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 religio-economic 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-Mushrikun (poly
theists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers, etc.).” [5:82] Both resentful parties had their much more annoyed partner in the form of hypocrites who faked Islam just to save their faces; at the head of whom came ‘Abdullah bin Ubai and his followers. 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 fundamental question of belief and disbelief. Their worry resulting from fear of losing their means of existence in case a powerful Muslim state should rise up in Madinah and put an end to their practices, hence the grudge they nursed against Islam, Muslims and Hazrat Muhammadﷺ 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, clearly open hostility along with resentment and rage on the part of the Jews, and there in Makkah open and continual calls for revenge 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, the Uhud Invasion, which left a bad impression on
the good name and esteem that the Muslims were carefully working to raise and preserve.
The first intelligence to reach the Hazrat Prophet ﷺin Madinah after Badr, told that Banu Sulaim of Ghatafan were engaged in gathering troops to attack the Muslims. The Prophet ﷺtook the initiative himself and mounted a surprise attack on them in their own homeland at a watering place called Al-Kudr. Banu Sulaim, on receiving the news, fled before he arrived. He stayed there for three days, took their 500 camels as booty and distributed them to the fighters after he 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 ﷺ
The impact of defeat at Badr was so great that the Makkans began to burn with hatred and resentment over their horrible losses. To resolve this situation, two polytheists volunteered to quench their thirst and silence the source of that humiliation ‘Umair bin Wahb Al-Jumahi, a terrible polytheist, and an enemy Safwan bin Umaiyah sat together privately lamenting their loss and remembering their dead and captives. ‘Umair expressed a keen desire to kill the Prophet ﷺ and release his captured son Wahb in Madinah, if it was not for the burden of debts he was under and the large family he had to support. Safwan also had his reasons to see the Prophetﷺ centre killed, so he offered to pay ‘Umair’s debts and support his family if he went on with his plan. ‘Umair agreed and asked Safwan to keep the matter secret. He left for Madinah, having with him a sword to which he applied some kind of deadly 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 Prophetﷺ . He was let in caught by the handle of his sword and in greeting he said, “good morning”, to which the Prophetﷺ 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 ﷺabout his object, ‘Umair said that he had come to see that his captured son was well treated. As for the sword, which the Prophet ﷺasked him about, he cursed it and said that it gained them nothing. On pressing him to tell his real goal, he remained obstinate and did not disclose the secret meeting with Safwan. Here the Prophet ﷺ 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 Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ He then began to entertain Allâh’s praise for having been guided to the ‘Straight Path’. The Prophetﷺ 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 recovery of honor, and burying the memory of Badr into forgetfulness. 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.’
The Invasion of Bani Qainuqa
We have already spoken about the treaty that the Prophetﷺ 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 inclination to treachery. betrayal and covenant-breaching, could not rid themselves of the tradition of theirs, had started a process of intrigues and troublemaking with the aim of producing division in the growing
solid Muslim ranks. Here is a relevant model of their behavior:
The Schemes of the Jews
Shas bin Qais, an elderly Jew, a terrible disbeliever and a greatly envious man of the Muslims, passed by a group of the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger ﷺthings from Aws and Khazraj. He perceived a widespread spirit of understanding and an atmo sphere of relationship and friendship enveloping the whole group; an unusual scene categorically in conflict with the hostility and hatred that characterized their pre-Islamic behavior. He, therefore, sent a youth of his to sit among them, remind them of the 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 intertribal relations. The youth did in fact succeed and the two parties at no time recalled the old days, and pre-Islamic tribal fanaticism sprang to the front to bring about a state of war, The Prophet ﷺ was informed 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! By Allâh! Have you entered the state of preIslamic ignorance while I am still among you, after Allâh guided you to Islam, honored you with it, by it He cut the fetters of ignorance from your necks, and delivered you from disbelief and united your
hearts?” The Muslims readily realized that it was a Satanic urge and a plot hatched by the enemies. They directly embraced each other and went back home quite satisfied and in full obedience to Allah’s Messengerﷺ Such were the practices of the Jews, faking belief in the day, and practicing disbelief at night. If they happened to owe a Muslim
something, they would avoid their obligations on grounds that he had converted into a new religion and they would declare that 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. They were doing all of this before the battle of Badr in spite of the treaty they had with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ. But Allâh’s Messenger and his Companions were patient with all of that, hoping that they would receive guidance and that peace and security would spread throughout their land.
The Jews of Qainuqa’ breach the Covenant
Seeing that Allâh aided 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 their resentment. They publicly started a series of provocative and harmful deeds. The most wicked person among them was Ka’b bin Ashraf, and he will be mentioned later. As for the most wicked group among them it was the tribe of Banu Qainuqa’, who lived in quarters named after them within Madinah. 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 numbered 700 warriors, and were the most bold amongst the Jewish community in Arabia, and now the first to breach the covenant of cooperation and nonaggression which they had already countersigned with the Prophetﷺ . Their behavior grew too impolite and unbearable. They started a process of trouble-making, jeering at the Muslims, hurting those who frequented their bazaars, and even frightening their women. Abu Dawud and others reported that Ibn ‘Abbaso said: When Allâh’s Messenger ﷺthe defeated the Quraish at Badr and returned to Madinah, he gathered the Jews at the bazaar of Banu Qainuqa’ He then said:
“O you Jews! Enter Islam before you suffer what happened
to the Quraish.” They replied: “O Muhammad! ﷺDo not deceive yourself, you merely fought a party of the Quraish who were inexperienced at war. But if you want to fight us then know that we are an entire people! And indeed you have not met up with anyone like us before!”
In this regard, the Words of Allâh were revealed:
“Say (O Muhammad ﷺ) 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 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.”
The answer of Banu Qainuqa’ amounted, as seen, to a declaration of war. The Prophet ﷺ advised the Muslims to be patient and forbearing and wait for what time might reveal. Ibn Hisham reported from Abu ‘Aun that an Arab woman arrived at the bazaar of Banu Qainuqa’ to sell an item which she did. Afterwards, while she sat at the goldsmith’s, they wanted to expose her face, so the goldsmith fastened the border of her garment to the back of it without her knowing it. So when she stood to leave, it uncovered her private area and they began laughing at her. She fixed her clothes, and a Muslim man came and killed the Jew goldsmith. The other Jews attacked the Muslim
man killing him. The family of the Muslim man called the Muslims to help and the conflict between them and Banu
The Siege, the Surrender and the Banishment
On Saturday, Shawwal 15th, 2 A.H., after putting Abu Lubabah Ibn Abdul-Mundhir in charge of Madinah, the Prophet marched out with his soldiers, Hazrat 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’sﷺ judgment for their lives, wealth, women and children; their hands were tied behind their backs. At this point, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn Salul started his hypocritical role and began to intercede for them persistently on grounds of former alliance between those Jews and his tribe the Khazraj. Muhammad ﷺdealt with this hypocrite – who had pronounced his Islam only about one month by that time – by granting him his request. Banu Qainuqa’ handed over all materials, wealth, armor and weapons to the Prophetﷺ center who set aside one-fifth and distributed the rest to his men. After that they were expelled out of all of Arabia to vast lands in Greater Syria where they stayed for a while and soon perished away.
Two-sided hostile activities were being independently conducted against the Prophetﷺ: plots and intrigues being hatched by Safwan bin Umaiyah, the hypocrites and Jews on the one hand, and on parallel lines going on with military hostilities being prepared by Abu Sufyan aiming at saving the face of his people and impressing the other Arabs that Quraish was still a proper military power. In the aftermath of Badr. Abu Sufyan was burning for revenge and took a solemn vow that he would never bathe off
impurity until he had taken the revenge. He set out at the head of 200 men towards Madinah but was not brave enough to attack it in broad daylight. He, instead adopted the acts of robbery that are performed in the dark. He secretly entered Madinah and went to see an old friend named Huyai bin Akhtab, who was too cowardly to let him in, so he left for Salam bin Mishkam, 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 dispatched a group of his men to raid Al-‘Uraid, a suburb of Madinah. There. the men cut and burnt some palm trees, killed two Muslims and then took swiftly to their heels. On hearing the news, the Prophetﷺ centres gathered his men and set out in search of Abu Sufyan, but they could not catch them. The Muslims brought back the provisions (Saweeg, 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-Saweeq Invasion. It took place in Dhul-Hijjah 2 AH.. two months after the event of Badr. And the Prophet ﷺalso left Abu Lubabah edition in charge of Madinah for this expedition.”
The Invasion of Dhi Amr
In Muharram. 3 A.H., the Prophet’sﷺ intelligence personnel reported that Banu Tha’labah and Banu Muharib were gathering troops with the aim of raiding the outskirts of Madinah. The Prophetﷺ mention at the head of 450 horsemen and footmen set out to handle this new situation. This was his largest military exercise prior to the battle of Uhud. ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan Radiallahu anhoo was asked to take charge of 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 ﷺaimed 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 is killed
Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf was the most resentful person among the Jews with Islam and the Muslims, he was the most intent on inflicting harm on Allâh’s Messengerﷺ and the most zealous advocate of waging war against him. He belonged to the Tai’ tribe but his mother was from 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 frustrated and swore that he would prefer death to life if the news was true. When this was confirmed he wrote poems satirizin Hazrat Muhammadﷺ and praising the Quraish and enticing them against the Prophetﷺ He then rode to Makkah where he started to activate the fire of war, and kindle resentment 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 Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ 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 Taghut, 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 amorous poems 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 ﷺ gathered his men and said: “Who
will kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf? He had spoken evil about Allâh, and His Messenger.ﷺ” Thereupon, Muhammad bin Maslamah, ‘Abbad bin Bishr, Al-Harith bin Aws, Abu ‘Abs bin Jabr and Abu Na’ilah, ie 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 verseny 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’ul-Awwal 14th, at night, the year 3 A.H., the people said good-bye to the Prophet ﷺ and set out in the Name of Allâh to implement the carefully drawn plan. The Prophetﷺ 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 Baqi’ Al-Gharqad, they shouted, “Allâh is Most Great.” The Prophet ﷺheard 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 AlHarith’s wound and it healed on the spot. When the Jews learned about the death of their tyrant, Ka’b bin AlAshraf, they were scared and even their stone like hearts were in the grip of inexpressible panic. They realized that Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ 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 ﷺ was free to collect his thoughts and give himself up to resolving foreign affairs, and facing dangers that could be carried on the hostile wind blowing again from Makkah.
The Invasion of Buhran
In Rabi’uth-Thani, the year 3 A.H., the Prophet ﷺled 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 trade 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 Umaiyah led the caravan along the new route News of the meeting leaked out through Nu’aim bin Mas’ud Al Ashja’i under the effect of wine and it flew fast to Madinah by Sulait bin An-Nu’man who told the Prophet ﷺthe plan. The Prophet ﷺimmediately gathered 100 horsemen under the leadership of Zaid bin Harithah Al-Kalbiino and dispatched 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 Prophetﷺ Furat bin Haiyan embraced Islam out of his own free will
As a result of this episode, the Muslims foiled the Quraish plans to find a new trade route. The economic siege laid to Makkah was thus strengthened and had a great impact on the trade 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: Giving up all symbols of pride and all attitudes of arrogance through reconciliation with the new state of affairs, and peaceableness with the Muslims; or launching a decisive overpowering war with the aim of crushing down the military forces of Madinah. It was apparent through the process of events that the Quraish had opted for the second alternative. Loud cries were being heard everywhere in Makkah demanding immediate revenge and quick retaliatory action. These movements on all levels constituted the direct preliminaries to the battle of Uhud.