Messenger of Allâh moved towards the enemy. After the rebellion and withdrawal of the hypocrites, the number of soldiers was reduced to seven hundred only.
The camp of idolaters was situated in such a place that the many roads leading to Uhud were almost blocked by them. So the Messenger of Allâh said to his men: "Which man of you can lead us to where the people (i.e. the idolaters) are, along a short track that does not pass by them?" Abu Khaithama said: "O Messenger of Allâh , I am the man you need." Then he chose a short track that led to Uhud passing by Harrah Bani Harithah and their farms, leaving the idolaters’ army westwards.
On their way they passed by Ha’it (i.e. the field) of Marba‘ bin Qaizi, who was a blind hypocrite. When Marba‘ felt and realized that they were the Prophetic army, he started throwing earth at their faces, so they rushed to kill him, but the Prophet said:
# "Do not kill him. He is blind in heart and eyes."
The Messenger of Allâh went along till climbed down the hillock of Uhud at the slope of the valley. He camped there with his army facing Madinah while their backs were to the hills of Uhud mountain. So the army of the enemy stood a barrier between the Muslims and Madinah.
The Defence Plan:
The Messenger of Allâh mobilized his army. He arranged them into two rows to prepare them for fight. He selected fifty skillful archers that formed a squad and made them under the command of ‘Abdullah bin Jubair bin An-Nu‘man Al-Ansari Al-Awsi Al-Badri. He issued his orders to them to stay where they were — on a mountain(side) at the south bank of Qanat Al-Wadi (i.e. a canal of the valley), south east of Muslims camp at about one hundred and fifty metres from the Islamic army. Later on this mountain was called the Mountain of Archers.
The Messenger of Allâh clarified the mission of this squad in words he directed to them. He said to their leader: "Drive off the horses from us by means of arrows, lest they should attack us from behind (the rear). Whether we win the battle or lose it, stand steadily in your position and mind that we are not attacked from your side."
# "Defend our backs! If you see us slain. Do not come to assist us; and if you see gaining grounds, do not share us."
In a version by Al-Bukhâri the Prophet said:
# "If you see us snatched into pieces by birds, do not leave this position of yours till I send for you. And if you see that we have defeated the enemy and trodden on them do not desert your position till I send for you."
With the assignment of this squad and locating it on the mountainside and the issuance of those strict military orders, the Messenger of Allâh blocked the only groove that might lead the idolaters stealthily to the rear of Muslim ranks and might even enable them to encircle them in an encompassment procedure.
The assignments of posts and responsibilities for the rest of the army were performed by the Prophet as follows: On the right wing, he appointed Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr. On the left he appointed Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam, and made Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad his assistant and supporter. Az-Zubair’s function was to standfast in the face of Khalid bin Al-Waleed’s horsemen. The Messenger of Allâh selected the top and the most courageous group to be in the vanguard of the army. They were notable for their readiness, alertness and bravery and estimated to be equal to thousands of men.
It was a wise and carefully-laid plan which revealed the genius of military leadership that the Prophet possessed. No other leader could have drawn a more accurate or wise plan. Although he approached the site later than the enemy, he managed to occupy better positions. He made the rocky mountainside to function as shield for the army’s rear and right flank. He was able, by blocking the only vulnerable gap on the side, to provide additional maximum protection for the rear as well as the left wing. For fear of possible defeat, and to deter the Muslims from fleeing, in which case they would fall easy prisoners in the hands of the enemy, he chose a high place for encampment. Moreover a strategic site of this sort would surely inflict heavy losses on the polytheists if they thought of approaching or occupying his positions. In a further step, he reduced the enemy to a narrow scope of choice when they were cornered for encampment in geographically low positions that would avail them nothing of the benefits of any possible victory; at the same time they would not be able to escape the pursuit of the Muslims in case victory sided with the latter. To make up for the quantitative shortage in fighting personnel, he chose a picked body of fighters to stand at the front.
The army of the Prophet was thus fully mobilized on Shawwal 7th, 3 A.H.
The Messenger of Allâh implants the Spirit of Bravery among his Armed Forces:
The Messenger of Allâh forbade the Muslims to start the fight without having an order from him. He, then, wore two armours — a front armour and a back one. He urged his Companions to fight and spurred them to show stamina and steadfastness at fight. He started to implant the spirit of boldness and bravery in them. To wage and inflame his Companions and in order to standfast in the fight, he took a sharp sword, held it in his hand and called out unto his Companions and said: "Who is ready to take this sword and give it its proper due?" Many a man set out to take it. Some of them were ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. But it was granted to none. Abu Dujana Sammak bin Kharsha inquired: "O Messenger of Allâh, what is its price?" The Prophet said: "It is to strike the enemy’s faces with it till it was bent." So Abu Dujana said: "O Messenger of Allâh I will take it for that price." and he was given the sword.
Abu Dujana was a man of courage who used to swagger at war. He had a red band which he wore round his head. Whenever he was head-banded everybody knew that he was determined to fight to death. Therefore as soon as Abu Dujana took the Prophet ’s sword, he banded his head and started strutting amongst the fighters.
Watching him doing that, the Messenger of Allâh said: "This is a sort of walking that Allâh detests except in such a situation."
Recruitment of the Makkan Army:
The idolaters applied the rows system in the mobilization of their army. The general leadership of the army was entrusted to Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb, who would be in the centre-position of the army. Khalid bin Al-Waleed was on the right wing; whereas ‘Ikrima, the son of Abu Jahl was on the left. Safwan bin Omaiya was in charge of infantry men. The archers were under the command of ‘Abdullah bin Abi Rabi‘a.
As for the standard, a squad of Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar were in charge to bear it. Thus was the distribution of the posts of the army ever since ‘Abd Munaf had already assigned them. This assignment had been inherited from Qusai bin Kilab — as we have previously alluded to in an early phase of this book. No one had the right to compete them with it. It was consistent with their traditions that they had inherited from their ancestors.
Abu Sufyan, the general leader, reminded his men — the standard bearers — of what had happened to Quraish on Badr Day (i.e. battle) when their standard bearer, An-Nadr bin Al-Harith, was captured. In an attempt to wage their anger and enmity to the Muslims he said: "O Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar! You have been assigned bearers of our standard and you know that the standard is the first thing that the enemy attacks. Should it fall, we fall down too. Therefore, I say either you guarantee its safety or leave it for us, and we will certainly suffice you that task."
Abu Sufyan’s attempt seemed to be fruitful. For his speech made Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar so extremely angry that they threatened him and almost attacked him for that. Addressing him, they said: "You want us to deliver you the custodianship of the standard? Tomorrow when we fight them, you will witness our deeds." As a matter of fact, they fought bravely and stoodfast in defence of the standard till they were all killed.
Political Manoeuvres of Quraish:
A little time before the break out of the battle, Quraish made some endeavours to sow the seeds of discord and dispute among the Muslims. First, Abu Sufyan sent to the Helpers a message saying: "Leave us alone to fight our cousins and do not interfere. If you stand aside, we will not fight you; for fighting you is not a target of ours." But that attempt proved to be fruitless. What could such a wicked scheme do to those whose Faith was as solid and firm as mountains?! The Helpers reply was undoubtedly disappointing and contrary to Abu Sufyan’s expectations.
The zero-hour was due. The two parties drew nearer. Undespaired by the first failure, Quraish made another attempt, for the same purport but now with the assistance of a traitor called Abu ‘Amir Al-Fasiq, whose name was ‘Abd ‘Amr bin Saifi. He was called a monk, but the Messenger of Allâh nicknamed him Al-Fâsiq (i.e. perverted transgressor; dissolute). As he was the head of Aws in Al-Jahiliya, he could not tolerate Islam when it came. He announced his enmity to the Messenger of Allâh in public. He left Madinah for the Quraishites in Makkah to rally them against the Messenger of Allâh and to urge them to start the fight against him. He claimed that he was obeyed and esteemed by his people and that as soon as they saw him come they would join him immediately.
So he was the first one among the mob and slaves of Quraish to show resistance. He called out unto his people, recognized them and said: "O kinfolk of Aws! I am Abu ‘Amir." Their reply was "No eyes of anybody shall be consoled by viewing you, O Fâsiq." Hearing them say so, he said: "My people must have been afflicted by an evil after my departure." Therefore when the fight broke out, he fought them fiercely and pelted his people with stones, as well.
That was how the second attempt of Quraish to sow the seeds of discord among people of Faith. This, however, revealed the great terror of the Quraishites cast in their hearts in spite of their supremacy in number and equipment.
The effort of Quraishite Women at waging the Zeal of Men:
Quraishi-women participated in the battle led by the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind bint ‘Utbah. They wandered among the rows of the idolaters, tapped on tambourines, encouraged men to fight, inflamed the emotions of heroes, lancers, swordsmen and brave fighters. At one time they addressed the standard-bearers:
# "O Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar!
O home defenders,
Strike with your sharp swords …"
And at another time they would wage people’s zeal by singing:
# "If you fight (bravely), we will embrace
and unfold mats to welcome you.
But if you flee from the battlefield, we leave you,
Desert you and no more love you."
The two parties approached and grew very close to each another. The phases of fight started. The first combatant was the standard-bearer, Talha bin Abi Talha Al-‘Abdari, who was the most distinguished idolater. He was one of the bravest men of Quraish fighters. Muslims nicknamed him ‘the ram of the battalion.’ He came forth riding a camel and challenged the Muslims to a single combat. People refrained from fighting him due to his bravery; but Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam advanced for the fight. He did not give the ‘Ram’ any chance to fight but fell on him like a lion on his camel’s back, pulled him down to the ground and slaughtered him with his sword.
The Messenger of Allâh who was watching that wonderful incident exclaimed: Allâhu Akbar that is ‘Allâh is the Greatest’ and the Muslims exclaimed Allâhu Akbar too. He praised Az-Zubair when he said:
# "Every Prophet has a disciple and Az-Zubair is a disciple of mine."
Soon the general engagement ensued and the fight of the two parties grew fierce everywhere on the battlefield. The strain of the fight was centred round the carriers of the standard. After the death of their leader Talha bin Abi Talha, Banu ‘Abd Ad-Dar alternated the mission successively. Talha’s brother, ‘Uthman, ran forward and seized the standard which lay by the lifeless body of his brother, chanting: "The standard-bearer has the right to dye its shaft in blood, till it be beaten in his hand." Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib attacked and dealt him a blow that cut his arm and shoulder and went down to his navel to uncover his lung.
The standard was raised up again by Abu Sa‘d bin Abi Talha; but Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas shot him with a deadly arrow that hit him at his throat and made his tongue hang out breathing his last.
In another version it was narrated that Abu Sa‘d lifted the standard up and challenged the Muslims to fight him. ‘Ali bin Abi Talib went forth. They exchanged two blows. Then ‘Ali gave him a terminal blow that finished him off.
Musafi‘ bin Talha bin Abi Talha then hoisted the standard, but was soon shot with an arrow by ‘Asim bin Thabit bin Abi Al-Aqlah. His brother Kilab bin Talha bin Abi Talha followed him picked the banner and lifted it up; but Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam attacked him and managed to kill him. Their brother Al-Jallas bin Talha bin Abi Talha lifted the banner up but Talha bin ‘Ubaidu-Allâh stabbed him to death. They also said that it was ‘Asim bin Thabit who managed to deal a terminal blow to him.
All those six people killed round and in defence of the standard, belonged to one house, the house of Abi Talha ‘Abdullah bin ‘Uthman bin ‘Abd Ad-Dar. Another man from Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar, called Artat bin Sharhabeel carried the standard but he also was killed by ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. Others said it was Hamzah who killed him not ‘Ali.
Then it was Shuraih bin Qariz who was killed by Quzman — he was a hypocrite who fought for prestige only, not in defence of Islam. Abu Zaid ‘Amr bin ‘Abd Munaf Al-‘Abdari lifted the standard up but he was killed by Quzman too. A son of Sharhabeel bin Hashim Al-‘Abdari hoisted it again and was also killed by Quzman.
So we see that ten fighters of Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar — the standard-bearers — were annihilated. Seeing that none of ‘Abd Ad-Dars survived to carry the standard, a slave of theirs — called Sawab — came to raise it. The slave showed more admirable sorts of bravery and steadfastness than his former masters. Sawab, the slave went on fighting till his hand was cut off. So he knelt down and embraced the banner, leant it against his chest and neck lest it should fall down to the ground. He remained fighting steadily and steadfastly till he was killed. In the meanwhile he did not stop saying: "O Allâh, have I been excused?" After the death of the slave Sawab, the standard fell down to the ground, and remained there as there was no one to carry it.
Whilst the brunt of the battle centred around the standard, bitter fighting was going on everywhere on the battlefield. The spirit of Faith overwhelmed the Muslims’ ranks; so they rushed among the idolaters as if they had been an outbreak of a destructive flood that overflowed and knocked down all dams and barriers standing in its way "I seek death, I seek death." That was their announced motto on Uhud Day.
Abu Dujana, recognized by the red band worn round his head, came forth, fighting with the sword of the Messenger of Allâh . He was determined to pay its price at all costs. He killed all the idolaters that stood on his way splitting and dispersing their ranks. Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam said:
"I felt angry and discouraged when the Messenger of Allâh refused to give me the sword but gave it to Abu Dujana. I said to myself: ‘I am his paternal cousin — the cousin of his aunt Safiya — a Quraishite, besides, I was the first who demanded it and yet he favoured him to me. By Allâh, I will watch how he will use it.’ So I followed him, I saw him take out his red band and wear it round his head. Seeing him like that, the Helpers said, ‘Abu Dujana had worn the band of death.’ Then he set out saying loudly:
# ‘I am the one whom my intimate friend made covenant with, when we were under the palm-trees on the mountain side.
The covenant that we made was that I should not fight at the rear.
But fight at the front heroically with the sword of Allâh and His Messenger.’
No one stood the way of Abu Dujana but was killed. There was a man among the idolaters whose only target was to finish off the wounded Muslims. During the fight Abu Dujana drew near that man; so I implored Allâh that they might engage in combat. They in fact did and exchanged two sword-strokes. The idolater struck Abu Dujana, but he escaped it and it pierced into his leather shield. The idolater’s sword now stuck to it, Abu Dujana struck him with the sword and killed him. Into the thick of the battle, he rushed to kill a person who was inciting the enemy to fight the Muslims. Upon this the person shrieked and lo! it was a woman. Abu Dujana spared her saying: ‘I respect the Prophet ’s sword too much to use it on a woman.’ The woman was Hind bint ‘Utbah."
Describing the same incident, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam said: "I saw Abu Dujana raising a sword over the parting part of Hind bint ‘Utba’s head then he moved it off. I said to myself: ‘Allâh and His Messenger know best.’ (i.e. know why he acted like that)."
Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib displayed wonderful feats of gallantry against the overwhelming odds which stood unparalled and created consternation and confusion in the disbelieving hosts. Heroes dispersed off his way as if they had been tree-leaves blown away by strong wind. In addition to his effective contribution to the annihilation of the idolaters who stood in defence of the standard, he was even of much greater effect at fighting against men of bravery and distinguished horsemen. It was Allâh’s Will that he be murdered when he was at the top. He was not killed in a face-to-face fight on the battlefield — in the normal way by which heroes die — but rather assassinated in the dead-dark as was the custom of killing generous and noble men that were impossible to kill in an honourable fight.
Assassination of Asadullâh (the Lion of Allâh) Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib:
Hamzah’s assassin, Wahshi bin Harb, described how he killed Hamzah. He said:
"I was a slave working to Jubair bin Mut‘im, whose paternal uncle Tu‘aimah bin ‘Adi was injured at Badr Battle. So when Quraish marched to Uhud, Jubair said to me: ‘If you kill Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad, stealthily you shall be manumitted.’ "
"So I marched with the people to Uhud." He used to describe himself as, "I am a picaro good at spearing." "So when the two parties fought, I set out seeking Hamzah. I saw him amidst people fighting. He was like a white and black striped camel, striking severely with his sword and no one could stand on his way. By Allâh! When I was getting ready and trying to seize the fit opportunity to spear him, hiding sometimes behind a tree or a rock hoping that he might draw nearer and be within range — at that moment I caught sight of Siba‘ bin ‘Abd Al-‘Uzza going closer towards him. When Hamzah observed him, he said: ‘Come on! O son of the ‘clitoris-cutter.’ — for his mother used to be a circumciser. Then he struck one strong stroke that could hardly miss his head."
Wahshi said: "Then I balanced my spear and shook it till I was content with it, then I speared him and it went down into his stomach and issued out between his legs. He attempted moving towards me but he was overcome by his wound. I left him there with the spear in his entrails till he died. Then I came to him, pulled out my spear and returned to the encampment place. I stayed there and did not go out, for he was the only one I sought. I only killed him to free myself. So as soon as I got back to Makkah, I became a free man."
Bringing the Situation under Control:
Although the death of Asad (Lion) of Allâh and His Messenger — Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib — was a great loss, the Muslims maintained full control over the whole situation on the battlefield. On that day, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam, Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair, Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh, ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh, Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabî‘ and Anas bin An-Nadr and others — all of them fought so fiercely, effectively and efficiently that they broke the strong will of the idolaters and scattered them.
From his Wife’s lap to Sword-fights and Sorrows:
One of the brave adventurers of that day was Hanzala Al-Ghaseel — He was Hanzala bin Abu ‘Amir. Abu ‘Amir was the very monk that was nicknamed ‘Al-Fâsiq’ (i.e. the dissolute, evildoer). He is the very one that we have recently mentioned. Hanzala, who was newly married, left his wife’s bed for Al-Jihâd (Fight in the cause of Allâh). He set out the moment he heard of the call to Al-Jihâd. When he faced the idolaters on the battlefield, he made his way through their ranks till he reached their leader Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb and had almost killed him, if he had not been ordained to be a martyr. For at that moment he was seen by Shaddad bin Al-Aswad who struck him to death.
The Contribution of the Archers Squad to the Battle:
The archers squad whom the Messenger of Allâh located on the Archers Mountain, had the upper hand in administering the war activities to go in favour of the Muslim army. The Makkan horsemen — commanded by Khalid bin Al-Waleed, supported by Abu ‘Amir Al-Fâsiq — had for three times attacked the left wing of the Muslim army with the aim of crushing it and then infiltrating into the rear to create a sort of confusion and disorder in the ranks of the Muslims and subsequently inflict heavy defeat on them. But thanks to the dexterity and great efforts of the archers, the three assaults were thwarted.
War activities went on and on fierecly with the Muslims in full command of the whole military developments until the idolaters finally staggered and retreated, leaving all motives of alleged pride, and affected dignity in oblivion, and their standard trodden by the feet of the fighters with none ever courageous enough to approach it. It seemed as if the three thousand idolaters had been fighting thirty thousand Muslims and not merely several hundreds.
Ibn Ishaq said: "Then Allâh sent down His Help unto the Muslims and verified His Promise to them. They chased the idolaters and evacuated them from their camp. No doubt it was a certain defeat." In a version by ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair that his father had said: "By Allâh, I was watching the servants of Hind bint ‘Utbah and her women friends fleeing with their garments gathered up. No one was there to prevent us from capturing them."
In another version by Al-Barâ’ bin ‘Azib — mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhâri — he said: "When we fought them, they fled, and their women could be seen fleeing in the mountains with their anklets and legs revealed." The Muslims pursued the enemies putting them to sword and collecting the spoils.
The Archers’ Fatal Mistake:
While the small army of Islam were recording the second absolute and clear victory over the Makkans — which was no less in splendour and glory than the first one at Badr — the majority of the archers on the mountainside committed a fatal mistake that turned the whole situation upside down, and constituted a source of heavy losses amongst the Muslims. It has almost brought about the murder of the Prophet , and left a very bad impression on the fame and dignity they deservedly earned at Badr Battle.
We have already spoken about the positive orders given to the archers to hold on to their position whatever the course of the main engagement. In spite of those strict orders, and their leader’s — ‘Abdullah bin Jubair — warning, forty archers deserted their posts, enticed by the too soon roar of victory as well as worldly avarice for the spoils of war. The others, however, nine in number and ‘Abdullah, their leader, decided to abide by the Prophet ’s order and stay where they were until they were given leave or killed to the last. Consequently the cleft was left inadequately defended .
The shrewd Khalid bin Al-Waleed seized this golden opportunity to turn swiftly round to the rear of the Muslim army and encompass them. Exterminating Ibn Jubair and his group, they fell promptly upon the rear of the Muslims and his horsemen uttered a shout that signalled the new military developments. The polytheists returned once again to counterattack the Muslims. An idolist woman — called ‘Umra bint ‘Alqama Al-Harithiyah — rushed to the lying-on-earth standard, picked it up and hoisted it. The idolaters gathered together around the standard and called out unto one another till they encircled the Muslims and stoodfast to fight again.
The Muslims consequently got entrapped between two millstones.
The Messenger of Allâh was then among a small group of fighters — nine in number at the rear of the army, watching the engagement and braving the Muslim fighters. Khalid and his men took him by utter surprise, and obliged him to follow either of two options:
1. To flee for his life and abandon his army to its doomed end, or
2. To take action at the risk of his life, rally the ranks of the Muslims again and work their way through the hills of Uhud towards the encompassed army.
The genius of the Messenger of Allâh , his peerless and matchless courage made him opt for the second course. He raised his voice calling out unto his Companions: "Slaves of Allâh." He did that though he knew that his loud voice would be heard by the idolaters before it was heard by the Muslims. He called out unto them risking his life in this delicate situation.
The idolaters, indeed, recognized him and reached his position even before the other Muslims could do so.
The encompassment of the Muslims revealed three categories of people: The first group were those who were only interested in themselves and they went so mad that they fled. They left the battlefield and did not know what happened to the others. Some of this group fled as far as Madinah. Some others went up the mountain.
The second Muslim group were those who returned to the battle, but mixed with the idolaters in such a way that they could not recognize one another. Consequently some of them were killed by mistake. On the authority of Al-Bukhari, he states that ‘Aishah - may ALlah be pleased with her - said: "When it was Uhud Battle, the idolaters were utterly defeated. Satan then called out: ‘O slaves of Allâh. Beware the rear (i.e. the enemy is approaching from behind)’. So those who were at the front turned back and fought the ones who were behind."
Then Hudhaifah caught sight of his father ‘Al-Yaman’ about to be killed by other Muslims. So he said: "O servants of Allâh! Beware! This is my father. This is my father." ‘Aishah - may ALlah be pleased with her - said: "But they did not part with him till he was killed." Hudhaifah then said: "May Allâh forgive you." And ‘Urwa said: "By Allâh, from that time on Hudhaifah has always been blessed and wealthy till he died." That was because he forgave them and refused to take any blood-money for his father’s murder but recommended that it be spent in charity.
This Muslim group suffered from great bewilderment, and disorder prevailed among them. A lot of them got lost and did not know where to go. At this awkward time they heard someone calling: "Muhammad is killed." This news made them even more bewildered and almost out of sense. Their morale broke down, or almost did in a great number of individuals. Some of them stopped fighting, slackened, and cast down their weapons. Others thought of getting in touch with ‘Abdullah bin Ubai — the head of the hypocrites — and seeking his assistance to fetch them a security pledge from Abu Sufyan.
Anas bin An-Nadr passed by those people who were shuddering of fear and panic, and inquired: "What are you waiting for?" They said: "The Messenger of Allâh has been killed." "What do you live for after Muhammad Come on and die for what the Messenger of Allâh has died for." Then he said: "O Allâh I apologize for what these people (i.e. the Muslims) have done; and I swear disavowal of what the idolaters have perpetrated." Then he moved on till he was encountered by Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh who asked him: "Where to, Abu ‘Umar?" Anas replied: "Ah, how fine the scent of the Paradise is! I smell it here in Uhud." He went on and fought against the idolaters till he was killed. Nobody but his sister could recognize his dead body. It had been cut and stabbed by over eighty swords, arrows or spears. It was by the tip of his finger that she — after the battle — recognized him.
Thabit bin Ad-Dahdah called unto his people saying:
"O kinfolk of Helpers, if Muhammad were killed, Allâh is Everlasting and He never dies. Fight in defence of your Faith. Allâh will help you and so you will be victorious." A group of Helpers joined him and all set out and attacked a battalion of Khalid’s horsemen. He kept on fighting till he and his friends were killed.
An Emigrant passed by a Helper who was besmeared by blood. He said: "O fellow! Have you heard of Muhammad ’s murder?" The Helper answered: "If Muhammad were killed, then he must have completed the delivery of the Message. So fight in defence of your religion!"
With such boldness and encouragement, the Muslims soon recovered their spirits, came round to senses and desisted the idea of surrender or contacting the hypocrite ‘Abdullah bin Ubai. They took up arms and resumed the fight attempting to make way to the headquarters, particularly after the news of the Prophet ’s death had been falsified. The glad tidings nerved them, and helped them to manage quite successfully the break of the military blockade, and concentrate their forces in an immune place to resume a relentless and fierce fight against the polytheists.
The third group of Muslims were those who cared for nothing except the Prophet . At the head of them were notable Companions like Abu Bakr, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib and others , who hastened to protect the Prophet through unrivalled devotion.
As those groups of Muslims were receiving the blows of the idolaters and resisting instantly, the fight flared up around the Messenger of Allâh , who had only nine people around him. We have already mentioned that when the idolaters started their encompassment there were only nine persons around the Messenger of Allâh ; and that as soon as he called out unto the Muslims: "Come on! I am the Messenger of Allâh ," the idolaters heard his voice and recognized him. So they turned back and attacked him with all their power before any of his Companions ran to his aid.
A violent raging struggle broke out between the nine Muslims and the idolaters during which peerless sort of love, self-sacrifice, bravery and heroism were revealed.
Muslim, on the authority of Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allâh along with seven Helpers and two Emigrants, was confined to a trap when the idolaters attacked him. The Messenger of Allâh then said: " He who pushes back those idolaters, will be housed in Paradise." or "He will be my Companion in Paradise." One of the Helpers stepped forward and fought the idolaters in defence of the Prophet till he was killed. Then they attacked the Messenger again. The same process was repeated again and again till all the seven Helpers were killed. Then the Messenger of Allâh said to his two Quraishite Companions: "We have not done justice to our Companions."
The last of those seven Helpers was ‘Amara bin Yazeed bin As-Sakan, who kept on fighting till his wounds neutralized him and he fell dead.
The Most Awkward Hour in the Messenger’s Life:
After the fall of Ibn Sakan, the Messenger of Allâh remained alone with only those two Quraishites. In a version by Abu ‘Uthman — authorized in As-Sahihain— he said: "At that time, there were none with the Prophet except Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh and Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas. That was the most awkward and dangerous hour for the Prophet , but it was a golden opportunity for the idolaters who promptly took advantage of it. They concentrated their attack on the Prophet and looked forward to killing him.
‘Utbah bin Abi Waqqas pelted him with stones. One of the stones fell on his face. His lower right incisor Ruba‘iya (i.e. the tooth that is between a canine and a front tooth) was injured. His lower lip was wounded. He was also attacked by ‘Abdullah bin Shihab Az-Zuhri who cleaved his forehead. ‘Abdullah bin Qami’a (Qami’a means ‘a humiliated woman’), who was an obstinate strong horseman, struck him violently on his shoulder with his sword; and that stroke hurt the Messenger of Allâh for over a month — though it was not strong enough to break his two armours. He dealt a heavy blow on his cheek. It was so strong that two rings of his iron-ringed helmet penetrated into his holy cheek. "Take this stroke from me, I am Ibn Qami’a." He said while striking the Messenger with his sword. The Messenger of Allâh replied — while he was wiping the blood flowing on his face: "I implore Allâh to humiliate you." (i.e. Aqma’aka Allâh). In Al-Bukhâri it is stated his incisor broke, his head was cleaved, and that he started wiping the blood off it and saying: "(I wonder) how can people who cut the face of their Prophet and break the incisor of his — he who calls them to worship Allâh. How can such people thrive or be successful?" About that incident, Allâh, Glory is to Him, sent down a Qur’ânic verse saying:
# "Not for you (O Muhammad but for Allâh) is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the Zâliműn (polytheists, disobedients, and wrong-doers)." [3:128]
At-Tabarani states that the Prophet said: "Allâh’s Wrath is great on those who besmear the face of His Messenger," observed silence for a short while and then resumed saying:
# "O Allâh, forgive my people for they have no knowledge."
In Sahih Muslim it is stated that the Messenger of Allâh said:
# "My Lord, forgive my people for they have no knowledge."
In Ash-Shifa — a book by ‘Ayad Al-Qadi — it is related that the Prophet said:
# "O Allâh, guide my people for they have no knowledge."
It is quite certain that killing the Prophet was their primary aim, but the two Quraishites — Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas and Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh, who showed great and rare courage and fought so fiercely and boldly that — though they were only two — were able to stop the idolaters short of realizing their aim. They were of the best skillful Arab archers and kept on militating in defence of the Messenger of Allâh till the whole squad of idolaters was driven off him .
The Messenger of Allâh emptied his quiver of arrows and said to Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas: "Shoot, an arrow Sa‘d. May my father and mother be sacrified for you." The Prophet had never gathered his parents except in the case of Sa‘d — a privilege granted to him for his efficiency.
In a version by Jabir — authorized by An-Nasa’i — concerning the attitude of Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh towards the gathering of idolaters around the Messenger of Allâh — when there were only some Helpers with him — Jabir said: "When the idolaters reached him, the Messenger of Allâh said: ‘Who will suffice us their evils (i.e. fight them back)?’ Talha said: ‘I will.’" Then Jabir mentioned the advance of the Helpers to fight and how they were killed one after the other in a similar way to Muslim’s narration — "When all the Helpers were killed, Talha proceeded forward to fight as much as the other eleven ones did till his hand was hurt and his fingers were cut off. So he said: ‘Be they cut off!’ The Prophet said: ‘If you had said: In the Name of Allâh, the angels would have raised you up before the people’s very eyes.’" Then he said: "Allâh drove the idolaters off them." In Al-Ikleel — a book by Hakim — it is stated that Talha had sustained thirty-nine or thirty-five wounds, and his fingers (i.e. the forefinger and the one next to it — got paralyzed.
In a version by Qais bin Abi Hâzim — authorized by Al-Bukhari, he said: "I saw the hand of Talha paralyzed. That was because he protected the Prophet with it in Uhud Battle."
At-Tirmidhi stated that the Prophet then said about Talha: "He who desires to see a martyr walking on the ground, let him look at Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh."
Abu Da’űd At-Tayalisi on the authority of ‘Aishah - may ALlah be pleased with her - , said: "Whenever Uhud Day (i.e. battle) was mentioned, Abu Bakr used to say: ‘That was Talha’s day (i.e. battle). Abu Bakr recited a verse of poetry about him: ‘O Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh! Paradise is due to you as water-springs are due to deer to drink out of.’ At the awkward and most delicate circumstances, Allâh, Glory is to Him, sent down His invisible Help. In a version by Sa‘d — cleared and authorized in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim — he said: "I saw the Messenger of Allâh on Uhud Day with two men — dressed in white defending him fiercely — I have never seen similar to them neither before Uhud nor after it." In another version: "He means to say that they were Gabriel and Michael".
All those events happened in no time. If the Prophet ’s elite Companions had realized the grave situation immediately, they would have rushed on the spot and would not have left him sustain these wounds. Unfortunately, they got there after the Messenger of Allâh had been wounded and six of the Helpers killed, the seventh was staggering under the brunt of wounds and desperately militating in defence of the Prophet . However as soon as they arrived they encircled the Messenger with their bodies and weapons and were alert enough to prevent the enemies from reaching him. The first one who returned to give help, was his cavemate Abu Bakr As-Siddiq - may Allah be pleased with him - .
In a version by ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - recorded in Ibn Hibban’s Sahih, she narrated that Abu Bakr had said:
"When it was Uhud Day and at the time that the Prophet was left behind, I was the first to go back and see him. Before him I saw a man fighting to shield him from the enemies. I said to myself: ‘I wish he were Talha. Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you. (O Allâh) Let him be Talha! Let my parents be sacrificed for you!’ On the way, I was overtaken by Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, who was then moving as swiftly as a bird. We both rushed to dress the Prophet ’s wounds. There we found Talha suffering from serious wounds before the Messenger of Allâh The Prophet said: ‘See to your brother. His deed entitled him for an abode in Paradise.’ I noticed that two rings of the iron-ringed helmet had penetrated his cheek. So I set out to take them out; but Abu ‘Ubaidah demanded: ‘By Allâh, O Abu Bakr — I beseech you, let me do it myself.’ Fearing to hurt the Prophet he started pulling one of the two rings out very slowly and carefully with his mouth. Then he pulled the arrow out by his mouth, too. Consequently, his front tooth fell. Then I proceeded to pull the second out; but Abu ‘Ubaidah besought me to leave it: ‘O, Abu Bakr, I adjure you by Allâh to let me do it.’ He pulled the second ring very slowly and carefully with his mouth — till it came out. The Messenger of Allâh said: ‘See to your brother. He has proved to be worthy of being housed in Paradise.’ We approached Talha to cure him but found out that he had had some ten sword-strokes in his body. (This showed how efficiently Talha had fought and struggled on that day)."
At those awkward moments of that day, a group of Muslim heroes gathered around the Prophet forming a shield to protect him from the idolaters. Some of them were Abu Dujana, Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Sahl bin Haneef, Malik bin — Sinan the father of Abu Sa‘îd Al-Khudri, Umm‘Amara, Nusaiba bint Ka‘b Al-Mâziniya, Qatada bin An-Nu‘man, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, Hatib bin Abi Balta‘a and Abu Talha.
The number of idolaters was steadily increasing; and their attacks, naturally, got severer. Their press had increased to an extent that the Messenger of Allâh fell into one of the holes dug and designed by Abu ‘Amir Al-Fasiq to be used as traps. His knee scratched and ‘Ali helped him by grasping his hand up. Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh took him in his lap till he could stand upright. Nafi‘ bin Jubair said: I heard an Emigrant say: "I have witnessed Uhud Battle and watched how arrows had been hurled from all directions at the Prophet . None of them however hit him. ‘Abdullah, bin Shihab Az-Zuhri said: ‘Guide me to Muhammad ! By Allâh, If I didn’t kill him, I would not hope to live.’ Although the Messenger of Allâh was next to him, alone — but he did not observe him. Safwan, a co-polytheist of his, blamed him (for not translating his words into deeds), but ‘Abdullah swore that he did not see him (the Prophet ) and added that he might be immune to our attempts on his life. He also said that four of them pledged to make a fresh attempt and kill him, but also to no avail.
The Muslims showed unprecedented rare heroism and marvellous sacrifices. Abu Talha — for instance — shielded the Messenger of Allâh by his body and used his chest to protect him against the enemy arrows. Anas related that on Uhud Day when people dispersed off the Prophet , Abu Talhah was a skillful sort of archer who would pull arrows so much that he broke two or three bows that day. When a man passed along with a quiver full of arrows, the Prophet would say: "Spread the arrows to Abu Talhah!" Then when the Prophet watched people shooting, Abu Talhah would say: "I sacrifice my father and mother for your safety. Do not go too close lest an arrow of theirs should hit you. I would rather die than see you hurt."
Abu Dujana stood before the Messenger of Allâh and used to protect him from the arrows by his back. Hatib bin Balta‘a followed ‘Utbah bin Abi Waqqas — who broke the honourable incisor (of the Prophet ) — struck him with the sword, cracked his head and took his mare and sword. Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas was so keen to kill his brother ‘Utbah, but he could not; however, Hatib could.
Sahl bin Haneef — a hero archer — who had pledged to die in the cause of Allâh, also played a prominent part in Uhud hostilities.
The Messenger of Allâh himself was involved in shooting arrows. In a version by Qatadah bin An-Nu‘man that the Messenger of Allâh shot so many arrows that the two ends of his bow were flattened. So Qatadah bin An-Nu‘man took it to remain with him for good. On that day his eye was so hurt that it fell down onto his cheek; but the Messenger of Allâh reput it in its socket with his hand and it became the better and the more sharp-sighted of the two.
On that day ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Awf kept on fighting till his mouth was hurt and got broken. He sustained over twenty wounds, some in his leg, and that lamed him.
Malik bin Sinan, the father of Abi Sa‘eed Al-Khudri sucked the blood out of the Prophet ’s cheek till he cleaned it. The Prophet said: "Spit it!". But Malik said: "By Allâh, I will never spit it". Then he set out to fight. The Prophet then said: "He who wants to see a man of the people of Paradise, let him look at this one." No sooner had he resumed fighting than he was martyred in the thick of the battle.
Umm ‘Amarah participated in the fight too. She encountered Ibn Qami’a in combat, and sustained a slight wound on her shoulder, but she herself also struck him with her sword several times but he survived because he was wearing two armours. She, however, went on striking until her wounds counted twelve.
Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair, in his turn, fought fiercely and violently defending the Prophet against the attacks of Ibn Qami’a and his fellows. He was carrying the standard with his right hand. In the process of fighting, it was cut off, so he grabbed the standard in his left hand till this was also amputated so he knelt down and shielded it with his chest and neck. Ibn Qami’a then killed him, mistaking him for the Messenger of Allâh on account of resemblance in appearance. Only then did Ibn Qami’a shout ‘Muhammad has been killed.’
No sooner had Ibn Qami’a uttered that ominous sentence than consternation spread among Muhammad ’s followers, and their morale was drastically reduced. Consequently, confusion and a miserable state of disorder prevailed amongst them. Whilst the rumours managed to adversely act amongst the Muslims, it alleviated the sharp impact of the assaults of the polytheists who came to believe that they did really achieve their final objective and so they turned towards mutilating the dead bodies.
When Mus‘ab was killed, the Messenger of Allâh delivered the standard to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. ‘Ali, in conjunction with the other Companions, went on fighting bravely and set marvellous examples of heroism, courage and endurance in both defence and attack.
Then the Messenger of Allâh made his way to his encircled army. Ka‘b bin Malik, who was the first one to recognize the approaching Prophet , shouted as loudly as he could: "O folks of Muslims, be cherished! The Messenger of Allâh is here." But the Messenger of Allâh signed to him to stop lest his position should be located by the idolaters. Upon hearing the shout, the Muslims immediately raced towards the source of the shout which brought about thirty Companions to gather around the Prophet . With this assembled number of his Companions, the Messenger of Allâh started drawing a planned withdrawal to the hillocks nearby.
Hostilities of the enemy grew fiercer than ever with the aim of foiling the plan of withdrawal of the Muslims. Their attempts however proved to be fruitless due to the heroic steadfastness of the lions of Islam.
‘Uthman bin ‘Abdullah bin Al-Mugheerah — one of the enemy horsemen — progressed towards the Messenger of Allâh while saying: "Either I kill him (i.e. Muhammad ) or I will be killed." The Messenger of Allâh moved to encounter him but his mare tripped into some holes. So Al-Harith bin As-Simma combated with the enemy, and struck him on his leg so he went lame, then he finished him off, took his arm and overtook the Messenger of Allâh .
But later on another Makkan horseman, called ‘Abdullah bin Jabir, attacked Al-Harith bin As-Simma, and struck him on the shoulder with his sword and he was carried to the camp of the Muslims suffering from serious wounds. Anyway that very idolater did not escape death, for Abu Dujana — the red head-banded hero and adventurer — struck him heavily and cut his head off.
During this bitter fight, a desire to sleep overwhelmed the Muslims — that was a security and tranquillity to help His slave Muslims as the Qur’ân spoke in this context. Abu Talhah said: "I was one of those who were possessed by a desire to sleep on Uhud Day. On that day my sword fell off my hand several times. Again and again it fell down and again and again I picked it up."
In a regular withdrawal and with great bravery and boldness, the Muslims finally retreated to the cover of Mountain Uhud. Then, the rest of the army followed them to that safe position. In this manner, the genius of Muhammad foiled that of Khalid bin Al-Waleed.
Ibn Ishaq related that: "When the Messenger of Allâh was going up the hillock, he was followed by Ubai bin Khalaf who was saying: ‘Where is Muhammad Either I kill him or I will be killed.’ The Companions of Muhammad said: ‘O Messenger of Allâh, do you mind if one of us combats with him?’ But the Messenger of Allâh said: ‘Leave him!’ So when he drew nearer, the Messenger of Allâh took the spear from Al-Harith bin As-Simma. He shivered violently in such a way that made all of them scatter in all directions violently and impulsively. Then he faced him, observed his clavicle through a gap between the wide opening of the armour and the part of his neck enclosed by. He speared him in that spot. The effect of the stroke was so strong that it made him roll off his horse over and over. When he returned to Quraish, they found that he had only had a small scratch in his neck. So when blood became congested he said: ‘By Allâh, Muhammad has killed me.’ Hearing him say so, they said: ‘By Allâh you are afraid to death. By Allâh, you are possessed by a devil.’ He replied: ‘He had already told me when we were in Makkah: ‘I will kill you.’ By Allâh, had he spate on me, he would have killed me.’ Eventually, the enemy of Allâh breathed his last at a place called Sarif, while they were taking him back to Makkah." In a version by Abul-Aswad, on the authority of ‘Urwa: He was lowing like a bull and saying: "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if (the pain) I am suffering from now were distributed among the people of Al-Majaz, it would cause them to die."
During the withdrawal of the Messenger of Allâh up to the cover of the mountain, a big rock blocked his way. The Prophet tried to mount it, but having worn a short heavy armour, and being seriously wounded — he could not ascend it. Readily enough Talha sat in a position that enabled the Prophet to stand on his back. Then he lifted him up till he stood on it. The Prophet then said: "Talha, after this job, is eligible for the Garden (Paradise)."
When the Messenger of Allâh settled down in his head quarters in the hillock, the idolaters started their last attack upon the Muslims. Ibn Ishaq related that: "While the Prophet was on the way to the hillock, a group of Quraishite elite ascended the mountain. They were led by Khalid bin Al-Waleed and Abu Sufyan. So the Messenger of Allâh implored his Lord saying: ‘O Allâh, they (i.e. the idolaters) should not be higher (i.e. in position or in power) than us (i.e. the Muslims). Therefore ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab and some of the Emigrants fought the idolaters till they drove them down the mountain.
In Al-Maghazi — a book by Al-Umawi — it is stated that the idolaters went up the mountain. So the Messenger of Allâh said to Sa‘d: "Drive them off." "How can I drive them off by myself (i.e. without anyone to assist)." But the Messenger of Allâh repeated the phrase three times. Sa‘d then took an arrow out of his quiver, shot it at one of them and killed him. He said: "Then I took another one I know (to be good) and I shot with it another man. Then I took a third I know and killed a third one. Consequently they climbed down the mountain. I said to myself, ‘this must be a blessed arrow.’ I put it in my quiver." He kept it with him till he died. His children kept it with them ever after.
Mutilation of the Martyrs:
That was the last attack made by the idolaters against the Prophet . Being almost certain of his death, the idolaters returned to their camp and started preparations to go back to Makkah. Some of them involved themselves in mutilating the killed Muslims, and so did their women. Women and men cut off the ears, the noses, the genitals of the martyrs. They even cut open their bellies. Hind bin ‘Utbah — for instance — ripped open the liver of Hamzah and chewed it; but finding it unpleasant, she spat it out. She even made the ears and noses of Muslims into anklets and necklaces.
Two incidents occurred during the last hours of the fight. Which revealed for certain how far the Muslims were ready to fight and sacrifice in the way of Allâh:
1. Ka‘b bin Malik said: I was one of those Muslims who fought in Uhud and witnessed the polytheists’ act of barbarity in mutilating the dead bodies, but I passed them because I couldn’t stand it. Then I saw an armed stout idolater pass through the Muslims and say: "Gather them up and combine them in the way that sheep are gathered and slaughtered." Similarly I saw an armed Muslim waiting for him. I walked towards them till I stood behind him. Comparing both of them, I found that the disbeliever was better than the other in arms and figure. I kept on watching them till they were engaged in single combat. The Muslim thrust at the disbeliever with his sword that went down his hip and split it into two. When the Muslim unveiled his face, he said: "What about that, Ka‘b. I am Abu Dujana."
2. Some Muslim women came to the battlefield when the fight was over. Anas said: I saw ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr - may Allah be pleased with him - with Umm Sulaim. Their garments were gathered up so I could see their anklets. They carried water bags on their shoulders and emptied them into the mouths of people. Then they would go back to fill them and come back to do the same. ‘Umar said: "Umm Saleet used to carry water bags to us on Uhud Day."
When Umm Aiman, who was one of those Muslim women who saw the defeated Muslim fighters entering Madinah, she started throwing dust at their faces rebukingly saying: "Here is a spinning wheel, take it! and give up carrying swords." Then she raced to the battlefield. There she watered the wounded. Hibban bin Al-‘Arqa shot an arrow at her, she fell down and her clothes were lifted up. Seeing that, the enemy of Allâh, burst into laughter. That sight upset the Messenger of Allâh , so he gave Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas an arrow lacking an arrow-head and said "Shoot it". Sa‘d shot it, it pierced the idolater’s throat. He fell down and some parts of his body were revealed. The Messenger of Allâh then laughed so much that his molars could be seen. Sa‘d avenged her and Allâh responded to her supplication.
As soon as the Messenger of Allâh reached the defile, ‘Ali bin Abu Talib went out and filled his water container with water from Al-Mihras. ‘Al-Mihras’ is said to be hollow (concaved) rock containing plenty of water. It was also said that it is a water spring in Uhud mountain. Anyway, ‘Ali brought that water to the Messenger of Allâh to drink. Finding that it smelt bad he refused to drink it, but only washed the blood off his face and poured some of it over his head saying: Allâh’s Wrath is great on those who besmeared His Messenger’s face with blood.
Sahl said: "By Allâh, I know who washed the wound of the Messenger of Allâh and who poured out water for him and what (substances) his wound was treated with: His daughter Fatimah washed it, whereas ‘Ali poured water out of the container. When Fatimah realized that water increased the flow of blood, she took a piece of straw mat, burnt it a little and stuck it to the wound so blood ceased flowing."
Muhammad bin Maslamah brought him fresh water to drink. The Prophet drank and supplicated Allâh to provide him with good things. Owing to the wounds and their bad effects on his body, the Messenger of Allâh led his followers in prayer in a sitting posture and so did the Muslims.
When the preparations of the idolaters for departure came to an end, Abu Sufyan went up the mountain and called out: "Is Muhammad among you?" They did not answer him. Then he asked "Is Ibn Abi Quhafah (i.e. Abu Bakr) among you?" They did not answer. He asked again: "Is ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab among you?" They did not answer him; for the Prophet forbade them answering him. He only asked about those three. That is because he and his people knew quite well that the call to Islam depended to a large degree on those men. Abu Sufyan then said: "As for those three, we have relieved you of." ‘Umar could not help but talking, so he said, "O enemy of Allâh, those whom you have just mentioned, I tell you that they are still alive. Allâh has maintained what you hate." Abu Sufyan answered: "The mutilation of your killed is something I did not order it; but it did not displease me." Then he shouted: "Hubal (an idol), let it be sublime!" The Prophet said: "Why do you not reply?" "What shall we say?" They asked him. "Say: Allâh is more Sublime and Exalted and Mightier as well."
He said: "Al-‘Uzza (i.e. an idol) is ours but you have no ‘Uzza." "Why do you not reply?" The Prophet said. "What shall we say?" They inquired. He said: "Say Allâh is our Protector, but you have no protector."
Abu Sufyan said: "Well deeds! Today is a vengeance for Badr Day. This for that. War is attended with alternate success." ‘Umar’s reply was: "No. They are not the same. Our killed men are housed in Paradise; but yours are in Fire."
Then Abu Sufyan said: "Come on, ‘Umar!" The Messenger of Allâh said: "Go and see what the matter is." He went there. Abu Sufyan asked him: "I beseech you by Allâh’s Name to tell me the truth: Have we killed Muhammad " ‘Umar said: "O Allâh, ‘No’ and now he is listening to you words." He said: "For me, you are more truthful than Ibn Qami’a, and even more reliable."
Ibn Ishaq said: When Abu Sufyan and those who were with him were leaving he called out notifying: "We will meet again at Badr next year." The Messenger of Allâh said to one of his men: "Say: ‘Yes, it is an appointment for both of us.’"
Later on, the Messenger of Allâh dispatched ‘Ali bin Abi Talib to trace them out. He said to him: "Pursue them and see what they are going to do, and what they aim at. If they dismount horses and ride on camels’ back, this means that they are heading for Makkah; but if they ride horses and lead camels unmounted, they are leaving for Madinah. By the One, in Whose Hand my soul is, if they attacked Madinah I would march to them there and I would fight them." ‘Ali said: "I went out and traced them to see what they were up to. I saw them mounting camels and leaving the horses unmounted. They were heading for Makkah."
After the departure of the Quraishites, people went out to check the identity of the killed and the wounded. Zaid bin Thabit said: "The Messenger of Allâh sent me on Uhud Day to seek Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabî‘ and said: "When you see him, say: ‘peace be upon you from me.’ and say to him ‘the Messenger of Allâh says: How do you feel?’" Zaid said: "I started wandering about checking the killed till I came across Sa‘d when he was dying — with about seventy strokes or stabs of a sword, a spear and an arrow in his body.So I said: "O Sa‘d, the Messenger of Allâh sends you his greetings. and says ‘peace be upon you, tell me how do you feel?’" Sa‘d said: "And let peace be upon the Messenger of Allâh , too. Tell him, I smell the scent of the Paradise. And tell the Helpers, my people, ‘you shall not be excused before Allâh if the Messenger of Allâh is hurt and your eyes are blinking’ (i.e. you are still alive and not dead)." Then he died.
They came across Al-Usairim — ‘Amr bin Thabit, whom they had already urged to embrace Islam but refused. They saw him among the wounded on the verge of close death. "What has he come here for? We have parted with him and he was still too obdurate to accept Islam as his religion". They asked him: "What made you come here? Is it out of zeal to defend your people or is it because of an inclination to Islam?" He said: "It is (certainly) an inclination to Islam. I believe in Allâh and in His Messenger. I have fought with the Messenger of Allâh till I have got what you see," and then he immediately died. They told the Messenger of Allâh about him. Hearing that, he said: "He is one of the inhabitants of Paradise." "Although he had not offered one single prayer," narrated Abu Hurairah.
Qazman, who was found among the wounded, fought heroically, and killed seven or eight idolaters. He was weakened by the wounds he had sustained, they carried him to the habitation of Bani Zufr. The Muslims gave him glad tidings of the Paradise. But he said: "By Allâh I have fought out of a zeal to my people. Had it not been for that I would have never fought." When his wounds worsened he committed suicide. The Messenger of Allâh had already said whenever he was mentioned to him: "He is an inhabitant of Fire." This is the end of those who fight for a national cause or in a way other than that of raising up the Word of Allâh, though they fought under the banner of Islam or even in the army of the Messenger of Allâh or of his Companions.
Contrary to Qazman there was a Jew of Bani Tha‘labah among the killed. He said to his people, "O folk people of Jews! By Allâh you have already known that it is imperative to support Muhammad ." They said: "Today is Saturday." He said: "There is no Saturday for you." He took his sword and the war equipment and said: "If I were killed, my property should be put at Muhammad ’s disposal". Then next morning he kept on fighting till he was killed. The Messenger of Allâh said about him, "Mukhaireeq is the best Jew."
Burial of the Martyrs:
The Messenger of Allâh supervised the martyrs’ burial and said: "I bear witness that anyone who is wounded in the way of Allâh, Allâh will resurrect him with his wound bleeding a liquid which is blood-like in colour but musk-like in scent."
Some of the Companions carried their men killed in the war to Madinah, but the Messenger of Allâh ordered that they should be sent back in order to be buried where they were killed. He ordered that they should not be washed but buried as they were after stripping them off their armours and leather clothes. He used to bury every two or three martyrs together in one grave and even join two men in one garment while saying: "Who is the more learned of the Qur’ân?" and he would commit him to earth first. He would say: "I bear witness to those on the Day of Resurrection." He buried both ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Haram and ‘Amr bin Al-Jamuh in one grave due to the affection they used to possess to each other.
They missed the coffin of Hanzalah, they sought it and found that it was on a spot nearby with water dripping off it. The Messenger of Allâh told his Companions that the angels were washing him and said: "Ask his wife". They asked her and she confirmed that he had been in a state of ceremonial impurity. That was why Hanzalah was called ‘Ghaseel Al-Malâ’ikah’ (i.e. the one washed by the angels).
When the Messenger of Allâh saw how his uncle and foster brother, Hamzah, was mutilated, he was extremely grieved. When his aunt Safiyah came to see her brother Hamzah, the Messenger of Allâh ordered her son Az-Zubair to dismiss her in order not to see what happened to her brother. She refused and said, "But why should I go away. I have been informed that they have mutilated him. But so long as it is in the way of Allâh, whatever happens to him satisfies us. I say: Allâh is Sufficient and I will be patient if Allâh wills." She approached, looked at him and supplicated Allâh for him and said: "To Allâh we all belong and to Him we will verily return." and she implored Allâh to forgive him. Then the Messenger of Allâh ordered that he should be buried with ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh — who was his nephew as well as his foster brother.
Ibn Mas‘ud said: We have never seen the Messenger of Allâh weeping so much as he was for Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib. He directed him towards Al-Qiblah, then he stood at his funeral and sobbed his heart out.
The sight of the martyrs was extremely horrible and heart-breaking. Describing Hamzah’s funeral, Khabbab said: "No shroud long enough was available for Hamzah except a white-darkish garment. When they covered his head with it, it was too short to cover his feet. Similarly if they covered his feet his head would be revealed. Finally they covered his head with it and put some plant called ‘Al-Idhkhir’ to cover his feet."
Al-Imam Ahmad reported that when it was Uhud Day and the time that the idolaters returned, the Messenger of Allâh said:
# "Istawoo (i.e. form rows as for prayer) so that I offer thanks and praise to my Lord, the Great and the All-Mighty."
So they stood in rows behind him. Then he said:
# "O Allâh, no one can withhold what You permit or permit what You withhold. No one can guide whom You decree to go astray or make go astray the one whom You guide. No one can grant provisions you have withheld and no one can withhold what you grant. No one can near what You ordained to be distant, or detach what You decree to be close. O Allâh, spread onto all of us Your Mercy, Your Grace, and Provisions."
"O Allâh, I implore You to grant me permanent bliss that neither changes nor vanishes. O Allâh, You Alone we seek for Help at hardships. You Alone we resort to for security on a day of terror. O Allâh, to You Alone I resort to protect us from the evils of Your grants (i.e. the evils they may lead us to) and from the evils of Your deprivation. O Allâh, make us love Faith and make it pleasant and beloved wholeheartedly by us! Make disbelief, ungodliness and disobedience detestable to us. Let us be among those who are rightly guided. O Allâh, make us live as Muslims and cause us to die as Muslims; and make us join with the righteous but not with the disgraced and misled ones. O Allâh, make Your enmity befall the disbelievers, who belie Your Messenger and divert from Your righteous way. O Allâh, let Your wrath, Your chastisement and Your enmity befall the disbelievers, and those on whom You sent down the Book. Let them be afflicted with war decreed by You. O Allâh, the Author of Truth."
After committing all the martyrs to earth, and after offering praise and supplication to Allâh, the Messenger of Allâh went back to Madinah.
On his way back, matchless examples of love and devotion were revealed by the truthful women believers; in no way less great than the men’s heroic deeds in the fight.
Hamnah bint Jahsh met the Messenger of Allâh on the way back, and he announced the death of her brother — ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh — to her. She said: "To Allâh we belong and to Him we will verily return. I ask Allâh’s forgiveness." Then he announced the death of her maternal uncle Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib. She said: "To Allâh we belong and to Him we will verily return. I ask Allâh’s forgiveness." But when he announced the death of her husband Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair to her, she shouted and woed. Seeing her doing so, the Messenger of Allâh said: "The woman’s husband is extremely dear to her."
He passed by a woman of Bani Dinar whose husband, father and brother were all killed at Uhud. When their death announced, she said: "How is the Messenger of Allâh ?" They said: "Well indeed. O mother of so... Thanks for Allâh; he is well and as good as you desire." She said: "Let me see him." They pointed at him. Seeing him she said: "All misfortunes are nothing so long as you are safe."
Umm Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh came running to see the Prophet . At that time her son was holding the rein of his mare. Seeing his mother, he said to the Prophet : "O Messenger of Allâh . This is my mother." The Prophet said: "She is welcome"; and he stopped and waited for her. When she drew near, he consoled her, for her killed son ‘Amr bin Mu‘adh. But she said: "So long as I see you are safe, my misfortune will certainly go into oblivion." Then the Messenger of Allâh supplicated Allâh for the relatives of those who were killed at Uhud and said: "Cheer up! Umm Sa‘d and bear good tidings to their kindred that all their people killed in the battle are comrades in Paradise and they are intercessors for all their kinsfolk." She replied, "O Messenger of Allâh, we are satisfied. Who would cry on them after this cheerful news?" Then she resumed saying: "O Messenger of Allâh, invoke Allâh (for those who stayed behind)" He said: "O Allâh keep sorrow off their hearts! And console them with their misfortunes. Compensate those who stayed behind with goodness and welfare."
In the evening of that day — i.e. Saturday, the seventh of Shawwal, 3rd year A.H. — the Messenger arrived in Madinah. As soon as he reached his house, he handed his sword to his daughter Fatimah and said: "O daughter, wash the blood off this sword. By Allâh it has been helpful to me today." ‘Ali bin Abi Talib handed her his sword and said: "And wash the blood of this sword too. By Allâh, it has been helpful to me today." So the Messenger of Allâh said: "Sahl bin Haneef and Abu Dujana have been as courageous as you are in the fight."
Most of the narrations confirmed that seventy Muslims were killed and most of them, sixty-five, Helpers; forty-one of whom were from Khazraj and twenty-four from Aws. This, besides one Jew and four Emigrants.
As for the polytheists, twenty-two of them were killed, but some versions speak of thirty-seven; after all, Allâh knows best.
On Saturday night, the eighth of Shawwal, and after their return from Uhud, the Muslims spent that night in an emergency case — though they were dead-beat, extremely exhausted. They stayed on the alert, and spent that night guarding the outlets and inlets of Madinah. They were specially busy guarding their general leader, the Messenger of Allâh for fear that some suspects could commit an unexpected folly.
Hamrâ’ Al-Asad Invasion:
The Messenger of Allâh on his part, spent the night pondering over the situation. He feared that the idolaters might think — while they were still on their way to Makkah — of reversing their way and diverting to Madinah after they had realized that they had availed nothing of that victory. They might regret and decide to invade Madinah as a compensation. Therefore the Messenger of Allâh was determined to go out in pursuit of the Makkan army.
The Prophet called out unto people and ordered them to march to encounter the enemy of Islam. That was on Sunday morning — next day to Uhud — the eighth of Shawwal. He said: "Nobody will march to the fight except those who have already participated in Uhud fight." ‘Abdullah bin Ubai said: "I will march out with you." "No," said the Prophet .
Whilst the Muslims were suffering a lot from painful pains and deep anxiety, they responded to his call positively. Jabir bin ‘Abdullah implored the Prophet to allow him join them in that fresh invasion on account that he always had a liking to witness all the battles that the Prophet was involved in. He had not participated in Uhud because his father asked him to stay in Madinah with his sisters . And he was granted his wish.
The Muslims marched out until they reached a place called Hamra’ Al-Asad — about eight miles from Madinah. He encamped there. In that place Ma‘bad bin Abi Ma‘bad came to the Messenger of Allâh and professed Islam. Some people said that he remained an idolater; he simply desired to give the Messenger some advice out of abidance by a covenant between Khuza‘ah (his tribe) and Bani Hashim. He said "O Muhammad ! By Allâh, we feel great sorrow for what had happened to you and to your Companions. We really hope you will not suffer again." So, the Messenger of Allâh suggested that he overtake Abu Sufyan and discourage him from pursuing his evil intentions.
The Messenger’s fears of a possible return of the idolaters proved to be absolutely true. For no sooner had the idolaters dismounted and encamped at Ar-Rawhâ’ — a place thirty-six miles from Madinah, than they started reproaching one another. A group of them said to another one: "You did nothing. You broke down their force but you left them. There are still some distinguished men among them who will probably gather people up to fight you again. So let us go back and annihilate them and crush down their forces."
It was in fact a hasty decision taken by shallow-minded people who misjudged the potential power and morale on both parties, that is why an eminent leader of Quraish, Safwan bin Omaiyah, tried to dissuade his people from pursuing that venture, saying: "O people. Do not do such a thing! For I fear that he will gather up those who had stayed behind and did not share in Uhud. Go back home as winners. For I am not sure of what turn will the consequences take if you get involved in such a fight. It might be to your prejudice in the final place." Notwithstanding that weighty argument, the majority of the polytheists were determined to embark on that risky undertaking.
Ma‘bad bin Abu Ma‘bad meanwhile arrived on the scene and tried to exaggerate the danger awaiting them in order to thwart their plan, he said: "Muhammad has marched to meet you with a large host of fighters, I have never seen something similar to it before. He has mustered all the troops who have tarried and did not share in Uhud. They surely regret what they have missed and want to compensate for it now. Their hearts are filled with hate and resentment." Abu Sufyan said: "Woe to you! What do you suggest?" He said: "By Allâh, I see that you would not leave till he comes and you see the heads of their horses; or till the vanguard of his army turns up to you from behind that hill."
Abu Sufyan said: "By Allâh, we have reached a common consent to crush down the Muslims and their power." The man, once more with an implied warning, advised him to stop it.
In the light of this news, the resolution and determination of the Makkan army failed and panic and terror took firm hold of them. They consequently deemed it safest to complete there withdrawal back to Makkah. They, however, as an alternative, started a hostile nerve propaganda aiming at dissuading the Muslims army from pursuing them. A caravan belonging to ‘Abd Qais happened to pass by towards Madinah. Abu Sufyan, in the context of his propaganda, asked them to communicate a message to Muhammad to the effect that the Makkans had rallied their ranks to annihilate the Messenger and his Companions, in return Abu Sufyan promised to give the people of the caravan loads of raisins at the forum of ‘Ukaz the following year.
The people of the caravan conveyed the message to the Messenger of Allâh at Hamrâ’ Al-Asad, but to no effect, on the contrary, Abu Sufyan’s words augmented them in Faith. Allâh says:
# "… And they said: ‘Allâh (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us). So they turned with Grace and Bounty from Allâh. No harm touched them; and they followed the good Pleasure of Allâh. And Allâh is the Owner of Great Bounty." [3:173,174]
After the arrival of the caravan on Sunday, the Messenger of Allâh stayed at Hamrâ’ Al-Asad for three days — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — 9-11 Shawwal, 3 A.H. and then returned to Madinah. Before his return, he took Abu ‘Azza Al-Jumahi as a prisoner of war. Incidentally, this man had also been captured at Badr but on account of his poverty, and the large family he supported, the Prophet had been gracious enough to release him on condition that he would not involve himself in war against the Muslims again. Abu ‘Azza did not keep his promise and took part in Uhud hostilities on the side of the polytheists. Here again he implored Muhammad for pardon but the latter told him that a believer wouldn’t be taken twice in the same snare. He then deservedly merited the sentence of death which was executed by Az-Zubair or, in another version, by ‘Asim bin Thabit.
A Makkan spy, called Mu‘awiyah bin Al-Mugheerah bin Abi Al-‘As, was sentenced to death too. This spy was the grandfather of ‘Abdul Malik bin Marwan on his mother side. When the idolaters went back after Uhud, Mu‘awiyah came to his paternal cousin ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan - may ALlah be pleased with him -. ‘Uthman gave him shelter — after securing the Prophet ’s permission — on condition that if he was caught there after three days, he would be killed. But he did not comply with it, so when the Muslim army left Madinah, he stayed there for more than three days during which he was spying for Quraish. So when the army returned, Mu‘awiyah fled out of Madinah. The Messenger of Allâh , on this account, ordered Zaid bin Harithah and ‘Ammar bin Yasir to pursue him and kill him. So he was killed.
Undoubtedly, the invasion of Hamrâ’ Al-Asad is not a separate invasion, but rather a part, or more specifically, a sequel to Uhud.
That was Uhud Invasion with all its stages and details. It has for long been discussed by scholars and men of research. Was it a defeat or not? Doubtlessly, the military superiority in the second phase of the battle was in favour of the polytheists who could successfully direct the steering mechanism of hostilities and inflict heavy losses in lives on the Muslims. Admittedly, a part of the believers were clearly defeated, but this could never be considered a Makkan victory.
The Makkan army failed to occupy the camp of the Muslims. The greater bulk of the Madinese army, chaos and confusion notwithstanding, did not take to escape, on the contrary they showed matchless and heroic resistance and managed to gather themselves again around their headquarters fighting bravely and courageously. They, moreover, did not allow the Makkans to run after them in pursuit. Neither Muslim captives were taken nor spoils were gained by the Makkans. The enemies of Islam were also too cowardly to conduct the third phase of war, and impress their superiority on the battlefield, on the contrary, they were in hot haste to evacuate the field even before the Muslims did. Madinah itself, the capital of the Muslims, was only a stone’s throw from the lines of the enemy, and vulnerably exposed, yet the polytheists were not bold enough to storm it to plunder its wealth or capture the Muslim women therein.
These suggestive details in fact support our argument that the event of Uhud was just a precious occasion on which the Makkans managed only to inflict heavy losses on the Muslims but failed to achieve their ultimate goals of annihilating the Muslim army in the process of their encompassment operation. After all, it is not unusual for conquerors to sustain such casualties and losses, but these could under no circumstances be regarded as victory for the hostile party.
The incident of Hamrâ’ Al-Asad is interesting in this regard. It is a curious sight indeed of a victorious army in retreat for fear of disgrace and defeat, and the crestfallen and crippled group of Muslims in pursuit.
Uhud Battle in the final judgement was just one phase of military activities in the whole process of war between two hostile parties each of whom earned their legitimate portion of both success and failure and then desisted further engagement but without cowardly escape or resigned surrender. In this sense, this battle could be rightly regarded as an inseparable war.
In this context, Allâh says:
# "And don’t be weak in the pursuit of the enemy; if you are suffering (hardships) then surely, they (too) are suffering (hardships) as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allâh (for the reward, i.e. Paradise) that for which they hope not." [4:104]
The verse explicitly identifies both attitudes as regards losses and hardships as identical. Both parties concluded the war operations and went back neither victorious nor vanquished.
The Observations of the Noble Qur’ân on the Battle of Uhud:
Some Qur’ânic verses were revealed to shed light on the most decisive phases of the battle successively, adduce quite clearly the cause that led to that heavy loss, and illustrate the vulnerable areas that were still persisting in the souls of some believers as regards their duties in forging a decisive attitude with respect to the noble objectives for which the Muslim Community, was created and was supposed to accomplish.
The Noble Qur’ân also spoke about the attitude of the pretenders to Faith and made clear the hostility and hatred that they harboured against Allâh and His Messenger. The Words of Allâh managed as well to erase all traces of ambiguities and insinuations, raised by the hypocrites and their allies, the Jews — the authors of conspiracy and intrigue hatching — and which were still in active operation in the hearts of some weak-of-heart Muslims.
The laudable judgement and long-sought objectives that were attributable to the battle of Uhud, were also another topic for the Noble Qur’ân to dwell on at length. Sixty verses relevant to the battle were revealed giving full account of the first phase of the battle:
# "And (remember) when you (Muhammad ) left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud)." [3:121]
And to end in a comprehensive commentary on its results and moralities:
# "Allâh will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allâh disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (unseen), but Allâh chooses of His Messengers whom He pleases. So believe in Allâh and His Messengers. And if you believe and fear Allâh, then for you there is a great reward." [3:179]
Lessons and Moralities:
Ibn Al-Qaiyim has made a pointed reference to the battle of Uhud and given full elucidation of the Divine benefits and moralities that resulted from it. Some Muslim scholars, on the authority of Ibn Hajar, said: The reverse in Uhud resulted from the neglect on the part of the archers of the explicit command of the Prophet , and leaving the spot which they were ordered to safeguard to the end. In other words, the success of the Muslims depends upon their obedience to the Prophet . As long as they carry out his behests, Allâh will help them in facing all kinds of odds. But when they will set aside his commands in their pursuit of worldly riches, they are bound to come to grief. Another relevant issue of great significance says that it is customary for Prophets to be tried with different adversities; nevertheless, the final outcome is positively in their favour. Should the Muslims be victorious all the time, great many pretenders to Faith will enter the fold of Islam, and consequently the clear line of demarcation between true believers and hypocrites will become blurred. Contrarily, if the Muslims were to be defeated all the time, the final objective of the ministry of Prophets will not be effected. It is wise then to combine both success and failure so that sifting between true Muslims and hypocrites could be realized.
In the aftermath of the battle of Uhud, the hypocrites disclosed their real intentions in words and in deeds, consequently, the Muslims got to realize the existence of those wicked elements working secretly in their own homeland; and of course there would be appropriate measures to be taken in due course of time.
A third point in this context refers to purposeful deferment of victory in some areas in order to check the pride of the soul and teach the believers how to observe full patience in times of adversity. Trials and tests are provided by Allâh in order that the true believers could deservedly occupy their abode in the blessed Hereafter. Martyrdom, the highest ranks that the true friends of Allâh could occupy, is provided by Allâh to function as a passport, granted by the Lord, leading to Paradise. In brief, fight in the cause of Allâh is a golden opportunity for the true believers to have their sins effaced, and a Divinely-devised event for the disbelievers and enemies of Allâh to face destruction and annihilation in recompense for their disbelief, tyranny and transgression.
Military Platoons and Missions between the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of the Confederates
Uhud’s misfortune left a bad impact on both the credibility and military reputation of the Muslims. Their dignity and power in people’s eyes were impaired. Troubles and dangers spread everywhere in and out of Madinah. The Jews, hypocrites and bedouins declared publicly their enmity to the Muslims and each party was keen on degrading and, in the final place, exterminating their whole existence.
Two months had almost passed after this battle, when Banu Asad made preparations to raid Madinah, ‘Udal and Qarah tribes conspired against
the Muslims in the month of Safar, 4 A.H. and killed ten of the Prophet ’s Companions. Similarly Banu ‘Amir plotted against them too, and seventy Companions were killed in the battle of Ma‘una Well. During that period, Banu Nadeer kept on announcing their enmity and were involved in a plot to kill the Prophet Muhammad in Rabi‘ Al-Awwal in 4 A.H. Banu Ghatfan were about to attack Madinah in Jumada Al-Ula in 4 A.H.
Thus we see that the Muslims turned into an attractive target of several potential dangers after they had lost their military credibility in the battle of Uhud. Muhammad most wisely managed to hold all those hostile currents at bay, and even redeem the lost dignity of the Muslims and gain them anew fresh glory and noble standing. The first initiative he took in this process was Hamra’ Al-Asad pursuit operation, whereby he could retain the Muslim military reputation. He succeeded in recovering his followers’ dignity and awe-inspiring position in such a manner that astonished or even astounded both the Jews and hypocrites, alike, then he proceeded to crown his successful attempts by despatching military errands and missions:
Abi Salamah Mission:
The first people to take up arms against the Muslims in the aftermath of Uhud reverse were Banu Asad bin Khuzaimah. "The Intelligence Corps" of Madinah reported that Talhah and Salamah, sons of Khuwailid have mustered some volunteers to fight the Messenger of Allâh . The Prophet immediately despatched a 150-man-platoon of Helpers and Emigrants headed by Abu Salamah. The Muslim leader took Bani Asad bin Khuzaimah by surprise in their own homeland, neutralized their attempts, dispersed them and captured their cattle. On his return, Abu Salamah had an inflammation of a previous wound he sustained in Uhud, and caused him to die soon after. This expedition took place on Muharram 1st, 4 A.H.
An Errand led by ‘Abdullah bin Unais:
On the fifth day of the same month Muharram, 4 A.H., it was reported that Khalid bin Sufyan Al-Hudhali was gathering some mob to raid the Muslim positions. ‘Abdullah bin Unais, at the behest of the Prophet set out to destroy the enemies.
The Muslim military leader stayed away for eighteen days during which he successfully fulfilled his task, killed the head of the rebels and brought his head back to Madinah on Saturday, seven days before the end of Muharram. The Prophet , as a reward, gave him a stick saying "This will function as a sign of recognition for you and me on the Day of Resurrection." On his death bed, ‘Abdullah requested that the log be with him in his shroud.
The Event of Ar-Raji‘:
In Safar of the fourth year A.H., a delegation from the tribes of ‘Udal and Qarah came to Madinah and asked the Prophet to send a group of Companions to instruct them in religion, claiming the existence of some Muslims among them. He sent six of his Companions, in another version, ten headed by Murthid bin Abi Murthid Al-Ghanawi, or, according to Al-Bukhari, ‘Asim bin Thabit, the grandfather of ‘Asim bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. When they reached a spot called Ar-Raji‘ between Rabigh and Jeddah, a hundred archers of Banu Lihyan clan surrounded the place and attacked them. The delegation of Muslims took shelter on some high ground, Fudfud, and the bedouins offered them a pledge that they would not be killed. ‘Asim refused to come down, instead he fought them until he and six of his companions were killed. Three men were left, Khubaib, Zaid bin Ad-Dathna and another one. Once again, the bedouins offered them a guarantee of safety and they accepted. When they descended, the bedouins treacherously bound them. The third man rebuked them for their insincerity and resisted them so they killed him. The other two men who had killed some notables of Quraish at Badr were taken and sold in Makkah. The first was Khubaib who was detained for some time and then it was unanimously decided to crucify him. He was taken from the Holy Sanctuary to At-Tan‘im for crucifixion. He requested a respite to offer a two-Rak‘a prayer. After the final greeting, he turned to his executioners, and said: "Had I not been afraid that you would think that I was afraid of death, I would have prayed for a long time." It was then that Khubaib first set the tradition of praying two Rak‘a before being executed. He then said:
# "O Lord! Count them one by one, exterminate them to the last one."
He then recited some verses of poetry which speak eloquently of the atrocities borne by him, and testify to his Faith in Allâh at this hour of suffering:
The confederates have gathered their tribes around me,
And summoned all of them who could come.
They have gathered their women and children,
I am bound fastly to a lofty trunk.
To Allâh alone I complain of my helplessness and sufferings,
And of the death, the confederates have prepared for me.
Lord of the Throne! Give me endurance against their design,
They have cut my flesh bit by bit, and I have been deprived of sustenance.
They let me choose infidelity but death is preferable,
Tears roll out of my eyes, though not of fear.
By Allâh! I fear not if I die a Muslim,
On what side I fall for the sake of Allâh.
I will not show subservience to the enemy,
If Lord so desires, He will bless my torn limbs and broken joints.
Abu Sufyan then addressed him saying: "I adjure you by Allâh, don’t you wish that Muhammad were here in your place so that we might cut off his head, and that you were with your family?" Khubaib answered, "By Allâh, I do not wish that Muhammad now were in the place I occupy or that a thorn could hurt him, and that I were sitting with my family." Quraish ordered ‘Uqbah bin Al-Harith, whose father had been killed by Khubaib himself, to crucify him. They also appointed someone to guard his corpse. ‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari played a cunning trick and carried the corpse stealthily at night to bury it somewhere. It was later reported that shortly before his crucifixion, he was seen eating a bunch of grapes although there was not even one date available in Makkah at that time. [In fact, it was nothing but sustenance bestowed upon him by Allâh.]
Safwan bin Omaiyah purchased the second man, Zaid bin Ad-Dathna, and killed him as an act of vengeance for his father’s murder.
Quraish, whom ‘Asim had killed one of their notables, sent someone to fetch a portion of his body, but to their disappointment, his corpse was inaccessible because a large swarm of hornets had been shielding him against any malicious tampering. ‘Asim had already given his Lord a pledge to remain immune against any polytheist tampering with respect to his body, and also stay detached from any contact with the enemies of Allâh. ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, when hearing this piece of news exclaimed, "Allâh verily protects His believing slave after death just as He does during his lifespan."
The Tragedy of Ma‘una Well:
Ma‘una Well tragedy, which was even more horrible than that of Ar-Raji‘, took place in the same month.
Abu Bara’ — ‘Amir bin Malik — nicknamed ‘Spear Player’ came to the Messenger of Allâh in Madinah. The Messenger of Allâh called him to embrace Islam but he neither agreed nor refused. He said: "O Messenger of Allâh, if you dispatch some of your Companions to the people of Najd to call them to Islam, I expect them to accept." "I am afraid the people of Najd will kill them." Said the Messenger. But he replied, "I will protect them." Ibn Ishaq confirms that forty men were sent to them; but As-Sahih states that they were seventy — Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr, one of Bani Sa‘ida, nicknamed ‘Freed to die’ — commanded that group, who were the best and most learned in the Qur’ân and jurisprudence.
On their way to Najd they used to gather firewood to buy food for the people of ‘Ahl As-Suffah’ as charity by day and study, meditate on the meanings of the Qur’ân by night. They kept on doing that till they arrived at Ma‘una Well — which was a well in between Bani ‘Amir, Harrah and Bani Saleem. They stayed there and sent the Message of the Prophet with Haram bin Milhan, the brother of Umm Sulaim to the enemy of Allâh ‘Amir bin At-Tufail. ‘Amir did not heed the Message but rather ordered a man to spear Haram in the back. When the spear penetrated Haram’s body, he saw the blood and said: "Allâhu Akbar! (i.e. Allâh is the Greatest) By Lord of Al-Ka‘bah I have won!"
Then the enemy of Allâh, promptly, called out Bani ‘Amir to fight the rest. Bani ‘Amir refused because they were under the protection of Abu Bara’. Therefore he turned to Bani Saleem for help. The people of ‘Usaiyah, Ri‘al and Dhakwan, who were folks of Bani Saleem, responded to his call. The Companions of the Prophet , who were encompassed by idolaters, kept on fighting till they were all killed. The only survivor was Ka‘b bin Zaid bin An-Najjar who was carried wounded from among the dead. It was in Al-Khandaq (the trench) Battle that he was killed.
‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari and Al-Mundhir bin ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir, who were entrusted with the Muslims’ animals far from them, saw the birds circling in the air over the battleground. Al-Mundhir rushed to share in the fight till he was killed. But ‘Amr bin Omaiyah was captured. ‘Amir set him free when he knew that he was of Mudar tribe but that was after he had cut his hair. He did that to fulfil a pledge of his mother’s to set a slave free.
Returning to the Prophet ‘Amr bin Omaiyah conveyed the news of the painful disaster, which resulted in the murder of seventy of the best believers, and recalled the tragedy of Uhud but with the difference that those of Uhud were killed in a clear war but those of Ma‘una were killed in a disgraceful treachery. On his way back to Qarqara, ‘Amr bin Omaiyah rested in the shade of a tree, and there two men of Bani Kilab joined him. When they slept, ‘Amr killed them both, thinking that by doing that he would avenge some of his killed companions. Then he found out that they had been given a pledge of protection by the Prophet . He told the Messenger of Allâh what he had done. The Messenger of Allâh said to ‘Amr: "You have killed two people; their blood-money shall be a debt I have to discharge." He then engaged himself collecting their blood-money from the Muslims and their allies, the Jews. This very act was later to trigger the invasion of Bani An-Nadeer.
The Prophet was so deeply moved by this tragedy and that of Ar-Raji‘ that he used to invoke Allâh’s wrath against those people and tribes who killed his Companions. Anas reported that for thirty days the Prophet supplicated Allâh against those who killed his Companions at Ma‘una Well. Every dawn prayer he would invoke Allâh’s wrath against Ri‘l, Dhakwan, Lihyan and ‘Usaiyah. He would say, " ‘Usaiyah disobeyed Allâh and His Messenger." Therefore Allâh The Exalted, sent down unto His Messenger a Qur’ânic verse that we kept on reciting till it was abrogated later on: ‘Inform our folk that we have encountered our Lord and He is satisfied with us and we are satisfied with Him.’ So the Messenger of Allâh stopped his invocation.
Bani An-Nadeer Invasion:
We have already spoken about the disgraceful behaviour of the Jews and how they were always thirsting to shed the blood of the Muslims and undermine the cause of Islam despite all the covenants and pledges they had given to the Prophet . Their behaviour fluctuated between resignation and slackness after the Banu Qainuqa‘ event and the murder of Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf, and rebellion coupled with treacherous clandestine contacts with Quraish and the hypocrites in order to establish an alliance against the Muslims after the battle of Uhud. Being inexperienced in war tactics, they resorted to conspiracy and intrigue hatching. They first of all declared open hatred and enmity, and chose to play all sorts of tricks that might harm the Muslims, but were very careful not to initiate any sort of hostilities that might involve them in open war.
The Prophet , on his part, exercised the highest degree of patience with them but they went too far in their provocative deeds, especially after Ar-Raji‘ and Ma‘una Well events; they even made an attempt on his life.
Once the Prophet with some of his Companions set out to see Banu Nadeer and seek their help in raising the blood-money he had to pay to Bani Kalb for the two men that ‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari had killed by mistake. All of that was in accordance with the clauses of the treaty that both parties had already signed. On hearing his story they said they would share in paying the blood-money and asked him and his Companions Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Ali and others to sit under a wall of their houses and wait. The Jews held a short private meeting and conspired to kill the Prophet . The most wicked among them, ‘Amr bin Jahsh, volunteered to climb up the wall and drop a large millstone on his head. One of them, Salam bin Mashkam, cautioned them against perpetrating such a crime, predicting that Allâh would divulge their plot to him, and added that such an act would constitute a manifest violation of the pact concluded with the Muslims.
In fact, Gabriel did come down to reveal to the Prophet their wicked criminal intention, so he, with his Companions, hurried off back to Madinah. On their way, he told his Companions of the Divine Revelation.
Soon after, the Prophet delegated Muhammad bin Maslamah to communicate an ultimatum to Bani Nadeer to the effect that they should evacuate Madinah within ten days, otherwise, their heads would be cut off. The chief of the hypocrites, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai, urged the Jews not to pay heed to the Prophet ’s words and to stay in their habitations, offering to run to their support with two thousands of his followers, and assuring them of help to come from Quraizah tribe and former allies Banu Ghatfan. In this regards, Allâh says:
# "If you are expelled, we (too) indeed will go out with you, and we shall never obey anyone against you, and if you are attacked (in fight), we shall indeed help you." [59:11]
The Jews regained their confidence and were determined to fight. Their chief Huyai bin Akhtab relied hopefully on what the chief of the hypocrites said. So he sent to the Messenger of Allâh saying: "We will not leave our houses. Do whatever you like to do."
Undoubtedly the situation was awkward for the Muslims. Launching a war against their opponents at this critical stage could entail terrible far reaching ramifications in the light of the unfavourable conditions they were passing through, besides the hostile environment growing in power and hatred around them, the harbinger of which assumed the form of killing the Muslim missions, as it has been already introduced.
The Jews of Bani Nadeer were also a power to count for, and the prospects of inflicting a military defeat on them was precarious; consequently forcing them into war engagement would be attended with unpredictable risks. On the other hand, the continual state of repeated assassinations and acts of treachery carried out against the Muslims individually and collectively brought about unbearable headache to Muhammad ’s followers. Having judged all the prevalent status quo in this perspective, and in the light of the disgraceful attempt on the life of the Prophet , the Muslims made the decisive decisions of taking up arms whatever turn the consequences could assume.
When the Messenger of Allâh received the reply of Huyai bin Akhtab he said: "Allâhu Akbar, Allâhu Akbar." (Allâh is the Greatest of all) and his Companions repeated after him. Then he set out to fight them after appointing Ibn Umm Maktum to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence. The standard was entrusted to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. He laid siege to their forts for six nights — in another version, fifteen.
Banu Nadeer resorted to their castles, mounted them and started shooting arrows and pelting stones at the Muslims enjoying the strategic advantage that their thick fields of palm trees provided. The Muslims were therefore ordered to fell and burn those trees. In this respect, Allâh, the All-Mighty, states in the Qur’ân:
# "What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allâh." [59:5]
Quraizah tribe remained neutral, and the hypocrite ‘Abdullah bin Ubai as well as Ghatfan failed to keep their promises of support. In this regard Allâh says:
# "(Their allies deceived them) like Satan, when he says to man: ‘Disbelieve in Allâh.’ But when (man) disbelieves in Allâh, Satan says: ‘I am free of you.’" [59:16]
The siege did not last long for Allâh, the All-Mighty, cast horror into the hearts of the Jews, and they willingly offered to comply with the Prophet ’s order and leave Madinah. The Prophet accepted their request and allowed them to carry as much luggage as their camels could lift, arms were excepted. Of course, they had no choice but to carry out the orders, so they took with them everything they could carry even the pegs and beams of ceilings. Their caravan counted 600 loaded camels including their chiefs, Huyai bin Akhtab and Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq, who left for Khaibar whereas another party shifted to Syria. Two of them embraced Islam, Yameen bin ‘Amr and Abu Sa‘d bin Wahab, and so they retained their personal wealth.
The Messenger of Allâh seized their weapons, land, houses, and wealth. Amongst the other booty he managed to capture, there were 50 armours, 50 helmets, and 340 swords.
This booty was exclusively the Prophet ’s because no fighting was involved in capturing it. He divided the booty at his own discretion among the early Emigrants and two poor Helpers, Abu Dujana and Suhail bin Haneef. Anyway the Messenger of Allâh spent a portion of this wealth on his family to sustain their living the year around. The rest was expended to provide the Muslim army with equipment for further wars in the way of Allâh.
The invasion of Bani An-Nadeer took place in Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, 4 A.H. i.e. in August 625 A.D. Almost all the verses of Sűrah Al-Hashr (Chapter 59 - The Gathering) describe the banishment of the Jews and reveal the disgraceful manners of the hypocrites. The verses manifest the rules relevant to the booty. In this Chapter, Allâh, the All-Mighty, praises the Emigrants and Helpers. This Chapter also shows the legitimacy of cutting down and burning the enemy’s land and trees for military purposes. Such acts cannot be regarded as phenomena of corruption so long that they are in the way of Allâh.
In this very Chapter, Allâh recommends the believers to be pious and prepare themselves for the world to come and He ends it with a compliment upon Himself and a manifestation of His Holy Names and Attributes.
As this Chapter concentrates on Bani An-Nadeer and their banishment, Ibn ‘Abbas used to describe it as ‘An-Nadeer Chapter’.
The Invasion of Najd:
With the peaceful victory that the Muslims achieved at Bani An-Nadeer invasion, their control over Madinah was undisputedly established, and the hypocrites receded to a state of silence and stopped their artful machinations publicly. Consequently the Prophet had ample time to direct all his energies and human resources towards suppressing the desert bedouins and curbing their harmful provocations and wicked malicious practices of killing his missionaries and even contemplating an invasion of Madinah itself. Meanwhile, the Muslim scouting groups reported building up of bedouin troops of Bani Muharib and Tha‘labah of Ghatfan around Madinah. The Prophet , with the Muslims, hurriedly set out to discipline those new outlaws, cast fear into their hearts and deter them from perpetrating further wicked practices. These deterring operations were carried out repeatedly and did produce effective results. The rebellious hard-hearted desert bedouins were terrorized into the mountains, and Madinah remained completely immune against their raids.
In the context of these invasions, it is interesting to draw some prominence to a significant one ľ Dhat Ar-Riqa‘ (rags) campaign ľ which some scholars claim, took place in Najd ( a large area of tableland in the Arabian Peninsula) in Rabi‘ Ath-Thani or Jumada Al-Ula, 4 A.H. They substantiate their claim by saying that it was strategically necessary to carry out this campaign in order to quell the rebellious bedouins in order to meet the exigencies of the agreed upon encounter with the polytheists, i.e. minor Badr Battle in Sha‘ban, 4 A.H. The most authentic opinion, however, is that Dhat Ar-Riqa‘ campaign took place after the fall of Khaibar. This is supported by the fact that Abu Hurairah and Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari - may Allah be pleased with him - witnessed the battle. Abu Hurairah embraced Islam only some days before Khaibar, and Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari came back from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and joined the Prophet at Khaibar. The rules relating to the prayer of fear which the Prophet observed at Dhat Ar-Riqa‘ campaign, were revealed at ‘Asfan Invasion and this beyond a shadow of doubt took place after Al-Khandaq (the trench) Battle in late 5 A.H.
The Invasion of Badr, the Second:
When the Muslims destroyed the power of the Arab-desert tribes and guarded themselves against their evils, they started preparations to encounter their great enemy. A year elapsed since they fought Quraish at Uhud. So it was due time to meet them and start war again in order to determine which of the two parties was worthy of survival.
In Sha‘ban 4 A.H., January 626 A.D., the Messenger of Allâh set out to Badr accompanied by one thousand and five hundred fighters and ten mounted horsemen, and with ‘Ali bin Abi Talib as standard bearer. ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah was given authority over Madinah during the Prophet ’s absence. Reaching Badr, the Muslims stayed there waiting for the idolaters to come.
Abu Sufyan’s forces comprised two thousand footmen and fifty horsemen. They reached Mar Az-Zahran, some distance form Makkah, and camped at a water place called Mijannah. Being reluctant, discouraged and extremely terrified of the consequences of the approaching fight, Abu Sufyan turned to his people and began to introduce cowardice-based flimsy pretexts in order to dissuade his men from going to war, saying: "O tribe of Quraish! Nothing will improve the condition you are in but a fruitful year — a year during which your animals feed on plants and bushes and give you milk to drink. And I see that this is a rainless year, therefore I am returning now and I recommend you to return with me."
It seems that his army were also possessed of the same fears and apprehensions, for they readily obeyed him without the least hesitation.
The Muslims, who were then at Badr, stayed for eight days waiting for their enemy. They took advantage of their stay by selling goods and earning double as much the price out of it. When the idolaters declined to fight, the balance of powers shifted to rest in favour of the Muslims, who thus regained their military reputation, their dignity and managed to impose their awe-inspiring presence over the whole of Arabia. In brief, they mastered and controlled the whole situation.
This invasion had many a name. It is called ‘Badr the Appointment’, ‘Badr, the Second’, ‘Badr, the Latter’, and ‘Badr Minor’.
The Invasion of Doumat Al-Jandal:
With the Messenger ’s return from Badr, peace and security prevailed the whole area; and the Islamic headquarters, Madinah, enjoyed full security. The Prophet then deemed it fit and appropriate to head for the most distant areas of Arabia in order to subdue all hostile elements in order to force undisputed recognition out of friend and enemy alike.
After a six-month lull of military activities, the Prophet was reported that some tribes, in the vicinity of Doumat Al-Jandal, on the borders of Syria, were involved in highway robbery and plundering, and were on their way to muster troops and raid Madinah itself. He immediately appointed Siba‘ bin ‘Arfatah Al-Ghifari to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence, and set out at the head of 1000 Muslims in late Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, 5 A.H. taking with him a man, named Madhkur, from Bani ‘Udhrah, as a guide.
On their way to Doumat Al-Jandal, they used to march by night and hide by day, so that they might take the enemy by surprise. When they drew near their destination, the Muslims discovered that the highway men had moved to another place, so they captured their cattle and shepherds. The inhabitants of Doumat Al-Jandal had also fled in all directions for their lives and evacuated their habitations. The Prophet stayed there for 5 days during which he despatched expeditionary forces to hunt for the enemy personnel but they detected none. He then returned to Madinah but en route he entered into a peace treaty with ‘Uyainah bin Hisn. Doumat Al-Jandal is located at about a distance of fifteen days march from Madinah and five from Damascus.
With this decisive and steady progress and wise strict plans, the Prophet managed to spread security, control the situation and make peace prevail the whole area. He also succeeded in shifting the course of events for the welfare of the Muslims by reducing the incessant internal and external troubles. The hypocrites were silenced, a tribe of the Jews evacuated while the other continued to fake good neighbourliness and seemingly faithful adherence to the covenants, the desert bedouins subdued and finally the archenemy Quraish no longer keen on attacking the Muslims. This secure strategic attitude created optimum circumstances for the Muslims to resume their logical course in propagating Islam and communicating the Messages of the Lord to all worlds.
Al-Ahzab (the Confederates) Invasion
Once again, peace and security enveloped the Arabian Peninsula and this turbulent area began to experience a period of lull after a whole year war. The Jews, however, whose treachery, intrigues and disloyalty made them taste all types of humiliation and disgrace, were not admonished. After they had been exiled to Khaibar, they remained waiting anxiously for the results of the skirmishes going on between the Muslims and the idolaters. Contrary to their hopes, the events of the war were in favour of the Muslims, therefore they started a new stage of conspiracy and prepared themselves to deal a deadly blow against the Muslims, but were too cowardly to manoeuvre directly against them, so they laid a dreadful plan in order to achieve their objectives. Twenty chiefs of the Jews with some celebrities of Bani Nadir went to Makkah to negotiate an unholy alliance with Quraish. They began to goad the people there to attack the Messenger of Allâh promising them full support and backing. People of Quraish, who had been languid and proved too weak to challenge the Muslims at Badr, seized this opportunity to redeem their stained honour and blemished reputation. The same delegation set out for Ghatfan, called them to do the same, and they responded positively. The Jewish delegation then started a fresh effort and toured some parts of Arabia and managed to incite the confederates of disbelief against the Prophet , his Message and the believers in Allâh. Quraish, Kinanah and other allies from Tihama, in the south; rallied, ranked and recruited four thousand men under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. From the east there came tribes of Banu Saleem, Ghatfan, Bani Murrah, etc. They all headed for Madinah and gathered in its vicinity at a time already agreed upon. It was a great army of ten thousand fighters. They in fact outnumbered all the Muslims in Madinah, women, lads and elders included. To tell the truth, if they had launched a surprise attack against Madinah, they could have exterminated all the Muslims. However, the leadership inside the city was on the alert and the intelligence personnel managed to reconnoitre the area of the enemies, and reported their movement to the people in charge in Madinah. The Messenger of Allâh summoned a high advisory board and conducted a careful discussion of a plan to defend Madinah. After a lengthy talk between military leaders and people possessed of sound advice, it was agreed, on the proposal of an honourable Companion, Salman Al-Farisi, to dig trenches as defensive lines. The Muslims, with the Prophet at their head, encouraging, helping and reminding them of the reward in the Hereafter, most actively and diligently started to build a trench around Madinah. Severe hunger, bordering on starvation, could not dissuade or discourage them from achieving their desperately sought objective. Salman said: O Messenger of Allâh! When siege was to laid to us in Persia, we used to dig trenches to defend ourselves. It was really an unprecedented wise plan. The Messenger of Allâh hurriedly gave orders to implement the plan. Forty yards was allocated to each group of ten to dig. Sahl bin Sa‘d said: We were in the company of the Messenger of Allâh , the men used to dig and we evacuate the earth on our backs.
Some preternatural Prophetic signs appeared in the process of trenching. Jabir bin ‘Abdullah, seeing the Prophet starving, slaughtered a sheep, cooked some barley and requested the Prophet and some Companions to accept his invitation, but the Prophet gathered all the thousand people engaged in digging the trench and they started to eat until they were all completely full and yet the shoulder of mutton and dough that was being baked remained as they were undiminished. A certain woman brought a handful of dates and passed by the Prophet , who took the dates, threw them over his cloak and invited his followers to eat. The dates began to increase in number until they dropped over the trim of his robe. Another illustrious preternatural example went to the effect that an obstinate rock stood out as an immune obstacle in the ditch. The Prophet took the spade and struck, and the rock immediately turned into a loose sand dune. In another version, Al-Bara‘ said: On Al-Khandaq (the trench) Day there stood out a rock too immune for our spades to break up. We therefore went to see the Messenger of Allâh for advice. He took the spade, and struck the rock uttering "in the Name of Allâh, Allâh is Great, the keys of Ash-Shâm (Geographical Syria) are mine, I swear by Allâh, I can see its palaces at the moment;" on the second strike he said: "Allâh is Great, Persia is mine, I swear by Allâh, I can now see the white palace of Madain;" and for the third time he struck the rock, which turned into very small pieces, he said: "Allâh is Great, I have been given the keys of Yemen, I swear by Allâh, I can see the gates of San‘a while I am in my place." The same version was narrated by Ishaq. The northern part of Madinah was the most vulnerable, all the other sides being surrounded by mountains and palm tree orchards, the Prophet as a skillful military expert, understood that the Confederates would march in that direction, so the trench was ordered to be on that side. The Muslims went on digging the trench for several days; they used to work on it during the day, and go back home in the evening until it had assumed its full dimensions militarily before the huge army of the idolaters; which numbered, as many as ten thousand fighters, arrived and settled in the vicinity of Madinah in places called Al-Asyal and Uhud.
# "And when the believers saw ‘Al-Ahzab’ (the confederates), they said: ‘This is what Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad ) had promised us, and Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad ) had spoken the truth, and it only added to their Faith and to their submissiveness (to Allâh)." [33:22]
Three thousand Muslims, with Muhammad at their head, came out to encounter the idolaters, with Allâh’s Promise of victory deeply established in their minds. They entrenched themselves in Sila‘ Mountain with the trench standing as a barrier between them and the disbelievers.
On attempting to attack the Muslims and break into Madinah, the idolaters were surprised to see a wide trench, a new stratagem unknown in Arabia before, standing as an obstinate obstruction. Consequently they decided to lay siege to Madinah and began to manoeuvre around the trench trying hard to find a vulnerable spot through which they could infiltrate into Madinah. To deter their enemies from approaching or bridging any gap in their defences, the Muslims hurled arrows, and engaged in skirmishes with them. The veteran fighters of Quraish were averse to this situation waiting in vain in anticipation of what the siege might reveal. Therefore they decided that a group of fighters led by ‘Amr bin ‘Abd-e-Wudd, ‘Ikrima bin Abi Jahl and Dirar bin Al-Khattab, should work its way through the trench. They, in fact, managed to do that and their horsemen captured a marshy area between the trench and Sila‘ Mountain. ‘Amr challenged the Muslims to a duel, and ‘Ali bin Abi Talib was deputed. After a short but fierce engagement, ‘Ali killed ‘Amr and obliged the others to evacuate in a state of panic and confusion. However, some days later, the polytheists conducted fresh desperate attempts but all of them failed due to Muslims’ steadfastness and heroic confrontation.
In the context of the events of the Trench Battle, the Messenger of Allâh failed to observe some prayers in their right time. Jabir - may Allah be pleased with him - narrated: On the Day of Trench ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab - may Allah be pleased with him - came, cursing the disbelievers of Quraish and said: "O Allâh’s Messenger! I have not offered the afternoon prayer and the sun has set." The Prophet replied: "By Allâh! I, too, have not offered the prayer yet." The Prophet then went to Buthan, performed ablution and observed the afternoon prayer after the sun had set and then offered the sunset prayer after it." He was so indignant for this failure that he invoked Allâh’s wrath on his enemies and besought Allâh to fill their houses and graves with fire because they distracted him from observing the afternoon prayer. It was narrated by Ahmed and Shafa‘i that the events of that battle detained him from the noon, afternoon, evening and night prayers, but he observed them combined. The different narrations point to the fact that the situation lasted for a few days.
It is clear that, and because of the trench standing between the two parties, no direct engagement took place, but rather there were military activities confined to arrow hurling, consequently the fight claimed the lives of a small number of fighters, six Muslims and ten polytheists, one or two killed by sword.
During the process of fighting, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh was shot by an arrow that pierced his artery. Perceiving his end approaching, he invoked Allâh saying: "Oh, Allâh, you know nothing is closer to my heart than striving in Your way against those people (disbelievers) who belied Your Messenger and banished him from his town. Oh, Allâh, I deeply believe that You have decreed that we should fight them, so if there is still more fighting to go with them, let me stay alive in order to strive more against them. If it has settled down, I beseech you to ignite it again so that I breathe my last in its context." He concluded his supplication beseeching Allâh not to let him die until he had had full revenge on Banu Quraiza. In the midst of these difficult circumstances, plottery and intrigues were in fervent action against the Muslims. The chief criminal of Bani Nadir, Huyai, headed for the habitations of Banu Quraiza to incite their chief Ka‘b bin Asad Al-Qurazi, who had drawn a pact with the Messenger of Allâh to run to his aid in times of war. Ka‘b, in the beginning resisted all Huyai’s temptation, but Huyai was clever enough to manipulate him, speaking of Quraish and their notables in Al-Asyal, as well as Ghatfan and their chieftains entrenched in Uhud, all in one mind, determined to exterminate Muhammad and his followers. He, moreover, promised to stay in Ka‘b’s fort exposing himself to any potential danger in case Quraish and Ghatfan recanted. The wicked man went on in this manner until he later managed to win Ka‘b to his side and persuade him to break his covenant with the Muslims. Banu Quraiza then started to launch war operations against the Muslims especially the secluded garrisons that housed the women and children of the Muslims. On the authority of Ibn Ishaq, Safiyah - may Allah be pleased with her - , daughter of ‘Abdul Muttalib happened to be in a garrison with Hassan bin Thabit as well as some women and children. Safiyah said: "A Jew was spotted lurking around our site, which was vulnerable to any enemy attacks because there were no men to defend it. I informed Hassan that I was suspicious of that man’s presence near us. He might take us by surprise now that the Messenger of Allâh and the Muslims are too busy to come to our aid, why don’t you get down and kill him? Hassan answered that he would not do it, so I took a bar of wood, went down and struck the Jew to death. I returned and asked Hassan to loot him but again Hassan refused to do that. This event had a far reaching effect and discouraged the Jews from conducting further attacks thinking that those sites were fortified and protected by Muslim fighters. They, however, went on providing the idolaters with supplies in token of their support against the Muslims.
On hearing this bad news, the Messenger despatched four Muslim prominent leaders Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, Sa‘d bin ‘Ubada, ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha and Khawat bin Jubair for investigation but warning against any sort of spreading panic amongst the Muslims and advising that they should declare in public that the rumours are groundless if they happen to be so. Unfortunately the four men discovered that the news was true and that the Jews announced openly that no pact of alliance existed any longer with Muhammad . The Messenger of Allâh was briefed on this situation, and the Muslims understood their critical position with the horrible danger implied therein. Their back was vulnerable to the attacks of Banu Quraiza, and a huge army with no way to connive at in front, while their women and children unprotected standing in between. In this regard, Allâh says:
# "And when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allâh. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking."
Now that the Muslims were shut in within the Trench on the defensive, the hypocrites taunted them with having indulged in delusive hopes of defeating Kisra, emperor of Persia, and Caesar, emperor of the Romans. They began to sow the seeds of defeatism, and pretended to withdraw for the defence of their homes, though these were in no way exposed to danger. Here, Allâh says:
# "And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubts) said, ‘Allâh and His Messenger () promised us nothing but delusions!’ And when a party of them said: ‘O people of Yathrib (Al-Madinah), there is no stand (possible) for you (against the enemy attack!) therefore go back!’ And a band of them asked for permission of the Prophet () saying: ‘Truly, our homes lie open (to the enemy).’ And they lay not open. They but wished to flee." [33:12, 13]
The Messenger of Allâh, wrapped himself in his robe and began to meditate on the perfidy of Banu Quraiza. The spirit of hopefulness prevailed over him and he rose to his feet saying:
# "Allâh is Great. Hearken you Muslims, to Allâh’s good tidings of victory and support."
He then started to lay decisive plans aiming at protecting the women and children, and sent some fighters back to Madinah to guard them against any surprise assault by the enemy. The second step was to take action that could lead to undermining the ranks of the disbelieving confederates. There, he had in mind to conclude a sort of reconciliation with the chiefs of Ghatfan on the basis of donating them a third of Madinah’s fruit crops. He sought the advice of his chief Companions, namely, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh and Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah, whose reply went as follows:
"O Messenger of Allâh! If it is Allâh’s injunction, then we have to obey, but if it is a new course you want to follow just to provide security for us then we don’t need it. We experienced those people in polytheism and idolatry and we can safely say that they don’t need the fruit of our orchards, they rather need to exterminate us completely. Now that Allâh has honoured us with Islam, I believe the best recourse in this situation is to put them to the sword." Thereupon the Prophet corrected their Belief saying: "My new policy is being forged to provide your security after all the Arabs have united to annihilate you (Muslims)."
Allâh, the Glorious, the Exalted, praise is to him, created something that led to the dissension of the enemies of Islam and later on to their full defeat. A man from the tribe of Ghatfan called Na‘im bin Mas‘ud asked to be admitted in the audience of the Prophet . He declared that he had embraced Islam secretly and asked the Prophet to order him do anything that might benefit the Muslims. The Prophet asked him to do anything that could help the Muslims in the present distress and use any strategem of avail. The man, in a shuttle movement, between the Jews, Quraish and Ghatfan managed to incite each party to let down the other. He went to see the chiefs of Banu Quraiza and whispered in their ears not to trust Quraish nor fight with them unless the latter pledged some hostages. He tried to lend support to his counsel by claiming that Quraish would forsake them if they perceived that victory over Muhammad was far fetched, and the Muslims then would have terrible revenge on them. Na‘im, then headed for the camp of Quraish and managed to practise a similar strategem in its final result but different in content. He claimed that he felt that the Jews regretted breaching their covenant with Muhammad and his followers. He told them that the Jews maintained regular correspondence with the Muslims to the effect that Quraishite hostages be sent to the camp of the Muslims with full Jewish allegiance paid to them as already agreed upon. Na‘im then exhorted Quraish not to send hostages to the Jews. On a third errand, he did the same with the people of Ghatfan.
On Saturday night, Shawwal 5 A.H., both Quraish and Ghatfan despatched envoys to the Jews exhorting them to go into war against Muhammad . The Jews sent back messages that they would not fight on Saturday. They added that they needed hostages from them to guarantee their consistency. On receiving the replies, Quraish and Ghatfan came to believe Na‘im’s words fully. Therefore, they sent a message to the Jews again inviting them to war and asking them to preclude that condition of hostages. Na‘im’s scheme proved successful, and a state of distrust and suspicion among the disbelieving allies prevailed and reduced their morale to deplorable degree.
Meanwhile, the Muslims were preoccupied supplicating their Lord to protect their homes and provide security for their families. The Messenger of Allâh on his part invoked Allâh’s wrath on the Confederates supplicating:
# "Oh, Allâh! You are quick in account, You are the sender of the Book, we beseech You to defeat the confederates."
Allâh the Glorious, the Exalted, responded to the call of the Muslims on the spot. Coupled with the dissension and variance that found their way into the hearts of the disbelievers, forces of nature — wind, rain and cold wearied them, tents were blown down, cooking vessels and other equipage overthrown.
That very cold night the Messenger of Allâh despatched Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman to hunt around for news about the enemy. He found out that they were preparing to leave frustrated for their inability to achieve their target. Allâh did really fulfill His Promise, spared the Muslims fighting a formidable army, supported His slave (Muhammad ) and inflicted a heavy blow on the Confederates.
The battle of the Trench took place in the fifth year Hijri. The siege of Madinah started in Shawwal and ended in Dhul Qa‘dah, i.e. it lasted for over a month. It was in fact a battle of nerves rather than of losses. No bitter fighting was recorded; nevertheless, it was one of the most decisive battles in the early history of Islam and proved beyond a shadow of doubt that no forces, however huge, could ever exterminate the nascent Islamic power growing steadily in Madinah. When Allâh obliged the Confederates to evacuate, His Messenger was in a position to confidently declare that thenceforth he would take the initiative in war and would not wait for the land of Islam to be invaded.
Invading Banu Quraiza
Archangel Gabriel - Peace be upon him - , on the very day the Messenger of Allâh came back to Madinah after the previous battle, and while he was washing in Umm Salama’s house, visited him asking that he should unsheathe his sword and head for the habitation of the seditious Banu Quraiza and fight them. Gabriel noted that he with a procession of angels would go ahead to shake their forts and cast fear in their hearts.
The Messenger of Allâh , immediately summoned the prayer caller and ordered him to announce fresh hostilities against Banu Quraiza, institued Ibn Umm Maktum as a ruler of Madinah, and entrusted the banner of war to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib who marched towards the appointed target and came close enough to hear the Jews abusing the Messenger of Allâh , who on his part set out at the head of three thousand infantry men and thirty horsemen of Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajireen (Emigrants). On their way to encounter the enemy, the afternoon prayer was due. Some Muslims refused to observe it until they had defeated the enemy, while others offered it in its proper time, as usual. The Prophet objected to neither. When they reached the habitations of Banu Quraiza, they laid tight siege to their forts. Seeing this terrible situation they were in, the chief of the Jews Ka‘b bin Asad offered them three alternatives: to embrace Islam, and consequently their life, wealth, women and children would be in full security, and reminded them that such behaviour would not be incongruous with what they had read in their books about the veracity of Muhammad’s Prophethood; to kill their children and women and then challenge the Prophet and his followers to the sword to either exterminate the Muslims or be exterminated, or as a third possibility to take Muhammad and his people by surprise on Saturday — a day mutually understood to witness no fighting.
None of those alternatives appealed them, so their chief, angrily and indignantly, turned to them saying: "You have never been decisive in decision-making since you were born" The gloomy future already visible, they made contacts with some Muslims, who had maintained good relation with them, in order to learn about their fate in the light of the current circumstances. They requested that Abu Lubaba be despatched to them for advice. On his arrival, the men began to implore, women and children to cry desperately. In answer to their demand for advice he pointed to his throat saying it was homicide awaiting them. He then immediately realized that he had betrayed the Prophet’s trust, so he headed directly for the mosque in Madinah and tied himself to a wooden tall pole swearing that no one would untie him save the Messenger of Allâh , and added that he would never enter the habitation of Banu Quraiza in recompense for the deadly mistake he made. When the Messenger was informed of this incident, he said, " I would have begged Allâh to forgive him if he had asked me, but since he had tied himself out of his own free will, then it was Allâh Who would turn to him in forgiveness."
The Jews of Banu Quraiza could have endured the siege much longer because food and water were plentifully available and their strongholds were greatly fortified, whereas the Muslims were in the wild bare land suffering a lot from cold and hunger, let alone too much fatigue consequent on endless warfare operations that had started even before the battle of Confederates. Nevertheless, this was a battle of nerves, for Allâh had cast fear in the the Jews’ hearts, and their morale had almost collapsed especially when two Muslim heroes, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib and Az-Zubair bin ‘Awwam - may Allah be pleased with him - proceeded with ‘Ali swearing that he would never stop until he had either stormed their garrisons or been martyred like Hamza (a former Muslim martyr).
In the light of this reluctance, they had nothing except to comply with the Messenger’s judgement. The Messenger of Allâh ordered that the men should handcuffed, and this was done under the supervision of Muhammad bin Salamah Al-Ansari while the women and children were isolated in confinement. Thereupon Al-Aws tribe interceded begging the Prophet to be lenient towards them. He suggested that Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, a former ally, be deputed to give verdict about them, and they agreed.
Sa‘d meanwhile stayed behind in Madinah due to a serious wound he sustained in the Confederates Battle. He was summoned and brought on a donkey. On his way to the Prophet , the Jews used to exhort him to be lenient in his judgement on account of former friendship. Sa‘d remained silent but when they persisted he uttered: "It is time for Sa‘d not to be afraid of the blame of the blamers." On hearing this decisive attitude, some of them returned to Madinah waiting for a desperate doom.
On arrival, he alighted with the help of some men. He was informed that the Jews had agreed to accept his verdict about them. He immediately wondered if his judgement would pass on all the people present, the Prophet included, turning his face away in honour of him. The reply was positive.
He decided that all the able-bodied male persons belonging to the tribe should be killed, women and children taken prisoners and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters. The Prophet accepted his judgement saying that Sa‘d had adjudged by the Command of Allâh. In fact, the Jews deserved that severe punitive action for the ugly treachery they had harboured against Islam, and the large arsenal they have amassed and which consisted of one thousand and five hundred swords, two thousand spears, three hundred armours and five hundred shields, all of which went into the hands of the Muslims. Trenches were dug in the bazaar of Madinah and a number of Jews between six and seven hundred were beheaded therein. Hot beds of intrigue and treachery were thus exterminated once and for all.
Huyai, a chief criminal of war, a devil of Bani Nadir and Safiyah’s father, had joined the ranks of Banu Quraiza when Quraish and Ghatfan defected, was admitted into the audience of the Prophet with his hands tied to his neck with a rope. In audacious defiance, he declared obstinate enmity to the Prophet but admitted that Allâh’s Will was to be fulfilled and added that he was resigned to his fate. He was ordered to sit down, and was beheaded on the spot.
Only one woman of the Jews was killed because she had killed a Muslim warrior by flinging a grinding stone upon him. A few elements of the enemy embraced Islam and their lives, wealth and children were spared. As for the spoils of the war, the Prophet divided them, after putting a fifth aside, in accordance with Allâh’s injunctions. Three shares went to the horseman and one to the infantry fighter. Women captives were sent to Najd to be bartered with horses and weaponry. For himself, the Prophet selected Rehana bint ‘Amr bin Khanaqah, manumitted and married her in the year 6 Hijri. She died shortly after the farewell pilgrimage and was buried in Al-Baqi‘.
After the war with Banu Quraiza had been settled and they had been defeated, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh’s wish was gratified and he gave his last breath. In response to his supplication ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - narrated, Sa‘d’s wounds began to bleed from the front part of his neck while he was in his tent which the Prophet had pitched for him in the mosque so that he would be in close proximity in order to inquire about and watch his well-being closely. The people were not scared except when the blood flowed towards them, and in the Mosque along with Sa‘d’s tent, there was the tent of Banu Ghifar. They said: O people of the tent, what is it that is coming to us from you? Lo! it was Sa‘d’s wound that was bleeding and he died thereon.
Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allâh had said: "The Throne of the Compassionate shook for the death of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh." When his bier was carried, At-Tirmidhi said: The hypocrites alleged it was too light. The Messenger of Allâh retorted:
# "The angels are carrying him."
In the process of the sieze laid to Banu Quraiza, one man of the Muslims, Khallad bin Suwaid was killed when a women of the Jews dropped the grinding stone on him, and another, Abu Sinan bin Mihsan, the brother of ‘Ukasha, died.
Abu Lubaba stayed tied for six nights. His wife used to untie him at prayer times and then he tied himself again to the pole. One early morning, Allâh the All-Forgiving revealed a verse to the Messenger of Allâh to the effect that Allâh had turned to Abu Lubaba with forgiveness. The Muslims rushed to release him but he insisted that the Messenger of Allâh himself do it. And this was done shortly before the morning prayer.
This Ghazwah took place in the month of Dhul Qa‘dah in the year five Hijri, and the siege of Banu Quraiza’s forts lasted for 25 days. The Chapter of Confederates was revealed containing Allâh’s Words concerning the basic issues relating to the believers and hypocrites during the battle of the Confederates, and the consequences of the treachery and breaching of covenants by the Jews.
Military Activities continued
Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq (Abu Rafi‘) was a terrible Jew criminal, who had mustered the troops of the Confederates and provided them with a lot of wealth and supplies, on the one hand, and used to malign the Prophet , on the other. When the Muslims had settled their affair with Banu Quraiza; Al-Khazraj tribe, a rival of Al-Aws, asked for the Prophet’s permission to kill that criminal in order to merit a virtue equal to that of Al-Aws who had killed another criminal of the Jews, Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf. The Prophet gave them his permission provided that no women or children be killed.
A group of five people with ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ateeq at their head, headed for Khaibar where ‘Abu Rafi‘’s fort was situated. When they approached the place, ‘Abdullah advised his men to stay a little behind, while he went ahead disguised himself in his cloak as if he had been relieving himself. When the people of the fort went in, the gate-keeper called him to enter thinking he was one of them. ‘Abdullah went in and lurked inside. He then began to unbolt the doors leading to Salam’s room. There it was absolutely dark but he managed to put him to the sword, and then leave in safety. On his way back, his leg broke so he wrapped it up in a band, and hid in a secret place until morning when someone stood on the wall and announced the death of Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq officially. On hearing the glad news he left and went to see the Prophet , who listened to the whole story, and then asked ‘Abdullah to stretch his leg, which he wiped and the fracture healed on the spot.
In another version, all the group of five participated in killing that enemy of Islam. This incident took place in Dhul Qa‘dah or Dhul Hijjah in the year five Hijri.
Shortly after the conclusion of the battle with the Confederates and Quraiza, the Prophet began to despatch punitive expeditions to force the aggressive tribes and rebellious Arabians to come to peaceful terms with the rising state of Islam.
A platoon of thirty believers under the leadership of Muhammad bin Maslamah was despatched on a military mission in Muharram, the sixth year Hijri, following the two previous battles. It headed for the habitation of Bani Bakr sept. The Muslims attacked that sept and dispersed them in all directions. Plenty of spoils fell to the lot of the Muslims who returned home with a terrible disbeliever, Thumamah bin Uthal Al-Hanafi, chief of Bani Hanifa, who had gone out by order of Musailama, the Liar, to assassinate the Prophet . The Prophet’s Companions tied him to a pole of the Prophetic Mosque. To a question posed by the Prophet , Thumamah used to say: "If you were to kill someone, then you would have to choose one of noble descent, if you were to be gracious, then let it be to a grateful man and if you were to ask for money, you would have to ask for it from a generous man." He repeated that three times on three different occasions. On the third time, the Prophet ordered that he should be released. He soon went nearby, washed and then came back to profess the new faith addressing the Prophet : "No face had been more awful to me than yours but now it is the closest to my heart, no religion had ever been more repugnant to me than yours, now it is the dearest in my heart. Now I want to perform the ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage)." The Prophet gave him good tidings and asked him to do that. On his arrival in Makkah, the Quraishites accused him of apostasy. He denied it and affirmed that he had embraced Islam, and then swore that they would never get a grain from Yamama, a suburban area around Makkah, unless the Prophet would allow it. In fact, he did it and refused to send food supplies to Makkah until the Prophet interceded at the Makkans’ earnest plea.
Bani Lihyan Invasion:
Bani Lihyan had acted treacherously towards ten of the Prophet’s Companions and had them hanged. Their habitation being situated deep in the heart of Hijaz on the borders of Makkah, and due to deep-seated blood-revenge between the Muslims on the one hand, and Quraish and the Arabians on the other, the Prophet deemed it unwise to penetrate deep and come close to the greatest enemy, Quraish. However, when the power of the allied Confederates collapsed and they began to slacken and resign to the current unfavourable balance of power, the Messenger of Allâh seized this rare opportunity and decided that it was time to take revenge on Bani Lihyan. He set out in Rabi‘ Al-Awwal or Jumada Al-Ula in the year six Hijri at the head of two hundred Muslim fighters and made a feint of heading for Syria, then soon changed route towards Batn Gharran, the scene of his Companions’ tragedy, and invoked Allâh’s mercy on them. News of his march reached Bani Lihyan, who immediately fled to the mountain tops nearby and thus remained out of his reach. On his way back, the Prophet despatched a group of ten horsemen to a place called Kura‘ Al-Ghamim, in the vicinity of the habitation of Quraish in order to indirectly confirm his growing military power. All these skirmishes took fourteen days, after which he left back for home.
Expeditions and Delegations continued:
1. A platoon led by ‘Ukasha bin Al-Mihsan was despatched to a place called Al-Ghamir inhabited by Bani Asad in the year six Hijri. The enemy immediately fled leaving behind them two hundred camels which were taken to Madinah.
2. A platoon led by Muhammad bin Maslamah set out towards the habitation of Bani Tha‘labah in Dhil Qassa. But a hundred men of the enemies ambushed and killed all of them except Muhammad bin Maslamah who managed to escape but badly wounded.
3. In retaliation against Bani Tha‘labah, Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, at the head of forty men, was despatched to Dhil Qassa. They walked that night and took the enemy by surprise in the morning. Again, they fled to the mountains except one who was injured, and later embraced Islam. A lot of booty fell to their lot in that particular incident.
4. A platoon, under the leadership of Zaid bin Haritha, was sent to Al-Jumum, the habitation of Bani Saleem, in the same year. A woman from Bani Muzaina showed them the way to the enemy’s camp. There the Muslims took some captives and gained a lot of booty. Later on, the Messenger of Allâh granted the woman her freedom and married her to one of his followers.
5. Zaid bin Haritha, in Jumada Al-Ula 6 Hijri, at the head of a hundred and seventy horsemen, set out to a place called Al-‘Ais, intercepted a caravan of Quraish led by Abul-‘As, the Prophet’s relative and looted their camels. Abul-‘As escaped and took refuge in Zainab’s (his wife and the Prophet’s daughter) house. He begged her to ask the Prophet for the restitution of his wealth. The Prophet recommended, but without coercion, that the people do that. They immediately gave the man back all his wealth. He went back to Makkah, gave over the trusts to those entitled to them, embraced Islam and emigrated to Madinah where the Prophet reunited him with his wife, Zainab, after three and a half years of their first marriage contract. The verse relating to prohibition of marriage between women Muslims and disbelievers had not been revealed then.
6. In Jumada Ath-Thania, the same year, Zaid at the head of fifteen men raided Bani Tha‘labah and captured twenty of their camels but the people had fled.
7. In Rajab of the same year, Zaid, at the head of twelve men, set out to a place called Wadi Al-Qura in a reconnaissance mission to explore the movements of the enemy. The people there attacked the Muslims, killed nine of them, while the rest including Zaid bin Haritha managed to escape.
8. The invasion of Al-Khabt (diluted yoghurt) took place in the year eight Hijri i.e. before Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty. Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah led three hundred horsemen to observe a caravan belonging to Quraish. Because of the inadequacy of food supplies, they began to starve so much that they had Khabt (diluted yoghurt), hence the appellation "The Army of Al-Khabt". One of the men slaughtered nine camels at three times, three each time at different stages of the mission. Abu ‘Ubaidah, the leader of the campaign prohibited him from doing so. The sea was generous and presented them with an animal called Al-‘Anbar (sperm-whale) so rich in fat that they subsisted on it for half a month. When they came back home, they narrated the story to the Prophet , who commented that it was provision granted by Allâh, and asked them to share him some of its meat.
# This campaign came chronologically prior to Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty because of and after which the Muslims stopped intercepting Quraishi caravans.
Bani Al-Mustaliq (Muraisi‘) Ghazwah, Sha‘ban 6 Hijri
Though militarily it did not assume its full dimension, this Ghazwah had certain implications that brought about a state of turbulence within the Islamic State, and resulted in disgracefulness to clothe in the hypocrites. Moreover, it entailed enactment of consolidating legislations that attached an impression of nobility, dignity and purity of souls to the Islamic community.
News reached the Prophet on Sha‘ban 2nd. to the effect that the chief of Bani Al-Mustaliq, Al-Harith bin Dirar had mobilised his men, along with some Arabs, to attack Madinah. Buraidah bin Al-Haseeb Al-Aslami was immediately despatched to verify the reports. He had some words with Abi Dirar, who confirmed his intention of war. He later sent a reconnoiterer to explore the positions of the Muslims but he was captured and killed. The Prophet summoned his men and ordered them to prepare for war. Before leaving, Zaid bin Haritha was mandated to see to the affairs of Madinah and dispose them. On hearing the advent of the Muslims, the disbelievers got frightened and the Arabs going with them defected and ran away to their lives. Abu Bakr was entrusted with the banner of the Emigrants, and that of the Helpers went to Sa‘d bin ‘Ubada. The two armies were stationed at a well called Muraisi. Arrow shooting went on for an hour, and then the Muslims rushed and engaged with the enemy in a battle that ended in full victory for the Muslims. Some men were killed, women and children of the disbelievers taken as captives, and a lot of booty fell to the lot of the Muslims. Only one Muslim was killed by mistake by a Helper. Amongst the captives was Juwairiyah, daughter of Al-Harith, chief of the disbelievers. The Prophet married her and, in compensation, the Muslims had to manumit a hundred others of the enemy prisoners who embraced Islam, and were then called the Prophet’s in-laws.
The Treacherous Role of the Hypocrites prior to
the Bani Al-Mustaliq Ghazwah:
‘Abdullah bin Ubai, a terrible hypocrite was full of rancour against Islam and the Muslims because he believed that the Prophet had dispossessed him of his leadership over Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, two clans already agreed on the Prophethood of Muhammad and his masterhood over them.
‘Abdullah’s rancour had appeared before he feigned Islam. Following the battle of Badr, he made pretensions of being a Muslim, but deep at heart, he remained that terrible enemy of Allâh, His Messenger; and all the believers, in general. His sole target had always been to sow the seeds of dissension in the Muslim community, and undermine the cause of the new heavenly religion it has. His treacherous behaviour could be witnessed everywhere but was strikingly evident in his wicked attempts at creating a state of confusion and disorder amongst the Muslims at Uhud Battle. His hypocrisy and deceit assumed serious and ugly dimensions when he used to stand up among the Muslims shortly before the Prophet’s Friday speech, and mockingly say to them: "This is the Messenger of Allâh, who has honoured you with Allâh, so you have got to support, obey and listen to him," and then he would sit down.
He did the same following Uhud Battle on Friday. He was so rude and presumptuous that his words smacked unmistakingly of deeply-rooted rancour, so that some of the Muslims took him by his cloak reproachingly and silenced him. He immediately left, uttering rude and mocking words. A Helper met him at the Mosque gate and ordered him to return and beg the Messenger for Allâh’s forgiveness, but he retorted that he had never wanted him to ask for that. He, moreover, conducted clandestine contacts with Bani Nadir, another tribe of Jews, encouraging them to make alliance with him and promising support for them; all of this in his ceaseless efforts in a long process of conspiracy and intrigue hatched against the Muslims. Allâh’s Words as regards his treacherous acts and awe-inspiring attempts during the Trench Battle came to testify quite clearly to this mode of hypocrisy:
# "And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubts) said: ‘Allâh and His Messenger () promised us nothing but delusions!" [33:12]
The verses go on in the same context to describe the hypocrite as a coward and a defeatist. He is a liar and has no regard for pledges solemnly made. He is treacherous, disloyal and perfidious. He is niggardly and greedy. In short, he is the complete antithesis of a true believer:
# "They think that Al-Ahzab (the Confederates) have not yet withdrawn, and if Al-Ahzab (the Confederates) should come (again), they would wish they were in the deserts (wandering) among the bedouins, seeking news about you (from a far place); and if they (happen) to be among you, they would not fight but little." [33:20]
All enemies of Islam from the Jews, hypocrites and polytheists did acknowledge that Islam had the upper hand not because of material superiority, multitudes of troops or much equipment; but it was rather due to the noble values, refined ethics and high attributes that imbued the Muslim community and whoever was attached to it. The enemies of Islam were already aware of that flood of light derived wholly from the person of the Prophet , who always stood as an excellent exemplar for men to copy and follow.
The enemies of Islam, after steering the course of futile warfare against the new religion for five years, came to realize fully that exterminating Islam is not accessible in the battlefields, so they resorted to other tactics. They, being reputed gossip-mongers, decided to launch a widespread propaganda campaign aiming at slandering the person of the Prophet in a most sensitive area of the Arabian life, namely ethics and traditions. Following the battle of the Confederates, the Prophet married Zainab bint Jahsh after her marriage with Zaid bin Haritha, his adopted son, had broken up. They seized this opportunity and began to circulate idle talk against the Prophet in Arabia depending on a tradition among the desert Arabs that prohibits contracting a marriage with an adopted son’s divorcee. They alleged that his marriage would be considered a heinous sin. They also based their malicious propaganda on the fact that Zainab was his fifth wife whereas the number was strictly limited to a maximum of four in the Noble Qur’ân, hence the validity of this marriage was in doubt, according to them.
These rumours and gossips had a negative impact on the morale of some weak-hearted Muslims until the decisive verses were revealed acquitting the Prophet and invalidating all those ill designs and obnoxious schemes:
# "O Prophet (Muhammad )! Keep your duty to Allâh, and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites (i.e. do not follow their advices). Verily! Allâh is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise." [33:1]
The wicked Role they played in the course of
the Ghazwah of Bani Al-Mustaliq:
During this Ghazwah, the hypocrites almost managed to create a sort of discord among the Muslims themselves, coupled with a serious and ugly slander against the Prophet himself. In short, their behaviour was an authentic translation of Allâh’s Words:
# "Had they marched out with you, they would have added to you nothing except disorder, and they would have hurried about in your midst (spreading corruption) and sowing sedition among you …" [9:47]
A quarrel was about to break out between the Emigrants and the Helpers on account of plots and evil intentions designed by the hypocrites. The Prophet told them off describing their misbehaviour as something smacking of pre-Islamic practices. They, hypocrites with ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ubai at their head, were furious for the challenge which the Muslims showed towards the hostile plans and vicious intrigues woven behind closed doors, and swore "the most honourable will expel the meanest out of Madinah," and added: "They (the Muslims) have outnumbered and shared us our land. If you fatten your dog, it will eat you." When that talk was reported to the Prophet , ‘Umar, a venerable Companion, asked for permission to have Ibn ‘Ubai killed. The Prophet naturally turned down his proposal on the grounds that it did not become of a Prophet to be accused of killing his people. He, on the contrary in an unexpected move, asked ‘Umar to announce departure. He marched with his men for two days until the sun grew too hot. They stopped and fell asleep, a clever attempt at diverting his people’s attention from the previous event. ‘Abdullah’s son heard of that vile of his father and as the party reached Madinah, he drew his sword and barred his father’s entry into the town until he had confessed and declared that he himself was the meanest of the citizens of Madinah and the Prophet the most honourable of them. Thus the boast recoiled on his head. It was also reported that the son was ready to kill his father if the Prophet had wanted him to.
The Slander Affair:
This extremely painful incident took place on the Prophet’s return from the expedition against Bani Mustaliq. The Muslim army had to halt for a night at a place, a short distance from Madinah. In this expedition, the Prophet was accompanied by his noble and talented wife, ‘Aishah - may Allah pleased with her - . As it so happened, ‘Aishah - may Allah pleased with her - went out some distance from the camp to attend to the call of nature. When she returned, she discovered that she had dropped her necklace somewhere. The necklace itself was of no great value, but as it was a loan from a friend, ‘Aishah - may Allah pleased with her - went out again to search for it. On her return, to her great grief and mortification, the army had already marched away with the camel she was riding, her attendants thinking that she was in the litter as she was then thin, very young and light of weight. In her helplessness she sat down and cried till sleep overpowered her. Safwan bin Mu‘attal, an Emigrant, who was coming in the rear recognized her as he had seen her before the verse enjoining the veil was revealed, and brought her on his camel to Madinah without saying a single word to her, himself walking behind the animal. The hypocrites of Madinah led by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ubai bin Salul, sought to make capital out of this incident and spread a malicious scandal against ‘Aishah - may Allah pleased with her - and unfortunately some of the Muslims also became involved in it. On arrival in Madinah, the Prophet held counsel with his Companions, who pronounced different opinions ranging from divorce to retention. The incident almost roused a fight between two rival factions, Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, but the Prophet’s intervention silenced both parties on the sport. ‘Aishah - may Allah pleased with her -, unaware of the rumours being circulated, fell ill and was confined to bed for a month. On recovering, she heard of the slander and took permission to go and see her parents seeking authentic news. She then burst into tears and stayed for two days and one sleepless night ceaselessly weeping to such an extent that she felt her liver was about to rip open. The Prophet visited her in that situation, and after testifying to the Oneness of Allâh he told her, "If you are innocent, Allâh will acquit you, otherwise, you have to beg for His forgiveness and pardon." She stopped weeping and asked her parents to speak for her, but they had nothing to say, so she herself took the initiative and said "Should I tell you I am innocent, and Allâh knows that I am surely innocent, you will not believe me; and if I were to admit something of which, Allâh knows, I am innocent, you will believe me, then I will have nothing to make recourse to except the words of the father of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph):
# "So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allâh (Alone) Whose Help can be sought against that which you assert." [12:18]
She then turned away and lay down for some rest. At that decisive moment the Revelation came acquitting ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - of all the slanderous talk fabricated in this concern. ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - , of course, was wholeheartedly joyful and praised Allâh thankfully. Allâh’s Words in this regard went as follows:
# "Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - — the wife of the Prophet ) are a group among you." [24:11]
The principal elements involved in the slander affair, Mistah bin Athatha, Hassan bin Thabit and Hamnah bint Jahsh, were flogged with eighty stripes.
As for the man who took the principal part, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai, he was not flogged, either because the corporal punishment commutes the chastisement in store for him in the Hereafter, and he does not deserve this merit, or for the same public interest for which he was not killed previously. He, moreover, became the butt of reproach and humiliation amongst his people after his real intentions had been unequivocally exposed to all the public.
Almost a month later, the Messenger of Allâh and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab were engaged in the following talk: "Don’t you see ‘Umar if I had had him (Abdullah bin Ubai) killed, a large number of dignitaries would have furiously hastened to fight for him. Now, on the contrary, if I ask them to kill him, they will do so out of their own free will." ‘Umar replied "I swear by Allâh that the Prophet’s judgement is much more sound than mine."
Delegations and Expeditions following Al-Muraisi‘ Ghazwah
1. A military expedition led by ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf was despatched to the habitation of Bani Kalb in Doumat Al-Jandal in Sha‘ban 6 Hijri. Before setting out, the Prophet summoned ‘Abdur Rahman, and placed his hand on the latter’s hand invoking Allâh’s blessings and giving him commandments to act magnanimously during the war. He told him to marry the king’s daughter if they obeyed him. ‘Abdur Rahman stayed among those people for three days, invited them to Islam and they responded positively. He then did marry the king’s daughter Tamadur bint Al-Asbagh.
2. In the same month and year, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib was despatched at the head of a platoon to the habitation of Bani Sa‘d bin Bakr in a place called Fadk. Prophet Muhammad had been reported that those had rallied ranks to support the Jews. The Muslim fighters used to march in the day and lurk at night. On their way, they captured an enemy scout who admitted being sent to Khaibar tribe, to offer them support in return for their dates. ‘Ali and his companions raided their encampment, captured five hundred camels and two thousand goats, but Banu Sa‘d, with their chieftain Wabr bin ‘Aleem had fled away.
3. An expedition led by Abu Bakr As-Siddiq or Zaid bin Haritha was despatched to Wadi Al-Qura in Ramadan 6 Hijri after Fazara sept had made an attempt at the Prophet’s life. Following the morning prayer, the detachment was given orders to raid the enemy. Some of them were killed and others captured. Amongst the captives, were Umm Qirfa and her beautiful daughter, who was sent to Makkah as a ransom for the release of some Muslim prisoners there. Umm Qirfa’s attempts at the Prophet’s life recoiled on her, and the thirty horsemen she had gathered and sustained to implement her evil scheme were all killed.
4. Anas bin Malik reported that some people belonging to tribe of ‘Uraina came to Allâh’s Messenger and made pretensions to Islam. They stayed in Madinah but found its climate uncongenial, so they were asked to pitch their tents in the pastures nearby. They did so and were all right. They then fell on the Prophet’s shepherd and killed him, turned apostates from Islam and drove off the camels. This news reached the Prophet , who sent a group of twenty Muslims led by Karz bin Jabir Al-Fihri on their track. They were brought and handed over to him. He had their hands and feet cut off, their eyes gouged out in recompense for their behaviour, and then they were thrown on the stony ground until they died.
# Biographers also reported ‘Amr bin Omaiya Ad-Damari and Salamah bin Abi Salamah to have been sent on an errand to kill Abu Sufyan, the chief of Quraish, who had already sent a bedouin to kill the Prophet . The two-men mission failed except for three polytheists killed on the way. It is noteworthy that all the foregone invasions did not imply real bitter fighting, they were rather skirmishes or punitive military manoeuvres carried out to deter some enemies still unsubdued. Deep meditation on the development of war circumstances reveal the continuous collapse of the morale among the enemies of Islam, who had come to understand that they were no longer in a position to contain the Islamic call or weaken its active drive. This state of affairs reached its climax in Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty when the two belligerent parties, believers and disbelievers, entered into a truce agreement that pointed markedly to the ever-growing power of Islam, and recorded unequivocally the perpetuity of this heavenly religion in pan-Arabia.
(Dhul Qa‘dah 6 A.H.)
When Arabia began to witness the large impressive sweep in favour of the Muslims, the forerunners of the great conquest and success of the Islamic Call started gradually to loom on the demographic horizon, and the true believers restored their undisputed right to observe worship in the sacred sanctuary.
It was about the sixth year Hijri when the Prophet saw in a dream, while he was still in Madinah, that he had entered the sacred sanctuary in Makkah in security with his followers, and was performing the ceremonies of ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). Their heads were being shaved and hair cut off. As soon as he informed some of his Companions the contents of his dream, their hearts leapt up with joy since they found in it the actualization of their deep longing to take part in pilgrimage and its hallowed rites after an exile of six years.
The Prophet had his clothes washed, mounted his camel and marched out towards Makkah at the head of fifteen hundred Muslims including his wife Umm Salamah. Some desert bedouins whose Faith was lukewarm hung back and made excuses. They carried no weapons with them except sheathed swords because they had no intention of fighting. Ibn Umm Maktum was mandated to dispose the affairs of Madinah during the Prophet’s absence. As they approached Makkah, and in a place called Dhi Hulaifa, he ordered that the sacrificial animals be garlanded, and all believers donned Al-Ihrâm, the pilgrim’s garb. He despatched a reconnoiterer to hunt around for news of the enemy. The man came back to tell the Prophet that a large number of slaves, as well as a huge army, were gathered to oppose him, and that the road to Makkah was completely blocked. The Prophet consulted his Companions, who were of the opinion that they would fight none unless they were debarred from performing their pilgrimage.
The Quraishites, on their part, held a meeting during which they considered the whole situation and decided to resist the Prophet’s mission at all costs. Two hundred horsemen led by Khalid bin Al-Waleed were despatched to take the Muslims by surprise during Zuhr (the afternoon) prayer. However, the rules of prayer of fear were revealed meanwhile and thus Khalid and his men missed the chance. The Muslims avoided marching on that way and decided to follow a rugged rocky one. Here, Khalid ran back to Quraish to brief them on the latest situation.
When the Muslims reached a spot called Thaniyat Al-Marar, the Prophet’s camel stumbled and knelt down and was too stubborn to move. Muhammad swore he would willingly accede to any plan they put forward that would glorify Allâh’s sanctities. He then reprovingly spurred his camel and it leapt up. They resumed their march and came to pitch their tents at the furthest part of Al-Hudaibiyah beside a well of scanty water. The Muslims reported thirst to the Prophet , who took an arrow out of his quiver, and placed it in the ditch. Water immediately gushed forth, and his followers drank to their fill. When the Prophet had rested, Budail bin Warqa’ Al-Khuza‘i with some celebrities of Khuza‘ah tribe, the Prophet’s confidants, came and asked him what he had come for. The Prophet replied that it was not for war that he had come forth: "I have no other design," he said, "but to perform ‘Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) in the Holy Sanctuary. Should Quraish embrace the new religion, as some people have done, they are most welcome, but if they stand in my way or debar the Muslims from pilgrimage, I will surely fight them to the last man, and Allâh’s Order must be fulfilled." The envoy carried the message back to Quraish, who sent another one called Mikraz bin Hafs. On seeing him, the Prophet said that that was a treacherous man. He was given the same message to communicate to his people. He was followed by another ambassador known as Al-Hulais bin ‘Alqamah. He was very much impressed by the spirit of devotion that the Muslims had for the Sacred Ka‘bah. He went back to his men and warned them against debarring Muhammad and his Companions from doing honour to Allâh’s house on the peril of breaking his alliance with them. Hulais was succeeded by ‘Urwa bin Mas‘ud Ath-Thaqafi to negotiate with Muhammad . In the course of discussion he said to the Prophet : "Muhammad! Have you gathered around yourself mixed people and then brought them against your kith and kin in order to destroy them. By Allâh I think I see you deserted by these people tomorrow." At this point Abu Bakr stood up and expressed his resentment at this imputation. Al-Mugheerah bin Shu‘bah expressed the same attitude and reprovingly forbade him from touching the Prophet’s beard. Here, Quraish’s envoy remarked indignantly and alluded to the latter’s treacherous act of killing his companions and looting them before he embraced Islam. Meanwhile, ‘Urwah, during his stay in the Muslim camp, had been closely watching the unfathomable love and profound respect that the followers of Muhammad showed him. He returned and conveyed to Quraish his impression that those people could not forsake the Prophet under any circumstances. He expressed his feelings in the following words: "I have been to Chosroes, Caesar and Negus in their kingdoms, but never have I seen a king among a people like Muhammad among his Companions. If he performs his ablution, they would not let the water thereof fall on the ground; if he expectorates, they would have the mucus to rub their faces with; if he speaks, they would lower their voices. They will not abandon him for anything in any case. He, now, offers you a reasonable plan, so do what you please."
Seeing an overwhelming tendency towards reconciliation among their chiefs, some reckless, fight-prone youngsters of Quraish devised a wicked plan that could hinder the peace treaty. They decided to infiltrate into the camp of the Muslims and produce intentional skirmishes that might trigger the fuse of war. Muhammad bin Maslamah, chief of the Muslim guards, took them captives, but in view of the far-reaching imminent results about to be achieved, the Prophet set them free. In this context Allâh says:
# "And He it is Who has withheld their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkah, after He had made you victors over them." [48:24]
Time passed. Negotiations went on but with no results. Then the Prophet desired ‘Umar to see the nobles of Quraish on his behalf. ‘Umar excused himself on account of the personal enmity of Quraish; he had, moreover, no influential relatives in the city who could shield him from danger; and he pointed to ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, who belonged to one of the most powerful families in Makkah, as the suitable envoy. ‘Uthman went to Abu Sufyan and other chiefs and told them that the Muslims had come only to visit and pay their homage to the Sacred House, to do worship there, and that they had no intention to fight. He was also asked to call them to Islam, and give glad tidings to the believers in Makkah, women and men, that the conquest was approaching and Islam was surely to prevail because Allâh would verily establish His religion in Makkah. ‘Uthman also assured them that after the performance of ceremonies they would soon depart peacefully, but the Quraishites were adamant and not prepared to grant them the permission to visit Al-Ka‘bah. They, however, offered ‘Uthman the permission to perform the pilgrimage, if he so desired in his individual capacity, but ‘Uthman declined the offer saying: "How is it possible that I avail myself of this opportunity, when the Prophet is denied of it?" The Muslims anxiously waited for the arrival of ‘Uthman with mingled feelings of fear and anxiety. But his arrival was considerably delayed and a foul play was suspected on the part of Quraish. The Muslims were greatly worried and took a solemn pledge at the hand of the Prophet that they would sacrifice their lives to avenge the death of their Companion and stand firmly by their master, Muhammad , under all conditions. This pledge goes by the name of Bay‘at Ar-Ridwan (a covenant of fealty). The first men to take a pledge were Abu Sinan Al-Asadi and Salamah bin Al-Akwa‘, who gave a solemn promise to die in the cause of Truth three times, at the front of the army, in the middle and in the rear. The Prophet caught his left hand on behalf of ‘Uthman. This fealty was sworn under a tree, with ‘Umar holding the Prophet’s hand and Ma‘qil bin Yasar holding a branch of the tree up. The Noble Qur’ân has referred to this pledge in the following words:
# "Indeed, Allâh was pleased with the believers when they gave their Bai‘a (pledge) to you (O Muhammad ) under the tree." [48:18]
When Quraish saw the firm determination of the Muslims to shed the last drop of blood for the defence of their Faith, they came to their senses and realized that Muhammad’s followers could not be cowed down by these tactics. After some further interchange of messages they agreed to conclude a treaty of reconciliation and peace with the Muslims. The clauses of the said treaty go as follows:
1. The Muslims shall return this time and come back next year, but they shall not stay in Makkah for more than three days.
2. They shall not come back armed but can bring with them swords only sheathed in scabbards and these shall be kept in bags.
3. War activities shall be suspended for ten years, during which both parties will live in full security and neither will raise sword against the other.
4. If anyone from Quraish goes over to Muhammad without his guardian’s permission, he should be sent back to Quraish, but should any of Muhammad’s followers return to Quraish, he shall not be sent back.
5. Whosoever wishes to join Muhammad , or enter into treaty with him, should have the liberty to do so; and likewise whosoever wishes to join Quraish, or enter into treaty with them, should be allowed to do so.
Some dispute arose with regard to the preamble. For example, when the agreement was to be committed to writing, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, who acted as a scribe began with the words: Bismillâh ir-Rahman ir-Raheem, i.e., "In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful" but the Makkan plenipotentiary, Suhail bin ‘Amr declared that he knew nothing about Ar-Rahman and insisted upon the customary formula Bi-ismika Allâhumma, i.e., "In Your Name, O Allâh!" The Muslims grumbled with uneasiness but the Prophet agreed. He then went on to dictate, "This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh has agreed to with Suhail bin ‘Amr." Upon this Suhail again protested: "Had we acknowledged you as Prophet, we would not have debarred you from the Sacred House, nor fought against you. Write your own name and the name of your father." The Muslims grumbled as before and refused to consent to the change. The Prophet , however, in the larger interest of Islam, attached no importance to such an insignificant detail, erased the words himself, and dictated instead: "Muhammad, the son of ‘Abdullah." Soon after this treaty, Khuza‘a clan, a former ally of Banu Hashim, joined the ranks of Muhammad , and Banu Bakr sided with Quraish.
It was during this time while the treaty was being written that Abu Jandal, Suhail’s son, appeared on the scene. He was brutally chained and was staggering with privation and fatigue. The Prophet and his Companions were moved to pity and tried to secure his release but Suhail was adamant and said: "To signify that you are faithful to your contract, an opportunity has just arrived." The Prophet said: "But the treaty was not signed when your son entered the camp." Upon this, he burst forth and said, "but the terms of the treaty were agreed upon." It was indeed an anxious moment. On the one hand, Abu Jandal was lamenting at the top of his voice, "Am I to be returned to the polytheists that they might entice me from my religion, O Muslims!" but, on the other hand, the faithful engagement was also considered to be necessary, above all other considerations. The Prophet’s heart welled up with sympathy, but he wanted to honour his word at all costs. He consoled Abu Jandal and said, "Be patient, resign yourself to the Will of Allâh. Allâh is going to provide for you and your helpless companions relief and means of escape. We have concluded a treaty of peace with them and we have taken the pledge in the Name of Allâh. We are, therefore, under no circumstances prepared to break it." ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab could not help giving vent to the deep-seated agony of his heart. He rose to his feet uttering words implying deep hatred and extreme indignation and requested Abu Jandal to take his sword and kill Suhail, but the son spared his father. However, in silent resignation was therefore, Abu Jandal borne away with his chains.
When the peace treaty had been concluded, the Prophet ordered his Companions to slaughter their sacrificial animals, but they were too depressed to do that. The Prophet gave instructions in this regard three times but with negative response. He told his wife Umm Salamah about this attitude of his Companions. She advised that he himself take the initiative, slaughter his animal and have his head shaved. Seeing that, the Muslims, with rended hearts, started to slaughter their animals and shave their heads. They even almost killed one another because of their distress. The Prophet prayed three times for those who shaved their heads and once for those who cut their hair. A camel was sacrificed on behalf of seven men and a cow on behalf of the same number of people. The Prophet sacrificed a camel which once belonged to Abu Jahl and which the Muslims had seized as booty at Badr, thus enraging the polytheists. During Al-Hudaibiyah campaign, the Prophet permitted Ka‘b bin ‘Ujrah, who was in a state of Ihram (state of ritual consecration of the pilgrim) for ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) to shave his head due to illness, on the condition that he will pay compensation by sacrificing a sheep, fasting for three days or feeding six needy persons. Concerning this, the following verse was revealed:
# "And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving), he must pay a Fidyah (ransom) of either fasting (three days) or giving Sadaqa (feeding six poor persons) or offering sacrifice (one sheep)." [2:196]
Meanwhile some believing women emigrated to Madinah and asked the Prophet for refuge which they were granted. When their families demanded their return, he would not hand them back because the following verse was revealed:
# "O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them, Allâh knows best as to their Faith, then if you know them for true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers, they are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them. But give the disbelievers that (amount of money) which they have spent [as their Mahr] to them. And there will be no sin on you to marry them if you have paid their Mahr to them. Likewise hold not the disbelieving women as wives …" [60:10]
The reason why the believing women were not handed back was either because they were not originally included in the terms of the treaty, which mentioned only men, or because the Qur’ân abrogated any terms dealing with women in the verse:
# "O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bai‘a (Pledge), that they will not associate anything in worship with Allâh …" [60:12]
This is the verse which forbade Muslim women from marrying disbelieving men. Likewise, Muslim men were commanded to terminate their marriages to disbelieving women. In compliance with this injunction, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab divorced two wives he had married before he embraced Islam; Mu‘awiyah married the first woman, and Safwan bin Omaiyah married the second.
Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty: Socio-political Impact:
A series of events confirmed the profound wisdom and splendid results of the peace treaty which Allâh called "a manifest victory". How could it be otherwise when Quraish had recognized the legitimate Muslims’ existence on the scene of political life in Arabia, and began to deal with the believers on equal terms. Quraish in the light of the articles of the treaty, had indirectly relinquished its claim to religious leadership, and admitted that they were no longer interested in people other than Quraish, and washed their hands of any sort of intervention in the religious future of the Arabian Peninsula. The Muslims did not have in mind to seize people’s property or kill them through bloody wars, nor did they ever think of pursuing any coercive approaches in their endeavours to propagate Islam, on the contrary, their sole target was to provide an atmosphere of freedom as regards ideology or religion:
# "Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve." [18:29]
The Muslims, on the other hand, had the opportunity to spread Islam over areas not then explored. When there was armistice, war was abolished, and men met and consulted together, none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it; within the two years following the conclusion of the treaty double as many entered Islam as ever before. This is supported by the fact that the Prophet went out to Al-Hudaibiyah with only 1,400 men, but when he set out to liberate Makkah, two years later, he had 10,000 men with him.
The article of the treaty pertaining to cessation of hostilities for ten years points directly to the utter failure of political haughtiness exercised by Quraish and its allies, and functions as evidence of the collapse and impotence of the war instigator.
Quraish had been obliged to lose those advantages in return for one seemingly in its favour but does not actually bear any harm against the Muslims, i.e., the article that speaks of handing over believing men who seek refuge with the Muslims without their guardians’ consent to Quraish. At first glance, it was a most distressing clause and was considered objectionable in the Muslim camp. However, in the course of events, it proved to be a great blessing. The Muslims sent back to Makkah were not likely to renounce the blessings of Islam; contrariwise, those very Muslims turned out to be centres of influence for Islam. It was impossible to think that they would become apostates or renegades. The wisdom behind this truce assumed its full dimensions in some subsequent events. After the Prophet had reached Madinah, Abu Baseer, who had escaped from Quraish, came to him as a Muslim; Quraish sent two men demanding his return, so the Prophet handed him over to them. On the way to Makkah, Abu Baseer managed to kill one of them, and the other one fled to Madinah with Abu Baseer in pursuit. When he reached the Prophet , he said, "Your obligation is over and Allâh has freed you from it. You duly handed me over to the men, and Allâh has rescued me from them." The Prophet said, "Woe is his mother, he would have kindled a war if there had been others with him." When he heard that, he knew that he would be handed back to them, so he fled from Madinah and went as far as Saif Al-Bahr. The other Muslims who were oppressed in Makkah began to escape to Abu Baseer. He was joined by Abu Jandal and others until a fair-sized colony was formed and soon sought revenge on Quraish and started to intercept their caravans. The pagans of Makkah finding themselves unable to control those exiled colonists, begged the Prophet to do away with the clause which governed the extradition. They implored him by Allâh and by their ties of kinship to send for the group, saying that whoever joined the Muslims in Madinah would be safe from them. So the Prophet sent for the group and they responded, as expected, positively.
These are the realities of the clauses of the truce treaty and as it seems they all function in favour of the nascent Islamic state. However, two points in the treaty made it distasteful to some Muslims, namely they were not given access to the Holy Sanctuary that year, and the seemingly humiliating attitude as regards reconciliation with the pagans of Quraish. ‘Umar, unable to contain himself for the distress taking full grasp of his heart, went to the Prophet and said: "Aren’t you the true Messenger of Allâh?" The Prophet replied calmly, "Why not?" ‘Umar again spoke and asked: "Aren’t we on the path of righteousness and our enemies in the wrong?" Without showing any resentment, the Prophet replied that it was so. On getting this reply he further urged: "Then we should not suffer any humiliation in the matter of Faith." The Prophet was unruffled and with perfect confidence said: "I am the true Messenger of Allâh, I never disobey Him, He shall help me." "Did you not tell us," rejoined ‘Umar, "that we shall perform pilgrimage?" "But I have never told you," replied the Prophet , "that we shall do so this very year." ‘Umar was silenced. But his mind was disturbed. He went to Abu Bakr and expressed his feelings before him. Abu Bakr who had never been in doubt as regards the Prophet’s truthfulness and veracity confirmed what the Prophet had told him. In due course the Chapter of Victory (48th) was revealed saying:
# "Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad ) a manifest victory." [48:1]
The Messenger of Allâh summoned ‘Umar and imported to him the happy tidings. ‘Umar was overjoyed, and greatly regretted his former attitude. He used to spend in charity, observe fasting and prayer and free as many slaves as possible in expiation for that reckless attitude he had assumed.
The early part of the year 7 A.H. witnessed the Islamization of three prominent men of Makkah, ‘Amr bin Al-‘As, Khalid bin Al-Waleed and ‘Uthman bin Talhah. On their arrival and entrance into the fold of Islam, the Prophet said, "Quraish has given us its own blood."
The Second Stage
A New Phase of Islamic Action
Al-Hudaibiyah Truce marked a new phase in the process of Islamic action and life of the Muslims. Quraish, a bitter enemy of Islam, now withdraws from the war arena and embraces a peaceful settlement with the Muslims, thus the third support of a tripartite enemy (Quraish, Ghatfan and the Jews) is broken, and being the holder of the banner of paganism in Arabia, the other pagans’ aggressive feelings towards Islam considerably subsided. Ghatfan Tribe no longer constituted any remarkable threat, and their provocative deeds were mainly Jewish-instigated actions. The Jews, after being banished from Madinah, resorted to Khaibar to change it into a hot bed of intrigues against the Prophet . There, they used to hatch their plots, ignite the fire of dissension and allure the Arabs living in the vicinity of Madinah to join them with the aim of exterminating the new Islamic state, or at least inflict heavy losses on the Muslims. The Prophet , not heedless of their devilish schemes, placed a decisive war with them as a first priority on his agenda shortly after the endorsement of the above-mentioned treaty. The treaty of Hudaibiyah allowed the Muslims to intensify their Islamic career and double up their ceaseless efforts in propagating their Da‘wah, and consequently give this sort of action preponderance over the military activities. Hence, we deem it imperative to divide this post-treaty stage into two sections:
1. Ceaseless peaceful efforts in propagating the Islamic Da‘wah (Call) and initiating a sort of correspondence with kings and princes of the neighbouring political entities.
2. Military activities.
The Prophet’s Plans
to spread the Message of Islam
Late in the six year A.H., on his return from Hudaibiyah, the Prophet decided to send messages to the kings beyond Arabia calling them to Islam. In order to authenticate the credentials of his envoys, a silver seal was made in which were graven the words: "Muhammad the Messenger of Allâh"
Envoys were chosen on the basis of their experience and knowledge, and sent on their errands in Muharram in the year 7 A.H., a few days before heading for Khaibar.
1. A Deputation to Abyssinia (Ethiopia):
Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), his name was Ashama bin Al-Abjar, received the Prophet’s message, despatched by Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari, which At-Tabari referred to, either late in the sixth year or early in the seventh year A.H. Deep scrutiny into the letter shows that it was not the one sent after Al-Hudaibiyah event. Wording of the letter rather indicates that it was sent to that king when Ja‘far and his companions emigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) during the Makkan period. One of its sentences read "I have despatched my cousin, Ja‘far with a group of Muslims, to you. Do be generous towards them and give up haughtiness."
Al-Baihaqi, on the authority of Ibn Ishaq, gave the following narration of the Prophet’s letter sent to Negus:
"This letter is sent from Muhammad, the Prophet to Negus Al-Ashama, the king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance and believes in Allâh and His Messenger. I bear witness that there is no god but Allâh Alone with no associate, He has taken neither a wife nor a son, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. I call you unto the fold of Islam; if you embrace Islam, you will find safety,
# "Say (O Muhammad ): ‘O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allâh, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allâh.’ Then, if they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ " [3:64]
Should you reject this invitation, then you will be held responsible for all the evils of the Christians of your people."
Dr. Hameedullah (Paris), a reliable verifier, has adduced a version of the above letter disclosed only a short time ago and identical to Ibn Al-Qaiyim’s narration. Dr. Hameedullah exerted painstaking effort and used all means of modern technology to verify the text of the letter, which reads as follows:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad the Messenger of Allâh to Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Salutations, I entertain Allâh’s praise, there is no god but He, the Sovereign, the Holy, the Source of peace, the Giver of peace, the Guardian of faith, the Preserver of safety. I bear witness that Jesus, the son of Mary, is the spirit of Allâh and His Word which He cast into Mary, the virgin, the good, the pure, so that she conceived Jesus. Allâh created him from His spirit and His breathing as He created Adam by His Hand. I call you to Allâh Alone with no associate and to His obedience and to follow me and to believe in that which came to me, for I am the Messenger of Allâh. I invite you and your men to Allâh, the Glorious, the All-Mighty. I hereby bear witness that I have communicated my message and advice. I invite you to listen and accept my advice. Peace be upon him who follows true guidance."
The text of this letter is doubtlessly authentic, but to maintain that it was written after Al-Hudaibiyah event is still a question lacking in definite evidence.
When ‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari communicated the Apostolic letter to Negus, the latter took the parchment and placed it on his eye, descended to the floor, confessed his faith in Islam and wrote the following reply to the Prophet :
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Negus Ashama to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh. Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allâh! and mercy and blessing from Allâh beside Whom there is no god. I have received your letter in which you have mentioned about Jesus and by the Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus is not more than what you say. We fully acknowledge that with which you have been sent to us and we have entertained your cousin and his companions. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allâh, true and confirming (those who have gone before you), I pledge to you through your cousin and surrender myself through him to the Lord of the worlds."
The Prophet had asked Negus to send Ja‘far and his companions, the emigrants to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), back home. They came back to see the Prophet in Khaibar. Negus later died in Rajab 9 A.H. shortly after Tabuk Ghazwa. The Prophet announced his death and observed prayer in absentia for him. Another king succeeded Negus to the throne and another letter was sent to him by the Prophet but whether or not he embraced Islam is still a question not answered yet.
2. Letter to the Vicegerent of Egypt, called Muqawqas:
The Prophet wrote to Juraij bin Matta, called Muqawqas, vicegerent of Egypt and Alexandria saying:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad slave of Allâh and His Messenger to Muqawqas, vicegerent of Egypt.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Thereafter, I invite you to accept Islam. Therefore, if you want security, accept Islam. If you accept Islam, Allâh, the Sublime, shall reward you doubly. But if you refuse to do so, you will bear the burden of the transgression of all the Copts.
# "Say (O Muhammad (: ‘O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allâh, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allâh.’ Then, if they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ " [3:64]
Hatib bin Abi Balta‘a, who was chosen to communicate the message, requested an audience with Muqawqas before imparting the contents of the letter. He addressed Egypt’s vicegerent saying: "There used to be someone before you who had arrogated the status of the Supreme Lord, so Allâh punished him and made an example of him in the Hereafter, and in this life; therefore, take warning and never set a bad example to others." Muqawqas answered: "We are in no position to relinquish our religion except for a better one." Hatib resumed: "We invite you to embrace Islam, which will suffice you all what you may lose. Our Prophet has called people to profess this Faith, Quraish and the Jews stood against him as bitter enemies, whereas Christians stood closest to his Call. Upon my life, Moses’s news about Christ is identical to the latter’s good tidings about the advent of Muhammad; likewise, this invitation of ours to you to embrace Islam is similar to your invitation to the people of Torah to accept the New Testament. Once a Prophet rises in a nation, he is eligible for positive response, hence you are subject to the same Divine Law. Bear in mind that we have not come to dissuade you from religion of Christ but rather bidding you to adhere to its tenets." Muqawqas meditated over the contents of the letter deeply and said: "I have come to the conviction that this Prophet bids nothing abominable; he is neither a straying magician nor a lying soothsayer. He bears the true manifest seeds of Prophethood, and so I will consider the affair deeply." He took the parchment and ordered that it be kept in an ivory casket. He called a scribe to write the following reply in Arabic:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muqawqas to Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah.
Peace be upon you. I have read your letter and understood its contents, and what you are calling for. I already know that the coming of a Prophet is still due, but I used to believe he would be born in Syria. I am sending you as presents two maids, who come from noble Coptic families; clothing and a steed for riding on. Peace be upon you."
It is noteworthy that Muqawqas did not avail himself of this priceless opportunity and he did not embrace Islam. The presents were accepted; Maria, the first maid, stayed with the Prophet , and gave birth to his son Ibrahîm; the other Sirin, was given to Hassan bin Thabit Al-Ansari.
3. A Letter to Chosroes, Emperor of Persia:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh to Chosroes, king of Persia.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance, believes in Allâh and His Messenger and testifies that there is no god but Allâh Alone with no associate, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. I invite you to accept the religion of Allâh. I am the Messenger of Allâh sent to all people in order that I may infuse fear of Allâh in every living person, and that the charge may be proved against those who reject the Truth. Accept Islam as your religion so that you may live in security, otherwise, you will be responsible for all the sins of the Magians."
‘Abdullah bin Hudhafa As-Sahmi was chosen to carry the letter. This envoy carried it to the king of Bahrain but we do not know as yet if the latter despatched to Chosroes by one of his men or chose ‘Abdullah himself.
The proud monarch was enraged by the style of the letter as the name of the Prophet had been put above his own name. He tore the letter into shreds and forthwith dictated a command to his viceroy in Yemen to send a couple of troopers to arrest the Prophet and bring him to his presence. The governor, Bazan by name, immediately sent two men to Madinah for the purpose. As soon as the men reached Madinah, the Prophet was informed by a Divine Revelation that Pervez, the emperor of Persia, had been murdered by his son. The Prophet disclosed to them the news and they were stunned. He added asking them to tell their new monarch that Islam would prevail everywhere and outstrip the sovereignty of Chosroes himself. They hurried back to Bazan and communicated to him what they heard. Meanwhile, Sherweh, the new monarch sent a letter to Bazan confirming the news and bidding him to stop any procedures as regards the Prophet till further notice. Bazan, together with the Persians in Yemen, went into the folds of Islam, and gladly signified his adhesion to the Prophet.
4. The Envoy to Caesar, King of Rome:
Al-Bukhari gave a long narration of the contents of the letter sent by the Prophet to Hercules, king of the Byzantines:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad, the slave of Allâh and His Messenger to Hercules, king of the Byzantines.
Blessed are those who follow true guidance. I invite you to embrace Islam so that you may live in security. If you come within the fold of Islam, Allâh will give you double reward, but in case you turn your back upon it, then the burden of the sins of all your people shall fall on your shoulders.
# "Say (O Muhammad ): ‘O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allâh, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allâh.’ Then, if they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ " [3:64]
The Muslim envoy, Dihyah bin Khalifah Al-Kalbi, was ordered to hand the letter over to king of Busra, who would in turn, send it to Caesar.
Incidentally, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, who by that time had not embraced Islam, was summoned to the court and Hercules asked him many questions about Muhammad and the religion which he preached. The testimony which this avowed enemy of the Prophet gave regarding the personal excellence of the Prophet’s character and the good that Islam was doing the human race, left Hercules wonder-struck.
Al-Bukhâri, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, narrated that Hercules sent for Abu Sufyan and his companions, who happened to be trading in Ash-Sham, Jerusalem. That was during the truce that had been concluded between the polytheists of Quraish and the Messenger of Allâh . Hercules, seated amongst his chiefs of staff, asked, "Who amongst you is the nearest relative to the man who claims to be a Prophet?" "I (Abu Sufyan) replied: ‘I am the nearest relative to him from amongst the group.’ So they made me sit in front of him and made my companions sit behind me. Then he called upon his translator and said (to him). ‘Tell them (i.e. Abu Sufyan’s companions) that I am going to ask him (i.e. Abu Sufyan) regarding that men who claims to be a Prophet. So if he tells a lie, they should contradict him (instantly)’. By Allâh had I not been afraid that my companions would consider me a liar, I would have told lies", Abu Sufyan later said.
Abu Sufyan’s testimony went as follows: "Muhammad descends from a noble family. No one of his family happened to assume kingship. His followers are those deemed weak with numbers ever growing. He neither tells lies nor betrays others, we fight him and he fights us but with alternate victory. He bids people to worship Allâh Alone with no associate, and abandon our fathers’ beliefs. He orders us to observe prayer, honesty, abstinence and maintain strong family ties." "Hercules, on hearing this testimony, turned to his translator bidding him to communicate to us his following impression which reveals full conviction in the truthfulness of Muhammad’s Prophethood: ‘I fully realize that Prophets come from noble families; he does not affect any previous example of Prophethood. Since none of his ancestors was a monarch, we cannot then allege that he is a man trying to reclaim his father’s monarchy. So long as he does not tell lies to people, he is for the more reason, immune to telling lies as regards Allâh. Concerning his followers being those deemed weak with numbers ever growing, it is something that goes in agreement with questions of Faith until this latter assumes its full dimensions geographically and demographically. I have understood that no instance of apostasy has as yet appeared among his followers, and this points to the bliss of Faith that finds its abode in the human heart. Betrayal, as I see, is alien to him because real Prophets hold betrayal in abhorrence. Bidding worship of Allâh with no associates, observance of prayer, honesty and abstinence and prohibition of paganism are traits bound to subject to him all my possessions. I have already known that a Prophet must arise but it has never occurred to me that he will be an Arab from among you. If I was sure I would be faithful to him, I might hope to meet him, and if I were with him, I would wash his feet.’ Hercules then requested that the Prophet’s letter be read. The observations of the emperor and finally the definite and clear-cut exposition of the Islamic message could not but create a tense atmosphere amongst the clergy present at the court. We were ordered to go out." Abu Sufyan said, "While coming out, I said to my companions, ‘The matter of Ibn Abi Kabshah (i.e. Muhammad ) has become so prominent that even the king of Banu Al-Asfar (i.e. the Romans) is afraid of him.’ So I continued to believe that Allâh’s Messenger would be victorious, till Allâh made me embrace Islam." The king did not embrace Islam — for it was differently ordained. However, the Muslim envoy was returned to Madinah with the felicitations of the emperor.
On his way back to Madinah, Dihyah Al-Kalbi was intercepted by people from Judham tribe in Hasmi, who looted the presents sent to the Prophet . Zaid bin Haritha at the head of five hundred men was despatched to that spot, inflicted heavy losses on those people and captured 1000 camels, 5000 of their cattle and a hundred women and boys. The chief of Judham who had embraced Islam filed a complaint with the Prophet, who gave a positive response to the former’s protest, and ordered that all the spoils and captives be returned.
5. A Letter to Mundhir bin Sawa, Governor of Bahrain:
The Prophet despatched ‘Al-‘Ala’ bin Al-Hadrami to the governor of Bahrain, carrying a letter inviting him to embrace Islam. In reply, Al-Mundhir bin Sawa wrote the following letter:
"Allâh’s Messenger ! I received your injunctions. read your letter, which you wrote to the people of Bahrain extending to them an invitation . Islam appealed to some of them and they entered the fold of Islam, while others did not find it . In my country, there live Magians and Jews, and therefore you may inform me of the them."
The Prophet wrote the following letter in reply to his:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad, Messenger of Allâh to Mundhir bin Sawa.
Peace be on you! I praise Allâh with no associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Thereafter, I remind you of Allâh, the Mighty, the Glorious. Whoever accepts admonition, does it for his own good. Whoever follows my messengers and acts in accordance with their guidance, he, in fact, accepts my advice.
My messengers have highly praised your behaviour. You shall continue in your present office. Give the new Muslims full chance to preach their religion. I accept your recommendation regarding the people of Bahrain, and I pardon the offences of the offenders; therefore, you may also forgive them.
Of the people of Bahrain whoever wants to go on in their Jewish or Magian faith, should be made to pay Jizya (poll-tax)."
6. A Letter to Haudha bin ‘Ali, Governor of Yamama:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad, Messenger of Allâh to Haudha bin ‘Ali.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere. You should accept Islam, and whatever under your command shall remain yours."
The envoy chosen was Sulait bin ‘Amr Al-‘Amiri, who after communicating his message, carried back the following reply to the Prophet :
"The Faith, to which you invite me, is very good. I am a famous orator and poet, the Arabs highly respect me and I am of account among them. If you include me in your government, I am prepared to follow you."
The governor then bestowed a reward on Sulait and presented him with clothes made of Hajr fabric. Of course, he put all those presents in the trust of the Prophet .
The Prophet did not accept Haudha’s demand. He usually turned down such peremptory tone, and would say that the whole matter was in the Hand of Allâh, Who gave His land to whoever He desired. Gabriel later came with the Revelation that Haudha had died. The Prophet , in the context of his comment on this news, said: "Yamama is bound to give rise to a liar who will arrogate Prophethood to himself but he will subsequently be killed." In reply to a question relating to the identity of the killer, the Prophet said "It is one of you, followers of Islam."
7. A Letter to Harith bin Abi Shamir Al-Ghassani, King of Damascus:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad, Messenger of Allâh to Al-Harith bin Abi Shamir.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance, believes in it and regards it as true. I invite you to believe in Allâh Alone with no associate, thenceafter your kingdom will remain yours."
Shuja‘ bin Wahab had the honour of taking the letter to Harith, who upon hearing the letter read in his audience, was madly infuriated and uttered: "Who dares to disposs me of my country, I’ll fight him (the Prophet)," and arrogantly rejected the Prophet’s invitation to the fold of Islam.
8. A Letter to the King of ‘Oman, Jaifer, and his Brother ‘Abd Al-Jalandi:
"In the Name of Allâh,
the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
From Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah to Jaifer and ‘Abd Al-Jalandi.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance; thereafter I invite both of you to the Call of Islam. Embrace Islam. Allâh has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures in order that I may instil fear of Allâh in the hearts of His disobedient creatures so that there may be left no excuse for those who deny Allâh. If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if you refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship."
‘Amr bin Al-’As, who was chosen to carry the letter, narrated the following story that happened before he was admitted into the audience of Jaifer.
"When I arrived in ‘Oman I contacted ‘Abd, who was known to be more mild-tempered than his brother:
# ‘Amr: I am the messenger of Allâh’s Prophet coming to see both, you and your brother.
‘Abd: You have to see my brother and read to him the letter you are carrying. He is my senior in both age and kingship. Incidentally, what is the purport of your mission?
‘Amr: The Prophet calls upon you to believe in Allâh Alone with no associate, discard any other deities and testify to the slavehood and Messengership of Muhammad.
‘Abd: O ‘Amr! You come from a noble family, but first of all, tell me what was your father’s attitude concerning this Faith? You know, we used to follow his steps.
‘Amr: Death overtook him before believing in Muhammad’s mission; I wish now he had embraced Islam and been truthful to it before his death. I myself had adopted the same attitude until Allâh guided me towards Islam.
‘Abd: When did you embrace Islam?
‘Amr: When I was at Negus’s court. By the way, the latter did also enter into the fold of Islam.
‘Abd: What was his people’s reaction?
‘Amr: They approved of him and followed his steps.
‘Abd: The bishops and monks?
‘Amr: They did the same.
‘Abd: Beware ‘Amr of lying for this soon betrays man.
‘Amr: I never tell lies; moreover, our religion never allows it.
‘Abd: Has Hercules been informed of the Islamization of Negus?
‘Amr: Yes, of course.
‘Abd: How did you happen to know that?
‘Amr: Negus used to pay land tax to Hercules, but when the former embraced Islam, he swore he would discontinue that tax. When this news reached Hercules, his courtiers urged him to take action against Negus but he refused and added that he himself would do the same if he were not sparing of his kingship.
‘Abd: What does your Prophet exhort you to do?
‘Amr: He exhorts us to obey Allâh, the All-Mighty, the All-Glorious, be pious and maintain good ties with family kin; he forbids disobedience, aggression, adultery, wine, idolatry and devotion to the cross.
‘Abd: Fair words and fair beliefs are those you are calling for. I wish my brother would follow me to believe in Muhammad and profess his religion, but my brother is too sparing of his kingship to become a subordinate.
‘Amr: Should your brother surrender himself to Islam, the Prophet would give him authority over his people and take alms tax from the wealthy people to be given to the needy.
‘Abd: That is fair behaviour. But what is this alms tax you have mentioned?
‘Amr: It is a Divine injunction that alms tax be taken from the well-to-do people who have surplus wealth and be distributed to the poor.
‘Abd: I doubt if this can work among our people.
‘Amr stayed for some days to be admitted into Jaifer’s court until he was finally granted this permit. "He asked me to hand him the letter to read it. After that he asked me how Quraish reacted and I answered that they had followed him, some out of their own freewill and others overpowered by military fighting. Now, people have chosen Islam in preference to other creeds, and have realized through their mental insight that they had been straying in darkness. None, except you, is now out of the domain of Islam, so I advise you to embrace Islam so that you can provide security to yourself and your country."
Here, he asked me to call on him the following day. The following day he showed some reluctance in receiving me but his brother, ‘Abd, interceded and I was given the chance to see him again but this time to address me in a threatening arrogant tone. However, after a private talk with his brother and reconsidering the whole situation, both brothers embraced Islam and proved to be true to Islam that had begun to make its way into this new area.
The context of this story reveals that this letter was sent at a much later date than the others, most likely after the conquest of Makkah.
Through these letters, the Prophet managed to communicate his Message to most monarchs at that time; some believed, while others remained obdurate and persisted in their disbelief. However, the idea of embracing Islam, and the advent of a new Prophet preoccupied all of them.
Dhu Qarad Invasion.
It was in fact not a battle but rather a skirmish carried out against a platoon of Bani Fazarah. The place by which it was fought is known as Dhu Qarad, a reservoir of water at a day’s journey from Madinah. According to the majority of scholars, this incident took place three days before the battle of Khaibar.
It has been narrated on the authority of Salamah bin Al-Akwa‘, the hero of this battle, that the Messenger of Allâh sent his hireling Rabah, with his camels to a nearby pasture. I, taking Talhah’s horse, went there for the same purpose. When the day dawned, ‘Abdur Rahman Al-Fazari made a raid, drove away all the camels, and killed the man who looked after them. I told Rabah to ride the horse, take it to Talhah and inform the Messenger of Allâh that the polytheists had made away with his camels. Then I stood upon a hillock and turning my face to Madinah, shouted thrice: "Come to our help!" After that I set out in pursuit of the raiders, shooting at them with arrows and chanting (self-eulogatory) verse:
I am the son of Al-Akwa‘
Today is the day of defeat for the mean.
By Allâh, I continued shooting at them and hamstringing their animals. Whenever a horseman turned upon me, I would come to a tree (hid myself) sitting at its base, shoot at him and hamstring his horse. At last they entered a narrow mountain gorge. I ascended that mountain and held them at bay throwing stones at them. I continued to chase them in this way until I got all the camels released with no one left with them. They fled in all directions and I following and shooting at them continually until they dropped more than thirty mantles and thirty lances, lightening their burden. On everything they dropped, I put a mark with a stone so that the Messenger of Allâh and his Companions might recognize them (that it was booty left by the enemy). They went on until they came to a narrow valley. They sat down to eat something, and I sat on the top of a tapering rock. Four of them ascended the mountain coming towards me. When they were near enough to hear me, I shouted: "Do you recognize me?" They said: "No. Who are you?" I said: "I am Salamah son of Al-Akwa‘. I can kill anyone of you I like but none of you can kill me." So they returned. I did not move from my place until I saw the horsemen of the Messenger of Allâh , who came riding through the trees. The foremost among them was Akhram, behind him was Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari followed by Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad. Akhram and ‘Abdur Rahman Al-Fazari met in combat. Akhram hamstrung ‘Abdur Rahman’s horse but the latter managed to strike him with his lance and kill him. ‘Abdur Rahman turned around riding Akhram’s horse. Abu Qatadah, seeing this, got engaged in fierce combat with ‘Abdur Rahman, smote him with his lance and it was fatal. The polytheists consequently fled away and I was in their pursuit until before sunset they reached a valley with a spring of water called Dhu Qarad. They rested there to have a drink. I however, running in hot pursuit, turned them out of the valley before they could drink a drop of water. Later on, the Prophet , along with his Companions, overtook me. I addressed him saying: Messenger of Allâh, let me select from our people one hundred men and I will follow the marauders and finish them. In reply, the Prophet said: "Ibn Al-Akwa‘, you have taken enough and so now you have to show magnanimity; now they have reached the habitation of Ghatfan where they are being feted." He added saying: "Our best horseman today is Abu Qatadah, and our best footman today is Salamah." He allotted me two shares of the booty - the share meant for the horseman and the other meant for the footman, and combined both of them for me. Intending to return to Madinah, he made me mount behind him on his she-camel called Al-‘Adba’.
The Conquest of Khaibar
(In Moharram, 7A.H.)
Khaibar was a spacious strongly fortified territory, studded with castles and farms, lying at a distance of 60-80 miles north of Madinah, now a village known for its uncongenial climate. After Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty, the major party of the anti-Islam tripartite coalition — Quraish, the bedouin horde of Najd tribes and the Jews — was neutralized, therefore, the Prophet deemed it an appropriate time to settle his affairs with the other two wings — the Jews and the Najd tribes — in order that peace and security could prevail and the Muslims may devote their time and effort in propagating the Message of Allâh and calling people to embrace it. Khaibar itself had always remained a hotbed of intrigue and conspiracy, and the Jews had always constituted it a source of military provocations and war instigation centre, so it was given a top priority on the agenda of the Prophet’s compelling exigencies. The Jews of Khaibar had united by an ancient alliance with the Confederates, triggered Bani Quraiza to practise treachery, maintained contacts with Ghatfan and the Arabians and they even devised an attempt at the Prophet’s life. In fact, the continual afflictions that the Muslims had sustained were primarily attributable to the Jews. Envoys were repeatedly sent to them for peaceful settlement, but all in vain. Consequently the Prophet came to the conclusion that a military campaign was a must in order to forestall their hostilities.
Interpreters of the Noble Qur’ân suggest that capturing Khaibar had been a Divine promise implied in Allâh’s Words:
# "Allâh has promised you abundant spoils that you will capture, and He has hastened for you this." [48:20]
i.e., Al-Hudaibiyah Peace Treaty and the surrender of Khaibar.
The hypocrites and people weak of heart had hung back from joining the true Muslims in Al-Hudaibiyah campaigns, so now Allâh, the All-Mighty inculcated the following words in His Prophet’s ears:
# "Those who lagged behind will say, when you set forth to take the spoils, ‘Allow us to follow you.’ They want to change Allâh’s Words. Say: ‘You shall not follow us; thus Allâh has said beforehand.’ Then they will say: ‘Nay, you envy us.’ Nay, but they understand not except a little." [48:15]
For this reason, the Prophet invited only those who were willing to fight in the cause of Allâh to accompany him in his march against Khaibar. 1400 men only, who had sworn allegiance in response to his call.
Meanwhile, Siba‘ bin ‘Arfatah Al-Ghifari was chosen to run the affairs of Madinah. Another incident of high significance is noteworthy, namely the Islamization of Abu Huraira, a venerable Muslim scholar and an authentic narrator of the Prophetic traditions.
The hypocrites of Arabia took notice of the fresh Islamic intentions so they began to alert the Jews to the imminent military activities. Their chief, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai delegated an envoy to the Jews of Khaibar warning them against the dangers approaching, and nerving them to resist the Muslims as they outnumbered the latter and were better equipped. On hearing the news the Jews despatched Kinanah bin Abi Al-Huqaiq and Haudha bin Qais to their former allies, the tribe of Ghatfan requesting military assistance, promising to grant them half the yield of the fruit that their farms could yield if they managed to beat the Muslims.
The Prophet marched by way of Isra Mountain and then went forward with the army till he halted in a valley called Ar-Raji‘, encamping between Khaibar and Ghatfan so as to prevent the latter from reinforcing the Jews. The guides accompanying him led him to an intersection from which branched out three roads with different designations; all leading to his destination. He abstained from following the first two roads on grounds of their ominous designation and chose the third for its propitious indications.
It is noteworthy that some interesting incidents featured the Muslims’ march towards Khaibar; of which we mention the following:
1. It has been narrated on the authority of Salamah bin Al-Akwa‘, who said: We marched upon Khaibar with the Messenger of Allâh . We journeyed during the night. One of the men said to my brother ‘Amir: Won’t you recite to us some of your verses, ‘Amir? So he began to chant his verses to urge the camels, reciting:
# O Allâh, if You had not guided us,
We would have neither been guided rightly nor practised charity, nor offered prayers.
We wish to lay down our lives for You; so forgive You our lapses,
And keep us steadfast when we encounter (our enemies).
Bestow upon us peace and tranquility,
Behold, when with a cry they called upon us to help.
The Messenger of Allâh said: "Who is this driver (of the camels)?" They said: "It is ‘Amir." He said: "Allâh will show mercy to him." A man said: "Martyrdom is reserved for him; O Messenger of Allâh, would that you had allowed us to benefit ourselves from his life." The Prophet’s Companions had already known that he would never invoke Allâh’s mercy upon a close Companion but to single him out for martyrdom.
2. On their way down a valley, the Muslims began to entertain Allâh’s Greatness: shouting at the top of their voices: "Allâh is Great, Allâh is Great, there is no god but Allâh." The Prophet asked them to lower down their voices saying: "The One you are invoking is neither absent nor deaf; He is close to you, All-hearing."
3. In a spot called As-Sahba’, not far from Khaibar, the Prophet observed the afternoon prayer, then he called his Companions to have whatever food provisions they had. What they brought was too scanty to satisfy them all. The Prophet took it by his hand and it immediately grew in quantity, so they all ate to their fill. Shortly afterward, he and the others, rinsed their mouths and performed the evening prayer without ablution; he did the same for the night prayer.
The following morning, at sunrise, the Muslims encountered the Jews when they had come out about their jobs with their axes, spades and strings driving their cattle along. They began to shout in surprise: "Muhammad has come along with his force!" The Messenger of Allâh said: "Allâh is Great, Khaibar shall face destruction. Behold! When we descend in the city centre, it will be a bad day for those who have been warned (but have not taken heed)."
For encampment, the Prophet had chosen a certain plot of land he deemed suitable to serve as the headquarters of his army. However, a veteran fighter of his called Hubab bin Al-Mundhir suggested that they, under the exigencies of war requirements and for the sake of providing maximum logistic facilities, shift to another place. On approaching the vicinity of Khaibar, the Prophet ordered his troops to halt, and began to invoke his Lord saying: "O Allâh! Lord of the seven heavens and what they harbour beneath, Lord of the seven earths and what lies in their wombs, Lord of devils and whomsoever they have led astray; we beseech You to grant us the good of this village (Khaibar), the good of its inhabitants and the good that lies in it. We seek refuge with You from the evil of this village, the evil of its inhabitants, and the evil that lies in it." Then he ordered, "Now march (towards the village) in the Name of Allâh."
"The banner", the Prophet declared "would be entrusted to a man who loves Allâh and His Messenger and they (Allâh and His Messenger) love him." All the Muslims came forward in the following morning hoping to be granted the honour of carrying the banner. The Prophet called for ‘Ali bin Abi Talib whose eyes used to hurt, and handed it to him. ‘Ali, on his part, pledged he would fight the enemies until they embraced Islam. The Prophet answered him saying: "Take things easy and invite them to accept Islam and brief them on their duties towards Allâh. I swear by Allâh that if only one should be guided through your example, that would surely outweigh the best of our camels."
Khaibar, it seems, was split into two parts with five forts in the first: Na‘im, As-Sa‘b bin Mu‘adh, the castle of Az-Zubair, ’Abi Castle, and An-Nizar in Ash-Shiqq; three others were in part two: Al-Qamus, Al-Wateeh and As-Salalim.
The Actual Operation begins:
The Prophet began the campaign by reducing the minor strongholds one after the other. The first fort he was to attack was Na‘im, the first defence line with a formidable strategic position. Marhab, the leader of the fort, invited ‘Amr bin Al-Akwa‘ to meet him in combat and the latter responded; when ‘Amr struck the Jew, his sword recoiled and wounded his knee, and he died of that wound. The Prophet later said: "For him (‘Amir) there is a double reward in the Hereafter." He indicated this by putting two of his fingers together. ‘Ali bin Abi Talib then undertook to meet Marhab in combat, and managed to kill him. Yasir, Marhab’s brother, then turned up challenging the Muslims to a fight. Az-Zubair was equal to it and killed him on the spot. Real fighting then broke out and lasted for a few days. The Jews showed courage and proved to be too formidable even to the repeated rushes of the veteran soldiers of Islam. However, they later realized the futility of resistance and began to abandon their positions in An-Na‘im and infiltrate into the fortress of As-Sa‘b.
Al-Hubab bin Al-Mundhir Al-Ansari led the attack on As-Sa‘b fortress and laid siege to it for three days after which the Muslims stormed it with a lot of booty, provisions and food to fall to their lot therein. This victory came in the wake of the Prophet’s invocation to Allâh to help Banu Aslam in their relentless and daring attempts to capture that fort.
During the process of the war operations, extreme hunger struck the Muslims. They lit fires, slaughtered domestic asses and began to cook them. When the Prophet inquired about the fires and cooking, he ordered that they throw away the meat and wash the cooking pots, forbidding the practice of eating such meat.
The Jews, meanwhile, evacuated An-Natat and barricaded themselves in Az-Zubair fort, a formidable defensive position inaccessible to both cavalry and infantry. The Muslims besieged it for three days, but in vain. A Jew spy told the Prophet about a subterranean water source that provided them with water, and advised that it be cut off in order to undermine their resistance. The Prophet did that so the Jews got out to engage with the Muslims in fierce fighting during which some Muslims and ten Jews were killed, but the fort was eventually conquered.
Shortly after this battle, the Jews moved to ’Abi Castle and barricaded themselves inside. The same events recurred; the Muslims besieged the new site for three days and then the great Muslim hero Abu Dujanah Sammak bin Kharshah Al-Ansari — of the red ribbon — led the Muslim army and broke into the castle, conducted fierce military operations within and forced the remaining Jews to flee for their lives into another fort, An-Nizar.
An-Nizar was the most powerful fort, and the Jews came to the established conviction that it was too immune to be stormed, so they deemed it a safe place for their children and women. The Muslims, however, were not dismayed but dragged on the siege, but because standing at a commanding top, the fort was impregnable. The Jews inside were too cowardly to meet the Muslims in open fight but rather hurled a shower of arrows and stones on the attackers. Considering this situation, the Prophet ordered that rams be used and these proved effective and caused cracks in the ramparts providing an easy access into the heart of the fort, where the Jews were put to rout and fled in all directions leaving behind their women and children.
With these series of military victories, the first division of Khaibar was totally reduced, and the Jews in the other minor fortresses evacuated them and fled to the second division.
The Second Part of Khaibar conquered:
When the Prophet , along with his army, moved to this part of Khaibar, Al-Katiba, he laid a heavy siege to it for fourteen days with the Jews barricading themselves inside their forts. When he was about to use the rams, the Jews realized that they would perish, therefore, they asked for a negotiable peace treaty.
There is one controversial point in this context. Was this part of Khaibar (with its three forts) conquered by force? Ibn Ishaq clearly stated that Al-Qamus fort was conquered by force. Al-Waqidi, on the other hand, maintained that the three forts were taken through peace negotiations, and force, if any, was resorted to only to hand the fort over to the Muslims; the two other forts surrendered without fighting.
Ibn Abi Al-Huqaiq was despatched to the Messenger of Allâh to negotiate the surrender treaty. The Prophet agreed to spare their lives on condition they evacuate Khaibar and the adjacent land, leaving whatever gold and silver they had in their possession. However, he stipulated that he would disavow any commitment if they concealed anything. Shortly afterwards, the forts were handed over to the Muslims and all Khaibar was reduced and brought under the sway of Islam.
This treaty notwithstanding, Abi Al-Huqaiq’s two sons concealed a leather bag full of jewels, and money belonging to Huyai bin Al-Akhtab, who carried it with him when Banu Nadir had been banished. Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi‘, who had hidden the musk somewhere, was obdurate in his denial and so he was killed when the musk was discovered and his dishonesty was proven. Abi Al-Huqaiq’s two sons were killed in recompense for breaching the covenant, and Safiyah, Huyai’s daughter was taken as a captive.
Distribution of Spoils:
In accordance with the agreement already concluded, the Jews would be obliged to evacuate Khaibar, but they were anxious to keep on cultivating the rich soil and fine orchard for which Khaibar was famous. They, therefore, approached the Prophet with the request that they be allowed to cultivate their lands and they would give half of the produce to the Muslims. Muhammad was kind enough to accede to their request.
The Messenger divided the land of Khaibar into two: one half to provide the food to be stored in case of any accidental calamity that might befall the Muslims, and for entertaining the foreign delegates who started to frequent Madinah a lot; the other half would go to the Muslims who had witnessed Al-Hudaibiyah event whether present or absent. The total number of shares came to 36, of which 18 were given to the people above-mentioned. The army consisted of 1400 men of whom were 200 horsemen. The horseman was allotted 3 shares and the footman one.
The spoils taken at Khaibar were so great that Ibn ‘Umar said: "We never ate our fill until we had conquered Khaibar." ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - is narrated to have said: "Now we can eat our fill of dates."
On their return to Madinah, the Emigrants were able to return to the Helpers of Madinah all the gifts they had received. All of this affluence came after the conquest of Khaibar and the great economic benefits that the Muslims began to reap.
The conquest of Khaibar coincided with the arrival of the Prophet’s cousin Ja‘far bin Abi Talib and his companions along with Abi Musa Al-Ash‘ari and some Muslims from Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari narrated that he and over fifty companions, while in Yemen, took a ship which landed them in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and they happened to meet there Ja‘far and his companions. He said, "We stayed together until the Prophet sent an envoy asking us to come back. When we returned, we found out that he had already conquered Khaibar, yet he gave us our due shares of the spoils." The advent of those men came at the request made by the Messenger of Allâh to Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), through a Prophetic deputy, ‘Amr bin Omaiya Ad-Damari. Negus sent them back, 16 men altogether with their wives and children on two boats. The rest of emigrants had arrived in Madinah earlier.
In the same context, Safiyah, whose husband Kinanah bin Abi Al-Huqaiq was killed for treachery, was taken as a captive and brought along with other prisoners of war. After the permission of the Prophet was sought, Dihyah Al-Kalbi chose one of them and she happened to be Safiyah. The other Muslims, however, advised that Safiyah, being the daughter of the chief of Bani Quraiza and Bani Nadir, should be married to the Prophet , who agreed to their opinion, invited her to Islam, freed and took her as wife on her embracing Islam. The wedding feast consisted of dates and fat, and was held on his way back to Madinah at a spot called Sadd As-Sahba’.
After the conquest of Khaibar, a Jewish woman called Zainab bint Al-Harith offered the Prophet a roasted sheep she had poisoned. He took a mouthful, but it was not to his liking so he spat it out. After investigation, the woman confessed that she had stuffed the food with poison alleging that if the eater were a king, she would then rid herself of him, but should he be a Prophet, then he would be bound to learn about it. The Prophet , however, connived at her treacherous attempt, but ordered that she be killed when Bishr bin Al-Bara’ died of that poison.
The number of Muslims who were martyred was controversial, but it ranged between 16 and 18, while the number of Jews killed came to 93.
The rest of Khaibar also fell to the Muslims. Allâh cast fear into the hearts of the people of Fadak, a village standing to the north of Khaibar, and they hastened to ask for peace, and be allowed to leave in safety, and give up their wealth in return for that. The Prophet entered into an agreement with them similar to the previous one with the people of Khaibar. Fadak was exclusively the Prophet’s because neither Muslim cavalry nor camelry were involved in fight thereby.
No sooner had the Prophet discharged the affair of Khaibar than he started a fresh move towards Wadi Al-Qura, another Jewish colony in Arabia. He mobilized his forces and divided them into three regiments with four banners entrusted to Sa‘d bin ‘Ubada, Al-Hubab bin Mundhir, ‘Abbad bin Bishr and Sahl bin Haneef. Prior to fighting, he invited the Jews to embrace Islam but all his words and exhortations fell on deaf ears. Eleven of the Jews were killed one after another and with each one newly killed, a fresh call was extended inviting those people to profess the new faith. Fighting went on ceaselessly for approximately two days and resulted in full surrender of the Jews. Their land was conquered, and a lot of booty fell in the hands of the Muslims.
The Prophet stayed in Wadi Al-Qura for four days, distributed the booty among the Muslim fighters and reached an agreement with the Jews similar to that of Khaibar.[\]
The Jews of Taima’, hearing beforehand about the successive victories of the Muslim army and the defeats that their brethren, the Jews, had sustained, showed no resistance when the Prophet reached their habitation. On the contrary, they took the initiative and offered to sign a reconciliation treaty to the effect that they receive protection but pay tribute in return. Having achieved his objective and subdued the Jews completely, the Prophet made his way back home and arrived in Madinah in late Safar or early Rabi‘ Al-Awwal 7 A.H.
It is noteworthy that the Prophet , being the best amongst war experts, realized quite readily that evacuating Madinah after the lapse of the prohibited months (Muharram, Dhul Qa‘da and Dhul Hijja) would not be wise at all with the presence of the desert bedouins roaming in its vicinity. Such a careless attitude, the Prophet believed, would tempt the undisciplined mob to practise their favourite hobby of plundering, looting and all acts of piracy. This premonition always in mind, the Prophet despatched Aban bin Sa‘id at the head of a platoon to deter those bedouins and forestall any attempt at raiding the headquarters of the nascent Islamic state during his absence in Khaibar. Aban achieved his task successfully and joined the Prophet in Khaibar after it had been conquered.
Click here to Continue