The Invasion of Tabuk (In Rajab, in the Year 9 A.H.)
The invasion and conquest of Makkah was considered a decisive one between truth and falsehood. People started to embrace Islam, the religion of Allâh, in great numbers. This is manifest clearly in the chapter – It can also be deduced from the enormous number of people who shared in the Farewell Pilgrimage. All domestic troubles came to an end. The Muslims eventually felt at ease and started setting up the teachings of Allâh’s Laws and intensifying the Call to Islam.
The underlying Reasons
Byzantine power, which was considered the greatest military force on earth at that time, showed an unjustifiable opposition towards the Muslims. As we have already mentioned, their opposition started with the killing of the ambassador of Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ Al-Harith bin ‘Umair Al-Azdi, by Shurahbil bin ‘Amr Al-Ghassani. The ambassador was then carrying a message from the Prophetﷺ to the ruler of Busra. We have also stated that the Prophetﷺ consequently dispatched a brigade under the command of Zaid bin Harithah who had a fierce fight against the Byzantines at Mu’tah. Although Muslim forces could not have revenge on those arrogant and proud tyrants, the confrontation itself had a great impression on the Arabs. all over Arabia,
Caesar could neither ignore the great benefit that Mu’tah Battle had brought to Muslims nor disregard the Arab tribes’ expectations of independence and their hopes of getting free from his influence and reign nor their alliance to the Muslims. Realizing all that, Caesar was aware of the progressive danger threatening his borders, especially the fronts in Greater Syria that were
neighboring the Arab lands. So, he concluded that demolition of the Muslims’ power had grown an urgent necessity. This decision of his should. in his opinion, be achieved before the Muslims become too powerful to conquer, and raise troubles and unrest in the adjacent Arab territories.
To meet these urgent requirements, Caesar gathered a huge army of the Byzantines and pro-Roman Ghassanide tribes to launch a decisive bloody battle against the Muslims.
General News about the Byzantines and Ghassanide Preparations for War
No sooner than the news about the Byzantine’s preparations for a decisive invasion against Muslims had reached Madinah, fear spread among them. They started to think about the Byzantine invasion in the least event they heard of.
another version, ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo said, “We talked about the
Ghassanide preparations to invade us. When it was his turn to convey the news to me, he went down and returned in the evening. He knocked at the door violently and said, ‘Is he sleeping?’ I was terrified but I went out to meet him. ‘Something serious had taken place.’ He said. ‘Have the Ghassanides arrived?” said I. ‘No,’ he said, ‘it is greater and more serious Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ has divorced his wives.’
This state of too much paranoia clearly shows the seriousness of the situation that Muslims began to experience. The seriousness of the situation was confirmed to a large degree by the hypocrites behavior, when news about the Byzantines’ preparations reached Madinah. The fact that Allâh’s Messengerﷺ than won all the battles he fought, and that no power on earth could make him terrified, and that he had always proved to be able to overcome all the obstacles that stood in his way – did not prevent the hypocrites. who concealed evil in their hearts, from expecting an affliction to fall upon the Muslims and Islam.
They used to hide evil and ill-intentions against the whole process of Islam and the Muslims. On grounds of false hopes of destroying this great religious structure, they erected a source of conspiracy and intrigue in the form of a mosque – Masjid Dirar (the mosque of harm). They approached the Prophetﷺ with the request that he should come and bless the place by praying in it himself. As he was at the moment about to start for Tabuk, he delayed the fulfillment of their request till his return. Meanwhile he came to know through Divine Revelation that it was not a Mosque for devotion and prayer, but a meeting place for antiIslamic elements. On his return, therefore, the Prophet hie sent a party to demolish the new structure.
Particular News about the Byzantine and Ghassanide Preparations for War
A magnified image of the prominent danger threatening the
Muslims’ life was carried to them by the Nabateans who brought cooking oil from Ash-Sham to Madinah. They carried news about Heraclius preparations and equipment of an enormous army numbering over fort thousand fighters besides Lakhm. Judham and other tribes allied to the Byzantines. They said that its advance force had already reached Al-Balqa’. Thus was the grave situation standing in ambush for the Muslims. The general situation was aggravated seriously by other adverse factors of too much hot weather, drought and the rough and rugged distance they had to cover in case they decided to encounter the imminent danger
The Messenger of Allâh’s ﷺ concept and estimation of the situation and its development was more precise and accurate than all others. He thought that if he delayed or dealt passively with the situation in such a way that might enable the Byzantines to pass through the Islamic controlled provinces or to go as far as Madinah, this would – in these circumstances – leave the most awful impression on Islam as well as on the Muslims’ military credibility.
The pre-Islamic beliefs and traditions (Al-Jahiliyah) which were at that time dying because of the strong decisive blow that they had already had at Hunain, could have had a way to come back to life once again in such an environment. The hypocrites were conspiring against the Muslims so that they might stab them in the back whereas Byzantines would attack them from the front line such a thing came to light and they succeeded in their evil attempts, the Prophetﷺ and his Companions’ efforts to spread Islam would collapse and their profits which were the consequences of successive and constant fights and invasions would be invalidated. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ realized all that very well. So – in spite of the hardships and drought that Muslims were suffering from — the Prophet ﷺ was determined that the Muslims should invade the Byzantines and fight a decisive battle at their own borders. He was determined not to delay at all in order to spoil any Roman attempt to approach the land of Islam. Messengerﷺ had made up his mind and took his
final decision, he ordered his Companions to get ready for war and sent for the Makkans and the other Arab tribes asking for their assistance.
Contrary to his habit of concealing his real intention of the invasion by means of declaring a false one, he announced openly his intention of meeting the Byzantines and fighting them. He cleared the situation to his people so that they would get ready and urged them to fight in the way of Allâh. On this occasion a of Surat Bara’ah (Chapter 9 – The Repentance) was sent down by Allâh, urging them to steadfastness and stamina.
On the other hand. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ than cherished them to pay charities and to spend the best of their fortunes in the way of Allâh.
No sooner than the Muslims had heard the voice of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ calling them to fight the Byzantines, they rushed to comply with his orders. With great speed they started getting ready for war. Tribes and groups from here and there began pouring in Madinah. Almost all the Muslims responded positively. Only those desired to stay behind who had weakness at their hearts, except three people who had true Faith but did not participate in the invasion. Even the needy and the poor who could not afford a ride came to Allâh’s Messenger asking for one so that they would be able to share in the fight against the Byzantines. But when he said:
“..,’I can find no mounts for you,’ they turned back with their eyes overflowing with tears of grief that they could not find anything to spend (for Jihad).” [9:92]
The Muslims raced to give from their wealth and property to support this invasion. ‘Uthman cities, for instance, who had prepared two hundred saddled camels to travel to Ash-Sham. presented them all with two hundred ounces (of gold) as charity. Then he brought one hundred saddled camels. He also brought a
thousand dinars and cast them all into the lap of Allâh’s Messengersﷺ who tured them over and said: “From this day on nothing will harm ‘Uthman regardless of what he does. Again and again ‘Uthman gave till his charity reached nine hundred camels and a hundred horses, besides the money he paid.
‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf . for his part, paid two hundred ounces of silver, whereas Abu Bakr a paid all of the wealth he had leaving himself with nothing but Allâh and His Messengerﷺ as a fortune for his family. ‘Umar paid half his wealth. Al”Abbas • gifted a lot of money. Talhah, Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah and Muhammad bin Maslamah also gave money for the welfare of the invasion. ‘Asim bin ‘Adis, on his turn, offered ninety camelburdens of dates. People raced to pay as little or as much as they could. One of them gave the only half kilo of dates (or the only kilo) he owned. Women shared in this competition by giving the things they owned: such as musk, armlets, anklets, earrings and rings. No one abstained from spending except the hypocrites
“Those who defame such of the believers who give charity (in Allâh’s cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in Allâh’s cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers).” [9:79]
The Muslim Army is leaving for Tabuk
Upon accomplishing the equipment of the army. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ ordained that Muhammad bin Maslamah AlAnsari # should be appointed over Madinah in another version Siba’ bin ‘Urfutah . To Ha zat Ali bin Abu Talib AlaihisSalam he entrusted his family’s safety and affairs and ordered him to stay with them.
he followed Nabi Pak ﷺ and caught up with him.
But the Prophetﷺ ‘Ali AlahisSalam turn back to Madinah after saying: “Would it not suffice you to be my successor in the way that Aaron (Harun) was to Moses?” Then he moved saying: “But no Prophet succeeds me.”
On Thursday. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ marched northwards to Tabuk. The army that numbered thirty thousand fighters, was a great one, when compared with the previous armies of Islam. Muslims had never marched with such a great number before.
Despite all the gifts of wealth and mounts, the army was not perfectly equipped. The shortage of provisions and mounts was so serious that eighteen men mounted one camel alternatively.
As for provisions, members of the army at times had to eat the leaves of trees till their lips got swollen. Some others had to slaughter camels – though they were so dear – so that they could have some liquids; that is why that army was called ‘The army of distress’.
On their way to Tabuk, the army of Islam passed by Al-Hijr – which was the native land of Thamud who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley; that is Al-Qura Valley of today.
They watered from its well but later Allâh’s Messengerﷺ told them not to drink of that water, nor perform the ablution with it. The dough they made, he asked them to feed their camels with. He forbade them to eat anything whatsoever of it. As an alternative, he told them to water from that well which Prophet Salih’s she-camel used to water from.
On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar : Upon passing by Al-Hijr the Prophetﷺ said:
“Do not enter the houses of those who erred themselves lest what had happened to them would afflict you, but if you had to do such a thing, let it be associated with weeping.”
Then he raised his head up and accelerated his strides till he passed the valley out.
Shortage of water and the army’s need to it made them complain to Allah’s Messengers ﷺ about that. So he supplicated Allâh. Who sent a cloud. It rained and so all people drank and supplied themselves with their need of water.
When they drew near Tabuk, the Prophet ﷺsaid: “If Allâh wills, tomorrow you will arrive at the spring of Tabuk. You will not get there before daytime. So whoever reaches it, should not touch its water; but wait till i come.” Mu’ad Radiallahu anhoo said: “When we reached the spring, it gushed forth some water. We found that two men had already preceded us to it. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ asked them: “Have you touched its water?’ They replied: ‘Yes’. He said what Allâh inspired him to say, then he scooped up a little water of that spring. a thin stream which gathered together, he washed his face and hand with it and poured it back into it: consequently plenty of water spouted out of it so the people could have water. ‘Mu’adh.’ said the Messenger of Allâhﷺ . ‘if you live long life, you will see fields full of vegetation here.”
On the way to Tabuk, or as soon as they reached Tabuk, Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ said: “Severe wind will blow tonight, so none of you should stand up. . Whoever has a camel should tie it up.” Later on when the strong wind blew, one of the men stood up and the wind carried him away to Tai’ Mountain.
All the way along Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ
was intent on the performance of the combined prayers of Noon and the Afternoon and so did he with Evening and Night prayers.