The Invasion of Al-Ahzab

The Jews treachery, intrigues and disloyalty made them taste all types of humiliation and disgrace, were not admonished. After their exile to Khaibar, they remained waiting anxiously for the results of the fights going on between the Muslims and the idolaters. Contrary to their hopes, the events of the war were in favor 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 clash 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 Nadeer went to Makkah to negotiate an unholy alliance with the Quraish. They began to provoke the people there to attack Allâh’s Messengerﷺ the promising them full support and backing. Some among the Quraish, who had been spiritless and proved too weak to challenge the Muslims at Badr, seized this opportunity to regain their stained honor and spoiled reputation. The same delegation set out for Ghatafan, 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 Prophetﷺ his message and the believers in Allâh. The Quraish, Kinanah and other allies from Tihamah in the south rallied, ranked, and recruited four thousand men under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, From the east there came tribes of Banu Sulaim, Ghatafan, Bani Murrah, Fazarah and Ashja’ etc. The commander of Fazarah was ‘Uyainah bin Hisn, of Murrah was Harith bin ‘Auf, and of Ashja’ was Mis’ar bin Rakhilah. They all headed for Madinah and gathered in its vicinity at a time already agreed upon. It was a great army of ten thousand soldiers. They in fact outnumbered all the Muslims in Madinah, women, children and elders included.

To tell the truth, if they had launched a surprise attack against Madinah, they perhaps could have killed all the Muslims However, the leadership inside the city was on the alert and the intelligence personnel managed to survey the area of the enemies, and reported their movement to the people in charge in Madinah. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ held a council 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 honorable Companion, Salman Al-Farisi Radiallahu anhoo, to dig trenches as defensive lines. The Muslims, with the Prophetﷺ at their head, encouraging, helping and remembering the reward in the Hereafter, most actively and laboriously started to build a trench around Madinah. Severe hunger bordering on starvation could not deter or discourage them from achieving their desperately sought objective Salman said: “O Messenger of Allâh! ﷺ When siege was to laid to us in Persia, we used to dig trenches to defend ourselves.” It was really an unprecedented wise plan. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ 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 Allâh’s Messenger ﷺof the men used to dig and we would evacuate the earth on our backs.”

Nabi Pakﷺ Miracles

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah cooked some barley and requested the Prophet ﷺ and some Companions to accept his invitation. The Prophetﷺ gathered all the thousand people engaged in digging the trench and they started to eat until they were all completely full. After that, the vessel of mutton and dough that was being baked remained as they were before without decreasing. A certain woman brought a handful of dates and passed by the Prophet ﷺ who took the dates, tossing them around in 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 extraordinary event was that an obstinate rock stood out as an immune obstacle in the ditch. The Prophet ﷺ things took the spade and struck, and the rock immediately turned into loose sand. In another version, Al-Bara’ Radiallahu anhoo said: On the Day of Al Khandaq (the trench) there stood out a rock too immune for our spades to break up. We therefore went to

see Allâh’s Messenger ﷺfor advice. He took the spade, and said: “In the Name of Allâh” Then he struck it saying: “Allâh is Most Great, I have been given the keys of Ash-Sham (Greater Syria). By Allâh, I can see its red palaces at the moment;” on the second strike he said: “Allâh is Most Great, I have been given Persia. By Allâh, I can now see the white palace of Madain;” and for the third time he struck the rock saying: “In the Name of Allâh,” shattering the rest of the rock, and he said: “Allâh is Most Great, I have been given the keys of Yemen. By Allâh, I can see the gates of San’a while I am in my place.”. As-Sunan Al-Kubra by An-Nasa’i 8858 and Ahmad in his Musnad 4/303

Ibn Ishaq reported similar to this from Salman Al Farsi Radiallahu anhoo. Ibn Hisham 2/119

The northern part of Madinah was the most at risk, all the other sides being surrounded by mountains, rocks, and palm tree orchards, the Prophet ﷺ a skillful military expert, understood that the Confederates would march in that direction, so he ordered that the trench be on that side. The Muslims went on digging the trench for several days; they worked on it during the day, and would go back home in the evening until it had assumed its full dimensions. 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.Three thousand Muslims, with Prophet ﷺ at their head. came out to encounter the idolaters, with Allâh’s Promise of victory deeply established in their minds. They established themselves at the mountain of Sila’ 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 trick unknown in Arabia before, standing as an obstinate obstruction Consequently they decided to lay siege to Madinah and began to check around the trench trying hard to find a weak spot through which they could get into Madinah. To deter their enemies from approaching or bridging any gap in their defenses, the Muslims hurled arrows, and engaged in clashes with them.

A man from the enemy side called Amr bin Abdawud who was known for his strength, courage and art of fighting managed to get across the ditch. All the Muslims were terrified to fight him and only Hazrat Ali (A.S) came forward to fight this man. There was a fierce fight until at last Imam Ali (AS) threw Amr down onto the ground and mounted his chest ready to kill him. Just as Imam Ali (AS) was about to kill this enemy of Islam, he spit on the face of our Imam (AS). Everybody was certain that because of this insult, Amr would meet his death even faster still, but to their amazement, Imam Ali (AS) moved from Amr’s chest and walked away. Amr attacked Imam (AS) again and after a short while, Imam (AS) again overpowered Amr and killed him. After the battle was over people asked Imam Ali (AS) the reason why he had spared Amr’s life when he had first overpowered him. To which Imam (AS) replied that if he had killed him then it would have not been only for the sake of Allah but also for the satisfaction of his anger and so he let him free. Then Imam (AS) controlled his anger and killed Amr purely for the sake of Allah.

However, some days later, the polytheists conducted fresh desperate attempts but all of them failed due to the steadfastness and heroic confrontation of the Muslims.

It is clear that 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 Radiallahu anhoo was shot by an arrow that pierced his artery. Perceiving his end approaching, he invoked Allâh saying: “O Allâh, You know nothing is closer to my heart than striving in Your way against those people (disbelievers) who belied Your Messenger and exiled him. O 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 ceased, I beg you to bleed it again so that I may die in it.’ He concluded his supplication begging Allâh not to let him die until he had had full revenge on Banu Quraizah.

According to Ibn Ishaq, Safiyah Radiallahu anhoo daughter of Hazrat ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo happened to be in a fort with Hassan bin Thabit as well as some women and children. Safiyah Radiallahu anhoo said: A Jew was spotted moving suspiciously around our site, which was vulnerable to any enemy attacks because there were no men to defend it due to the fighting with Banu Quraizah making a barrier between us and Allâh’s Messengerﷺ . And there was no one between us and them to defend us while Allâh’s Messengerﷺ and the Muslims were engaging their enemies, and they were not able to leave them at all. I said, ‘O Hassan! This Jew is moving around the area as you see. By Allâh! We are in danger of the Jew seeing us unprotected from behind.

and Allâh’s Messengerﷺ and his Companions are too busy for us, so get down there and kill him.’ He said, ‘By Allâh! You know that I am not suitable for it.’ So, I got ready and took a tent-post then descended from the fort to him, beating him with the post until I killed him. Then I returned to the fort. I said, ‘O Hassan, get down there and take his armor, for I was only prevented from doing so because he is a man.’ He replied, ‘I do not need any armor. 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. On hearing this bad news, the Messenger the dispatched four Muslim prominent leaders Sa’d bin Mu’adh, Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah, “Abdullah bin Rawahah and Khawat bin Jubair Radiallahu anhoo for investigation but warned them against spreading panic among the Muslims and he advised that they should declare in public that the rumors 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 Prophet ﷺ. Prophet ﷺ was briefed on this situation, and the Muslims understood their critical position.Nabi Pak ﷺ sent some fighters back to Madinah to guard them against any surprise assault by the enemy.

.A man from the tribe of Ghatafan called Nu’aim bin Mas’ud came to Allâh’s Messengerﷺ and declared that he had embraced Islam secretly and asked the Prophet ﷺto order him do anything that might benefit the Muslims. The Prophetﷺ asked him to do anything that could help the Muslims in the present distress . The man shuttled between the Jews, the Quraish and the tribe of Ghatafan, and managed to incite each party to let the other down. He went to see the chiefs of Banu Quraizah and whispered in their ears not to trust the Quraish nor fight along with them unless the latter promised to give them some captives. He tried to lend support to his counsel by claiming that the Quraish would turn away from them if they perceived that victory over Prophet ﷺ was not possible, and the Muslims then target them for revenge Nu’aim it, then headed for the camp of Quraish and said something else for similar results. He claimed that he felt the Jews regretted breaching their covenant with Prophet ﷺ 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. Nu’aim then encouraged the Quraish not to send hostages to the Jews. As a third task, he did the same with the people of Ghatafan

On Saturday night, Shawwal 5 A.H., both the Quraish and the Ghatafan dispatched messages to the Jews pressing them to go into war against Nabi Pakﷺ The Jews sent back messages that they would not fight on Saturday. They added that they needed hostages from them to guarantee their steadiness. On receiving the replies, the Quraish and the Ghatafan came to believe Nu’aim’s warning. Therefore, they sent a message to the Jews again inviting them to war and asking them to exclude that condition of hostages. Nu’aim’s scheme proved successful, and a state of distrust and suspicion among the disbelieving allies prevailed and reduced their morale to a considerable degree. Meanwhile, the Muslims were preoccupied supplicating their Allah to protect their homes and provide security for their families. Nabi Pakﷺ on his part invoked Allâh’s wrath on the Confederates . Forces of nature wind, rain and cold wearied them, tents were blown down, cooking vessels and other equipment overthrown. That very cold night Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ dispatched Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman Radiallahu anhoo 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.

The battle of the Trench took place in the fifth year Al-Hijra. The siege of Madinah started in Shawwal and ended in Dhul-Qaidah i.e., it lasted for over a month. It was in fact a battle of nerves rather than of losses. 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 budding Isla

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