THE BATTLE OF KHANDAQ
The externed Jews of Madina and its outskirts had now openly joined hands with Abu Sufian to attack
the Muslims again. While fleeing from Ohad, Abu Sufian had vowed to come back to take revenge.
Prominent leaders of Bani Nazeer like Hai Bin Akhtab, Salam Bin Mushkam and Kinana Bin Alhaqiq
came to Mecca, and met Abu Sufian who was already preparing for another war. With the help of Bani
Guffan, Bani Asad and other mighty clans from the neighbouring areas, they raised an army of four
thousand soldiers. The flag was decorated at Darun Nadva and given to Asma son of Talha Bin Talha.
The general command was with Abu Sufian. As the army was marching towards Madina other tribes too
joined them making an unformidable force of ten thousand soldiers. Four men of Bani Khaza-a
immediately rushed to Madina and informed the Prophet (S.A.W) about the coming attack. The Prophet
(S.A.W) could collect only three thousand people in this short-period and came out of the city to face
them. He pitched his tents at the foot of Mount Sara. The women and children were put in safer places
inside the city.
When the Muslims in the battlefield learned that Abu Sufian is coming with a force of ten thousand
soldiers they became panicky and wanted to leave the battlefield. Many of them wanted to go home to
protect their wives and children knowing fully well that they are not in danger. The Prophet (S.A.W)
unmoved by these desertions ordered his men to dig trenches, and himself led the digging, and within
seven days completed the entire task. The army of Abu Sufian on seeing the trenches were shocked.
Because the idea of digging trenches was unheard of in Arabia. Unable to attack the Muslims, he
ordered to lay a siege and wait.
The Muslims who were over tired with digging of trenches in extremely cold weather and cold wind
blowing and without proper food, shelter and sleep had to stand in the open to face the showers of
arrows from the enemies. Then the fear of attack at any moment by ten thousand well-equipped and
much superior soldiers loomed large on their heads. A whole month passed in this atmosphere making
the Muslims more demoralized. On that they got the news from Madina that Bani Quraiza (a Jewish
tribe) with whom the Muslims had a peace pact had joined the forces of Abu Sufian. This endangered
the lives of the families of the Muslims, who were left behind with no male to look after them.
The Prophet (S.A.W) in the mid of the night came to his people and asked as to who can go to the
enemies and bring some news of their movements. But none came forward. The Prophet (S.A.W) then
asked Abu Bakr directly to get some news of the enemies, but Abu Bakr excusing himself refused. The
Prophet (S.A.W) then asked Umar to do the needful but he too refused. The Prophet (S.A.W) then asked
Hozaifah who immediately went. [Tafseer Durrul Mansur Vol 5 page 185]. Suddenly Amr Ibne Abdawood
along with Akrama son of Abu Jahal, Abdulla Ibne Abu Mogheera, Zarrar Ibne Khattab, Nofil Ibne
Abdulla with two others crossed the trenches and stood before the Muslims challenging them.
Amr Ibne Abdawood was so famous for his bravery, valour and courage that his strength was
compared to the strength of one thousand people. The terror of his personality had so frightened some
of the Muslims that according to Quran, “Their hearts were petrified and were beating so violently that
they were thinking of running away.” They were so shocked and stunned by his presence that they
became motionless as if birds were sitting on their heads. From the entire Muslim army Ali (A.S.) was
the only person to accept their challenge. But the Prophet (S.A.W) did not allow Ali (A.S.) to have a bout
with Amr and ordered him to go back to his position, reminding Ali (A.S.) that he was Amr Ibne
Abdawood. Amr again repeated his challenge and again it was only Ali (A.S.) to answer his challenge.
The Prophet (S.A.W) again ordered Ali (A.S.) back to his position. When Amr challenged the Muslims
for the third time and again no Muslim went forward to accept the challenge, Ali (A.S.) came out from
his position to face him. The Prophet (S.A.W) again reminded Ali (A.S.) that he is Amr Ibne Abdawood.
Ali (A.S.) in reply said, “Yes I know he is Amr Ibne Abdawood.” The Prophet (S.A.W) then granting
permission to fight Amr tied a turban on Ali (A.S.)’s head (Ali (A.S.) generally went to fight bareheaded)
and gave the famous sword Zulfiqar. As Ali (A.S.) proceeded towards Amr the Prophet (S.A.W) raised
his hands and prayed, “O Allah you took away Obaida Bin Harris from me on the day of Badr, Hamza on
file:///D|/books/Ali/chap18.htm (1 of 3) [8/8/2000 4:14:36 AM]
the day of Ohad, and now it is Ali (A.S.), my brother and my uncle’s son who is left with me. Protect him
O Lord as I have given him under your protection. O Allah don’t leave me alone as You are The Best
Protector.” Then pointing his finger towards Ali (A.S.) he said, “Here goes the embodiment of faith to
face the infidel.” Some of the Muslims were so sure of Ali (A.S.)’s death that they came down some
distance near Ali (A.S.) to have a last view. Ali (A.S.) walked upto Amr and stood in front of him.
Amr : Who are you?
Ali (A.S.) : I am Ali.
Amr : Who’s son?
Ali (A.S.) : Grandson of Abde Munaf, son of Abu Talib.
Amr : Nephew, you better go back and send some of your uncles who are stronger than you. I
don’t want to shed your blood as your father was my friend.
Ali (A.S.) : But By Allah I will not be sorry to shed your blood. Therefore I request you to embrace
Amr : This is not possible.
Ali (A.S.) : Then go away from here.
Amr : I will not be able to bear the taunts of the ladies of Quraish.
Ali (A.S.) : Then fight with me.
Amr laughed and said, “I never expected anyone under the sky who would challenge me.”
Then getting down from his horse, as Ali (A.S.) was on foot, he cut the legs of his horse in anger and
attacked Ali (A.S.) with a quick blow of his sword. Ali (A.S.) took the blow on his shield, but it was so
severe that he got a cut on his forehead. Then Ali (A.S.)’s attack was so instant and so quick that his
sword cut Amr’s shoulders and went right down. Amr fell dead and Ali (A.S.) cried Allah-o-Akbar (God
is Greatest). Then severing his head Ali (A.S.) brought it before the Prophet (S.A.W) and laid it on his
feet. The Prophet (S.A.W) received Ali (A.S.) with joy and said, “Ali (A.S.)’s one stroke at Khandaq is
superior to the devotional prayers of both the worlds.”
Abu Bakr and Umar were so happy to see Amr killed that both of them rushed to receive Ali (A.S.) and
kissed his forehead. Ali (A.S.) then returned to finish the remaining members of Amr’s gang, but by
then they had fled and were crossing the trenches. Ali (A.S.) caught them and finished them.
Shah Abdul Haq Muhaddis Dehlavi writing on the fight of Ali (A.S.) at Khandaq has quoted a tradition of
the Prophet (S.A.W), “Ali (A.S.)’s fight at Khandaq is equal to the sacrifices my entire nation will do till
the Day of Judgement.”
The death of Amr shocked the enemies and shattered their hopes of wiping out the Muslims. They were
now a miserable lot not knowing what to do. Then suddenly the weather changed and a fierce cold wind
started blowing from the sea. For three days and nights nobody could hold their shelters nor light a
fire. Abu Sufian was so disgusted with the whole atmosphere that he raised the siege and went away.
Seeing the Quraish retreating the members of Bani Guftan too went away. When Amr’s sister came to
the battlefield to see her brother’s corpse she was surprised to see that Ali (A.S.) had not removed a
single thing from Amr’s body (it was a custom among Arabs to take away all the belongings of the
deceased including the clothes) praising Ali (A.S.) she said, “Whoever has killed my brother belongs to
a noble family.” Then she composed a verse in praise of Ali (A.S.) which says, “If anyone other than Ali
had killed my brother I would have wept my whole life over the infamy. But now I will not cry.”
In all the three wars of Badr, Ohad and Khandaq, Ali (A.S.) alone had killed seventy persons, all of
file:///D|/books/Ali/chap18.htm (2 of 3) [8/8/2000 4:14:36 AM]
whom were either the heads of some clan or a famous warrior of Arabia.
After returning from the battlefield the Prophet (S.A.W) sent some three thousand men under the
command of Ali (A.S.) to punish the tribe of Bani Quraiza who had broken the pledge with the Muslims
and had supported Abu Sufian, just when the Muslims were besieged by him. Ali (A.S.) went straight to
their fort and fixed his flag on their gate. An observer from their fort who recognized Ali (A.S.) cried,
“The killer of Amr Ibne Abdawood has come”, another voice answered, “He has not killed Amr but
broken our backs” and some were cursing the Prophet (S.A.W). Ali (A.S.) in answer to their curses and
cries said, “By Allah either will I conquer your fort or die and meet my uncle Hamza.” The Jews then
came out of the fort to fight with Ali (A.S.) and his men. Ali (A.S.) fought and killed all their leaders. The
Prophet (S.A.W) ordered to kill Hai Ibne Akhtab also who had instigated the Jews not to leave Madina.
When Ali (A.S.) went near Hai he said, “I am happy to be killed by a noble man like you.” Ali (A.S.)
replied,”Yes only noble people kill bad men and bad men harass noble people.”
The fate of the Jewish tribes of Bani Nazeer and Bani Quraiza had dampened the hopes of the Jewish
tribes of Khaiber who were nursing the idea of regaining the hold of Madina. Finding themselves unable
to achieve this goal they instigated Bani Saad to Fadak near Khaiber to challenge the Muslims. The
Prophet (S.A.W) on getting the news sent Ali (A.S.) with a hundred people to probe the situation. Ali
(A.S.) travelled only during the night and hiding himself during the day reached a homage a place
between Fadak and Khaiber. There he met an emissary of Bani Saad who was going to deliver some
message to the Jews of Khaiber. On questioning, he confessed that he was going to inform them that
two hundred men were ready with their arms to attack the Muslims. Ali (A.S.) immediately rushed to
finish those people but they had received the news of Ali (A.S.)’s coming and had fled, leaving behind
fifty camels and two thousand goats. Ali (A.S.) brought them and presented them to the Prophet
THE BATTLE OF KHANDAQ