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 publicly declared their enmity to the Muslims and each party was keen on degrading and eventually wiping out their whole existence.
Two months had almost passed after this battle, when Banu Asad made preparations to raid Madinah. At the same time the ‘Adl 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, and seventy Companions were killed in the battle of the Well of Ma’unah. During that period, Banu Nadeer kept on announcing their enmity and were involved in a plot to kill the Prophet Muhammad het in Rabi’ul-Awwal in 4 A.H. Banu Ghatafan were about to attack Madinah in Jumada Al-Awwal in 4 A.H.
Thus we see that the Muslims turned into an attractive target of several potential dangers after they lost their military credibility at the battle of Uhud. Muhammad in most wisely managed to check all those hostile currents, and even restore the lost dignity of the Muslims and gain them fresh glory and noble standing. The first initiative he took in this process was the Hamra’ul-Asad 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, and then he proceeded to crown his successful attempts by dispatching military tasks and missions:
The Abi Salamah Mission
The first people to take up arms against the Muslims in the aftermath of Uhud were Banu Asad bin Khuzaimah. Information was reported in Madinah that Talhah and Salamah, sons of Khuwailid had gathered some volunteers to fight Allâh’s Messengerﷺ. The Prophet ﷺimmediately dispatched a 150 man-platoon of Helpers and Emigrants headed by Abu Salamah, The Muslim leader took Bani Asad bin Khuzaimah by surprise in their 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 it caused him to die soon after. This expedition took place on Muharram 1st, 4 A.H.”
The Mobilization of ‘Abdullah bin Unais Radiallahu anhoo
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 Radiallahu anhoo the order of the Prophet ﷺset 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 ﷺ as a reward gave him a staff 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 it be with him in his shroud.?
In Safar of the fourth year A.H., a delegation from the tribes of ‘Adl and Qarah came to Madinah and asked the Prophet ﷺsend 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 Marthad bin Abi Marthad Al-Ghanawi Radiallahu anhoo according to Al Bukhari, ‘Asim bin Thabit Radiallahu anhoo 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 surrounded the place and attacked them. The delegation of Muslims took shelter on some high ground, and the bedouins offered them a pledge that they would not be killed. ‘Asim Radiallahu anhoo 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-Dathinah 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 Radiallahu anhoo 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’ah 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 Radiallahu anhoo
first set the tradition of praying two Rak’ah 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 firmily 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 Thronel 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 the Lord so desires; He will bless my torn limbs and broken joints. Abu Sufyan then addressed him saying: “I ask you by Allâh, don’t you
wish that Muhammad ﷺ were here in your place so that we might cut off his head, and that you were with your family?” Khubaib Radiallahu anhoo answered, “By Allâh, I do not wish that Muhammadﷺ now were in the place I occupy or that a thorn could hurt him, and that I were sitting with my family.” The Quraish ordered ‘Uqbah bin Al-Harith, whose father had been killed by Khubaib Radiallahu anhoo himself, to crucify him. They also appointed someone to guard his corpse. ‘Amr bin Umaiyah Ad-Damri was able to secretly remove him for burial during the night. 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 Umaiyah purchased the second man, Zaid bin Ad Dathinah Radiallahu anhoo and killed him as an act of revenge for his father’s murder. Quraish, whom ‘Asim Radiallahu anhoo had killed one of their notables, sent someone to get a portion of his body, but to their disappointment, his corpse was unreachable because a large swarm of hornets had been shielding him against any wrongful interference. ‘Asim had already given his Lord a pledge to remain immune against any polytheist tampering with respect to his body, and also stay apart
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 at the Well of Ma’unah
The Ma’unah 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 Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ in Madinah. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ called him to embrace Islam but he neither agreed nor refused. He said: “O Messenger of Allah, ﷺif 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.” . But he replied, “I will protect them.” Ibn Ishaq confirms that forty men were sent to them; but in the Sahih, it is reported that they were seventy, and this is what is correct. AlMundhir bin ‘Amr, one of Bani Sa’idah, nicknamed ‘Freed to die’ – was on command of 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 Ahlus-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 the Well of Ma’unah – which was a well in between Bani ‘Amir, Harrah and Bani Sulaim. They stayed there and sent the message of the Prophetﷺ with Haram bin Milhan the brother of Umm Sulaim, to ‘Amir bin At-Tufail, the enemy of Allâh. ‘Amir did not pay attention to 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 Most Great). By the Lord of Al-Ka’bah. I have won!” Then the enemy of Allâh, promptly, called out Bani ‘Amir to fight
the rest. Bant ‘Amir refused because they were under the protection of Abu Bara’. Therefore he turned to Bant Sulaim for help. The people of ‘Usalyah, Ri’l and Dhakwan, who were folks of Bant Sulaim, responded to his call. The Companions of the Prophet , who were surrounded by idolaters, kept on fighting till they were all killed. The only survivor was Ka’b bin Zaid bin An-Najjar Radiallahu anhoo who was carried wounded from among the dead. It was in the battle of Al-Khandaq (the Trench) that he was killed. “Amr bin Umaiyah Ad-Damri 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. AlMundhir Radiallahu anhoo rushed to share in the fight till he was killed. But ‘Amr bin Umaiyah was captured. ‘Amir set him free when he knew that he was from the Mudar tribe but that was after he had cut his hair. He did that to fulfill a pledge of his mother’s to set a slave free. Returning to the Prophet ﷺ’Amr bin Umaiyah Radiallahu anhoo 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’unah were killed in a disgraceful treachery. On his way back to Qarqarah, ‘Amr bin Umaiyah 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 the death of some of his companions. Then he found out that they had been given a pledge of protection by the Prophet ﷺ. He told Allâh’s Messenger ﷺwhat he did. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺsaid 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 cause the invasion of Bani An-Nadeer. The Prophet ﷺwas so deeply moved by this tragedy and that of
Ar-Rafi’ that he used to invoke Allâh’s wrath against those people and tribes who killed his Companions. Anas Radiallahu anhoo reported that for thirty days the Prophet ﷺ supplicated Allâh against those who killed his Companions at Ma’unah Well. In every Morning prayer he would invoke Allâh’s wrath against Ri’l, Dhakwan. Lihyan and “Usaiyah. He would say, “Usaiyah disobeyed Allâh and His Messenger.”
The Invasion of Bani An-Nadeer
We have already spoken about the disgraceful behavior 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 vetem Their behavior fluctuated between acceptance and negligence after the Banu Qainuqa’ incident, the murder of Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf, and the rebellion coupled with the treacherous secret contacts with the Quraish and the hypocrites in order to establish an alliance against the Muslims after the battle of Uhud. 2) Being inexperienced in war tactics, they turned to conspiracy and hatching intrigues. 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 ﷺ on his part, exercised the highest degree of patience with them but they went too far in their provocative deeds, especially after the events of Ar-Raji’ and the Well of Ma’unah events; they even made an attempt on his life. Once the Prophet ﷺwith 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 Umaiyah
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 Radiallahu anhoo 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 ﷺ. 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 Mishkam, cautioned them against committing such a crime, predicting that Allâh would reveal 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 ﷺ 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 ﷺ 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 any attention to the Prophet’s words and to stay in their houses, offering to support them with two thousand of his followers, and assuring them of help to come from the Quraizah tribe and former allies Banu Ghatafan. Allâh said in this regard:
“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 Allâh’s Messenger ﷺthan a reply 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 involve terrible far reaching consequences in the light of the unfavorable conditions they were experiencing, besides the hostile environment growing in power and hatred around them the sign of which assumed the form of killing the Muslim missions, as mentioned earlier. The Jews of Bani Nadeer were also a power to consider, and the prospect of inflicting a military defeat on them was uncertain consequently forcing them into an armed engagement may include 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 an unbearable headache to Muhammad’s followers. Having judged all the pros and cons in this perspective, and in the light of the disgraceful attempt on the life of the Prophet ﷺ Muslims made the decisive decision to take up arms whatever turn the consequences could assume. When Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ the received the reply of Huyai bin Akhtab he said: “Allâhu Akbar (Allâh is the Most Great),” and his Companions repeated it after him. Then he set out to fight them after appointing Ibn Umm Maktum to administer the affairs of Madinah during his absence. The standard was entrusted to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib AlaihisSalam. 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 cut 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 Allah.” 59:5) The tribe of Quraizah remained neutral, and the hypocrite Abdullah bin Ubal as well as Ghatafan failed to keep thetr 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 ﷺ order to leave Madinah. The Prophetﷺ accepted their request and allowed them to carry as much luggage as their camels could lift, with the exception of weaponry. Of course, they had no choice but to carry out the orders, so they took everything they could carry with them, even the pegs and beams of ceilings. Their caravan counted 600 loaded camels including their chiefs, Huyai bin Akhtab and Salam bin Abul-Huqaiq, who left for Khaibar whereas another party headed for Syria. Two of them embraced Islam, Yamin bin ‘Amr and Abu Sa’d bin Wahb, and so they retained their personal wealth. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ seized their weapons, land, houses, and wealth. Among the other booty he managed to capture, there were 50 suits of armor, 50 helmets, and 340 swords. This booty was exclusively the Prophet’sﷺ 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 Dujanah and Sahl bin Hunaif it. Anyway, Allâh’s Messengerﷺ 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’ul-Awwal. 4 A.H., i.e., in August 625 C.E. Almost all the Verses of Surat Al
Hashr (Chapter 59 – The Gathering) describe the exile of the Jews and reveal the disgraceful manners of the hypocrites. The Verona manifest the rules relevant to the booty. In this chapter, Allâh the All-Mighty praises the Emigrants and Helpers. This Chapter also shows the legality 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 ploma and prepare themselves for the world to come and He ends it with a compliment to Himself and a clarification of His Names and Attributes. As this Chapter concentrates on Bani An-Nadeer and their expulsion, Ibn ‘Abbas Radiallahu anhoo used to describe it as ‘Surat An-Nadeer or “The Chapter of An-Nadeer. (1) This is a summary of what is reported by Ibn Ishaq and most of the people of Seerah about this battle. But Abu Dawud, ‘AbdurRazzaq and others reported other circumstances surrounding the battle. That is that after the events of Badr, the disbelievers of the Quraish sent a message to the Jews saying that since they were the people with the fortresses and armor, then they had better kill Muhammad ﷺor else they would do this and enslave the Jewish women, etc. After this message, the Jews of Banu Nadeer gathered to conspire. They then sent a message to the Prophet ﷺ asking him to set out with thirty of his Companions, and they in turn. would set out with thirty of their rabbis. They would all meet at a set location and they would listen to what he had to say, half from this group and half from that. If they trusted him and believed in him then all of their people would follow suit. Then the Prophetﷺ set out with thirty of his Companions, and the Jews set out to meet him with thirty rabbis. But when the Jews reached a certain point some of them said, “How can we finish him off while he has thirty men with him, all of whom wish to die
before he does?” So they sent a message saying, “How could we and you come to an understanding while we are a total of sixty men? Go with three of your Companions and we will send three of our learned to listen to you. If these trust you then all of us will trust you and believe in you.” The Prophet ﷺ went with three of his Companions, but before they reached them they learned that the Jews had concealed their daggers and were plotting on his life, so he returned. The next morning the Prophetﷺ sent them a message and surrounded them. He told them that they would not be trusted without a treaty, but they refused to a treaty. So on that day he and the Muslims fought them. The next day he left Bani Nadeer and sent a message to Bani Quraizah. He invited them to a treaty which they agreed to. So he left them and returned to Bani Nadeer the following morning and fought them until they agreed to leave, taking no weaponry with them. So they came out and brought with them whatever their camels could carry of their property, including the gates and beams of their houses. They left their houses and demolished them, carrying all that they could of the timbers. So these were the first to be banished to the lands of greater Syria.
The Second Battle of Badr
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 the Quraish at Uhud. So it was due time to meet them to fight again in order to determine which of the two parties was worthy of survival. In Sha’ban 4 A.H., January 626 C.E., Allâh’s Messengerﷺ the set out for Badr accompanied by one thousand and five hundred fighters and ten mounted horsemen, and with ‘Ali bin Abi Talib AlaihisSalam standard bearer. ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah Radiallahu anhoo was given authority
over Madinah during the Prophet’s ﷺ 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 Marr Az-Zahran, a few miles outside of Makkah, and camped at a water place called Majannah. Being reluctant, discouraged and extremely terrified of the conse quences of the approaching fight, Abu Sufyan turned to his people and began to introduce cowardice-based poor excuses in order to discourage 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 was also possessed of the same fears and anxiety, 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 for substantial profits. When the idolaters declined to fight, the balance of power shifted in favor of the Muslims, who 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 Dumatul-Jandal
With the Messenger’s ﷺ return from Badr, peace and security prevailed over the whole area. The Prophetﷺ then deemed it fit and appropriate to head for the most distant areas of Arabia in order to subdue all hostile elements, and gain undisputed recognition out of friend and enemy alike. After a six-month calmness in military activities, it was reported to
the Prophetsﷺ that some tribes, in the vicinity of Dumatul-Jandal, on the borders of Syria, were involved in highway robbery and plundering, and were on their way to gather troops and attack Madinah itself. He immediately appointed Siba’ bin ‘Arfatah AlGhifari to administer the affairs of Madinah during his absence, and set out at the head of 1000 Muslims in late Rabi’ul Awwal. 5 A.H. taking with him a man, named Madhkur, from Bani ‘Udhrah, as a guide. On their way to Dumatul-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 Dumatul-Jandal had also fled in all directions for their lives and evacuated their locality. The Prophetﷺ stayed there for 5 days during which he dispatched expeditionary forces to hunt for the enemy personnel but they detected none. He then returned to Madinah but on the way he entered into a peace treaty with ‘Uyainah bin Hisn. Dumatul-Jandal is located at a distance of about fifteen days march from Madinah and five from Damascus. With this decisive and steady progress, and his wise plans, the Prophetﷺ managed to spread security, control the situation and make peace prevail in the whole area. He also succeeded in shifting the course of events for the welfare of the Muslims by reducing the continual internal and external troubles. The hypocrites were silenced, a tribe of the Jews evacuated while the other continued to fake good neighborliness and seemingly faithful adherence to the covenants, the desert bedouins became submissive 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 Allah to all worlds.