MILITARY PLATOONS AND MISSIONS BETWEEN THE BATTEL 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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:
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 (Peace b upon him). The
Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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.
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 (Peace be
upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him), 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.
In Safar of the fourth year A.H., a delegation from the tribes of ‘Udal
and Qarah came to Madinah and asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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.
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 (Peace be upon him) in Madinah. The Messenger of
Allâh (Peace be upon him) 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 willkill 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
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
(Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him), 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
Returning to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) ‘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 (Peace
be upon him). He told the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) what
he had done. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 ÚŇ ćĚá, 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 (Peace be upon him) stopped his invocation.
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 (Peace be upon him). 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 (Peace be upon him), 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him). 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 (Peace be upon
him) their wicked criminal intention, so he, with his Companions, hurried
off back to Madinah. On their way, he told his Companions of the Divine
Soon after, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 thlife of the Prophet (Peace be upon him),
the Muslims made the decisive decisions of taking up arms whatever turn
the consequences could assume.
When the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) 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,
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.”
Quraizah tribe remained neutral, and the hypocrite ‘Abdullah bin Ubai
as well as Ghatfan failed to keep their promises of support. In this regard
“(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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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
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’.
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 (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him), 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 her) 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 (Peace be upon him) at
Khaibar. The rules relating to the prayer of fear which the Prophet (Peace
be upon him) 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.
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 (Peace be
upon him) 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,
Second’, ‘Badr, the Latter’, and ‘Badr Minor’.
With the Messenger’s return from Badr, peace and security prevailed the
whole area; and the Islamic headquarters, Madinah, enjoyed full security.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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
After a six-month lull of military activities, the Prophet (Peace be
upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him)
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
(Peace be upon him) 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.