The Life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
THE BATTLES OF THE PROPHET
Hardly had the Prophet (ﷺ) settled in Madeenah when the battles began between him and Quraysh with their allies among the Arab tribes. It is the convention among Muslim historians to call every battle between the Muslims and the mushrikeen, at which the Prophet (ﷺ) himself was present, a ghazwah (military expedition), and every skirmish between the two sides, at which the Messenger (ﷺ) was not present, a sariyah (raiding party). The number of battles at which the Prophet (ﷺ) was present was twenty-six, and the number of raiding parties he sent out was thirty-eight. Here we will discuss only the most famous of his battles, the number of which is eleven.
1. The Battle of Badr
This battle took place on the 17th of Ramadaan 2 AH. The reason for it was that the Prophet (ﷺ) had gone out with some of his Companions to intercept a Quraysh caravan that was returning from Syria to Makkah. He did not want to fight, but the caravan, which was led by Abu Sufyaan, escaped after sending word to Quraysh to mobilize troops to protect the caravan. So Quraysh sent out approximately one thousand fighters, including six hundred men in armour and one hundred horsemen in armour in addition to the infantry who wore armour. There were also seven hundred camels, and singers beating drums and singing songs insulting the Muslims. The Muslim army numbered three hundred and thirteen or fourteen men, most of whom were from among the Ansaar. They had with them seventy camels and only two or three horses. Small groups took it in turns to ride the camels. Before battle was joined, the Prophet wanted to consult his Companions, especially the Ansaar, about engaging in battle. The Muhaajiroon were in favour of fighting, and spoke well. Then the Ansaar realized that he was waiting for them to speak, so Sa' d ibn Mu’ aadh, who was the leader of the Ansaar, said:
“O' Messenger of Allah, we believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you. By Allah, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you, and not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting your enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, trustworthy in combat. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah ' s blessing.”
Others said likewise, and the Messenger was delighted at that. Then he said,
"Forward with the blessings of Allah, and be of good cheer, for Allah has promised me one of the two parties, either the caravan or the army. "
Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went on until he reached the closest water to Badr and camped there. Al-Hubaab ibn al-Mundhir said to him,
“O’ Messenger of Allah, is this a place that Allah has ordered you to occupy, so that we can neither advance nor withdraw from it, or is it a matter of opinion and military tactics?"
The Messenger (ﷺ ) replied,
"Rather, it is a matter of opinion and military tactics."
Al-Hubaab pointed out that it would be better to go on to another place that was more suitable and where the Muslims would be better able to cut off the water supply of Badr from the mushrikeen. So the Messenger and his Companions got up and went to the place that Al-Hubaab had suggested. They established themselves there, then Sa'd ibn Mu'aadh suggested that a hut be built for the Messenger behind the Muslim ranks, then if Allah granted them victory, that would be what he wanted, but if the outcome were otherwise, he would be able to mount his camel and go back to the people in Madeenah. Sa ' d said to him: "O Prophet ofAllah, there are people who have stayed behind, and who are just as deeply attached to you as we are. If they thought that you would be fighting, they would not have stayed behind. "The Prophet (ﷺ) prayed for him, and issued commands that a hut be built. When the two groups met, the Messenger (ﷺ ) started to straighten the Muslim ranks, encouraging them to fight and to seek martyrdom. He said,
"By the One in Whose hand is my soul, no man will fight and be killed today, bearing that with patience and seeking reward, advancing and not retreating, but Allah will admit him to Paradise."
Then he went back to the hut, accompanied by Abu Bakr, and guarded by Sa ' d ibn Mu'aadh wielding his sword. The Prophet (ﷺ) started to pray, and among his supplications (du ' aa s) were the words:
" O' Allah, I beseech You to fulfill Your promise. O' Allah, if this band (the believers who were fighting) are destroyed, You will not be worshipped on earth."
He prostrated for a long time, until Abu Bakr said, "Enough; Allah will fulfil His promise. " Then the fighting grew intense, and the battle ended in victory for the Muslims. Nearly seventy of the mushrikeen were killed, including the worst of them, Abu Jahl and some of their leaders, and nearly seventy of them were taken pisoners. The Prophet ordered that the dead should be buied, then he returned to Madeenah and consulted his Companions as to what should be done with the prisoners. ' Umar suggested killing them, but Abu Bakr suggested ransoming them. The Messenger accepted Abu Bakr's suggestion, and the mushrikoon ransomed their people in return for money.
Some verses of the Qur'an were revealed concerning the Battle of Badr. Allah says in Soorat Aal Imraan:
"And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force. So fear Allah much that you may be grateful. [Remember] when you [Muhammad] said to the believers, 'Is it not enough for you that your Lord [Allah] should help you with three thousand angels sent down? Yes, if you hold on to patience and piety, and the enemy comes rushing at you; your Lord will help you with Jive thousand angels having marks [of distinction].' Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. That He might cut off a part of those who disbelieve, or expose them to infamy, so that they retire frustrated " (Qur'an 3: 123-127)
And He (سبحانه و تعالى) sent down a rebuke to the Prophet (ﷺ) for accepting the ransom of the prisoners:
"It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war [and free them with ransom] until he had made a great slaughter [among his enemies] in the land. You desire the good of this world [i.e. the money of ransom for freeing the captives], but Allah desires [for you] the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took. "(Quran 8: 67-68)
2. The Battle of Uhud
This battle took place on Saturday 15th Shawwaal 3 AH. The reason for it was that Quraysh wanted to exact revenge for the Battle of Badr, so they kept on preparing until they were ready to attack the Prophet (ﷺ) in Madeenah. Then they set out with three thousand fighters, apart from the Ahaabeesh5; among them there were seven hundred men in armour and two hundred horsemen. They were accompanied by seventeen women, including Hind bint ' Utbah the wife of Abu Sufyaan, whose father had been killed on the day of Badr. They travelled on until they reached the bottom of the valley in front
5 They were named after a mountain outside of Makkah that was called Hubaysh, and they were allies of Quraysh.
of Uhud (which is a high mountain two miles to the north of Madeenah), facing Madeenah. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and some of the Sahaabah thought that the Muslims should not go out to meet them, rather they should stay in Madeenah, then if the mushrikoon attacked them, they could repel them. But some of the young Muslims and some of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar - especially those who had not been present at Badr and had not had the honour of fighting on that day -were eager to go out and confront them where they were. The Messenger (ﷺ) agreed with their opinion, and he went into his house and put on his armour, put his shield on his back and picked up his spear, then he went out to the Muslims with his sword by his side. Then those who had suggested going out regretted having been the reason that he changed his mind, and they said to the Messenger (ﷺ),
"We had no right to differ with you; do what you want, or stay here if you want. "
The Messenger replied by saying,
"It is not befitting for a Prophet, once he has put on his armour, to lay it aside until Allah decides between him and his enemy."
Then he went out, accompanied by the Muslims, with approximately one thousand troops among whom were one hundred armoured men and horsemen.
When the Muslims gathered to go out, the Messenger saw a group of Jews who wanted to go out with 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool, the leader of the hypocrites, willing to go out with the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah said:
"Have they become Muslims?" They said, "No, O’ Messenger of Allah." He said, "Tell them to go back, for we do not seek the help of mushrikeen against mushrikeen"
Halfway there, Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool forsook the Muslims, taking with him three hundred of the hypocrites, leaving the Muslims only seven hundred men. The Prophet continued until he came to the plain of Uhud, where he took up a position with his back to the mountains, facing the mushrikeen. He drew his army up into ranks, and appointed a leader for every group. He chose fifty archers, led by Abdullah ibn Jubayr al-Ansaari, to guard the Muslims ' backs against the mushrikeen sneaking up behind them, and he said to them:
"Guard our backs lest they attack us from behind; shoot arrows at them because horses cannot put up with arrows. We should continue to have the upper hand so long as you stay in your positions. O' Allah, bear witness over them. "
According to another report, he said,
"Even if you see birds snatching us, do not leave your place here until I send for you. Even if you see us defeating the people, or that we have prevailed and they are dead, do not leave your places until I send for you. "
Then the battle commenced, and Allah granted the Muslims victory over their enemies, and they killed several of them. Then the enemy turned and fled, and the Muslims were distracted by the booty which they found in the mushrik camp. The archers who were behind them saw that and said, "What are we doing here when Allah has granted victory to His Messenger? " Then they decided to leave their positions in order to get a share of the booty. Their leader ' Abdullah ibn Jubayr reminded them of the Prophet's command, but they replied that the battle had ended so there was no need to stay where they were. 'Abdullah and ten others refused to leave their positions. Khaalid ibn al-Waleed, who was leading the right flank of the mushrik army, saw that the Muslims ' back was no longer being defended by the archers, so he attacked them from behind, and the Muslims did not realize until the swords were slashing them here and90 The Battles of the Prophet there. Confusion overwhelmed them and it was rumoured that the Messenger (ﷺ) had been killed. Some of them fled back to Madeenah, and the mushrikeen managed to reach the Messenger. He was struck with rocks and fell unconscious. His face and knees were cut, his lower lip was injured and his helmet was broken on his head. Two circles of chain mail pierced his cheek. The mushrikoon swarmed around the Messenger, seeking to kill him, but he stood firm, and a group of the believers stood firm with him, among whom was Abu Dujaanah who turned himself into a shield, protecting the Messenger from the arrows of the mushrikeen with his own body, with arrows raining down on his back. Another of them was Sa' d ibn Abi Waqqaas, who shot almost one thousand arrows that day. Another of them was Nusaybah Umm 'Ammaarah al-Ansaariyah, who stopped taking water to the wounded and started to fight with a sword and shooting arrows to defend the Messenger of Allah, until she received a deep wound in her neck. Her husband and two sons were with her, and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to them, "What a family, may Allah bless you." Nusaybah said to him, "Pray to Allah that we will be with you in Paradise." He said, "O' Allah, cause them to be with me in Paradise." Later on Nusaybah (ؓ) said: "I do not care what happens to me in this world. " The Prophet said concerning her, "Wherever I looked on the day of Uhud, to the right and the left, I saw her fighting for me. " She received twelve wounds that day, from blows with spears and swords.
At the height of the battle, Ubayy ibn Khalaf tried to get near to the Prophet in order to kill him, and he swore that he would not give up until he did it. The Prophet took a spear from one of the people near him and struck him in the upper chest, which led to his death. This is the only person whom the Prophet (ﷺ) killed in all his battles.
Then the Prophet managed to stand up, leaning on the shoulder of Talhah ibn 'Ubaydullah, and he looked towards the mushrikeen. He saw a group of them on the mountain, and he sent some fighters to force them down, saying, 'They should not be above us. O' Allah, there is no strength without You." Then the battle ended. Abu Sufyaan said, gloating, "A day in return for the day of Badr."
Among those who were killed during this battle was Hamzah, the paternal uncle of the Prophet His body was mutilated by Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, who took out his liver and chewed it, but she found it tasted bitter so she spat it out. The Prophet grieved deeply when he saw what had been done to his uncle and said, "When Allah grants me victory over Quraysh in another battle, I will mutilate thirty of their men ". But after that Allah forbade mutilation of the dead.
The number of Muslims killed in this battle was almost seventy, and the number of mushrikeen killed was twenty-three. Allah revealed a number of verses concerning this battle, to console the Muslims and to point out the reason for their defeat. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) said in Soorat Aal ' Imraan:
"So do not become weak [against your enemy], nor be sad, and you will he superior [in victory] if you are indeed [true] believers. If a wound [and killing] has touched you, be sure a similar wound [and killing] has touched the others. And so are the days [good and not so good], that We give to men by turns, that Allah may test those who believe, and that He may take martyrs from among you. And Allah likes not the Zaalimeen [polytheists and wrongdoers]. And that Allah may test [or purify] the believers [from sins] and destroy the disbelievers. Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought [in His Cause] and [also] tests those who are As-Saabiroon [the patient]?"
(Qur’an 3: 139-142)
Then a few verses later, Allah says:
And Allah did indeed fulfill His Promise to you when you were killing them [your enemy] with His Permission; until [the moment] you lost your courage and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed after He showed you [of the booty] which you love. Among you are some that desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from them [your enemy], that He might test you. But surely, He forgave you, and Allah is Most Gracious to the believers. [And remember] when you ran away [dreadfully] without even casting a side glance at anyone, and the Messenger [Muhammad] was in your rear calling you back. There did Allah give you one distress after another by way of requital to teach you not to grieve for that which had escaped you, nor for that which had befallen you. And Allah is Well-Aware of all that you do." (Qur'an 3: 152-153)
3. The Battle of Banu an-Nazeer
These were some Jewish people who lived in the vicinity of Madeenah. They were allies of Khazraj and there was a peace treaty between them and the Muslims, and an agreement to cooperate, as we have stated above. But the nature of evil and betrayal is deeply rooted in the Jews, and this compelled them to break their promise. Whilst the Messenger (ﷺ) and some of his Companions were in (the land of) Banu Nazeer, and he was leaning against the wall of one of their houses, they conspired to kill him by throwing a rock from the top of the house. The Prophet realized that, so he got up quickly, as if he had suddenly remembered something, and went back to Madeenah, and his Companions joined him. Then he sent to them Muhammad ibn Maslamah, telling them to get out of his land and not live with him anymore, after they plotted what they plotted of betrayal. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) gave them ten days to leave. Banu an- Nazeer prepared to leave within this time, but 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites, sent word to them telling them not to leave, and he promised to send them two thousand of his followers to defend them. So they changed their minds about leaving and holed up in their fortresses. They sent word to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying, "We will not leave, do what you like.” So he went out to them with his Companions, and 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib was carrying the banner. When the Jews saw them, they started to shoot arrows and throw rocks at them, but the support promised by the leader of the hypocrites never came. The Prophet besieged them, but they stood94 The Battles of the Prophet firm, until he was forced to cut down their date-palm trees. At that point they said, "We will leave your land." The Prophet stipulated that they should not bring out weapons with them, but they could bring out as much of their wealth as could be carried on their camels, and their blood would be protected and not one drop of it would be shed. When they came out, they brought with them everything they could, and they destroyed their houses so that the Muslims would not be able to make use of them, and they let. Some of them settled in Khaybar, one hundred miles from Madeenah, and some settled in Jarash in southern Syria; none of them converted to Islam except two.
Soorat al-Hashr was revealed concerning this battle, in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says:
"He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the people of the Scripture [i.e. the Jews of the tribe of Banu an-Nazeer] from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think that they would get out. And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But Allah’s [Torment] reached them from a place whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O' you with eyes [to see]. And had it not been that Allah had decreed exile for them, He would certainly have punished them in this world; and in the Hereafter theirs shall he the torment of the Fire. That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad]. And whosoever opposes Allah, then verily, Allah is Severe in punishment. " (Qur 'an 59: 2-4)
4. The Battle of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates)
This battle is also known as Al-Khandaq (the Ditch). It took place in Shawwaal of 5 AH, and happened because, when Banu an-Nazeer were expelled, a number of their leaders went to Makkah and urged Quraysh to fight the Prophet and Quraysh responded. Then the Jewish leaders went to Ghatafaan, where Banu Fazaarah, Banu Murrah and Ashja' responded and set out towards Madeenah. When the Prophet heard that they had set out, he consulted his Companions, and Salmaan suggested digging a ditch around Madeenah. The Messenger issued commands that it should be dug, and he himself worked on it. When Quraysh and the confederates with them reached Madeenah, they were astounded by the ditch, for the Arabs were unfamiliar with such things. Quraysh and their allies numbered ten thousand, and the Muslims numbered three thousand. Huyay ibn Akhtab, one of the Jews who had incited Quraysh and the confederates against the Muslims, had gone to Ka ' b ibn Asad, the leader of Banu Qurayzah, and asked him to break the peace treaty with the Muslims. The Prophet thought of trying to reconcile with Banu Qurayzah by offering them one-third of the crops of Madeenah, but the Ansaar refused because they were too proud of their religion to succumb to these treacherous treaty-breakers.
The fighting started when some of the mushrik horsemen crossed a narrow part of the ditch and the Muslims skirmished with them. Then Nu'aym ibn Mas'ood ibn 'Aamir came to the Messenger and told96 The Battles of the Prophet him that he had become Muslim, and that his people did not know about his Islam; he was a friend of Banu Qurayzah and they trusted him. He said to the Messenger (ﷺ), "Tell me to do whatever you want". The Messenger said to him,
"You are only one man among us, so go and awake distrust among the enemy to draw them off us if you can, for war is deceit."
So Nu'aym used his wits until he managed to create division between Quraysh and their allies, and amongst Banu Qurayzah, making each party doubt the other. Then Allah sent upon the confederates a strong wind on a cold winter's night that upset their cooking pots and overturned their tents. The hearts of the confederates were filled with terror, so they went away the same night, and when morning came the Muslims looked and did not see anyone.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) revealed verses of His holy Book about this battle:
"O' you who believe! Remember Allah’s Favour to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not [i.e. troops of angels during the battle of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates)]. And Allah is Ever All-Seer of what you do. When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allah. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking." (Qur'an 33: 9-11)
Then Allah describes the treacherous attitude of the hypocrites and how they withdrew from the battle, after which He (سبحانه و تعالى) says, describing the Muslims:
“And when the believers saw Al-Ahzaab [the Confederates], they said: 'This is what Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] had promised us; and Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] had spoken the truth. And it only added to their Faith and to their submissiveness [to Allah]. Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah [i.e. they have gone out for Jihad (holy fighting), and showed not their backs to the disbelievers]; of them some have fulfilled their obligations [i.e. have been martyred]; and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed [i.e. they never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah] in the least. That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth [i.e. for their patience at the accomplishment of that which they covenanted with Allah], and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them [in Mercy]. Verily, Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful. And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage: they gained no advantage [booty], Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting [by sending against the disbelievers a severe wind and troops of angels]. And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All- Mighty." (Qur’an 33: 22-25)
5. The battle of Banu Qurayzah
This took place in 5 AH, following the Battle of Al-Ahzaab. After the Messenger ofAllah (سبحانه و تعالى) saw how mean-spirited and treacherous the Jews of Banu Qurayzah were, and how they had sided with Quraysh and their allies, and after he saw at the height of the battle how they broke their treaty with him, and how at the time when they were living with him, they had been plotting great evil which could have put an end to all the Muslims if the battle of Al-Ahzaab had not ended the way it did, he thought that he should punish these perfidious traitors and rid Madeenah of them, for it was the center of his jihad and call, so that they would not have another opportunity to attack their Muslim neighbours and annihilate them, as is the treacherous nature of the Jews.
Bukhari narrated from 'Aa'ishah (ؓ) that when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) returned from the battle ofAl-Khandaq and put aside his weapons and took a bath, Jibreel (Gabreal) (عليه السلام) came to him, his head covered with dust, and said, "Have you put aside your weapons? By Allah, we (the angels) have not put them aside." The Prophet said, "Where to?" He said, “This way," and he pointed towards Banu Qurayzah. 'Aa'ishah said: So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went out to them.
The Messenger ordered that the call should go out to the people saying that no one should pray Asr except in the land of Banu Qurayzah. Then he set out, with 'Ali carrying his banner. Three thousand of the Muslims had gathered, with thirty-six horses. When ' Ali came near to the fortress of Banu Qurayzah, he heard them saying offensive things about the Prophet and his wives; he told the Prophet about that, and asked him not to go near those filthy people. The Prophet replied that if they saw him they would not say such things, because he knew about their hypocritical attitude. When they saw him, they indeed spoke nicely as he had said they would. Then the Muslims began to besiege them, and the siege lasted for twenty-five days. When it became too difficult for them to bear, they agreed to accept the judgement of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He appointed Sa'd ibn Muvaadh, the leader of Aws, to pass judgement on them. Banu Qurayzah had been allies of Aws. Sa'd ruled that their warriors should be killed and their women and children taken into slavery, and that their wealth should be distributed (among the Muslims). The Messenger (ﷺ) carried out his ruling, and thus the Jewish plots and conspiracies against the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and his call were put to an end in Madeenah and the surrounding areas.
Verses of the Qur'an were revealed concerning this battle, describing the treachery of the Jews and their attempts to weaken the Muslims during the battle of Al-Ahzaab:
"And when a party of them said: ‘O' people of Yathrib [Al-Madeenah]! There is no stand [possible] for you [against the enemy attack!] Therefore go back!' And a band of them ask for permission of the Prophet saying: ' Truly, our homes lie open [to the enemy]. 'And they lay not open. They but wished to flee. And if the enemy had entered from all sides [of the city], and they had been exhorted to Al-Fitnah [i.e. to renegade from Islam to polytheism], they would surely have committed it and would have hesitated thereupon but little. And indeed they had already made a covenant with Allah not to turn their backs, and a covenant with Allah must be answered for. Say [O' Muhammad to these hypocrites who ask your permission to run away from you]: ' Flight will not avail you if you flee from death or killing and then you will enjoy no more than a little while!"' (Quran 33: 13-16)
"Say: ‘Who is he who can protect you from Allah if He intends to harm you, or intends mercy on you?' And they will not find, besides Allah, for themselves any Wali [protector, supporter] or any helper. Allah already knows those among yon who keep back [men] from fighting in Allah’s Cause, and those who say to their brethren 'Come here towards us', while they [themselves] come not to the battle except a little, Being miserly towards you [as regards help and aid in Allah's Cause]. Then when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes revolving like [those of] one over whom hovers death; but when the fear departs, they will smite you with sharp tongues, miserly towards [spending anything in any] good [and only covetous of booty and wealth]. Such have not believed. Therefore Allah makes their deeds fruitless and that is ever easy for Allah. They think that Al-Ahzaab [the Confederates] have not yet withdrawn; and if Al-Ahzaab [the Confederates] should come [again], they would wish they were in the deserts [wandering] among the bedouins, seeking news about you [from a far place]; and if they [happen] to be among you, they would not fight but little. Indeed in the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad] you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for [the Meeting with] Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much. And when the believers saw Al-Ahzaab [the Confederates], they said: ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] had promised us; and Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] had spoken the truth.' And it only added to their Faith and to their submissiveness [to Allah]. Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah [i.e. they have gone out for Jihad (holy fighting), and showed not their backs to the disbelievers]; of them some have fulfilled their obligations [i.e. have been martyred]; and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed [i.e. they never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah] in the least. That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth [i.e. for their patience at the accomplishment of that which they covenanted with Allah], and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them [in Mercy]. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage: they gained no advantage [booty]. Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting [by sending against the disbelievers a severe wind and troops of angels]. And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty. And those of the people of the Scripture who backed them [the disbelievers]. Allah brought them down from their forts and cast terror into their hearts, [so that] a group [of them] you killed, and a group [of them] you made captives. And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches, and a land which you had not trodden [before]. And Allah is Able to do all things:" (Quran 33: 17-27)
6. The Campaign of Al-Hudaybiyah
This campaign took place in Dhu'l-Qi'dah 6 AH. It happened because the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saw in a dream that he and his Companions entered the sanctuary secure, with (some) having their heads shaved and (some) having their hair cut short, having no fear (cf. Al-Fath 48: 37). So he commanded the people to get ready to go out to Makkah for ' Umrah. He did not want war with Quraysh or to engage in any fighting. So the Muhaajiroon and Ansaar went out with him, filled with longing to see the sacred House of Allah after being deprived of that for six years. Those of the Bedouin who wanted to go also went out with them. The Prophet took with him camels and sheep that are usually taken to the Ka ' bah in order to honour the House. He entered ihraam for 'Umrah at a place called Dhu'l-Hulayfah, so that the people, especially Quraysh, would know that he had no intention of fighting. The number of those who went out with him was almost fifteen hundred, and they did not bring any weapons with them except those which travellers usually carried in those days, namely sheathed swords. When he reached 'Asafaan, someone came to him and told him that Quraysh had heard of his march, and had come out ready to fight, swearing by Allah that he would never enter (Makkah) whilst they were there. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
"Woe to Quraysh, for they are consumed by war! What could they lose if they leave me and the rest of the Arabs? If they defeat me, they will have gotten what they want, and if Allah grants me victory over them, they will enter Islam without being banned; if they do not do that then they could fight me whilst they still have some power. So what do Quraysh think? By Allah, I will continue to fight in defence of that with which Allah has sent me until Allah causes it to prevail or I die in the process.”
When he reached Al-Hudaybiyah -which is a place near Makkah, between Makkah and Jeddah -some men from Khuzaa'ah came to him and asked him why he had come. He told them that he had only come to visit the Ka' bah and do 'Umrah. They went back and told them, "You are being too hasty in your judgement of Muhammad; he has not come to fight, rather he has only come to visit this House." They said, "No, by Allah, he will never enter it by force whilst we are here, and the Arabs will never talk about him in such terms.,, Then they sent 'Urwah ibn Mas'ood ath-Thaqai to speak to the Messenger about this issue. After some discussion between 'Urwah and some of the Sahaabah, he went back to Quraysh and told them what he had seen of how the Sahaabah loved and respected the Messenger ofAllah (سبحانه و تعالى), and their desire to make a deal. But Quraysh refused. Then the Prophet sent ' Uthmaan ibn 4 Affaan to the people of Makkah, to reassure them about the purpose for which the Messenger and his Companions had come. There was no news of 'Uthmaan for a long time, and rumours spread among the Muslims that he had been killed. At that point the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“We will not leave until we have a fight with the people, “
- and he called upon the Muslims to give their pledge to wage jihad and seek martyrdom for the sake of Allah. So they gave their pledge beneath one of the acacia trees there, promising not to lee, and that it was to be either a deal (with Quraysh) or martyrdom.
When Quraysh heard about this pledge, they were afraid and thought that it was better to make a deal with him, on the condition that he should go back this year, and come back next year and stay in Makkah for three days, carrying with him the weapons of the traveller, a spear and a sheathed sword. Quraysh sent Suhayl ibn ' Amr to conclude this deal. Finally a deal was reached stipulating what Quraysh wanted, and also stipulating a cessation of war between the two sides for ten years; anyone who came from Muhammad to Makkah was not to be sent back, but anyone who came to Muhammad from Makkah would be sent back. This was too much for the Muslims, and some of them argued with the Prophet (ﷺ) about these conditions. One of those who argued most vehemently was ' Umar, until the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
"I am the slave of Allah, and He will never forsake me."
Then the Messenger commanded his Companions to exit ihraam, but they did not do so because they were so upset at having been prevented from entering Makkah and at the terms of the treaty. So the Prophet himself hastened to exit ihraam. Then all the Muslims followed him. Later on, the advantages of these conditions became apparent, which were so hard for the Muslims to accept, but which the Prophet (had agreed to because of his far-sightedness and wisdom, and because the Revelation made his opinions and actions right.
Allah called this campaign a manifest victory, as He (سبحانه و تعالى) said:
"Verily, We have given you [O' Muhammad] a clear conquest. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His Favour on you, and guide you on the Straight Path, And that Allah may help you with a mighty victory." (Qur’an 48: 1-3)
Then Allah speaks of the pledge given to His Messenger (ﷺ ):
"Verily those who give Bay'ah [pledge] to you [O' Muhammad] they are giving Bay'ah [pledge] to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward." (Qur’an 48:10)
He expressed His approval of those who gave their oath of allegiance. Bay ' at ar-Ridwaan, beneath the tree:
" Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave the Bay ' ah [pledge] to you [O' Muhammad] under the tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakeenah [calmness and tranquility] upon them, and He rewarded them with an imminent conquest. " (Qur’an 48: 18)
And He spoke of the Prophet's dream which was the reason for the campaign of Al-Hudaybiyah:
"Indeed Allah shall fulfill the true vision which He showed to His Messenger [i.e. the Prophet saw a dream that he has entered Makkah along with his Companions. having their (head) hair shaved and cut short] in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter Al-Masjid al-Haraam, if Allah wills, secure, [some] having your heads shaved, and [some] having your head hair cut short, having no fear He knew what you knew not, and has arranged before that a conquest near [at hand]" Perhaps this is a reference to the Conquest ofMakkah which was one of the outcomes of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah, as we shall see below, when we examine the lessons to be learned from these events, in sha' Allah. This is followed by an affirmation that this religion will prevail and be victorious, as Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says:
" He it is Who has sent His Messenger [Muhammad] with guidance and the religion of truth [Islam], that He may make it [Islam] superior to all religions. And All- Sufficient is Allah as a Witness." (Qur'an 48: 28)
And Allah the Almighty did indeed speak the truth.
7. The Battle of Khaybar
This took place at the end of Muharram in 7 AH.
Khaybar is an oasis where the Jews lived, one hundred miles north of Madeenah in the direction of Syria. The reason for this battle was that after the Prophet (ﷺ) was no longer faced with a threat rom Quraysh, as a result of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah, he decided to solve the problem of the Jewish settlements around Madeenah, having rid Madeenah itself of the Jews. The Jews had a strong fortress in Khaybar in which there were nearly ten thousand fighters, and a plentiful supply of arms. They were evil and treacherous people who had to be dealt with before they could become a source of trouble for the Muslims in their capital, Madeenah. So the Prophet mobilized the Muslims to go out and attack them at the end of Muharram. Sixteen hundred warriors went out to attack them, including two hundred horsemen. He mobilized those around him who had been present at Al-Hudaybiyah, and they traveled until they were near the oasis of Khaybar. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) said to his Companions, “Stop!” Then he went back and said,
“O' Allah, Lord of the heavens and what they overshadow,
And Lord of the lands and what they make to grow
And Lord of the devils and what into error they throw,
And Lord of the winds and what they winnow,
We ask You for the good of this town and the good of its people and the good of what is in it, and we take refuge in You from its evil and the evil of its people and the evil that is in it. Forward in the name of Allah!”
When they reached Khaybar, the Prophet (ﷺ) stopped near one of its fortresses, called Husn an-Nataah, in which their fighters had gathered. Al-Hubaab ibn al-Mundhir suggested that he move away, because he knew the people of An-Nataah very well: they were able to shoot arrows very far with accuracy, and they were higher up than the Muslims, so their arrows would reach the Muslim ranks swiftly. Moreover they would be able to sneak up on the Muslims at night by hiding behind the many date palm trees. So the Messenger (ﷺ) and the Muslims moved to another spot, then the battle began, in which the Muslims conquered one fortress after another, apart from the last two fortresses. Their people wanted to make a deal that would spare the lives of their fighters and allow them to leave Khaybar with their women and children, each of them bringing no more than one garment with them. The Prophet agreed to these terms, and that they would forfeit the protection of Allah and His Messenger if they concealed anything. Then they let the two fortresses, and the Muslims discovered many weapons in the fortresses, and many copies of the Torah. The Jews came later and asked for them, and the Prophet ordered that these things should be returned to them. The number of Jews killed in this battle was ninety-three, and fifteen Muslims were martyred.
8. The Battle of Mu'tah
This battle took place in Jumaadah al-Oola of 8 AH. Mu'tah is a village on the border ofSyria, which is called Al-Karak nowadays. It is located to the south east of the Dead Sea. The reason for this battle was that the Messenger (ﷺ) had sent Al-Haarith ibn ' Umayr al-Azdi with a letter to the Byzantine governor of Busra, whose name was Al- Haarith ibn Abi Shamar al-Ghassaani, calling him to Islam. This was one of a number of letters that the Prophet sent to the kings of the world and rulers of the Arabs after the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah. When one of the Arab Ghassanid governors who served the Byzantine ruler came to Mu'tah, he said to him, "Where are you going? Are you one of the messengers of Muhammad? " He said, "Yes." So he tied him up and beheaded him. News of that reached the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he became very angry, for none of his other messengers had been killed. He prepared an army numbering some three thousand Muslims to go out and attack them, and appointed Zayd ibn Haarithah to lead the army. He advised them that if Zayd was killed, they were to appoint Ja'far ibn Abi Taalib as their commander; if Ja'far was killed, they were to appoint 'Abdullah ibn Rawaahah. He told Zayd to go to the place where Al-Haarith ibn ' Umayr had been killed, and to call the people there to Islam. If they responded, all well and good, otherwise they were to seek the help of Allah and fight them. He issued the following instructions to them:
“I urge you to fear Allah and to take care of the Muslims who are with you. Attack in the name of Allah, for the sake of Allah, those who disbelieve in Allah. Do not betray or steal; do not kill children, or women, or old men, or hermits in their cells. Do not touch any date palm or cut down any tree, and do not destroy any building."
Then the army set out with the blessing of Allah, and the Messenger himself went to see them off. They kept marching until they reached Ma'aan, where they heard that Heraclius had gathered a large army and was encamped in Ma' aab, in the land of Al-Balqa ' (near Damascus). The Byzantine army was composed of Byzantines and Christianized Arabs. The Muslims conferred with one another, and decided to ask the Messenger (ﷺ) for reinforcements, or to tell them what else they should do. But ' Abdullah ibn Rawaahah said: "By Allah, what you hate is what you came out for. We seek martyrdom, for we are not fighting the people on the basis ofour numbers, rather our strength comes from the fact that we are fighting them for the sake of this religion with which Allah has honoured us. So we will have one of two good things: either victory or martyrdom." The people agreed with him that they should go ahead and fight, and the battle began. Zayd fought until he was killed, then Ja'far ibn Abi Taalib took up the flag and fought on his horse until he was forced to dismount, then he fought on foot. His right hand was cut off, so he took the flag in his left; then his left hand was cut off, so he held the flag in his arms until he was killed, may Allah be pleased with him. They found seventy-odd wounds on his body, from blows with swords and spears. Then ' Abdullah ibn Rawaahah took up the flag and fought until he was killed. Then the Muslims agreed that Khaalid ibn al-Waleed should lead the army -and this was the first battle that he fought as a Muslim. He used his military know-how to save the Muslim army from destruction, then he brought them back to Madeenah.
This was the first battle that the Muslims had fought outside the Arabian Peninsula against the Byzantines. It was called a ghazwah even though the Messenger (ﷺ) was not present, because of the large number of warriors who participated, which was three thousand, in contrast to the numbers who fought in saruayas or raids.
It was following this battle that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) gave Khaalid ibn al-Waleed the nickname Sayfullah (the Sword of Allah).
9. The Conquest
This is the Conquest of Makkah, which took place in Ramadaan 8 AH. The reason for this battle was that the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah allowed each Arab tribe to enter into an alliance with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) if they wanted, or with Quraysh if they wanted. Banu Bakr agreed to enter into an alliance with Quraysh, and Khuzaa'ah agreed to enter into an alliance with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). In that year (8 AH), Banu Bakr attacked Khuzaa'ah, killing approximately twenty men, and Quraysh supplied Banu Bakr with money and weapons. When the Messenger heard of that, he became very angry and prepared to fight Quraysh, but he did not want to tell the people where he was heading lest Quraysh prepare to meet them, and the sanctity of the holy city be violated and its streets filled with the bodies of the slain. But Haatib ibn Abi Balta'ah al-Badri sent a letter in secret to Makkah, telling them that the Prophet was heading towards them. Allah told His Messenger about the letter, and he sent some of his Companions to the woman who was carrying the letter, to search her, and they found it. The Messenger of Allah called Haatib and asked him. "What made you do that?" He said, "O' Messenger of Allah, by Allah I believe sincerely in Allah and His Messenger, and I have not changed, but I am a man who has no roots and no kinsmen among the people, and I have a wife and child among them, so I wanted to do them a favour for the sake of my family." 'Umar said, "O' Messenger ofAllah, let me cut off his head, for the man has turned hypocrite!" But the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "He was present at Badr, and you do not know, it may be that Allah has looked at the people of Badr and said, ' Do what you want, for I have forgiven you.'"
Then the Messenger of Allah set out from Madeenah on the tenth day of Ramadaan. On the way, he broke his fast, and the people broke their fast with him, because of the difficulties of their journey. When they let Madeenah, they were ten thousand strong, and on the way, other people from the Arab tribes joined them. In Marr az-Zahraan the guards of the Messenger of Allah found Abu Sufyaan and two others with him. They captured them and brought them to the Prophet, and Abu Suyaan became Muslim. Al-'Abbaas -whom the Prophet had met on the way, as he had become Muslim and was migrating to Madeenah -said, "Abu Suyaan is a man who likes to look good, so give him something to make him look good." So the Prophet said: "Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyaan will be safe. " Then the army reached Makkah, and the Prophet's callers declared: "Whoever enters his house and locks his door will be safe; whoever enters the Mosque will be safe; whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyaan will be safe." Fifteen people were excluded from that because their crimes against Islam and its Messenger were too great. Then the Messenger of Allah entered Makkah, riding his mount, with his head bowed so low that his forehead almost touched the saddle, out of gratitude to Allah for this great victory. Then the Messenger performed Tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Ka ' bah, and removed the idols around it, which numbered three hundred and sixty. Then he entered the Ka ' bah and prayed two rak'ahs there. Then he stood at the door of the Ka'bah, with Quraysh waiting to see what he would do with them. One of the things that he said on that occasion was, "O’ Quraysh, what do you think I am going to do with you? " They said, "Good, for you are a noble brother, son of a noble brother." The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
"Today I say to you what my brother Yusuf (Prophet Joseph عليه السلام) said before me:
"He said: No reproach on you this day; may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy! " (Qur'an 12: 92)
Go, for you are free."
Then the people gathered around As-Safa to give their allegiance to the Messenger ofAllah (ﷺ) as Muslims. The Messenger sat on As- Safa and accepted their pledges to hear and obey Allah and His Messenger as much as they were able. He accepted the pledges of the men first, then the women, but he did not shake hands with any of the women. Among those who gave their pledge was Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, who was one of those whom the Prophet had said was to be executed on the day of the Conquest. But when he recognized her he forgave her, and she gave her oath of allegiance.
On the day of the Conquest, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded Bilaal to give the call for Zuhr (noon) prayer from the roof of the Ka'bah. The people of Quraysh who were present and had not yet become Muslim were appalled, but the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) did that deliberately for a reason.
10. The Battle of Hunayn
This took place on the 10th of Shawwaal 8 AH, a year aFter the conquest ofMakkah. The reason for this battle was that when Allah granted His Messenger the Conquest of Makkah, the leaders of Hawaazin and Thaqeef thought that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would head towards them after he had finished with Makkah, so they decided to start the fighting. They appointed Maalik ibn 'Awfas their leader , who at that time was thirty years old, and he commanded them to bring with them to the battle their wealth, women, children and flocks, because that would make them more steadfast in fighting. The number of their fighters in this battle was between twenty and thirty thousand. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) announced that he was going out to fight them, and everyone in Makkah went out to fight, his Companions who had come with him and those who had joined him subsequently and who were new in Islam. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) traveled until he reached the wadi of Hunayn, where Hawaazin and their allies came out to fight them at the break of dawn. The Muslims attacked them and they fled, defeated. The Muslims started to gather the war booty, and the mushrikoon attacked them with arrows, so they scattered in all directions. The people of Makkah and the new Muslims fled, but the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) remained steadfast, seated on his mule, saying,
“ I am the Prophet and no lie, I am the son of 'Abdul- Muttalib."
A rumour spread among the Muslims that the Prophet had been killed, so many of them threw down their weapons in despair. But a group of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar stood firm around him, and Al- ' Abbaas -who had a loud voice - started calling out to the Muslims that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was still alive. So those who had run away came back to him, and the numbers of believers increased until they were able to prevail once more. The Muslims pursued (the mushrikeen) killing and taking prisoners. A huge amount of booty was taken from the enemy. The Prophet shared it out first among those whose hearts were to be softened among the new Muslims, and he did not give anything to the Ansaar, because he was confident of their faith and the sincerity of their Islam.
Among the verses of the Qur'an that were revealed concerning this battle are the following:
“Truly, Allah has given you victory on many battlefields, and on the day of ' Hunayn [battle] when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you naught and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for you, then you turned back in flight. Then Allah did send down His Sakeenah [calmness, tranquillity and reassurance] on the Messenger [Muhammad], and on the believers, and sent down forces [angels] which you saw not, and punished the disbelievers. Such is the recompense of disbelievers." (Qur'an 9: 25-26)
This was the last major battle between Islam and the mushrikeen. Soon ater that, the Arabs destroyed the idols and entered Islam.
11. The Batle of Tabook
This is also known as Ghazwat al-'Usrah (the campaign ofhardship). It took place in Rajab 9 AH.
Tabook is a place between Wadi al-Qura, in the Hijaaz, and Syria. The reason for this battle was that the Byzantines had gathered a huge number of troops in Syria, including the tribes of Lakhm, Judhaam, ' Aamilah and Ghassaan, who were Christianized Arabs. They did so because Heraclius intended to attack Madeenah and put an end to the state that was developing in the Arabian Peninsula, as the news of this state and its victories had filled Heraclius with fear and terror. So the Prophet () ordered the people to prepare for a campaign. That was a time of great hardship and intense heat. The sincere Muslims responded willingly, but three of them remained behind, even though their faith was sincere. The Prophet commanded the rich to provide equipment for the army, and they brought a huge amount of money. Abu Bakr brought all of his wealth, which was forty thousand dirhams. 'Umar brought half of his wealth, and 'Uthmaan gave a large amount in charity that day and equipped one-third of the army. The Prophet prayed for him and said, "Nothing that 'Uthmaan does can harm him after this day. " A number of the poor Sahaabah came to him who had no animals to ride, and the Messenger (ﷺ ) said, "I do not have anything that I can give you to ride." They turned away with tear streaming down their faces because they did not have the means to prepare themselves to join the army. Eighty-odd of the hypocrites stayed behind, and a number of the Bedouin gave invalid excuses, but he Prophet (ﷺ) accepted them.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) set out with the people. There were thity thousand warriors with him, and ten thousand horses. This was the greatest army that the Arabs had seen at that time. He marched until he reached Tabook, where he stayed for twenty days, during which he did not engage in any fighting.
This was the last of the Prophet's battles, and concerning this battle the following verses were revealed:
"Allah has forgiven the Prophet, the Muhaajiroon [Muslim emigrants who left their homes and came to Al- Madeenah] and the Ansaar who followed him [Muhammad] in the time of distress [Tabook expedition], after the hearts of a party of them had nearly deviated [from the Right Path], but He accepted their repentance. Certainly, He is unto them full of kindness, Most Merciful And [He did forgive also] the three who did not join the [Tabook expedition and whose case was deferred (by the Prophet) for Allah's Decision] till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their ownselves were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah, and no refuge but with Him. Then, He forgave them [accepted their repentance], that they might beg for His Pardon [repent (unto Him)]. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful." (Qur’an 9: 117-118)
There are also many verses which speak of the attitude of the hypocrites and the Bedouin who excused themselves from participating in this campaign, which contain a rebuke to the Prophet (ﷺ) for accepting their excuses. There are many such verses which you will find in Soorat at-Tawbah.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
First we will speak about the issue of fighting in Islam, the reasons for it and general principles concerning it.
The Messenger (ﷺ ) began his call with gentle preaching, reciting to his people the verses that had been revealed to him of the Book of Allah, and speaking to them from his heart in order to open their eyes to the state they were in, worshipping idols, following misguided and ignorant myths. But his people responded with rejection and mockery at first, then with lies and insults, and finally with conspiracies to kill him, until Allah provided him with a place where he could settle and be safe and sound. But in this new location, he encountered two forces which were plotting against him. One of them was Quraysh who were extremely upset by the migration of the Prophet and his Companions to Madeenah, whose people also believed in his message, so that he gained power which enraged Quraysh. The other was the Jews with whom the Prophet (ﷺ) had wanted to make a peace treaty when he settled in Madeenah, but the nature of the Jews is to bear grudges and to conspire, so hardly had the Prophet settled in Madeenah and established his leadership of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, when the Jewish leaders were illed with hatred towards this competition for leadership, which had taken over Madeenah completely.
During his time in Madeenah, verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ) urging him to remain steadfast and bear what they said with patience.
“And be patient [O’ Muhammad] with what they say, and keep away from them in a good way". (Qur’an 73: 10)
Every time a verse was revealed urging steadfastness in the face of persecution, the mushrikoon increased their persecution, plots and aggression. At that time the Muslims were unable to prevent the persecution because they were few in number and weak. But when the Prophet (ﷺ) settled in Madeenah and the Muslims gained power and strength, they were faced with the strength and enmity of Quraysh and the hidden hatred and evil of the Jews, with the possibility that they could turn on them at any moment. Islam is a realistic religion which does not ignore reality and follow illusions and unrealistic ideals when dealing with people who do not believe in or respect those ideals. So Islam had no choice but to resort to force and prepare to repel aggression and put an end to the power and strength of falsehood, so that it would have the opportunity to spread its call of goodness and liberation, and address people's hearts and cleanse their souls, to erase corruption and to set up prominent figures of guidance to guide others and be a light for the seekers of truth and goodness.
For all of these and similar reasons, Allah prescribed fighting for the believers in the second year AH, when the following verses were revealed:
"' Permission [to fight] is given to those who are fought, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is Able to give them victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: ' Our Lord is Allah. 'For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much would surely, have been pulled down. Verily, Allah will help those who help His [His Cause]. Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. Those who, if We give them power in the land, they establish as-Salaah (prayers), pay the Zakah and enjoin Al-Ma 'roof [i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do], and forbid Al-Munkar [i.e. disbelief, polytheism and all that Islam has forbidden] [i.e. they make the Qur 'an as the law of their country in all the spheres of life]. And with Allah rests the end of [all] matters [of creatures]”. (Qur 'an 22: 39-41)
These are the first verses that were revealed with regard to fighting and permission for it. It is appropriate to pause here and study these verses in order to learn the reason behind the permission to fight, and the benefits and aims thereof.
1. Allah () mentions at the beginning of this passage that He has granted permission to the believers to fight. It should be noted that the believers are referred to as "those who are fought", i.e., these believers to whom permission is given to fight are those who are fought, i.e., those who are persecuted and against whom war has been declared. This clearly shows that the reason why permission is given to them to fight is the persecution that they suffered before. So in a way it is like fighting off aggression and reacting to like with like, as in the verses (aayaat)
" ... Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him... " (Qur'an 2: 194)
“The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof..." (Qur’an 42: 40)
2. The verse clearly states that the fighting to which they have been subjected is wrongdoing and oppression for which there is no justification, as Allah says: "because they have been wronged". The believers in Makkah were not wrongdoers or oppressors, rather they were defending their beliefs, calling their people to liberation from illusions, myths and bad morals.
3. The second aayah (verse) clearly states the historical circumstances in which the persecution took place. The believers who were given permission to fight were those who had been driven from their homes, and there is no oppression worse than driving a person from his home and expelling him from his land.
4. In the same verse, the reason why the believers were driven from their homes is mentioned, which is that they differed from their people and did not accept idolatry and the worship of false gods, and they worshipped Allah the One God. So they are people who were persecuted for their beliefs, as Quraysh did not want them to have any freedom in this regard.
5. Since the believers did not have freedom of belief, the fighting that was prescribed was in order to secure this freedom, as the most precious thing in life that a person may have.
6. Then Allah explains that this fighting, which He has prescribed for the believers, does not just secure religious freedom for them alone, but it also benefits the followers of other divinely-revealed religions, namely Judaism and Christianity. For at that time the Muslims were fighting idol-worshippers who had no religion, and if they gained strength they would be able to protect the places of worship of the Jews and Christians as well as protecting the mosques, so that the idol-worshippers and atheists would not be able to gain power and wage war on the divinely-revealed religions, closing down their places of worship. That is clear from what Allah says in this verse:
" For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much, would surely have been pulled down"
Hence it is clear that fighting in Islam is not aimed at wiping out the divinely-revealed religions and destroying their places of worship, rather it is aimed at protecting these religions against being attacked, and their places of worship being destroyed or locked up by the atheists and idol-worshippers.
7. The third verse clearly states the consequences to be expected from a Muslim victory in the prescribed fighting. For this fighting is not aimed at colonizing peoples and taking their resources, or humiliating them. Rather the consequences will be in the interest of human society, and are as follows
7. a Helping people throughout the world to achieve spiritual fulfillment by means of worship. "[They] enjoin Iqaamat-as-Salaah [i.e. to perform the five compulsory congregational Salaah (prayers) (the males in mosques)]."
7. b Spreading social justice among people by means of zakah. "To pay the Zakah."
7. c Achieving cooperation for the good of society and for its development and betterment. "And they enjoin Al-Ma'roof [i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do]."
7. d Cooperating in fighting evil, crime and corruption. "And forbid Al-Munkar [i.e. disbelief polytheism and all that Islam has forbidden]
These are the consequences that result from the believers' victory in their fight against the enemies, when that leads to the establishment of an Islamic state that directs people to reach their spiritual potential and establish society on the basis of cooperation and motivates man to do good and divert him away from the path of evil. What human goal can be nobler than this for which fighting is prescribed in Islam? What fighting, that the nations of the past and the present have ever known, can match this goal of making the benefits reach all people and build societies in a manner that leads to them developing in a humane and constructive manner, in which there can be no return to the first Jaahiliyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) with its permissiveness, promiscuity, atheism, wars and bloodshed, as is the case with the development that has taken place in the shadow of materialistic western civilization.
Once we understand the goals of Islam and the purpose behind permitting fighting, we will understand what is meant by its being for the sake of Allah. For jihad fi sabeel-illaah (jihad for the sake of Allah) means jihad in order to achieve goodness, peace, spirituality and justice in society. Sabeel-Allah literally means the path or way of Allah, and the way to Allah can only be the way of goodness, love and cooperation in righteousness and piety, not sin and transgression.
This is a brief discussion of the aims behind the prescription of fighting in Islam and the historical reasons for it. Now we will discuss the lessons to be learned from the first battles of Islam, i.e., at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ). I wanted to speak about the lessons of each battle on its own, but time is short and that would take dozens of pages. So I decided to present these lessons in one go, drawing more than one lesson from each battle. Perhaps I may be able to speak in more detail about the lessons of each battle next year, in sha Allah, if Allah allows me to live and alleviates my sickness.
1. The first battle was Badr. The Prophet (ﷺ) had gone out to intercept the caravan of Quraysh on its way back from Syria to Makkah, but the caravan escaped, and the mashrikoon were determined to fight, and the battle happened as we have mentioned above. The interception of the Quryash caravan does not mean that the Muslims wanted to steal wealth and engage in banditry, as the lying Orientalists claim. Rather the motive was to settle the score with Quraysh by taking their wealth in return for the wealth of the Muhaajireen that Quraysh had seized. For Quraysh had forced them, or most of them, to leave their houses, lands and wealth. If Quraysh found out, after a person had been absent from Makkah for a while, that he had migrated to Madeenah, they would sell his house and seize his wealth, and the rule of like for like, which is well known nowadays in international law, permits such actions, as is the case between us and Israel. We should note that, prior to the battle of Badr, there were seven attempts to intercept the caravans of Quraysh, and those who went out on those campaigns were Muhaajireen only; the Prophet did not send even one Ansaari with them, and that was because if the Muhaajiroon intercepted a Quraysh caravan and took its goods, they would only be exercising a right that is given in all the divinely-revealed and man-made laws. We will list these seven attempts, which are as follows:
1. Hamzah was sent out seven months after the Hijrah; the party of ' Ubaydah ibn al-Haarith was sent out eight months after the Hijrah; the party of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqaas was sent out nine months after the Hijrah; Ghazwat Wadaan took place twelve months after the Hijrah; Ghazwat Bawaat took place thirteen months after the Hijrah; Ghazwat Badr al-Oola (the first battle of Badr) also took place thirteen months after the Hijrah; and Ghazwat al-'Asheerah took place sixteen months after the Hijrah. All of these expeditions and battles involved the Muhaajireen only, and not a single Ansaari was involved. This proves our point.
2. Victory in battles does not depend on large numbers or ample weapons, rather it depends on strength of spirit and morale among the army. In those battles, the Muslim army represented pure belief, passionate faith, joy in martyrdom and the desire for Allah's reward and Paradise, as well as joy at being freed from misguidance, division and corruption, whereas the mushrik army represented corrupt beliefs, decadence, disintegration of social bonds, indulgence in pleasures, and blind following of useless traditions, forefathers and false gods.
Look at what the two armies did before battle commenced. Before the battle of Badr the mushrik army spent three days drinking wine, listening to the songs of slave girls beating drums, and lighting fires so that the Arabs would see what they did and so that they would be respected and feared. They thought that this was the way to victory. The Muslims, on the other hand, spent the time before the battle striving hard in worship, asking Allah to grant them victory, hoping for martyrdom and to smell the fragrance of Paradise. The Prophet (ﷺ) fell prostrate, beseeching Allah to grant victory to His believing slaves. The result was victory for the pious believers who feared Allah, and defeat for the idle disbelievers who pursued worldly pleasures.
Anyone who compares the numbers of Muslims with the numbers of mushrikeen who fought in each battle will see that the mushrikeen vastly outnumbered the Muslims. Despite that, the Muslims were victorious, even in the battles of Uhud and Hunayn, where victory went to the Muslims, and were it not for the mistakes made by the Muslims in those two battles, and their going against the commands of the Messenger of Allah the Muslims would not have been defeated at all.
3. The army's determination, eagerness to do battle and joy at meeting the enemy are all factors which make the leader more eager to go ahead with his plans and more confident of success and victory, as happened in the battle of Badr.
4. The leader should not force his army to fight and engage in battle if they are not keen and enthusiastic, until he is sure that they are eager to fight. This is what the Messenger (ﷺ) did when he consulted his Companions on the day of Badr before engaging in battle.
5. The troops' concern for their leader's life is something that is required by the desire for success in battle and in da ' wah. The leader must accept that, because if he remains alive, the call remains alive, but if he dies the battle will be lost.
We see in the battle of Badr how the Prophet (ﷺ) approved of having the hut built for him, and we see in the other battles, Uhud and Hunayn, how the sincere believers, men and women, all gathered around their Messenger to protect him from the arrows of the enemy, exposing themselves to the arrows. There is no report that he disapproved of that, even though he was brave and was supported by Allah; rather he praised those who gathered around him, as we see in his words of praise for Nusaybah Umm 'Ammaarah, and his du'aa' for her that she and her husband and children would be with him in Paradise.
6. Allah surrounds His sincerely believing slaves, in their battles, with an army from Him, as He sent down angels on the day of Badr, and He sent the wind on the day of Al-Ahzaab. These believers continued to fight for His sake, so how could He forsake them, when He is the one Who says:
"If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you;..." (Quran 3: 160)
"... and [as for] the believers, it was incumbent upon Us to help [them]" (Quran 30: 47)
"Truly, Allah defends those who believe..." (Quran 22: 38)
7. It is the nature of the sincere daa'iyah that he is keen to show the way of guidance to his enemies and to give them a chance so that Allah might fill their hearts with guidance. Hence, we can understand the reason why the Prophet (ﷺ) was inclined to ransom the captives on the day of Badr. He hoped that Allah might guide them and that they would have offspring who would worship Allah and call others to Him. But the Qur'an rebuked the Messenger (ﷺ) for that, because there was something else that was in the interest of Islam on that day, which was to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and put an end to the leaders of fitnah and misguidance. If the prisoners had been killed on the day of Badr, the resistance of Quraysh would have been weakened by putting an end to the leaders and to those who kept fanning the flames of tribulation against the Muslims.
There seems to be another subtle reason why the Prophet accepted the idea of ransoming the prisoners, which was that Al-‘Abbaas, the paternal uncle of the Prophet, was amongst the prisoners, and Al- ' Abbaas has supported the Messenger (ﷺ) on many occasions before he declared his Islam. He had secretly witnessed the second pledge of Al-'Aqabah, and he used to tell the Messenger about all the movements of Quraysh. This makes me certain that he was a Muslim but was concealing his Islam, so how could the Messenger have killed him if this was the case? If the Messenger had executed him along with the prisoners, he would have gone against the shari'ah which forbids killing Muslims, if Al- ' Abbaas was a Muslim, and if he was a mushrik, then Islam makes no distinction between a relative and a stranger with regard to showing firm resolve and hostility against everyone who wages war against Allah and His Messenger If he had spared him, the mushrikeen and hypocrites would have taken the opportunity to spread news of it and to weaken people's confidence in his justice and to instill doubts about him being free of whims and desires in everything that he did, and that would not have served the interests of the da' wah at all.
8. Going against the commands of the leader who is determined and has insight leads to losing the battle, as happened in the case of Uhud. If the archers whom the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stationed behind his army had stayed in place as the Messenger (ﷺ) had told them to do, the mushrikoon would not have been able to attack from behind and change their initial defeat into ultimate victory. Thus, those who are disobedient cause opportunities to be wasted and allow the enemy to prevail. Allah warned the believers of punishment if they disobey their Messenger, as He (سبحانه و تعالى) says:
"And let those who oppose the Messenger’s [Muhammad's] commandment [i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements] beware, lest some Fitnah [disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant] should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them. " (Quran 24: 63)
9. The materialistic desire for the spoils of war etc. leads to failure and defeat, as happened at the battle of Uhud, when the archers let their positions, seeking to gather booty, and as happened at the battle of Hunayn when the Muslims were initially victorious, but then some of them went after the booty and forgot about pursuing the enemy, which led to the enemy coming back and routing the Muslims. If the Messenger (ﷺ) and the sincere believers around him had not stood firm, the defeat would not then have turned into a victory. Similarly, da’wah efforts and their effects on people's hearts are corrupted when their proponents become greedy for worldly goods and seek to acquire more wealth, property and land. This makes people doubt the sincerity of the daa'iyahs' call and to accuse them of not calling people for the sake of Allah and of seeking to gather worldly goods in the name of religion and reform. Such beliefs in people's minds turn people away from the religion o Allah, and make them think badly of everyone who calls for reform, even though he may be sincere.
10. The fact that Nusaybah Umm 'Ammaarah remained steadfast, and she and her husband and children stood firm around the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) when the Muslims fled on the day of Uhud, is just one of many reports which prove that Muslim women played an important role in the struggle and cause of Islam. This indicates that we today need Muslim women to shoulder the burden of da'wah among young girls, wives and mothers, to raise their children to love Allah and His Messenger and to adhere Islam and its teachings, and to strive for the good of society. So long as the field of da’wah is lacking the presence of female Muslim daa 'iyahs, or there is an insufficient number of such women, the da'wah will continue to fall short and the Islamic movement will remain lame, until half of the ummah -namely the women -hear the call to goodness and their consciences are stirred, their hearts are filled with love of goodness and they turn to the religion, and hasten to adhere to its strong bonds.
11. The fact that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was wounded on the day of Uhud brings consolation to the daa'iyahs for the physical harm that they suffer for the sake of Allah, or for the loss of freedom they suffer through imprisonment and arrest, or for losing their lives through execution and assassination. Allah says in His Holy Book:
"Alif-Laam-Meem [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings,] Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: We believe, ' and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make [it] known [the truth of] those who are true, and will certainly make [it] known [the falsehood of] those who are liars, [although Allah knows all that before putting them to test]" (Qur’an 29: 1-3)
12. What the mushrikoon did on the day of Uhud, mutilating the bodies of the Muslim dead, especially Hamzah, the paternal uncle of the Prophet (ﷺ), is a clear indication that the enemies of Islam are devoid of all humanity and conscience. For mutilation of the dead does not cause any pain to the dead themselves, just as a slaughtered sheep does not feel any pain when it is slaughtered. But it is indicative of the black hatred that fills their hearts and is manifested in those bestial actions that cause distress to every person who has any kind of conscience or humane feelings.
What we saw the mushrikeen doing to the slain Muslims on the day of Uhud, we see the Jews today doing to our dead in the battles of Palestine. Both groups have the same mentality which does not believe in Allah and the Last Day, this hatred of those who follow the straight path in this world, those who believe sincerely in Allah, His Messengers and the Last Day.
13. The fact that the Messenger (ﷺ) accepted the advice of Al- Hubaab ibn al-Mundhir to change the place that he had chosen for battle on the day of Badr, and his advice on the day of Khaybar, must surely destroy the arrogance of those dictators who have taken control of people against their will and consent, those whose claims to have superior minds and far-sightedness make them look down on the people and think that they are too good to have to consult wise- men and thinkers. For the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), whom Allah knew had the most perfect attributes which qualified him to bear the burden of His final Message, he accepted the opinion of his Companions who had expert knowledge of matters of war and of the nature of the land where the battle was to be fought. He did not say to them, ''I am the Messenger of Allah, T issue commands and you obey. "Rather he accepted their advice and opinions in matters which were not addressed by the Revelation. But what about these dictators whom we see are no better than the people in terms of wisdom, knowledge and intelligence, and have only come to power because of circumstances? What about those who are even less educated, knowledgeable and experienced than many of those whom they rule? Shouldn't they consult the experts and accept their advice and the wisdom of experience?
Historical events, both recent and more distant, show us that the arrogance of dictators leads to their downfall and that of their nations, causing them to sink to rock bottom in such a manner that recovery is difficult, taking decades if not centuries. What the Prophet () did, accepting the advice of Al-Hubaab at Badr and Khaybar is an example for every sincere ruler, for every wise leader and for every smart daa'iyah.
One of the most prominent features of ruling in Islam is shoora or consultation:
“... and whose affair is [determined] by mutual consultation ... "(Qur'an 42: 38)
One of the most prominent features of the longest-serving Muslim rulers in history is the fact that they would consult and not dictate, they would discuss with specialists in every field that concerned them.
"... and consult them in the matter." (Qur'an 3:159)
“ ... So ask the people of the message [i.e. former scriptures] if you know not. "(Quran 21: 7)
14. The fact that he (ﷺ) was in the front line of every battle, and in the midst of the action with them, except in cases where his Companions suggested that he should not do so, indicates that the position of a leader can only be filled by one who is brave and steadfast, and that cowards and weaklings are not fit to lead peoples or armies or da‘wah and reform movements. The bravery of the da'wah leader's actions has an effect on his troops and supporters, motivating them in a manner that cannot be achieved through a thousand flowery speeches given to the masses. Soldiers and supporters usually draw strength from the strength of their leaders, so if the leader is scared at the time of battle and weak when the going gets tough, this will cause a great deal of harm to the cause whose banner he is carrying.
15. The troops and supporters of da'wah must not go against the leader who is determined and has insight regarding a matter in which he is resolved to go ahead. This type of leader is shouldering the responsibility, so he deserves to be trusted after they have exchanged ideas and put forward their arguments. If he then decides to go ahead with something, they have to obey him, as happened to the Prophet on the day of Al-Hudaybiyah. The Prophet accepted the conditions of the treaty, because it became clear that it was in the interest of the da'wah, and the treaty was a political victory for him, as the number of believers would increase greatly, far more than had become Muslim previously. This is despite the fact that the Sahaabah found some of these conditions difficult to swallow, so much so that some of them stepped beyond the limits of proper etiquette with one ' s Messenger and leader. Something similar happened with Abu Bakr when the Riddah (apostasy) incidents began. The view of all the Sahaabah was that they should not go out to fight the apostates, but the opinion of Abu Bakr was that they should go out and fight them. Once he had resolved to do that, they obeyed him, and got ready to fight, and it became clear that what Abu Bakr had resolved to do, fighting the apostates, was what made Islam firmly established in the Arabian Peninsula, and enabled the Muslims to spread Islam to the four comers of the earth as conquerors, guides and teachers.
16. The Prophet's asking Nu'aym ibn Maskood, during the battle of Al-Ahzaab, to spread confusion and create trouble, indicates that deceit in a war against our enemies is allowed, if it will lead to victory, and that every means that may lead to victory and to less bloodshed is acceptable according to Islam, apart from treachery and betrayal. This is the political and military wisdom of the Prophet (ﷺ), and it does not contradict the basic principles of Islamic morality, because the aim is to reduce the numbers of slain in war, which is a humane purpose.
The aim to overcome evil, kufr and fitnah (tribulation) is also a human purpose, so resorting to deceit in battle is in accordance with the humane morals which regard war as a great evil. If it becomes necessary to fight a war, then it must be ended as soon as possible, because necessity should be properly evaluated and it should not lead to overstepping the mark. Allah has prescribed fighting only in order to protect the religion or the nation or the land. So deceiving the enemy in a way that leads to their defeat hastens the victory of the truth which is being fought by those followers of falsehood. It was narrated that during the battle of Al-Ahzaab, the Prophet (ﷺ) said to 'Urwah ibn Mas'ood: "War is deceit." This is a principle which is accepted in all religions and laws.
17. The fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) accepted the advice of Salmaan to dig the ditch, which was something that the Arabs had never heard of before, indicates that Islam does not see anything wrong with making use of the experience of other nations that may benefit the ummah and the Muslim society. Undoubtedly, the digging of the ditch was of great benefit in warding off from Madeenah the danger posed by the confederates. The fact that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) accepted this advice is indicative of his flexibility and readiness to accept the good things that other nations had. The Prophet (ﷺ) did this on more than one occasion. When he wanted to send his letters to the kings, rulers and governors, it was said to him that the custom of the kings was not to accept a letter unless it had a seal bearing the name of the sender. So he immediately ordered that a seal should be made on which were the words " 'Muhammad Rasool Allah (Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah)," which he used to seal his letters with. When the delegations from across Arabia came to him after the conquest of Makkah, to declare their Islam, it was said to him, "O’ Messenger of Allah, it is the custom of kings and governors to receive delegations wearing fine clothes." So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ordered that a suit of fine clothes be bought for him, and it was said that its cost was four hundred dirhams, or four hundred camels, and the following day he received the delegations wearing these clothes. This is the way of the Messenger who was sent with the last religion, the one which will endure until the end of time. One of the things dictated by necessity, which should be followed in every age and location, is adopting the best of what the other nations have of things that will benefit them and which do not go against the rulings and basic principles of Islam. Not doing so is inflexibility which is unacceptable to Islam as the Qur'an says:
" ... so announce the good news to My slaves - Those who listen to the speech and follow the best of it..." (Quran 39: 17-18)
- it is also incompatible with the way of the Messenger ofAllah (سبحانه و تعالى) who took from other nations as we have seen, and who said,
"Wisdom is the object of the believer which he seeks wherever he can find it." 6
6 See Kashf al-Khafa' by Al-‘Ajlooni for the different versions of this hadith.
When the Muslims became negligent in later times, especially after the European Renaissance began, and ignored this important Islamic principle, and resisted all good things taken from others when they were in the greatest need of it, then they suffered collapse and fell behind, whilst others advanced.
" ... And with Allah rests the end of [all] matters [of creatures]. "(Qur'an 22: 41)
18. From the orders given by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to the Muslim army during the battle of Mu'tah, we can see the humane and compassionate touch in the wars waged by Islam. For we are not to kill those who do not fight, and we are not to destroy anything we find in our way unless that is for a valid reason. His Companions after him and the Muslims down throughout the ages adhered to these commands. Their wars were the most merciful wars ever known in history, and when they were fighting, they had a better attitude and were more merciful than others at times of peace. The Muslims have a glowing historical record in this regard, whereas other nations have quite the opposite, and this is still going on today. Who among us does not know of the bestiality with which the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem, and the humane compassion which Salaah ad-Deen ("Saladin") displayed when he took it back? Who among us does not know of the bestiality of the Crusader rulers and troops when they took over some of the Muslim capitals such as Tripoli, Ma'arrah and others, and how merciful the Muslim rulers and troops were when they took these cities back from the Crusaders who had seized them unlawfully. Nowadays we are living in a time of western hypocrisy, when the west claims to be civilized, merciful and humane, and to love what is best for people, at the time when they are destroying counties and shedding the blood of unarmed old men, women and children. Unfortunately, we have seen the establishment of the state of Israel on the stolen land of Palestine, and the world has seen the barbaric atrocities of the Jews in Deir Yassin, Qabiyyeh, Haifa, Jaffa, ' Akka and Safad, and other towns and villages. Yet, despite that, they claim to be humane, when doing the opposite, and we act in a humane manner but do not boast about it. For we are a people who carry in our hearts the most beautiful moral principles in peace and in war, and we implement them with peace of mind and a clear conscience, whereas they do not really believe in these principles; all they do is claim to believe in them, in a hypocritical and deceitful manner. We are a people who believe in Allah, the Ail-Powerful and Most Merciful, so our strength is mercy, whereas they are a people who hypocritically denounce for believing that Allah is All-powerful and punishes severely, and they claim to believe that God is loving and merciful, but this love and mercy has had no effect on their relations with other peoples or their wars with the Muslims or even with their enemies who follow the same religion. We are a people whose wars have been for the good of mankind, and we have been the most caring of people towards mankind, whereas they are people whose wars have been for no other purpose but to raid, steal, conquer and colonize, and they have been the most hostile towards mankind.
In our wars with them today, we are defending a land, truth and honour. There is no point in boasting about our principles with people who do not understand the principles of mercy, honour and humanity. Rather we have to continue with our struggle against them and stand firm in our battles with them, adhering to the principles of our Messenger and our shari'ah, until Allah judges between us and them, and He is the Most Just of the judges.
19. If the army is composed of people who are not all on the same level of zeal, faith and sincerity, and there are among them those who are negligent, mercenaries or careless, then there is no guarantee of victory over the enemy. This is what happened during the battle of138 The Battles of the Prophet Hunayn. By the same token, da’wah efforts cannot rely on the numbers of people who applaud them, rather they must rely on the numbers of people who believe in them and are prepared to make sacrifices for them.
20. Another lesson that we can learn from the wars and battles of the Prophet () is his attitude towards the Jews, and the attitude of the Jews towards him and his message. When he first came to Madeenah, the Prophet was keen to establish peaceful relations with the Jews, and to give them religious freedom and protect their property. He drew up a treaty with them to that effect, but they are a treacherous people and it was not long before they were conspiing to kill him, which was the reason for the campaign against Banu Nazeer. Then they broke their treaty at the most critical moment on the day of Al-Ahzaab, which was the reason for the campaign against Banu Qurayzah. Then they came from all directions bearing weapons and plotting and scheming, and they came together to destroy Madeenah and the believers in it, in a spirit of meanness and treachery, which was the reason of the battle of Khaybar.
These are people with whom kind treatment does not do any good, for they do not keep promises or honour treaties. Every time they see an opportunity they seize it. Is there anything wrong with what the Prophet did to them? Was he supposed to put up with their plots, betrayal and breaking of treaties? Should he and his Companions have lived in an atmosphere of constant worry, waiting for more tribulations and conspiracies? Through his firm dealing with them, the Prophet secured the borders of his new state and spread his call throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula, and thence throughout the world. No one would blame the Prophet (ﷺ) for his firmness with them except a Jew, a bigot or an imperialist. What was the history of the Jews after that? Is it anything other than conspiracies, plots, corruption and betrayal? Is their modem history any different? Before the war in Palestine and the establishment of Israel, there were those among us who were deceived by their sweet talk, so they called on us to cooperate with them, and their friends among the superpowers also called for cooperation with them, the result of which was negligence and a failure to deal properly with the issue of Palestine. But now there is no one who is deceived by them, and we have no way to rid ourselves of their evil except firm resolve like that of the Prophet (ﷺ) in dealing with them, so that we can make our lands secure and play our new role in carrying the message of Islam and peace to all the peoples of the world.
This is the trust which we hand over, with sincerity and faith, to the new generation, in the hope that they may achieve what our negligent generation failed to do.
21. The battle of Mu'tah was the first encounter between the Muslims and Byzantines. Were it not for the fact that the Arabs of Ghassaan had killed the envoy sent by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to the governor of Busra, there may not have been any confrontation. But the killing of his envoy to the governor o fBusra would be regarded as a hostile action in all laws, and is indicative of an absence of good relations and of the evil of those agents of Byzantium. Hence, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) decided to send the army to Mu'tah as a warning to them and to their Byzantine masters of the strength of the new state, and that it was prepared to defend itself, so that they would not think of attacking it. When the Muslims reached Mu'tah, they found a group of Byzantines and Christianized Arabs who were under their rule, the number of which the historians put at two hundred thousand. The brother of Heraclius was leading this army and he camped at Ma'aab, near present-day ‘ Amman. The size of the army conirmed the Prophet 's expectations, that they were determined to confront the new state and put an end to it, fearing the establishment of an independent Arab state in the Arabian Peninsula that could signal an end to their colonization of Arab lands and enslavement of Arab peoples who lived on the borders with Hijaaz. This was the beginning of the battles between the Muslims and Byzantium.
22. In the battle of Tabook, there are clear signs of the effect that sincere faith has on the hearts of the believers, making them determined to fight and motivating them to spend money and to put up with heat, hardship, and intense exhaustion for the sake of Allah and to earn His pleasure. Hence, when three of the believers who had sincere faith stayed behind with no excuse, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded that they were to be boycotted and ignored; their wives and children, let alone the rest of the Muslims, stopped speaking to them. This led one of them to tie himself to a pillar in the mosque, and another to hide away in his house, until Allah accepted their repentance, after the Muslims had learned a valuable lesson about those who fail to perform their duties with no excuse other than preferring ease to hardship and cool shade to the burning heat of the sun.
23. In the Conquest of Makkah, there are too many lessons to explain in these few short pages. In this event, we can see the nature of the Prophet (ﷺ) who had no room in his heart for grudges against those who had resisted and opposed him. After a struggle between him and them, that had lasted for twenty-one years, in which they had spared no effort to try to kill him and his followers and put an end to his call, when he finally overcame them and conquered the capital of their idolatry, he did no more than pray for forgiveness for them and set them free. No such thing had ever been done in history, but it was done by a noble Messenger who did not seek kingship or power, but rather Allah wanted him to be a guide and conqueror of hearts and minds. Hence he entered Makkah in humility, thanking Allah, not boasting and gloating as mighty conquerors do.
24. There is another reason for what the Prophet (ﷺ) did with the people of Makkah. For Allah knew that the Arabs would be the ones to carry His Message to the world, so he kept the people of Makkah. who were the leaders of the Arabs, alive so that they could enter the religion of Allah, and then convey the message of guidance and light to other peoples, sacrificing themselves, their rest and their bodies to save those peoples from their misguidance, and leading them forth from darkness into light.
25. The final lesson that we will mention from the battles of the Prophet is the lesson we learn from the victories that Islam achieved in an unimaginably short period of time. This is one of the greatest signs that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and that Islam is the call to Allah Who guarantees that Islam and the believers who carry its banner will prevail. Allah would not forsake His call which is truth, mercy and light. Allah is the Truth and He is the Most Merciful, the most Compassionate. Whose mercy encompasses all things. Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth, and who can extinguish the light of Allah?! How could He allow falsehood to attain the ultimate victory over truth, or barbarity, harshness and evil to prevail over mercy and righteousness?
The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims suffered wounds in the battles of Uhud and Hunayn, but da’wah entails hardship, wounds and sacrifice:
"Verily, Allah will help those who help Him [His Cause]. Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty" (Qur’an 22: 40)