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Battles of Islam

The Battle of Islam at Nahrawan After the unsatisfactory conclusion to the  Battle of Siffin , Imam Ali (AS) returned with his army bac...

The Battle of Islam at Nahrawan

After the unsatisfactory conclusion to the Battle of Siffin, Imam Ali (AS) returned with his army back to Kufa on the 13th of Safar 37 A.H. During the march, a group of 12,000 men kept themselves at a distance from the main part of the army.
The group was furious at the way things had ended at Siffin. These were the Kharjites (Kharjite means one who rebels against religion). They were the same people who had put down their weapons on the battlefield. Now they said that Imam Ali (AS) had betrayed Islam by agreeing to the truce and should have referred judgment to the Holy Qur'an alone or continued to fight. They demanded that he repent for this great sin.

When the army neared Kufa, the Kharjites camped at a village named Harura. They started saying that all Muslims were equal and nobody could rule over the other. In this way, they denounced both Imam Ali (AS) and Muawiya and said that their belief was in "La Hukma Illa Lillah", meaning, "No Ruler ship except by Allah alone."

Imam Ali (AS) sent Sasaa Bin Sauhan and Ziad Bin Nazr Harisi in the company of Ibne Abbas towards them and afterwards himself went to the place of their stay and tried to explain to them that they were misunderstanding the words "La Hukma Illa Lillah", and that in accepting the arbitration (peace talks) at Siffin, he had not gone against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an.

He pointed out that they themselves were at fault, because they should never have laid down their arms and forced him to call back Malike Ashtar, who was at the point of securing victory. He reminded them that they had pressed for the arbitration and had forced him to appoint Abu Musa Ash'ari as their representative. He told them that he found their present behavior very strange, considering their involvement in Siffin. To this they admitted that they had sinned but now they had repented for it and he should do the same.

Imam Ali (AS) replied that he was a true believer and did not have to repent because he had not committed any sin and dispersed them after discussion.

The Kharjites refused to accept the words of Imam Ali (AS) and awaited the decision of Amr al-Aas and Abu Musa Ash'ari. When they learnt of the decision they decided to revolt, and they set up their headquarters at Nahrawan, twelve miles from Baghdad. Some people came from Basra to join the rebels.

On the other side, after hearing the verdict of Arbitration Imam Ali (AS) rose for fighting the army of Syria and wrote to the Kharijites that the verdict passed by the two arbitrators in pursuance of their heart's wishes instead of the Qur'an and sunnah was not acceptable to him, that he had therefore decided to fight with them and they should support him for crushing the enemy. But the Kharijites gave him this reply, "When you had agreed to Arbitration in our view you had turned heretic.

Now if you admit your heresy and offer repentance we will think over this matter and decide what we should do." Imam Ali (AS) understood from their reply that their disobedience and misguidance had become very serious. To entertain any kind of hope from them now was futile. Consequently, ignoring them he encamped in the valley of an-Nukhaylah with a view to marching towards Syria to fight against Muawiya.

Imam Ali (AS) had already started towards Muawiya when he received the news that they had butchered the governor of Nahrawan namely Abdullah Ibn Khabbab Ibn al-Aratt and his slave maid with the child in her womb, and have killed three women of Banu Tayyi and Umm Sinan as-Saydawiyyah. Imam Ali (AS) sent al-Harith Ibn Murrah al-Abdi for investigation but he too was killed by them. When their rebellion reached this stage it was necessary to deal with them. There was a danger that the Kharjites might attack Kufa while Imam Ali (AS) and his men were marching towards Muawiya, so Imam Ali (AS) decided to stop them. He changed his course eastward, crossed the river Tigris and approached Nahrawan.

On reaching there Imam Ali (AS) sent a messenger to the Kharjites demanding that those people who had murdered innocent Muslims around their camp should be surrendered. The Kharjites replied that they were all equally responsible for killing these sinners.

There was some reluctance in the army of Imam Ali (AS) to fight the Kharjites, because they had been their companions against Muawiya at Siffin. Imam Ali (AS) himself did not desire the bloodshed of these misguided fanatics, so he sent Abu Ayyub al-Ansari with a message of peace. So he spoke to them aloud, "Whoever comes under this banner or separates from that party and goes to Kufah or al-Mada'in would get amnesty and he would not be questioned.

As a result of this Farwah Ibn Nawfal al-Ashja'i said that he did not know why they were at war with Imam Ali (AS). Saying this he separated along with five hundred men. Similarly group after group began to separate and some of them joined Imam Ali (AS). In the end, only cores of 1,800 die-hards were left under the command of Abdallah bin Wahab. These Kharjites swore that they would fight Imam Ali (AS) at any cost.

Nahjul Balagha - Sermon 36/Warning the people of Nahrawan of their fate:
"I am warning you that you will be killed on the bend of this canal and on the level of this low area while you will have no clear excuse before Allah nor any open authority with you. You have come out of your houses and then divine decree entangled you. I had advised you against this arbitration but you rejected my advice like adversaries and opponents till I turned my ideas in the direction of your wishes. You are a group whose heads are devoid of wit and intelligence. May you have no father! (Allah's woe be to you!) I have not put you in any calamity nor wished you harm."

The Kharjites attacked Imam Ali's (AS) army with desperate courage. However, they did not stand a chance against the superior army that faced them and they were all killed except nine men. These nine managed to flee to Basra and elsewhere, where they spread the fire of their hatred and recruited more followers. From Imam Ali's (AS) army only eight persons fell as martyrs. The battle took place on the 9th Safar, 38 A.H. Two years later, in 40 A.H., it was the Kharjites who sent out three assassins to kill Imam Ali (AS), Muawiya and Amr al-Aas. The latter two survived but Imam Ali (AS) was martyred following Ibne Muljam's cowardly attack in the mosque of Kufa.

Having disposed of the Kharjites at Nahrawan, Imam Ali (AS) resumed his march to Syria. However, the chiefs of his followers urged him to stop at Kufa to let the men rest before the long journey and to enable the army to repair their weapons and armours. Imam Ali (AS) agreed to this request and camped at Nukhayla outside Kufa. The soldiers were allowed to leave the camp for a day.

On the next day, hardly any men returned and at length, Imam Ali (AS) entered Kufa and gave a stern sermon to the people. However, nobody came forward and finally, Imam Ali (AS) turned away from them in disappointment. The Syrian expedition was abandoned, never to be resumed.

Battle of Siffin

Imam Ali's (AS) generals, who stopped the battle to negotiate with Mu'awiya, did not pick the right person for the negotiation. They unyieldingly refused to accept Imam Ali's choice, instead they picked Kufa's Governor, Abu-Musa Ash'ari, an incompetent Governor who had been previously dismissed from office by Imam Ali. Mu'awiya appointed Amr Ibnil Aas, a shrewd and cunning man, to be his representative in the negotiation. Negotiation between the two sides did not take place for about one year.
When the two negotiators came face to face, it was clear that Ash'ari's capability was no match for his opponent Ibnil Aas. In the negotiations, Ash'ari proposed that, both Mu'awiya and Imam Ali (AS) were to abdicate and to let the people hold election for the Khilaafah. Amr Ibnil Aas, a deceptive man at best, quickly agreed to Ash'ari's proposal and asked Ash'ari to first announce the agreement.

Ash'ari stood up and announced, "O people, we have agreed not to consider Ali or Mu'awiya for Khilaafah. You may choose or elect whomever you think is fit." The cunning Amr Ibnil Aas stood up next to say, "O people! I won't consider Ali for the Khilaafah. But Mu'awiya, in my opinion, is the person for that office!" Upon hearing this (and feeling deceived), the people screamed disapprovingly, an uproar was the result.

Imam Ali's (AS) camp was in shock, they were double-crossed, deceived and lied to, they felt deeply cut. Amr's double crossing and deception was simply beyond their imagination. They left the place bewildered and utterly disappointed. Because of this a large group of Imam Ali's supporters defected to form a separate group called Kharijies, meaning the Outsiders.
The Khariji became fanatically opposed to Imam Ali and Mu'awiya. Some of their members met secretly in Mecca and drew a plan to assassinate Ali (AS) in Kufa, Mu'awiya in Syria, and Amr Ibnil Aas in Egypt.

Three fanatics took the responsibility, they were to attack their victims in the morning, the same day, as the would-be victims were going to the mosque to lead the morning salat. Ibn Muljim attacked and fatally wounded Imam Ali (AS), whereas Mu'awiya escaped with a light wound of his buttock. Amr Ibnil Aas was ill that day and his replacement was killed by the Khariji.

Imam Ali (AS), in wounded condition, conferred the Imamah and the reign of the Islamic nation to his 37 years old son Al-Hasan.
Second Article
After the battle of Jamal was over, Imam Ali (AS) returned from Basra to Kufa in Rajab of 36 A.H. He decided to transfer the capital of his government to Kufa from Madina because it was more centrally placed in the Muslim Empire, and he could halt Muawiya's progress into Iraq.

Before marching towards Muawiya, Imam Ali (AS) tried to settle matters peacefully by sending Jarir, chief of Bani Bajila and the governor of Hamdan, to Syria as an envoy.

However, Jarir became so engrossed in the entertainment that Muawiya put his way, that he wasted his time in Syria. He finally returned three months later with the useless message that peace could only be negotiated if the murderers of Uthman were brought to justice.
Malik al-Ashtar accused him of having wasted time in effeminate pleasures with Muawiya, who purposely kept him long enough to mature his plans of hostilities. Jarir left Kufa and joined Muawiya.

Imam Ali (AS) decided that matters could be only decided by war, so he marched without delay through the Mesopotamian desert to Riqqa at the banks of the Euphrates. After crossing the river by constructing a bridge they came across the Syrian outposts at Sur al-Rum.
There were a few skirmishes between the armies but the Syrians gave way and in the month of Zilhaj of 36 A.H., the army of Imam Ali (AS) came into sight of Muawiya's main forces, which had already camped at Siffin.

At Siffin, Muawiya had stationed his general, Abul Awr, with 10,000 men on the river to stop the access to water for Imam Ali's (AS) army. Imam Ali (AS) sent Sasaa Bin Sauhan al-Abdi to Muawiya that this action was not necessary because, after all, the people whom he was refusing water were also Muslims.

He further assured Muawiya that if the situation had been reversed, the river would have been open to both armies. However, Muawiya sent back a message that the murderers of Uthman had not allowed him any water when they had laid siege to his palace, and Muawiya was avenging that action.

Imam Ali (AS) knew that this situation would be intolerable and he launched an attack under Malike Ashtar. The brave commander secured the river after heavy fighting and Abul Awr was dislodged from its banks. Having control of the river, Imam Ali (AS) kept to his word and allowed unlimited access to Muawiya's side.

Imam Ali (AS) divided his army of 90,000 men into seven units each commanded by brave warriors. Muawiya similarly divided his army of 120,000 men into seven columns. Everyday one column from each army would engage one another in combat.

The battles were mostly restricted to single combats or small groups fighting because Imam Ali (AS) was trying to avoid the serious loss of Muslim lives that would have resulted from a full scale battle.

The month of Zilhaj ended in this manner and the month of Muharram, in which fighting is forbidden, set in. During this month, Imam Ali (AS) tried hard to resolve the crisis by negotiation, but to no avail. He pointed out that he was ready to punish the murderers of Uthman if Muawiya would point them out. However, Muawiya did not wish the matter to end so easily, because it was the issue of Uthman's unavenged death that had enabled him to gather such a large army.

In the month of Safar fighting was resumed. For a week, fierce battles raged all day. Everyday the conflict got more severe and bitter. In the second week Imam Ali (AS) came to the battlefield for the first time. After a series of single combats, in which he overcame every opponent with his awesome skill, no body would come to fight him.

He was forced to disguise himself to get anybody to challenge him. On one such occasion, an unsuspecting warrior from Muawiya's side attacked Imam Ali (AS).

The man was struck with a single sweep of Zulfiqar with such force by Imam Ali (AS) that the upper half of his body was severed from the lower half. Those who watched thought that the blow had missed, and it was only when the horse moved and the two halves fell to the ground, that people realized what had happened.

Day after day the loss of lives increased, especially in the ranks of Muawiya. However, Imam Ali (AS) also lost several distinguished Companions of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) from his side. Amongst them were Hashim bin Utba and Ammar Yasir.

Ammar, who was 93 years old, had been informed by the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) that he would die fighting rebels and enemies of Islam. This was well known by all, and when he died there was some commotion in Muawiya's army.

He managed to quieten them down by saying that, since Ammar had been brought to fight by Imam Ali (AS), it was he who was the cause of his death. He said that Imam Ali (AS) therefore was the rebel that the prophecy talked about, and not Muawiya. This incredible argument was accepted by his men and war continued until the 13th night.

On that day the commander-in-chief of Imam Ali's (AS) army, Malike Ashtar, attacked the enemy ferociously. His shout of Allahu Akbar, every time he killed a man, was heard no less than 400 times.

The hero of the battle began to bring on victory when Amr al-Aas on Muawiya's side said, "Call the enemy to the Word of God."
Muawiya eagerly accepted these words and his men raised 500 copies of the Holy Qur'an on their spears, saying that the Holy Book would decide their differences. This trick had a strange effect on some people in the army of Imam Ali (AS), who dropped their weapons and agreed that the Holy Qur'an should decide the matter.

Imam Ali (AS) stepped into the battlefield urging his men to continue fighting and ignore the tricks of Muawiya, but they disobeyed. The war thus came to an unsatisfactory end, and it was decided that one representative from each side should meet to reach a final decision.

Imam Ali (AS) wanted Abdullah bin Abbas or Malike Ashtar to represent him, but his men insisted that Abu Musa Ash'ari be chosen instead. Muawiya appointed Amr al-Aas to represent him. Abu Musa had neither wit nor tact and was no match for the cunning Amr al-Aas.
In the meeting that took place some months later, Abu Musa was badly tricked by Amr into giving up the rights of Imam Ali (AS), and it is as follows.

Decision of the umpires

The time for arbitration having come, the umpires proceeded to Dumat-al-Jondel or Azroh, each with a retinue of four hundred horsemen according to the agreement. Many a leading Chief from Mecca, Medina, Iraq and Syria went there to watch the proceedings, which were to decide the future of Islam.

Abdallah bin Abbas, who accompanied Abu-Musa to preside at the daily prayers, while having a discourse with Abu-Musa upon the topic of arbitration, urged him to beware of the crafty ways of his astute colleague and to keep particularly in his mind the fact that Ali had no blemish to render him incapable of government, nor Muawiya any virtue to qualify him for it.
When Abu-Musa reached Duma, Amr bin Aas received him with great respect. A private conference was held between the two alone in a pavilion erected for the purpose. Amr was already well aware of the weaknesses in Abu-Musa's character.

He treated Abu-Musa with utmost respect and civility till he brought him completely under his influence. Having won his confidence, he made him admit that Osman was foully murdered. Then he asked him why the avenger of his blood, a near relation of his and an able administrator viz.

Muawiya should not be taken as his successor. To this Abu-Musa replied that the succession should not be determined on such a basis which would give preference to Osman's Sons as legitimate claimants; but that they must above all things take care lest a mutiny should be kindled or civil wars break again.

Upon this Amr bin Aas asked Abu-Musa to reject both Ali and Muawiya, and let the Faithful elect a third. This is the simplest and safest solution of the problem. 'I agree,' said Abu-Musa, let us go forth to pronounce. A tribunal was erected from which each of the umpires was to declare publicly his decision.

Abu-Musa wished Amr to go up first, but Amr, alleging reasons to give preference to Ali's man, overcame all his scruples and insisted upon Abu-Musa going up first.
Abu-Musa ascended and addressed the people thus: 'Brethren! I and Amr bin Aas, both of us, have given full consideration to the matter and have come to the conclusion that no other course to restore peace and to remove discord from the people can possibly be better than to depose both Ali and Muawiya in order that people may have their choice of a better man in their stead.

I therefore depose both Ali and Muawiya from the Caliphate to which they pretend, in the manner as I draw this ring from my finger.' Having made this declaration Abu-Musa came down. Amr bin Aas now took his turn and went up to announce what he had to declare. 'You have heard,' he said, 'how Abu-Musa on his part has deposed his chief Ali; I, on my part, do depose him too and I invest my chief Muawiya with the Caliphate and I confirm him to it, as I put this ring upon my finger.

I do this with justice because Muawiya is the avenger of Osman and his rightful successor.' So saying, he came down. This arbitration took place in the month of Ramadan, 37 A.H. or February 658 A.D.

Muawiya thus managed to escape certain defeat at Siffin. The damage done at the battle was great. Muawiya lost 45,000 men and 25,000 men were killed on the side of Imam Ali (AS).

Battle of Ahzab (The Allies)

In this battle the forces of the idolatrous Arabs and the Jews were mobilized against Islam and, after forming a strong military alliance, they besieged Madina for about one month. As various tribes and groups participated in this battle and as the Muslims dug a ditch around Madina to check the advance of the enemy, this battle is called the Battle of Ahzab (i.e. Battle of the Tribes); it is also named Battle of Khandaq (i.e. Battle of the Ditch).
Those, who sparked off this war, were the leaders of the Jewish tribe of Bani Nuzayr and also a group of Bani Wa'il. The strong blow which the Jews of Bani Nuzayr had received at the hands of the Muslims and the manner in which they left Madina under compulsion and settled in Khayber, made them draw out a minute plan for toppling down the very foundation of Islam.

And, in fact, they did draw out a dangerous plan and confronted the Muslims along with various tribes. This occurrence was unprecedented in the history of the Arabs.
Their planning was that the leaders of the tribe of Bani Nuzayr, like Salam bin Abil Haqiq and Hay bin Akhtab arrived in Makkah along with some persons belonging to the tribe of Wa'il and, having contacted the chiefs of Quraysh, spoke to them thus: "Muhammad has made you and us his targets and compelled the Jews of Bani Qaynuqa' and Bani Nuzayr to quit their homeland.

You people of Quraysh should rise and seek help from your allies and we have seven hundred Jewish swordsmen (Bani Qurayzah) who will rush to assist you. The Jews of Bani Qurayzah have ostensibly concluded a defence pact with Muhammad but we shall persuade them to ignore the pact and join you.[394]

The chiefs of Quraysh were disillusioned and tired of fighting with the Muslims but the boasting of these three persons impressed them and they liked and approved their plan. However, before expressing their approval they questioned the leaders of the Jews thus: "You are the people of the Scriptures and followers of Heavenly Books and can very well distinguish between truth and falsehood.

You know that we have no differences with Muhammad except on account of his religion which is opposite to ours. Now please tell us frankly which of the two religions is better - ours or his which is based on the worship of One Allah and breaking of the idols and pulling down of the idol-temples."

Let us see what reply these people (who considered themselves to be the supporters of the doctrine of Oneness of Allah and the standard-bearers of monotheism) gave to the ignorant and uninformed group who had acknowledged them to be learned and had placed their difficulties before them. They shamelessly replied: "Idolatry is better than the religion of Muhammad. You should remain steadfast in your faith and should not show the slightest inclination to his religion.[395]

It was a shameful stain on the character of the Jews, who made the face of the history of Judaism, which was already dark, still darker. This blunder on their part is so unpardonable that the Jewish writers express great sorrow for it. Dr. Israel writes thus in his book entitled History of the Jews and Arabia: "It was not proper that the Jews should have committed such a mistake even though Quraysh might have rejected their request.

Furthermore, it was not at all proper that they should have sought protection of the idolaters, because such an action is not in conformity with the teachings of the Taurat".[396]

In fact this is the policy which the materialist politicians of today adopt for the achievement of their aims and objects. they earnestly believe that one should utilize all permissible and unpermissible means to achieve one's object and in fact, according to their thinking, achievement of a purpose makes unpermissible things permissible for them, and morality is only that which helps then achieve their object.

The Holy Qur'an says thus about this bitter incident: Haven't you seen how those who had been given a share of the Scripture believe in idols and Satan and say the disbelievers are better guided than the believers!. (Surah al-Nisa, 4:51 )

The word of these so-called scholars impressed the idolaters. They, therefore, expressed agreement with their plan and the time of their advance to Madina was also settled.
Those people who there keen to trigger off the war came out of Makkah with happy hearts and first proceeded to Najd to contact the tribe of Ghatfan, who were the sworn enemies of Islam.

Out of Ghatfan tribe the families of Bani Fazarah, Bani Murrah and Bani Ashja' conceded to their request on the condition that, after victory was achieved, they would be given one year's proceeds of Khayber. The matter did not, however, end here, because Quraysh corresponded with their allies-Bani Salim, and Ghatfan with their allies - Bani Asad, and invited them to join this military alliance. Bani Salim and Bani Asad accepted their invitation and on the appointed day all these tribes rushed from different parts of Arabia to invade and conquer Madina.[397]

Intelligence Bureau of Muslims

From the day the Prophet had settled down in Madina he always sent clever persons to different sides, so that they might inform him about the conditions prevailing in those areas as well as the activities of people residing outside the territories of Islam.

The informants reported that a strong military alliance had been formed against Islam and those people would march on an appointed day to besiege Madina. The Prophet immediately formed a consultative council so that they might take decisions keeping in view the bitter experiences gained from the Battle of Uhud.

Some persons preferred fortified defence from the towers and the high places instead of going out of the city to face the enemy. However, this scheme was not adequate, because the huge pack of warriors of Arabia with thousands of soldiers could destroy the fortresses and the towers and could overpower the Muslims. It was, therefore, necessary to take steps to ensure that the enemy did not succeed in approaching Madina.

Salman Farsi, who was fully conversant with the art of Iranian warfare, said: "In Persia, as and when people are threatened with an attack by the enemies, they dig a deep ditch around the town and thus check their advance. Hence, it would be appropriate to safeguard the vulnerable points of Madina by means of a ditch and thus to hold back the enemy in those areas.

Simultaneously, towers and sentry posts should be constructed by the bank of the ditch for purposes of defence and the enemies should be prevented from crossing the ditch by shooting arrows and hurling stones on them from the towers and the fortresses".[398]

The suggestion made by Salman was accepted unanimously and this defensive scheme contributed a good deal towards the safety of the Muslims accompanied by some persons, personally inspected the vulnerable points and marked out the spots where the ditch was to be dug. It was decided that the ditch should be dug from Uhud up to Ratij and, in order to maintain a good order, every forty cubits were entrusted to ten men.

The Prophet himself struck the first pick on the ground and began digging the earth when Ali busied himself with throwing the clay out. The face and forehead of the Prophet was perspiring and he was uttering, "Real life is the life of the Hereafter. O Allah! Forgive the Muhajirs and the Ansar! "

By engaging himself in this work the Prophet manifested a part of the programme of Islam and made the Muslim society understand that a commander of the army and a leader of the society should endure hardships like others and should alleviate their burden.

The Prophet's labour created a peculiar enthusiasm amongst the Muslims and all of them, without any exception, started work, so much so that the Jews belonging to the tribe of Bani Qurayzah who had concluded a pact with the Muslims also rendered help by providing implements.[399] The Muslims were very hard up in those days for provisions, and the well-off families were rendering help to the soldiers of Islam.

When the digging of the ditch became difficult on account of the appearance of big stones they approached the Prophet, who himself broke the big rocks with a strong blow.
The length of the ditch can be estimated by taking into account the number of workers.

According to a popular version the number of the Muslims in those days was 3000,[400] and if digging of 40 cubits was performed by ten persons the length of the ditch would come to 12,000 cubits and its breadth was so much that clever and experienced riders could not cross it on horseback.

The Well-known Remarks of the Prophet About Salman

When the workers were being distributed a dispute cropped up between the Muhajirs and the Ansar with regard to Salman. Each of the two parties claimed that Salman belonged to them and should work along with them. At this juncture the Prophet put an end to the dispute with a decisive order and said: "Salman is one of the members of my household".

The Prophet spent his days and nights by the bank of the ditch till the work was completed. However, the hypocrites failed to do the work on various excuses and at times went away to their houses without obtaining permission from the Prophet, while the true believers remained busy in their work with firm determination, and discontinued work on good excuse after obtaining permission from the commander, and returned to work again when the excuse ceased to exist. This matter has been narrated in the 62nd and 63rd verses of Surah al-Nur.

The Army of the Arabs and the Jews Besieges Madina

The Arab army encamped like swarms of ants and locusts on the bank of the deep ditch, which was dug by the Muslims only six days before their arrival. They had been expecting to face the army of Islam at the foot of Mt. Uhud, but when they reached the desert of Uhud they did not find any trace of the Muslims there.

They, therefore, continued their march till they reached the bank of the ditch. They were surprised to see the ditch round the vulnerable parts of Madina and all of them said: "Muhammad has learnt these war tactics from an Iranian, because the Arabs are not acquainted with this type of warfare".

Number of Soldiers of the Two Forces

The army of the Arabs exceeded 10,000 persons. The lustre of their swords from behind the ditch dazzled the eyes. As quoted by Maqrizi in al-lmta', Quraysh alone encamped on the bank of the ditch with 4000 soldiers, three hundred horses and 1500 camels, and the tribe of Salim joined them in Marruz Zahran with 700 men.

The tribe of Bani Fazarah with 1000 men and the tribes of Bani Ashja' and Bani Murrah with 400 men each and other tribes, whose total number exceeded 10,000 men, encamped in another part.

The Muslims did not exceed three thousand and their camping place was in the foot of Mt. Sala', which is an elevated spot. This point fully controlled the ditch as well as its outer parts and all the activities and movements of the enemy could be seen clearly from there. Some Muslims had been posted to protect the towers and the sentry posts and to control traffic over the ditch, and they prevented the enemy from crossing the ditch by means of natural and artificial fortifications.

The army of the Arabs stayed on the other side of the ditch for about one month and during this period not more than a few persons were able to cross it. And those who tried to cross the ditch were repulsed by means of special stones which were used in those times instead of the bullets of today. During this period the Muslims had some interesting adventures with the transgressing Arabs which are recorded in history.[401]

The Rigours of Winter and the Shortage of Provisions

The Battle of Ahzab took place in winter. Madina was faced with drought that year and a state of semi-famine prevailed. The provisions available with the army of the Arabs were not sufficient to permit them to stay on any more, because they had never thought that they would be detained on the bank of a ditch for full one month. On the contrary they were sure that with a single attack they would be able to overcome the warriors of Islam and would put them to the sword.

Those who had sparked off the war (i.e. the Jews) realized this critical situation after a few days. They understood that with the passage of time the resolution of the commanders of the army would be weakened and they would succumb to the rigours of winter and the shortage of fodder and foodstuffs. They, therefore, thought of seeking help from Bani Qurayzah, who were residing within Madina, so that they might trigger off the war within the city and thus open the way for the army of the Arabs to enter it.

Hay Bin Akhtab Arrives in the Fortress of Bani Qurayzah

Bani Qurayzah were the only Jews who were residing in Madina, side by side with the Muslims, in perfect peace and tranquility and respected the pact which they had concluded with Prophet Muhammad.

Hay bin Akhtab felt that victory could be gained by seeking help for the army of the Arabs from inside Madina. He decided to instigate Bani Qurayzah to repudiate the pact made with the Muslims so that fighting might flare up between them and this internal disturbance might facilitate victory for the army of the Arabs.

With this plan in his mind he approached the fortress of Bani Qurayzah and introduced himself. Ka'b, who was the chief of Bani Qurayzah, ordered that the gate of the fortress might not be opened. However, Hay insisted and entreated and said aloud: "O Ka'b! Are you not opening the gate because you are afraid of your bread and water (i.e. because you are afraid that you will have to feed me?) This sentence reflected upon the generosity and manliness of an indisputable chief like Ka'b.

It, therefore, prompted him to order that the gate might be opened for Hay. The war-monger sat by the side of his co-religionist and spoke to him thus: "I have brought a world of honour and greatness towards you. The chiefs of Quraysh, the nobles of Arabia and the princes of Ghatfan who are fully equipped, have encamped on the bank of the ditch to destroy the common enemy (the Prophet) and have given me a promise that until they have killed Muhammad and his companions they will not return to their homes".

Ka'b replied: "I swear by the Almighty that you have brought humiliation and disgrace. In my view the army of the Arabs is like a rainless cloud which thunders but does not rain. O son of Akhtab! O war-monger! Keep your hands off us. The fine qualities of Prophet Muhammad prohibit us from ignoring the pact which we have concluded with him.

We have seen nothing from him except truthfulness, sincerity and righteousness. So how can we betray him?
Like a skilled camel-man who tames a refractory camel by rubbing its hump, Hay bin Akhtab said so many things to Ka'b that eventually he agreed to repudiate the pact. Hay also promised Ka'b that if the army of the Arabs was not victorious over Muhammad, he (Hay) himself would come to the fortress and share the fate of Ka'b. Ka'b called the chiefs of the Jews in the presence of Hay and formed a consultative council and invited their opinions. All of them said: "You may decide whatever you consider expedient and we shall obey you".[402]

Zubayr Bata, who was an old man, said: "l have read in the Taurat that in later times a Prophet will rise from Makkah. He will migrate to Madina. His religion will spread throughout the world and no army will gain a victory over him. If Muhammad is the same Prophet this army will not be victorious over him".

The son of Akhtab said at once: "That Prophet will be from amongst Bani Israel, whereas Muhammad is a descendant of Isma'il; he has collected these people around him by means of deceit and magic". He talked so much on the subject that he succeeded in making them decide to violate the pact. He also called for the pact which had been concluded between Prophet Muhammad and Bani Qurayzah and tore it into pieces before their very eyes.

Then he said: "The matter is now finished. You should get ready to wage war".[403]

The Prophet Becomes Aware of the Violation of the Pact by Bani Qurayzah

The Prophet was informed by his skilled functionaries about the violation of the pact by Bani Qurayzah at this critical juncture. He was very much worried on this account. He at once deputed Sa'd Mu'az and Sa'd 'Ubadah, who were brave soldiers of Islam and chiefs of the tribes of Aws and Khazraj, to collect authentic information.

He also instructed them that if the betrayal by Bani Qurayzah was found to be a fact they should inform him about it by using the code-word of 'Azal and Qarah (names of two tribes who invited Muslim missionaries to their lands and then cut off their heads) and if they were firm with regard to the pact they should contradict the accusation openly. Both of them went up to the gate of the fortress of Bani Qurayzah along with two other persons. On their first encounter with Ka'b they heard nothing from him except abusive and foul language.

One of them then said with occult inspiration: "By Allah! The army of the Arabs will go away from this territory and the Prophet will besiege this fortress and will chop off your heads and will make time difficult for your tribe". Then they returned immediately and said to the Prophet: 'Azal and Qarah ".

The Prophet said loudly: "Allah is Great! O Muslims! There are good tidings for you that victory is near". This sentence, which manifests the perfect bravery and sagacity of the great leader of Islam, was uttered to ensure that the morale of the Muslims might not be weakened on hearing about the violation of the pact by Bani Qurayzah.[404]

Initial Transgressions by Bani Qurayzah

The initial plan of Bani Qurayzah that in the first instance they should plunder Madina and frighten the women and the children of the Muslims who had taken shelter in their houses. They, therefore, put this plan in to practice in Madina gradually.

For example the brave men of Bani Qurayzah began going to and fro in the city in a mysterious manner, so much so that Safiyah, daughter of Abdul Muttalib, said: "I was staying in the house of Hassan bin Thabit and Hassan and his wife were also residing there. Suddenly I saw a Jew loitering about around the fort in a mysterious manner. I said to Hassan: "The intentions of this man are not good. Get up and drive him away". Hassan said: "O daughter of Abdul Muttalib! I don't possess enough courage to kill him and I am afraid that if I go out of this fort I shall meet harm". I, therefore, got up myself, girded my loin, picked up a piece of iron and killed the Jew with one blow.

The person appointed by the Muslims to collect information reported to the Prophet that Bani Qurayzah had asked Quraysh and Ghatfan to make available two thousand soldiers who should enter Madina from within the fortress and plunder the city. This report was received when the Muslims were guarding the bank of the ditch lest the enemy should cross it. The Prophet immediately appointed two officers named Zayd Harithah and Maslamah Aslam along with five hundred soldiers to patrol the city and, while uttering Takbir (Allaho Akbar- Allah is Great!) prevent Bani Qurayzah from committing transgression so that the women and the children should feel comforted by hearing Takbir.[405]

Encounter Between Faith and Infidelity

By the time the Battle of Ahzab took place the idolaters and the Jews had fought various battles against Islam. However, all these were special battles limited to one community or group only, and did not possess a general aspect to involve the entire Arabian Peninsula in a battle against Islam.

As, however, they did not succeed, in spite of all their efforts, to topple down the newly-founded State of Islam, but on this occasion, a mixed army, consisting of the people of different tribes, so as to finish Islam. Speaking idiomatically, they shot the last arrow in their quiver at the Muslims. Hence, after spending much money and also requesting others for help, they mobilized a big army so that if the Muslims did not take any precautionary measures to defend Madina they might gain an easy victory over them and thus achieve their goal.

For this purpose they also brought with them the great champion of Arabia ('Amr bin Abdiwad) so that all difficulties might be solved through the strength of his arm.
On this account, during the days of the Battle of Ahzab and in fact at the time of the encounter between the two respective champions of polytheism and Islam, infidelity and Islam faced each other and this combat was between infidelity and Faith (Islam).

One of the reasons for the failure of the army of the Arabs was the very ditch which had been dug in their way. The army of the enemy tried day and night to cross the ditch, but every time they were faced with the furious attacks of the sentries as planned by the Prophet.

The biting winter of that year and the shortage of foodstuff and fodder were threatening the lives of the Arab army and their animals. Hay bin Akhtab (who had initiated the war) obtained twenty camel-loads of palm-dates from the Jews of Bani Qurayzah but the same were confiscated by the Muslims and distributed amongst the soldiers of Islam.[406]

One day Abu Sufyan wrote the following letter to the Prophet: "I have come with a big army to overthrow your religion. But what to do? For it appears that you have considered confrontation with us to be abominable and have dug a ditch between us and yourself. I do not know from whom you have learnt this military strategy, but I have to tell you that until I have waged a bloody battle like Uhud I will not return".

The Prophet sent him this reply: "From Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah to Abu Sufyan bin Harb.......You have been priding yourself since long and imagine that you can extinguish the light of Islam. However, you should know that you are too humble to do this. You will return soon after suffering defeat and I shall later, break the big idols of Quraysh before your very eyes".

Reply to the letter, which was indicative of the firm determination of the writer settled in the heart of the commander of the enemy like an arrow. As those people believed in the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad their morale was weakened.

In spite of this, however, they did not give up their efforts. One night Khalid bin Walid attempted to cross the ditch along with a special battalion. However, he had to retreat on account of the vigilance of two hundred soldiers of Islam serving under the command of Usayd Khizr.

The Prophet was not negligent of strengthening the morale of the soldiers of Islam even for a moment and encouraged them with his stirring and impressive speeches, to defend the freedom of their faith. One day he turned his face to the soldiers and the officers in a magnificent gathering and after a brief invocation to Allah addressed them thus: "O soldiers of Islam! Remain steadfast before the enemy and remember that Paradise is under the shadow of those swords which are drawn in the path of truth and justice".[407]

Some Champions of the Arab Army Cross the Ditch

Five champions named 'Amr bin Abdiwad, 'Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, Hubayrah bin Wahab, Nawfal bin Abdullah and Zirar bin Khattab put on their military dress and, standing in front of the army of Bani Kananah, said with peculiar vanity: "Get ready for fighting.

Today you will realize as to who are the real champions of the Arab army". Then they galloped their horses and jumped over the ditch at a point at which its breadth was a little lesser. These five champions went beyond the reach of the arrows of the soldiers who were guarding the ditch. However, the point at which they had crossed was encircled immediately and trespassing by others was prevented.

The halting place of these five champions who had come for single combat was situated between the ditch and the Sal'a mountain (the headquarters of the army of Islam). The Arab champions were playing with their horses with a peculiar vanity and pride, and were challenging their adversaries by means of hints and signs.[408]

Out of these five persons, however, the one who was most famous for his valour and skill, came forward and formally challenged his opponent to fight. Every moment he was raising his voice and his demand for an adversary was ringing in the field and making the hearers shiver. The silence of the Muslims made him bolder and he said: "Where are the claimants of Paradise? Don't you, Muslims, say that those who are killed from amongst you will go to Paradise and those who are killed from amongst us will go to Hell? Is not even one of you prepared to send me to Hell or to go to Paradise at my hands? He also composed some verses in this behalf, the purport of the first verse is: "I have got tired of shouting and challenging (to a single combat) and my voice has become hoarse".

Perfect silence prevailed in the army of Islam in reply to 'Amr's shouting. Although the Prophet kept asking that one man should get up and relieve the Muslims from the mischief of that man ('Amr), but none was prepared to fight with him (except Ali bin Abi Talib).[409] No alternative was, therefore, left except that this difficulty should be surmounted through Ali, the brave. The Prophet gave him his own sword, tied a special turban on his head and prayed for him in these words: "O Allah! Protect Ali from all sides.

O Lord! 'Ubaydah bin Harith was taken away from me on the Day of Badr and, the lion of Allah, Hamzah was taken away in the Battle of Uhud. O Nourisher! Protect Ali from being harmed by the enemy''. Then he recited this verse: "O Nourisher! Don't leave me alone and you are the best inheritor".[410] (Surah al-Anbiya, 21:89)

Ali walked as quickly as possible to cover the delay already caused. At this moment the Prophet uttered this historical sentence: "Entire faith is facing entire infidelity". Ali composed rajaz (epic verses), whose rhythm and rhyme conformed with that of his adversary's, and said: "Don't be in a hurry, because a strong person has come in the field to give you a reply".

The entire body of Ali was covered with iron armour and his eyes were shining through the helmet. 'Amr desired to identify his adversary. He said to Ali: "Who are you?" Ali, who was famous for the clearness of his accent, replied: "I am Ali, son of Abu Talib".

'Amr said: "I shall not shed your blood, because your father was one of my old friends. I am thinking about your cousin who has sent you in the field with so much confidence. I can pick you up on the point of my lance and keep you suspended between the earth and the sky so that you are neither dead nor alive".

Ibn Abil Hadid says: "Whenever my teacher of history (Abul Khayr) explained this portion he used to say: "In fact 'Amr was afraid of fighting with Ali, because he was present in the Battles of Badr and Uhud and had witnessed his valour. He therefore, wished to dissuade Ali from fighting with him".

Ali said: "You need not bother about my death. In both the cases (i.e. whether I kill or am killed) I shall be blessed and my place shall be in Paradise, but in all cases Hell awaits you". 'Amr smiled and said: "O Ali! This division is not just. Both Paradise and Hell belong to you ".

Ali reminded him that one day he ('Amr) had put his hand into the coverings of the Holy Ka'bah and had made a promise to Allah that as and when any warrior made three suggestions to him in the battlefield he would accept one of them.

Ali, therefore, suggested to him that he should embrace Islam. He replied: "O Ali! Leave this for it is not possible". Then Ali said: "Abandon fighting and leave Muhammad to himself". He replied: "It is a matter of shame for me to accept this proposal, because tomorrow. the poets of Arabia will satirize me and will imagine that I did so on account of fear". Then Ali said: "Your opponent is on foot. You should also dismount so that we may combat with each other". He said: "O Ali! This is a very insignificant suggestion and I had never thought that an Arab would make such a request to me''.[411]

Combat Between the Two Champions Commences

Fierce fighting started between the two champions and both of them were enveloped in dust, so that the on-lookers were not aware of the developments. They could only hear the clashing of their swords. 'Amr aimed his sword at the head of Ali and although the latter warded off the blow with his special shield his head was, nevertheless, wounded. He, however, availed of the opportunity and gave a sharp blow on his feet. Consequently one or both of the feet of 'Amr were cut off and he fell down on the ground.

The voice of Takbir was heard from within the dust which was a sign of Ali's victory. The scene of the fall of 'Amr on the ground created such a fear in the hearts of other warriors, who were standing behind him, that they galloped their horses involuntarily towards the ditch and all of them, except Nawfal, returned to their camping-place.

Nawfal's horse fell into the ditch. Those who were posted on the bank of the ditch began to stone him. He, however, said loudly: "To kill a person like this is contrary to the code of bravery. Let one of you come down so that we may fight with each other". Ali plunged into the ditch and killed him.

Fear overtook the entire army of the polytheists and Abu Sufyan was more terrified than every one else. He thought that Muslims would mutilate the body of Nawfal to take revenge of Hamzah. He, therefore, sent some one to purchase the dead body of Nawfal for ten thousand Dinars. The Prophet, however, said: " Hand over the dead body to them and it is not permissible in Islam to take the price of the dead."

The Value of This Blow

Although, ostensibly Ali killed a fierce enemy of Islam, but in reality he restored to life those persons who had been trembling to hear the heart-rending roarings of 'Amr and also terrified the ten thousand strong army which had determined to finish the newly-formed State of Islam. The value of this self-sacrifice would have become known if the victory (in the absence of Ali) had fallen to the share of 'Amr.

When Ali had the honour to present himself before the Prophet the latter assessed the value of the blow given by him to 'Amr in these words: "The value of this self-sacrifice excels all the good deeds of my followers, because, as a consequence of the defeat of the greatest champion of infidelity the Muslims have become honourable and the community of infidels has become degraded and humble''.[412]


The coat-of-mail of 'Amr was very costly but Ali was too magnanimous to touch it, although the Second Caliph criticized him for not having removed it from the body of 'Amr. 'Amr's sister came to know about the incident and said: "I am not at all sad on account of my brother being killed, because he has been killed at the hands of a magnanimous person. If it had not been so I would have been shedding tears throughout my life."[413]

The Army of the Arabs Is Divided

The motive of the Arab and the Jew armies for fighting against Islam was not one and the same. The Jews were afraid of the ever-increasing expansion of Islam, whereas Quraysh were motivated by their old enmity for Islam and the Muslims.

As regards the tribes of Ghatfan and Fazarah and other tribes they had participated in this battle for the sake of the proceeds of Khayber which the Jews had promised them. Hence, the motive of the last group was purely material and if their object could be achieved through the Muslims they would very gladly have returned to their homes, especially because winter and shortage of provisions and prolonged siege of the city had made them dejected and their animals were on the brink of death.

The Prophet, therefore, appointed a body of men to conclude a pact with the chiefs of the said tribes to the effect that the Muslims were prepared to give them one-third of the fruits of Madina, provided they dissociated themselves from the ranks of Ahzab (tribes) and returned to their own areas. The representatives of the Prophet drew up an agreement with the chiefs of the tribes and brought it to him for his endorsement. However, the Prophet placed the matter before two brave officers namely Sa'd Mu'az and Sa'd 'Ubadah.

Both of them stated unanimously that if this pact was to be concluded in compliance with the command of Allah it would be acceptable to the Muslims, but if it was according to the personal view of the Prophet and their opinion was being sought they thought that the proposal should end then and there and should not be approved. As regards the reason for their saying so they stated:

"We have never paid tribute to these tribes and none of them could pick up courage to take even one palm-date from us by force and coercion. And now that we have embraced Islam by the grace of Allah and under your guidance and have become honourable and respectable by means of Islam the question of our paying them any tribute does not arise. By Allah! We shall reply to their vain and hollow demand with our swords until the matter is settled by Divine commandment".

The Prophet said: "The reason for my thinking about such a pact was this that I saw that you had become the target of the Arab army and were being attacked from all sides. I, therefore, thought that this problem should be solved by creating a rift between the enemies.

However, now that your firm resolution has become evident, I hereby stay the conclusion of the pact and say to you-and believe in what I say that Allah will not humiliate His Prophet and will carry out His promise about the victory of monotheism over polytheism". At this stage Sa'd Mu'az deleted the contents of the deed with the permission of the Prophet and said: "The idolaters may do whatever they like. We are not a people who pay tribute".[414]

Factors Which Divided the Arab Army

1. The first factor of success was the talks between the representatives of the Prophet and the chiefs of the tribes of Ghatfan and Fazarah. For, although this agreement was not approved finally, its violation and rejection was also not announced.

In this way the said tribes became double-minded with regard to their allies and were continuously awaiting the confirmation of the agreement and whenever they were asked to carry out a general attack they rejected such demands on one excuse or another in the hope of the conclusion of the agreement in question.

2.Many persons had pinned their hopes on the success and victory of 'Amr, the mighty champion of Arabia. Consequently, when he was killed, intense fear prevailed among them. It was especially so, because, after 'Amr being killed, other champions fled the battlefield.

3. Na'im bin Mas'ud, who had embraced Islam recently, played a great part in creating differences between the tribes. He chalked out an excellent espionage plan which was not less shrewd than the activities of the spies of the present times; it was rather superior and more effective.

He came in the presence of the Prophet and said: "I have embraced Islam recently and have very old friendly relation with all these tribes, but they are not aware of my conversion to Islam. If there are any orders you may like to give, I shall carry them out". The Prophet said: "Do something to scatter these people" i.e. there is no harm if planning is done and a remedy is sought to safeguard some sublimer interests.

Na'im thought over the matter for some time. Then, in the first instance, he went to the tribe of Bani Qurayzah who were in fact the fifth column of the enemy and were threatening the Muslims from the back door. He arrived in the fortress of Bani Qurayzah and expressed deep affection and friendship with them and said all sorts of things whereby he could gain their confidence.

Then he added: "Your position is different as compared with the allied tribes (viz. Quraysh and Ghatfan), because Madina is the residence of your women and children and all your property is here and you cannot at all afford to shift elsewhere, whereas the centres of life and business of the allied tribes, who have come to fight against Muhammad, are outside Madina and far away from it.

If they are successful in the war they will achieve their object, but if they are defeated they will at once march off to their places which are beyond the reach of Muhammad. You should, however, know that if the tribes are not successful and return to their places abandoning warfare, you will be left at the mercy of the Muslims. I think that now, as you have associated yourselves with the tribes, it is better that you should stick to this decision. However, in order to ensure that the tribes will not leave you alone during the war and return to their homes you should take some of their nobles and chiefs as hostages so that when the circumstances become difficult they should not abandon you and should settle the affairs, because they will be obliged to fight against Muhammad to the last in order to get their men released".

The views of Na'im were endorsed unanimously and he was satisfied that his words had the desired effect on them. Then he left their fortress and went to the camping-place of the tribes. The chiefs of Quraysh were his old friends.

Hence, during his conversation with them he said: "Bani Qurayzah are very much ashamed and repentant to have violated their pact with Muhammad and now wish to make amends for it. They have, therefore, decided to take some of your men as hostages and hand them over to Muhammad. In this way they will prove their sincerity and Muhammad will kill your men immediately.

They have already discussed this matter with Muhammad and have assured him that they will henceforth support him to the last moment of their lives and Muhammad has also endorsed their plan. Hence, if the Jews demand hostages from you, you should not agree at all. You should know that the result of such an action will be dangerous.

A clear proof of this fact is that in case you ask them tomorrow to take part in the battle and attack Muhammad from behind you will see that they will not at all agree to do so and will put forth different excuses. Then he went to the camping-place of Ghatfan and had a talk with them in a particular manner. He said: "You, the tribe of Ghatfan are my kith and kin. I don't think you will accuse me for what I say.

I will talk with you about something but I wish that you will not mention it to anyone. All acknowledged him to be a truthful person and their friend. Then he told them in detail what he had already told Quraysh and warned them about the activities of Bani Qurayzah and said: "You should not give them a positive reply in any circumstances".

He discharged his responsibility creditably well. Then he came to the camping-place of the Muslims secretly and published all this gossip amidst the army of Islam (i.e. the Jews wanted to take hostages from the forces of the Arabs and to surrender them to the Muslims). No doubt the object of this publicity was that the matter should cross the ditch and reach the ears of the Arabs.

Representatives of Quraysh Visit the Fortress of Bani Qurayzah

Abu Sufyan decided during the night preceding Saturday to settle the affair. The chiefs of Quraysh and Ghatfan sent their representatives to the fortress of Bani Qurayzah and they said to them (i.e. to Bani Qurayzah): "This is not the region of our residence, and our animals are dying.

You should attack the Muslims tomorrow from the back door so that we may settle this affair". The chief of Bani Qurayzah said in reply: "Tomorrow is Saturday and we Jews don't undertake any work on that day, because some of our ancestors resorted to work on this day and were subjected to Divine wrath. Furthermore, we are prepared to participate in fighting only if some of the nobles of the tribes are available in our fortress as hostages, so that you may fight to the last moment to ensure their release and may not leave us friendless".

The representatives of Quraysh returned and informed the chiefs of the tribes of the position. All of them said: "Na'im was correct in expressing sympathy with us and Bani Qurayzah want to deceive us". The representatives of Quraysh contacted the chiefs of Bani Qurayzah and said: "It is not possible for us to surrender our nobles to you as hostages and we are not prepared to give you even one of our men as a surety. In case you are inclined to attack the Muslims you should do so tomorrow and we shall assist you with all our resources".

The words of the representatives of Quraysh and especially their saying that they were not prepared to surrender even one person as a hostage convinced Bani Qurayzah that whatever Na'im had said was correct. It confirmed their fears that Quraysh were far-sighted and if they did not succeed in the matter they would return home and leave them (i.e. Bani Qurayzah) at the mercy of the Muslims.[415]

The Last Factor

Another factor, which may, in fact, be called Divine assistance, was added to the above-mentioned factors and scattered the tribes. This factor was that suddenly the atmosphere became stormy and the weather grew very cold. The change in the atmosphere became so radical that the tents were pulled off, the pots in which food was being cooked were turned upside down, the lamps were extinguished and burning fire was scattered in the desert.

At this juncture the Prophet deputed Huzayfah to cross the ditch and collect information about the enemy. He says: "I managed to reach near Abu Sufyan and saw him addressing the commanders of the army.

He was saying: "The spot at which we have encamped is not the place of our residence. Our animals are dying and the wind and storm has not spared tents, sheds and fire for us. Bani Qurayzah, too, have not helped us. It is better if we march off from here". Then he mounted his camel whose knees were tied and whipped it repeatedly.

The poor man was so much afraid and puzzled that he could not realized that the knees of the camel were tied.

It was not yet dawn, when the army of the Arabs left the place and none of them could be seen there any longer."[416]

Notes :

[394] Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, page 441.
[395] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, p. 214; Tarikh-i Tabari, vol II, p. 233.
[396] Hayat-i Muhammad.
[397] Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, page 443.
[398] Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 224.
[399] Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, page 445.
[400] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, p. 220; Mughazi, vol. II, p. 453.
[401] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. I, page 238.
[402] Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, pp. 455 - 456.
[403] Biharul Anwar, vol. II, page 223.
[404] Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. II, pp. 458-459.
[405] Seerah-i Halabi, vol. II, page 335.
[406] Seerah-i Halabi, Vol. II, page 345
[407] Seerah-i Halabi. vol. II, page 349.
[408] Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. ll, page 239 and Tabaqat-i Kubra, vol. ll, page 86.
[409] Waqidi says: Perfect silence prevailed amongst the Muslims when 'Amr was challenging (for a single combat), Mughazi, vol: II, page 470.
[410] Kanzul Fawa'id, page 137.
[411] Biharul Anwar, vol. XX, page 227.
[412] Bihar, vol. XX, page 216 and Mustadrak Hakim, vol. III, page 32.
[413] Mustadrak Hakim, vol. XXX, page 33.
[414] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, p. 223; Bihar, vol. XX, p. 252.
[415] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, pp. 229-231; Tarikh-i Tabari, v. II, pp. 242-243.
[416] Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 244

Battle of Uhod

Reasons for the battle of Uhud

The Qureshites came out from the Battle of Badr with an astonishing result which they did not expect. They were confident of their capability to annihilate the Muslims easily. Because of they were more numerous and with a bigger reserve and more logistics.

Yet, they suddenly found themselves losing seventy of their warriors and leaders, along with seventy captives, in a one-day battle. And above all, the resounding defeat which they received was at the hand of a group whom they used to be little.

The Qureshites were unwilling to admit a final defeat. They lost a battle, but they believed that they would never lose the war. All they needed was to mobilize forces to which the Muslims would not be able to stand.

The burning hatred in the hearts of Qureshites and their desire to wash away the shame of the defeat at Badr and their eagerness to avenge their lost leaders added to their physical superiority a tremendous psychological strength.

The Qureshites mobilized for the battle of avenge three thousand fighters compared to nine hundred and fifty fighters at the Battle of Badr. This army was financed and its logistics were secured through the gross income of the commercial caravan which was allotted to the battle of avenge. Thus, the community of Quraish, one year after the Battle of Badr, marched towards Medina to annihilate the Muslims, their religion, and their Prophet. The Meccan army arrived at the area of Uhud which is five miles away from Medina. There, the expected battle took place.

The Holy Prophet went on deploying his forces, placing them in strategic positions. He placed fifty marksmen at the slope of the Mount of Ohod, directing them to protect the back of the Muslims against the pagan cavalry (which was led by Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed). He commanded them not to leave their position whether the Muslims defeated the pagans or the pagans defeated the Muslims.

The Uhud Region

The big and lengthy valley which joined the trade route of Syria with Yemen is called Wadiul Qura. Different Arab tribes and the Jews took up their abode at a spot where necessities of life were available. A number of villages, therefore, came into existence and their sides were fences by stones. Yathrib (which was later named Madinatur Rasul i.e., city of Prophet) was consider to be center of these villages.

Whoever came from Makkah to Madina was obliged to enter there from the southern side. However, as this region was stony and it was difficult for an army to move into it, the army of Quraysh bent its route and established itself in the north of Madina in the valley named 'Aqiq', situated at the foot of Mt. Uhud. This area was fit for all sorts of military operations as there was no palm-grove in it and the land was also even. Madina was more vulnerable from this side because there were very few natural obstacles in this part.

The Holy Prophet goes out of Madina

The prophet offered Friday prayers and then left Madina for Uhud with an army consisting of one thousand men. He did not take with him persons like Usamah bin Zayd Harith and Abdullah bin Umar on account of their tender age, but two young men named Samurah and Rafe, who were not more than fifteen years of age, participated in the battle, because, in spite of their being young, they were good archers. The Prophet (S.A.W.) reached Uhud in the morning of Saturday, the 7th of Shawwal, 3 AH (January or February 625 AD).

Array of the Two Armies

The Islamic forces arrayed themselves opposite the invading and aggressive forces of Quraysh (Khalid bin Walid on right, Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl on left, Abu Sufyan in middle). The Muslim army selected as their camping place a point which had a natural barrier and protection at the back of it in the shape of Mt. Uhud. There was, however a particular gap in the middle of the mountain and it was probable that the enemy forces might turn round the mountain and appear at the back of the Muslim army through that gap and might attack them from behind.

In order to obviate this danger the prophet posted two groups of archers on a mount and addressed their Commander Abdullah Jabir in these words: "You should drive away the enemies (which were led by Khalid bin Walid) by shooting arrows. Don't allow them to enter the battlefield from behind and take us by surprise. Whether we are victorious or defeated, you should not vacate this point.

The Elements of the Islamic Defence

In this second battle of destiny for the Muslims, the Islamic defense consisted of the same three important elements which played their roles at the battle of Badr:

1. The ideal leadership of the Messenger and his firmness.
2. The members of the house of the Holy Prophet and their heroism.
3. An Islamic army consisting of seven hundred companions, the hearts of many of them were filled with faith and readiness for sacrifice.

The start of the Battle of Uhud followed the method of the beginning or the Battle of Badr. Talhah Ibn Abu Talhah (from Banu Abdul-Dar clan), the bearer of the banner or the pagans, challenged the Muslims, saying: "Are there any duelers?" The respondent to his call was the same respondent of the Battle of Badr.

Ali came to him and when they faced each other between the two hosts, Ali swiftly dealt him a blow by his sword through which his head was split. The Holy Prophet was pleased. He exclaimed: Allahu Akbar (God Is Great), and so did the Muslims, for the biggest hero of the pagan army had died. It is a noteworthy incident that Talha the first standard bearer of the Meccans lost one of his legs by a stroke of Ali's sword, fell down and his lower garment being loosened, he became naked.

Ali, instead of finishing him, turned his face from him and hit him no more. When Prophet asked Ali why he had spared the man, he said the man was nude and entreated for the sake of Allah to spare his life.

Abu Saad Ibn Abu Talhah (brother of Talhah) carried the banner and challenged the Muslims, saying Companions of Mohammad, you allege that your dead go to Paradise and our dead go to Hell. By "Al Lat", you lie. If you were so confident, some of you could have faced me. Let one of you come to fight me.

Ali came to him and Abu Saad was not luckier than his brother Talhah. The men of Abdul-Dar continued replacing the bearers of their banner with their men, and the Muslims continued annihilating them. Ali destroyed Artat Ibn Sharhabeel, Shureih Ibn Qaridh and their servant, Sawab.

Ali and the Banner Bearers

However, Ibn Al-Atheer reported that Ali, alone, destroyed all the standard bearers at the Battle of Uhud and said that Abu Rafi reported that. And so did Al-Tabari.
The death of the bearers of the banner heightened the morale of the Muslims and shook the hearts of the pagans. Following the death of the banner bearers, the Muslims undertook a general offensive led by Ali, Al-Hamzah, Abu Dujanh, and others.

The Islamic offensive terrified the pagan army, but the Muslims lost during this operation a giant hero Al-Hamzah, Lion of God, and uncle of the Messenger of God. Wahshi bin Harb, an Abyssinian (Ethiopian slave of Mut'am), transfixed him with his dart while he was fighting. However, the pagans were forced to flee and leave their camps. The Muslims entered the pagan camps and went on collecting what they found of equipment and material without meeting any resistance from the pagans.

Who Were Fighting for the Sake of Lust?

It is learnt from the verses, which Hind and other women were reciting with tambourines to instigate the warriors of Quraysh and to incite them to blood-shed and revenge, that these people were not fighting for the sake of spirituality, purity, freedom and moral virtues. On the contrary they were prompted by sexual and material consideration.

The song which the women sang with tambourine and a particular tune amongst the rows of the army was: "We are the daughters of Tariq. We walk on costly carpets. If you face the enemy we shall sleep with you, but if you show your back to the enemy and flee, we shall disengage ourselves from you".

Defeat after Victory

We may mention here as to why the warriors of Islam were victorious. It was due to the fact that till the last moment of their victory they had no motive except that of jihad in the path of Allah, acquisition of His pleasure, conveying the message of Allah and the removal of every impediment in its path.

Why were they defeated thereafter? It was because, after achieving victory, the aim and intention of most of the Muslims underwent a change. Attention towards the booty, which the army of Quraysh had themselves thrown in the battlefield and had fled, affected the sincerity of a large group and they ignored the orders given by the Prophet.

Here are the details of the event: While explaining the geographical conditions of Uhud we had mentioned that there was a particular gap in the middle of Mt. Uhud and the Prophet had entrusted fifty archers under the command of Abdullah Jibir to guard the valley behind the battle front and had given these orders to the commander of the group: "Prevent the enemy from passing through the gap in the mountain by shooting arrows and don't vacate this point at any cost whether we are defeated or victorious".

The fire of warfare blazed up on both the sides. Every time the enemies wished to cross this valley they were repulsed by the archers.

When the army of Quraysh threw away their weapons and property on the ground and ignored everything else to save their lives, a few brave officers of Islam whose oath of allegiance was perfectly sincere pursued the enemy outside the battle-field. But the majority ignored the pursuit and placing their weapons on the ground began collecting the booty and imagined that the battle had come to an end.

The persons guarding the valley behind the battle front also decided to avail of the opportunity and said to themselves: "It is useless for us to stay here and it is profitable that we too should collect the booty". Their commander, however, reminded that the Prophet had ordered that whether the Muslim army gained victory or was defeated they should not move from their post. Majority of the archers, who were guarding the passage, opposed their commander and said: "0ur staying here is useless and the Prophet meant only that we should guard this passage when the battle was in progress, but now the fighting has ended".

On the basis of this false presumption forty men came down from the vigilance post and only ten persons remained there. Khalid bin Walid, who was a brave and experienced warrior and knew from the very start that the mouth of the passage was the key to victory and had attempted many times to reach at the back of the war-front through it, but had to face the archers, took advantage of the small number of the guards this time.

He led his soldiers towards the backside of the Muslim army and making a surprise attack reached at the party of the Muslims. The resistance by the small group which was stationed above the mount could not prove effective till all the ten persons after putting up a tough fight were killed at the hands of the troops of Khalid bin Walid and Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl. Soon after that the unarmed and neglectful Muslims were subjected to a severe attack of the enemy from behind.

After having gained possession of the sensitive point Khalid sought the collaboration of the defeated army of Quraysh, which was in a state of flight, and strengthened the spirit of resistance and perseverance of Quraysh with repeated shoutings and cries. On account of disruption and confusion, which prevailed in the ranks of the Muslims, the army of Quraysh soon surrounded the Muslim warriors and fighting commenced between them once again.

This defeat was due to the negligence of those persons who vacated the passage for their material gains and unintentionally cleared the way for the enemy in such a manner that the mounted soldiers under orders of Khalid bin Walid entered the field from behind.

The attack by Khalid was supported by an attack by Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl and unprecedented and surprising disorder prevailed in the forces of Islam. The Muslims had no alternative but to defend themselves as a scattered group. However, as liaison with the command had also been disrupted they did not succeed in defending themselves and suffered heavy casualties, so much so that some Muslim soldiers were inadvertently killed by other Muslims.

The attacks by Khalid and Ikrimah strengthened the morale of the army of Quraysh. Their retreating forces re-entered the field and lent them support. They encircled the Muslims from all sides and killed a number of them.

Who Remained with the Prophet (P.B.U.H)? 

The companions fled away, concerned only with their own safety. History recorded seven exceptional Meccans (Ali, Abu Bakr, Abdul-Rahman Ibn Ouf, Saad Ibn Abu Waqass, Talhah Ibn Obeidah, Al-Zubeir Ibn Al-Awam, Abu Obeidah Ibn Al-Jarrah); And Seven exceptional Medi- nites (Al-Hubab Ibn Al-Munthir, Abu Dujanah, Sahl Ibn Huneif, Assim Ibn Thabit, Saad Ibn Mu ath, As-ad Ibn Hudheir or Saad lbn Abadah and Mohammad Ibn Musli- mah).

These men, according to some historians, remained with the Prophet when the other companions deserted him.

Ref: Al Waqidi, Al Maghazi (Conveyed by Ibn Abu Al Hadeed in his Commentary on Nahjul Balagha, vol 3 p 388

From what we read in Al-Mustadrak by Al-Hakim, we understand that Ali Ibn Abu Talib was the only defend- er who stayed with the Prophet for the duration of the battle. The other companions who were mentioned to be among those who remained with the Prophet were actually the first ones to come back to the Messenger of God after they left him. Al-Hakim recorded that Ibn Abbas said:

Ali has four distinctions no one shares with him: He was the first male who prayed with the Messenger of God. He was the bearer of his banner in every battle and he was the one who stayed with him at the Battle on the day of Al- Mihras (the Battle of Ohod, where there is gathered water called Al-Mihras ), and he is the one who washed his blessed body and laid him in his tomb.

Ref: Al Hakim, al Mustadrak, vol 3 p 111 

Al-Hakim reported also that Saad lbn Abu Waqass said: When people left the Messenger on the day of Ohod, I went aside and said to myself I shall defend myself ... then Al-Miqdad told him: "Saad, this is the Messenger."

Ref: Al Hakim, al Mustadrak vol 3 p 26-28 

Al-Hakim reported also that Al-Zubeir said about the Battle of Ohod, "And they exposed our back to the horse- men, so we were attacked from behind, and a man shouted: Mohammad has been killed. We retreated and the enemies pursued us.

Ref: Al Hakim, al Mustadrak, vol 3 p 27-28 

He also reported that Abu Bakr said: When people left the Messenger of God on the day of Ohod I was the first one to come back to the Messenger of God ... then he mentioned in the hadith that Abu Obeidah lbn Al-Jarrah followed him."

Ref: Al Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, vol 3 p 78 

The Prophet (pbuh&hf) Participated 

The Messenger stayed at the battlefield with full determination and firmness after the pagans came up to him. He himself fought vigorously. Saad Ibn Abu Waqaas reported that he witnessed a man whose face was covered, and he did not know who he was. The pagans came towards him and Saad thought that they were going to overpower him. But that man took a handful of gravel and threw it at their faces and they retreated . Finally Saad discovered that that man was the Prophet. He used his bow and expended all his arrows until his bow could not be used any longer.

Ref: Ibn Husham, Biography of the Prophet, v 2 p 78 

When the Prophet was exposed to the enemies by the retreat of his army, Obay Ibn Khalaf tried to attack him. Some of his companions tried to bar Obay from reaching the Prophet, but the. Prophet prevented them from doing that. He faced Obay with a blow which did not seem to be effective. But Obay said: "By God, Mohammad has killed me...." He told me in Mecca: "I shall kill you. By God, if he spits on me he kills me." Obay died in "Saraf" while returning to Mecca.

The Rumor about the Prophet Being Killed Spreads

A brave warrior of Quraysh named Laythi attacked Mus'ab bin Umayr, the daring standard-bearer of Islam, and after exchange of a number of blows between them the standard-bearer of Islam was killed. As the Muslim warriors had hidden their faces Laythi thought that the person killed was the Prophet of Islam. He, therefore, shouted and informed the chiefs of the army that Muhammad had been killed.

This rumor spread from man to man in the army of Quraysh. Their chiefs were so happy that their voices were ringing in the battlefield and all of them were saying: "O people! Muhammad has been killed! O people! Muhammad has been killed!"

Publicity of this false news encouraged the enemy and the army of Quraysh came into motion. Every one of them was keen to participate in cutting the limbs of Muhammad so that he might secure a high status in the world of polytheism.

This news weakened the morale of the warriors of Islam much more than it gave strength to the morale of the army of the enemy, so much so that a considerable majority of Muslims abandoned fighting and took refuge in the mountains and none of them, except a few, who could be counted on fingers, remained in the field.

Is It Possible to Deny the Flight of Some Persons?

It is not possible to deny that some companions fled the field and the fact that they were companions of the Prophet or that later they acquired status and honor amongst the Muslims should not prevent us from accepting this bitter reality.

Ibn Hisham, the famous historian, writes thus: "Anas bin Nazr, the uncle of Anas bin Malik says: "When the army of Islam came under pressure and the news of the death of the Prophet was afloat, most of the Muslims thought of their own lives and every person took refuge in one corner or the other". He adds: "I saw a group of Muhajirs and Ansar, including Umar bin Khattab and Talhah bin Ubaydullah Taymi, who were sitting in a corner and were anxious for themselves.

I said to them with a tone of protest: "Why are you sitting here?" They replied, "The Prophet has been killed and it is, therefore, no use fighting". I said to them: "If the Prophet has been killed it is no use living. Get up and meet martyrdom in the same path in which he has been killed".

According to many historians, Anas said: "If Muhammad has been killed his Lord is alive". And then he added: "I saw that my words had no effect on them. I put my hand to my arms and began to fight with determination". Ibn Hisham says that Anas sustained seventy wounds in this battle and none could identify his dead body except his sister.

A group of Muslims were so much depressed that in order to ensure their safety they planned to approach Abdullah Ubayy so that he might obtain security for them from Abu Sufyan.
Al-Hakim reported that Abu Bakr said: "When people left the Messenger of God on the day of Uhud I was the first one to come back to the Messenger of God ... then he mentioned in the hadith that Abu Obeidah lbn Al-Jarrah followed him."

The Holy Qur'an Reveals Some Facts

The verses of the Holy Qur'an tear the veils of fanaticism and ignorance and make it abundantly clear that some companions thought that the promise given by the Prophet about victory and success was baseless and the Almighty Allah says thus about this group: Then after sorrow He sent down security upon you, a calm coming upon a party (a group of companions) of you, and (there was) another party whom their own souls had rendered anxious; they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly, saying: We have no hand in the affair. (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:154)

You can learn the hidden facts about this battle by studying the verses of Surah Al-e-Imran. These verses fully bear out the facts in which we believe. We believe that all the companions were not self-sacrificing or lovers of Islam, and some persons with weak faith were hypocrites who were amongst them.

And at the same time there were among the companions a large number of true believers and pious and sincere persons. Nowadays a group of writers attempt to draw a curtain on many of these unworthy acts of the companions (their specimens have been seen by you in connection with the events of this battle).

They protect the position of all of them by offering unrealistic explanations, which only show their fanaticism and cannot hide the real facts of history.

Who can deny the substance of this verse which says clearly: (Believers, remember) When you ran off precipitately and did not wait for any one, and the Messenger was calling you from your rear, (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:153)

This verse is about the same persons, who were seen by Anas bin Nazr with his own eyes when they were sitting in a corner and were anxious about their future.

The following verse is more clear than that quoted above: (As for) those of you who turned back on the day when the two armies met, only the Shaitan sought to cause them to make a slip on account of some deeds they had done, and certainly Allah has pardoned them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing. (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:155)

Allah reprimands in the following verse those persons who made the news about the Prophet's assassination an excuse for abandoning fight and were thinking of approaching Abu Sufyan through Abdullah bin Ubayy to guarantee their safety:

And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means does harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful. (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:144)

Five Persons Conspire to Kill the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)

At the time when the army of Islam was faced with disorder and chaos, the Prophet was being attacked from all sides. Five notorious men of Quraysh determined to put an end to his life at any cost. They were:

1. Abdullah bin Shahib who wounded the forehead of the Prophet.

2. Utbah Abi Waqqas who, by flinging four stones, broke his ruba'iyat (Ruba'iyat are the teeth (four in number) which are between the front teeth and the canine teeth) teeth of the right side.

3. Ibn Qumi'ah Laythi who inflicted a wound on the face of the Prophet. The wound was so severe that the rings of the Prophet's helmet penetrated into his cheeks. These rings were extracted by Abu Ubaydah Jarrah with his teeth and he lost four of his own teeth in doing so.

4. Abdullah Hamid, who was killed, at the time of attack, at the hands of the hero of Islam, Abu Dujanah.

5. Abi Khalf. He was one of those persons who fell at the hands of the Prophet himself. He faced the Prophet at the time when He (the Prophet) had managed to reach in the valley and some of his companions had come round him, on having identified him. Abi Khalf advanced towards the Prophet. The Prophet took a spear from Hasis bin Simmah and thrust it in the neck of Abi Khalf as a consequence of which he fell down from his horse.

Although the wound sustained by Abi Khalf was minor, he had become so much terrified that when his friends consoled him he could not compose himself and said: "I said to Muhammad in Makkah that I would kill him and he said in reply that he would kill me, and he never tells a lie". All was over with him on account of the wound and fear, and after some time he breathed his last on his way back to Makkah.

Defense Associated with Success and Renewed Victory

It will not be inappropriate if we give the name of 'renewed victory' to this part of the history of Islam. What is meant by this victory is that contrary to the expectations of the enemies, the Muslims succeeded in saving the Prophet from death. And this was the renewed victory, which fell to the lot of the army of Islam.

If we are associating this victory with the entire army of Islam we are doing so as a mark of respect to the warriors of Islam. In fact, however, the heavy burden of this victory fell on the shoulders of a few persons who could be counted on fingers. These were the persons who protected the Prophet by risking their own lives and in fact it was due to the self-sacrifice of this minority that the State of Islam remained in tact and this luminous candle did not extinguish.

Here is a Brief Role of Self-Sacrificing Ali (A.S) in This Battle

Ibn Athir says: "The Prophet become the object of the attack of various units of the army of Quraysh from all sides. Ali attacked, in compliance with the Prophet's orders, every unit that made an attack upon him (the Prophet) and dispersed them or killed some of them, and this thing took place a number of times in Uhud.

In the meantime the Archangel Jibreel came and praised the devotion of Ali before the Prophet and said: 'It is the height of sacrifice which this officer is displaying'. The Prophet confirmed the remark of Jibreel and said: 'I am from Ali and Ali is from me'. Then a voice was heard in the battlefield saying: La Fata Illa Ali, La Saifa Illa Zulfiqar [There is no brave man except Ali and there is no sward which renders service except Zulfiqar (which was in the hands of Ali)].

Imam Ali's (AS) Endeavor 

Al-Tabari reported that Abu Rafi said: The Messenger of God witnessed a group of pagans coming to him. He said to Ali: Charge them. Ali charged them and forced them to retreat and killed Amr Ibn Abdullah Al-Jumahi. The Prophet beheld another group coming and told Ali to charge them and he did.

He scattered them and killed Sheibah Ibn Malik, one of the children of Amir Ibn Lu-ay. Amazed by Ali's sacrifice Gabriel said:
Messenger of God, what a redeemer Ali is!
The Prophet replied:
He is from me, and I am from him.
Gabriel said:
And I am from both of you.
They heard at that time a voice saying:
There is no youth (full of manhood) but Ali, and no sword comparable to Zulfiqar (Ali's sword).

Ref: Sayed Muhsin, Al Ameen, in his Aayan Al Shiah, vol 2 p 195
Al Fairoozbadi, Fadail al Khamsah, vol 2 p 317 (from Tabari)
Ibn Al Atheer, In his Biography, vol 2 p 107 

A regiment arrived from Kinanah in which four of the children of Sufyan Ibn Oweif were present. Khalid, Abu AI-Sha-atha, Abu Al-Hamra, and Ghurab. The Messenger of God said to Ali: "Take care of this regiment." Ali charged the regiment, and it was about fifty horsemen. He fought them while he was on foot until he scattered them. They gathered again and he charged them again. This was repeated several times until he killed the four children of Sufyan and added to them six more ...

Ref: Ibn Abu Al Hadeed, in his Commentary, vol 1 p 372 

Ibn Husham reported that the Messenger fell into one of the pits which were excavated and covered up by Abu Amir, who expected the Muslims to fall in them. The knee of the Messenger was cut. Ali held the hand of the Mes- senger and pulled him up and Talhah Ibn Obeidullah help- ed him until the Prophet stood up.

Ref: Ibn Husham, Biography of Prophet, vol 2 p 80 

Muslim in his "Sahih" (Authentic) reported that Sahl Ibn Saad said the following:
The face of the Messenger was cut, and one of his teeth was broken, and the protective dress of his head was broken. Fatima, daughter of the Messenger, was washing the blood and Ali was pouring water he brought by his shield from Al-Mihras. Beholding that the water increased the flow of blood, she burned a mat, put some of its ashes on the wound and the blood stopped.

Ref: Muslim, in his Sahih, vol 12 p 148 

The Conclusion 

It would not be difficult for the reader to infer the following:

1. The Battle of Ohod was one of the battles on which the future of Islam depended.

2. The death of the bearers of the banners of the pagan army at the beginning of the battle had its important effect in raising the morale of the Muslims and breaking the mo- rale of the pagans who were four times more numerous than the Muslims. The bearers of the banners in the eyes of the warriors in those days were the leaders of the army.

Their death had a great effect on the morale of the army. History recorded that Abu Sufyan said to Banu Abdul Dar:

O Banu Abdul-Dar, we recognize that you have more right than any other Meccan clan to carry the banner (because the Meccan tradition gives the clan of Abdul- Dar the right to carry the banner at war). We were defeated in Badr because of the banner. Hold your banner firmly and protect it or hand it to us.

This infuriated the clan of Abdul-Dar. As they refused to surrender their right of carrying the banners Abu Sufyan said:

Let another banner be added to it." They said: "Yes, but the additional banner will be carried also by a man from Banu Abdul-Dar, and nothing other than this will be accepted.
The Meccan pagans witnessed at the beginning of the battle their banner fallen ten times, and their hearts fell with the banner ten times.

They found, to their astonishment, that they are facing a tremendous power. Ali was the one who destroyed the banner bearers or most of them. This signalled the defeat of the Meccan army in the first round.

3. When the Muslims were defeated in the second round, no one remained with the Prophet except Ali and thirteen others of the companions of the Messenger. These thirteen were the first to come back to the Messenger after their flight. It is clear that Ali's defense in that decisive hour was much more valuable than the defense of the thirteen companions put together.

The Messenger ... became the target of the pagan's attacks. Whenever a regiment aimed at the Prophet Ali charged the regiment and forced it to retreat.

Thus, we would not be erroneous if we say that Ali in this decisive battle had the exclusive honor of being the main defender of the Messenger and his Message, against the forces which no one other than Ali could face success- fully.

The Battle of Badr laid the foundation of the Islamic state, but the Battle of Ohod was about to destroy the foundation, had not a small number of heroes headed by Ali been present.

The pagans found that the Battle of Ohod ended in their favor. They defeated the army of the Prophet, and the Muslims lost seventy companions, among them the giant hero: Al-Hamzah, uncle of the Messenger and Lion of God. But the pagan victory was not decisive. Their target was Muhammad and Muhammad was still alive.

He was the biggest danger to them Therefore, it was necessary for them to have another decisive battle in which they would realize the goal that they could not realize at the Battle of Ohod.

The Battle of Ohod took place during the third year after the Hijrah. Two years later, the third decisive battle in which the pagans gathered their biggest task force, took place.

An excerpt from The Brother of the Prophet Muhammad, by M. Jawad Chirri, Director of the Islamic Center of America, Two Volumes, Harlo Press 1988, Revised Edition.
The Companion of the Holy Prophet - Hamza b. Abdul Muttalib

With Abu Jahal

Al-Hamza set off for the hills overlooking Makkah. His strong horse was going up the sand hills. It was galloping along the valleys. Al-Hamza was looking carefully at the lovely scenery.
The sky was blue and clear. The hills were covered with sunshine. So the grains of sand were glittering in the sun.

Al-Hamza was thinking about our Master Muhammad's mission. His heart was with Allah's Apostle. He was repeating to himself:

Really there's no god but Allah. Al-Lat, al-Uzza and Munat are rocks. Man has made them with his hand. So why does he worship them?

The horse was roaming through the desert. The horse ran away when it saw a man holding a bow and looking for the lions.

Our Master Muhammad [s] sat on a rock on the road to al-Masa between al-Safa Mount and al-Marwa Mount. As usual, he was absorbed in thinking.

He was always thinking about his people and those who disbelieved in him and Allah's mission.

There was a house near the road to al-Masa. The house had a balcony overlooking the road. Two young girls were sitting in the balcony. They saw our Master Muhammad [s] thinking and looking at the sky and the mountains.

At that moment, Abu Jahal and some foolish persons from Makkah appeared. They were laughing loudly.

Abu Jahal looked at our Master Muhammad [s]. His eyes glittered out of spite. He wanted to sneer at him. So, he shouted:

Look at this magician! Look at this madman! He doesn't laugh as we do! He's silent!

The foolish persons laughed. Their satanic laughter filled the space.

Ha, Ha, Ha!

The two girls sadly watched what was happening. They saw Abu Jahal going round and round our Master Muhammad [s] laughing and being silly.

Abu Jahal took a handful of dust. He put the dust on the Prophet's head. The dust fell on the Prophet's face and clothing.

Abu Jahal and his foolish friends laughed. But our Master Muhammad [s] kept silent. He was sad.

The two young girls felt pain and sadness for our Master Muhammad [s]. Abu Jahal and his foolish friends went away. So, our Master Muhammad [s] stood up. He dusted is head and face and clothing. Then he went home.

The two girls decided to tell al-Hamza. So, they waited for him.

In the distance, al-Hamza appeared. He was coming down the hills riding his horse.

The girl shouted: Hamza, come back!

The girl said to her sister: Come on! Let's tell him!

The girl shouted: Aba Amara!

Al-Hamza stopped and looked at the girl. The girl sadly said: Aba Amara, Abu Jahal mistreated your nephew Muhammad.

Al-Hamza asked: Did he mistreated him?

The girl said: He came across him on the road. He abused him and put some dust on his head.

Al-Hamza was filled with anger. He hit his horse with the bow. The horse jumped angrily. Al-Hamza headed for the Ka'aba. He used to pass by the men and greet them when he came back from hunting. This time, he was angry for our Master Muhammad [s]. So, he did not greet anyone and went directly to Abu Jahal.

Al-Hamza jumped off his horse like the lion. He raised his bow and hit Abu Jahal on the head. Abu Jahal was afraid when he saw al-Hamza angry. So, he said humbly: Aba Amara, he has abused our gods and stultified our thoughts.

Al-Hamza shouted angrily: Answer me if you can!

The outcry of truth sounded in the yard of the Ka'aba. Al-Hamza said loudly: I confess that there's no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle.

Al-Hamza angrily looked at Abu Jahal and said: Why did you abuse him? Don't you know that I follow his religion.

Abu Jahal bent his head humbly and kept silent. The foolish persons escaped with alarm.

While al-Hamza was in tears, he embraced our Master Muhammad [s]. Our Master Muhammad [s] became happy when his uncle al-Hamza became Muslim.

So, he named him the Lion of Allah and the Lion of His Apostle.

The Birthday

Al-Hamza was born in 570 AD., namely in the year of the Elephant. He was our Master Muhammad's foster brother, for a woman called Thwaibah suckled them.

Al-Hamza was brave and strong. He became Muslim in the second year of our Master Muhammad's mission.

The men knew that al-Hamza believed in Islam. So, the Muslims became happy. But the polytheists became sad.

Some Muslims hid their belief in Islam because they were afraid of Quraish. When al-Hamza became Muslim, a new time began - our Master Muhammad's followers became strong, so the Quraish were afraid of them and had a thousand apprehensions about them.

The Ninth Year after the Mission

Nine years after our Master Muhammad's mission passed. The number of the Muslims increased.

Umar bin al-Khattab was very sensitive.

One day, he took his sword to kill our Master Muhammad [s]. He asked about him. It was said to him: He's with his Companions in a house near al-Safa Mount.

So, Umar headed for him. On the way to al-Safa Mount, a man belonging to the tribe of Umar named Naeem came across and asked him: Umar, where are you going?

Umar rudely answered: I want to kill Muhammad because this boy has abused our religion.

Naeem believed in Islam secretly So, he said to him: If you hurt Muhammad, Bani Hashim won't leave you alive. Besides your sister and her husband have believed in Islam.

Umar shouted angrily: What? My sister Fatimah?

Umar went to his sister's house. when he stopped at the door, he heard a man reading the Qur'an.

The Divine Words were impressive:

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Taha, we have not revealed the Qur'an to you so that you may be unsuccessful.

Umar knocked at the door and entered. His sister hid the page of the Qur'an for he wanted to tear it up. He hit his sister. So, blood flowed out of her face.

Umar felt regret, So, he went out.

Our Master Muhammad [s] and some Companions were in a house near al-Safa Mount. He was teaching them the Qur'an and wisdom. He was reading to them of the Divine verses.

In the meantime, they heard a man knocking loudly at the door. One of the Muslims got up. He looked through a hole in the door.

Al-Hamza asked: Who is it?

The Muslim answered It's Umar holding a sword.

Al-Hamza said: Do not be afraid. Open the door. If he wants good we'll give it to him. If he wants evil, we'll kill him with his sword!

Al-Hamza stood up to receive the newcomer. He opened the door and asked: Bin al-Khattab, what do you want?

Umar answered: I've come to confess that there's no god but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle!

Our Master Muhammad [s] said: Allah is great!

The Migration

The people of Yathrib belonged to the tribe of al-Khazraj and the tribe of al-Aus. They promised our Master Muhammad [s] to support Islam with their lives and money.

When the Quraish harmed the Muslims severely, our Master Muhammad [s] ordered them to immigrate Yathrib.

So, the Muslims began leaving Makkah secretly, one by one, or group by group. Al-Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib immigrated, too.

The immigrants and the supporters in Yathrib were eagerly waiting for our Master Muhammad's immigration. They were looking forward to his arrival.

The Sacrifice

The polytheists decided to kill our Master Muhammad [s]. Jibreel came down from the sky to tell him about the plot of the polytheists.

So, Allah's Apostle asked his cousin Ali bin Abu Talib [a] to sleep in his bed so that he would be able to immigrate to Yathrib safely.

Ali asked our Master Muhammad [s]: Allah's Apostle, will you be safe?

Our Master Muhammad [s] answered: Yes

Ali rejoiced when the Prophet [s] immigrated safely. He was not thinking about himself when the polytheists attacked our Master Muhammad's house.

Jibreel came down from the heavens reading the following holy verse:

And among them men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah.

This verse meant there was a person who sacrificed his life to please Allah, the Glorified. Besides this verse has praised the attitude of Imam Ali [a] and his sacrifice.

Our Master Muhammad [s] arrived in Yathrib. After the Prophet [s] arrived, the Muslims named it al-Madina al-Munawwara (the Illuminated City).

In Makkah

The polytheists in Makkah attacked the Muslims houses and robbed them. The immigrants were sad to hear that.

So, our Master Muhammad [s] decided to send some groups of the Muslims to face the Quraishi trading caravans to punish them.

In Ramadhan, the first year after Hijra, our Master Muhammad [s] called al-Hamza, the Lion of Allah, and gave him the first banner in the history of Islam.

Our Master Muhammad [s] ordered al-Hamza to take his group, thirty immigrants, to the seaside were the caravans passed.

Al-Hamza found Abu Jahal at a district called al-Ais.

Three hundred fighters went with Abu Jahal, namely, ten times as many as the Muslims.

But al-Hamza, may Allah be pleased with him, and his group were not afraid of the Quraish. They were ready to clash with them.

But Majdy bin Amru al_Jahny, who had good with the Quraish and the Muslims, came between them to prevent them from clashing.

Al-Hamza was proud that he was the first to receive the banner of Islam from Allah's Apostle. Concerning this, he said pretty lines of poetry (the meaning only):

By the order of Allah's Apostle, a banner waved over me.

It had not waved before me.

The banner has victory from the owner of dignity,

The dear Allah whose action is the best action.

Then he referred to his clashing with Abu Jahal:

On the night when they (the polytheists marched, they were many.

And we all were his boilers that boiled because of the anger of his friends.

And when we saw one another, they made their camels kneel down and fettered them.

And we understood the range of the arrows target.

And we said to them:

Our supporter is the robe of Allah. But you have not any robe but misguidance.

There Abu Jahal became stirred up unjustly.

So, he became unsuccessful.

And Allah drove back Abu Jahal's plot.

We were only thirty riders,

And they were over three hundred.

With Our Master Muhammad

In the Assault of al-Asheera, our Master Muhammad [s] led, Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib was holding the banner.

The Muslim Army's companies and patrols succeeded to threaten the trade of the Quraish.

The Quraish announced the economic war against the Muslims. So, they attacked the Muslims' houses who immigrated from Makkah to Madina. They intensified their war against the Muslims everywhere.

In the meantime, the Quraish urged the Arab tribes to attack Yathrib.

Our Master Muhammad [s] wanted to punish the Quraish. He thought that the best way to punish them was to threaten their trading caravans going to Sham.

Al-Hamza went with our Master Muhammad [s] on each assault.

Our Master Muhammad [s] heard that a trading caravan headed by Abu Sufyan was coming back from Sham to Makkah. So, our Master Muhammad [s] asked the Muslims to face the caravan.

On Ramadhan 12th 2 AH., our Master Muhammad with 313 immigrants and supporters went outside Madina.

Abu Sufayn heard about the movement and the aim of the Muslims who wanted to face the caravan. So, he quickly sent man to the Quraish to tell them about the dangerous situation.

Abu Jahal found that action a suitable chance to destroy Islam and the Muslims. So he began urging the Quraish to fight the Muslims. He and the Quraishi leaders called up nine hundred and fifty fighters. Abu Jahal headed the fighters and marched towards the springs of Badr, where the Muslims had camped.

On Ramadhan 17th, the two armies came together. The polytheists were beating the war drums. But the Muslims were remembering and glorifying Allah.

Jibreel came down from the heavens. He read him this verse: And if they incline to peace, then incline to it

The Prophet [s] asked the Quraish to make peace but Abu Jahal refused. He thought that he would destroy Islam, for his army was three times as many as the Muslim Army.

The two armies got ready to clash. One of the polytheists shouted: Muhammad, let your brave men come out to fight us!

So, our Master Muhammad [s] said: Ubaidah bin al-Harith, al-Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib, and Ali bin Abu Talib, stand up.

They moved briskly. They were ready to die for Allah's way.

Ubaidah stood before his opponent Utbah bin Rabeeah.

Ali stood before al-Waleed bin Utbah.

Hamza stood before Shaiba bin Rabeeah.

So, the first battle in the history of Islam broke out.

Immediately, al-Hamza hit and knocked down his opponent. Ali hit the enemy of Islam and killed him.

Ubaidah hit his opponent, but his opponent hit him too. He fell to the ground. Al-Hamza and Ali killed Utbah. Then they took Ubaidah to the camp to tend to him.

When the polytheistic heroes fell over the ground one by one, Abu Jahal ordered his fighters to launch a general attack.

The Muslims faced the attack with spirits filled with belief confidence in Allah. So, Allah granted the Muslims a victory.

Abu Jahal and the polytheistic leaders fell over the ground. So, the other polytheists escaped with alarm.

The Revenge

The people of Makkah heard about the news of the defeat. So, the women wept over the killed polytheists. But Hind, Abu Sufyan's wife, kept silent.

The people said to Hind: Why don't you weep over your brother, your father and your uncle?

She said: I don't weep over them lest Muhammad and his companions rejoice at our misfortune!

Hind thought about a way to get her revenge on our Master Muhammad [s] or Ali bin Abu Talib [a] or al-Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib.

Hind urged the polytheists to get their revenge on them. Three thousand polytheistic fighters got ready. Hind bint Utbah, Abu Sufyan's wife, was with them. There were fourteen women around her. They were beating drums.

In Makkah there was a strong slave called Wahshy. Hind went to him. She promised to give him a lot of gold and money if he killed our Master Muhammad [s] or Ali bin Abu Talib [a] or al-Hamza (May Allah be pleased with him).

Wahshy said: I can't hit Muhammad because his companions surround him.

I can't kill Ali because he is very alert.

I may kill al-Hamza because anger makes him see nothing.

Hind gave Wahshy some gold before hand. She was always looking at the spear Wahshy prepared to kill al-Hamza.

The polytheistic army arrived at al-Abwaa (an area near Madina where Aminah, our Master Muhammad's mother was buried fifty years ago).

Hind wanted to dig up Aminah and insisted on that. But the Quraishi leaders refused her action so that the Arabs would not dig out their dead.

Our Master Muhammad [s] headed the Muslims. Abu Sufyan headed the polytheists.

Our Master Muhammad [s] ordered fifty skilled bow men to stay at the foot of al-Ainain Mount to protect the Muslims' back troops. He ordered them not to leave their places under any circumstance.

The polytheists began attacking the Muslims. Uthman bin Abi-Talha, the banner holder, was in advance.

Hind and some women were surrounding him. They were beating the drums, and encouraging the fighters to fight.

They were singing the following lines of poetry (the meaning only):

We, Tariq's daughters, walk on the cushions.

Like the walking of bright sand grouse,

Musk is in the partings.

The pearls are round the necks.

If you advance, we'll embrace you.

And if you escape, we'll abandon you.

And the abandonment will be sorrowful.

Hamza shouted with enthusiasm: I'm the son of the water carriers of pilgrims!

He attacked the banner holder. He hit him and cut off his hand. So the banner holder retreated. Then, his brother took the banner.

The Muslims were attacking them intensely. The banner holders were falling over the ground one by one.

When the banner fell to the ground, the polytheists became dismayed. So, they ran away. The great idol, which they took to grant them a victory fell off the camel!

The Muslims chased the runaway. The archers forgot the Prophet's orders and left the foot of the mountain to collect booty. So, the lines of the Muslim Army was subjected to being surrounded and attacked.

Khalid bin al-Waleed, a polytheist then, took the Muslims aback. The surprise left the Muslim Army in chaos.

Wahshy, a slave from Makkah, was holding a long spear and looking for al-Hamza. He was thinking about nothing but to kill al-Hamza.

During the strong clashes, Wahshy was behind a big rock looking at al-Hamza.

While al-Hamza was busy fighting, Wahshy aimed his spear and threw it at the Prophet's uncle. The spear hit al-Hamza on the belly.

Al-Hamza tried to attack Wahshy. But he fell to the ground and became a martyr.

Wahshy ran fast to tell Hind about his action.

Hind rejoiced. She took off her gold and gave it to Wahshy and said: I'll give you ten Dinars when we go back to Makkah.

Hind hurried to al-Hamza's body. She cut off his ears and nose to make a necklace. Then she drew a dagger and cut open the martyr's belly She took out his liver savagely and bit it like the dog.

Then Abu Sufyan came and tore al-Hamza's body with his spear.

The Master of Martyrs

The polytheists withdrew from the battlefield. Our Master Muhammad [s] and his companions came down the mountain to bury the martyrs.

The Prophet [s] asked his companions about the place of al-Hamza.

Al-Harith said: I know his place.

Our Master Muhammad [s] asked al-Harith to show him al-Hamza's body.

The man went about looking for him. He found his body torn. So, he hated to tell the Prophet [s] about it.

Our Master Muhammad [s] ordered Ali to look for al-Hamza's body. He found him. He did not tell the Prophet because he did not want to hurt him.

So, our Master Muhammad [s] himself went to look for him. He found him in a sorrowful condition.

Our Master Muhammad [s] wept very much when he saw what they had done to al-Hamza's body.

The wolves did not do what Hind and Abu Sufyan did.

Our Master Muhammad [s] was very angry. So, he said: Uncle, may Allah have mercy upon you. You had done good deeds and maintained close relations with your relatives!

If Allah grants me a victory, I'll maim seventy persons of the Quraish.

The Muslims swore by Allah to do that. So, Jibreel came down and read this verse: And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that which you were afflicted; but if you are patient it will certainly be best for those who are patient.

So Allah's Apostle forgave them. He was patient. And he prevented the Muslims from maiming.

Our Master Muhammad [s] took off his gown and covered the martyr and said to him: Uncle, The Lion of Allah, the Lion of His Apostle, doer of good deeds, remover of worries, defender of Allah's Apostle, and saver of his face.

Safiyah, al-Hamza's sister and our Master Muhammad's aunt, went with Fatima aI-Zahra to make sure of the Prophet's safety.

Ali bin Abi Talib [s] came across Safiyah and said to her: Aunt, come back!

He did not want her to see her brother in that condition. But she said: I won't came back till I see Allah's Apostle.

In the distance, the Prophet [s] saw her. So, he ordered her son al-Zubair not to allow her to see her martyred brother.

Al-Zubair received her and said: Mother, come back.

She said: Till I see Allah's Apostle.

When she saw our Master Muhammad [s] and made sure of his safety, she asked him about al-Hamza: Where's my brother?

The Prophet [s] kept silent. So, Safiyah knew that her brother became a martyr. So, she and Fatima al-Zahra wept over their martyred brother and uncle.

So, our Master Muhammad [s] condoled them: Be cheerful! Jibreel told me that Hamza has been regarded as the Lion of Allah and the Lion of His Apostle in the Heavens!

Uhud Mount stands as evidence for al-Hamza's bravery, the Master of the Martyrs, and the polytheists' savageness.

By: Kamal al-Syyed

Battle Of Tabuk

In the Arabian Peninsula Madina and Najran were considered to be two extensive areas and big centres for the people of the Scriptures. Hence some Arabs belonging to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj were inclined towards Judaism and Christianity and had become followers of these religions.
During the Age of Ignorance Abu 'Amir, father of Hanzalah, the well-known martyr of the Battle of Uhud, had become very much inclined towards Christianity and had become a monk. When Islam dawned in Madina and absorbed the religious minorities, Abu 'Amir was upset and began co-operating earnestly with the hypocrites of Aws and Khazraj. The Prophet became aware of his subversive activities and wanted to arrest him, but he ran away from Madina to Makkah and then to Ta'if and after the fall of Ta'if, to Syria. From there he began guiding the spying network of the hypocrites.
In one of his letters Abu 'Amir wrote to his friends:
"Construct a mosque in the village of Quba' opposite the mosque of the Muslims. Assemble there at the time of prayers and on the pretext of offering prayers, discuss and chalk out plans against Islam and the Muslims".
Like the present day enemies of Islam Abu 'Amir had also realized that in a country in which religion is fully established, the best way to destroy it, is to use the name of religion itself, and religion can be harmed more by using its own name rather than by any other factor. He knew fully well that the Prophet would not permit the hypocrites to build a centre for themselves under any circumstances, except when they gave that centre a religious tinge and erected a meeting-place for themselves with the name of a mosque.
When the Prophet intended proceeding to Tabuk the representatives of the hypocrites came to him and requested him to accord them permission to construct a mosque in their own area, on the pretext that when the nights were dark or it was raining their old men and invalids were not in a position to cover the long distance between their houses and Masjid Quba. The Prophet did not give them any reply, either in the affirmative or in the negative, and postponed final decision in the matter till after his return from the intended journeys.[1]
The hypocrites selected a place in the absence of the Prophet and completed the construction of their rendezvous as quickly as possible, giving it the name of mosque. On the day the Prophet returned to Madina they requested him to perform the opening ceremony of this place of worship by offering a few rak'ats of prayers there. In the meantime the Archangel Jibreel came and informed the Prophet of the position and called the building Masjid Zirar as it had been constructed to create differences amongst the Muslims.[2] The Prophet ordered Masjid Zirar to be razed to the ground, its beams to be burnt, and its rubbish thrown there for some period.[3]
Destruction of Masjid Zirar was a serious blow to the hypocrites and thereafter their group broke up and Abdullah bin Ubayy, their sole supporter, also died after two months of the Battle of Tabuk.
Tabuk was the last Islamic campaign in which the Prophet took part. After that he did not participate in any battle.
1  Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol III, page 1046. 
2  Verses 107 -110 of Surah al-Tawbah were revealed in connection with Masjid Zirar. 
3  Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 530 and Bihar, vol. XX, page 253. 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
No scene is more grand than the scene of the return of a victorious army to its homeland, and nothing is more pleasant to a soldier than victory over the enemy which protects his honour and ensures his safety and existence. It so happened that both of these things were apparent and visible at the time of the return of the victorious army of Islam from Tabuk.
After covering the journey between Tabuk and Madina the army of Islam arrived in Madina with great splendour. The soldiers of Islam were very much elated and the pride of distinction as a warrior and of predominance was apparent from their gait and conversation. The reason for this pride was also evident, because they had made a big power retreat; the power, which had defeated earlier its powerful adversary (Iran). The Muslims had frightened and over-awed the Romans and had also subjugated the frontiers-men of Syria and the Hijaz.
These persons had admittedly secured an honour by overpowering the enemy and were evidently justified in priding themselves over others, who had stayed on in Madina without a just cause. However, it was possible that this way of thinking and this victorious return might create undue pride in the narrow-minded persons, and might result in insult to some of those persons, who had stayed on in Madina for some good excuse, but their hearts were with the soldiers in the battlefield and they sincerely shared their weal and woe. Hence, the Prophet addressed the army of Islam, at a place near Madina where it had stayed for a short time, in these words: "There are some persons in Madina, who joined hands with you in this journey and kept step with you".
The Prophet was asked as to how it could be imagined that those, who stayed in Madina also participated in the journey with the army. He replied: "They, in spite of being very keen to take part in this sacred obligation (jihad), could not join on account of some good excuse".[1]
By means of this brief speech the Prophet alluded to one of the instructional programmes of Islam and directed the people that good intentions and upright thinking take the place of pious deeds, and those people, who are deprived of doing good deeds on account of lack of strength or resources, can become partners of others in the matter of spiritual reward and recompense for good deeds.
If Islam desires outward reformation it is all the more keen on spiritual reformation and purity of thinking, because the real source of reformation is reformation of belief and the way of thinking, and all our actions originate from our thoughts.
Thus the Prophet removed the unjustified pride of the mujahids and guaranteed the position of the excusable persons, but he determined from that very moment that he would award exemplary punishment to those violators, who had no just excuse to offer, and would make their lives miserable. The following event is an example of such an action.
On the day general mobilization was proclaimed in Madina three Muslims named Hilal, Ka'b and Murarah came to the Prophet and requested that they might he excused from participating in the jihad. The reason mentioned by them was that their produce from the jungle and from their gardens had not yet been collected and was still half-ripe. They also promised the Prophet that when their produce was collected within a few days they would join the army of Islam at Tabuk.
Those persons, who do not differentiate between material gain and political independence, are the short-sighted people who consider the transient worldly pleasures to be at par with respectable life, which is passed under the banner of intellectual, political and cultural independence and at times even prefer the former to the latter.
The Prophet was obliged, after his return, to punish such persons and incidentally to prevent this disease penetrating into the minds of others as well. Not only that these persons had not participated in the jihad but they had also not kept the promise made by them with the Prophet. They were still busy in their trade and in accumulating wealth when suddenly the news of the victorious return of the Prophet spread in Madina.
These three persons, in order to make amends for their misconduct and to deceive other Muslims, went to welcome the Prophet like all others and paid their respects to him and congratulated him; but he did not pay any heed to them. On reaching Madina he addressed the people amidst all the rejoicing and tumult, and the first thing which he said was this: " O people! These three persons belittled the Islamic orders and didn't keep the promise they had made with me. They preferred worldly gains to the respectable life under the banner of Islam. Hence you should cut off all relations with them"
The number of the violators reached ninety, but as most of them belonged to the group of hypocrites and it could not be expected from them that they would join in jihad against the enemy, the pressure was directed towards these three Muslims of whom, Murarah and Hilal, had participated in the Battle of Badr and enjoyed a reputation amongst the Muslims.
The wise policy of the Prophet, which is an integral part Islam, had a wonderful effect. The trade and business of the violators came to a perfect standstill. Their commodities had no demand in the market. Their nearest ones cut off their relations with them and refrained from even conversing with them or visiting them. Social boycott by the people lowered the spirits and morale of these persons, so much that the spacious land of Madina was nothing more than a cage for them.[2] Hence, it was fortunate that these three persons realized, through their intelligence and insight, that life in Islamic environments was not possible without whole-hearted association with the Muslims, and the life of an insignificant minority, opposed to the majority, could not last long, especially when the minority consisted of a group of mischievous, quarrelsome, and spiteful persons.
On the one side they had been called to account and on the other side the natural and instinctive force pulled them once again towards real faith, and they repented before Allah of their cowardly act. The Almighty also accepted their repentance and informed His Prophet of their being forgiven. Orders regarding the termination of the boycott were, therefore, promulgated immediately.[3]
1  Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 163; Biharul Anwar, vol. XX, page 219. 
2  The contents of this sentence are an extract from the Qur'an wherein it has been said: "As though there was no place in the whole vast earth to hide them or in their souls to console them" (Surah al-Tawbah, 9:118). 
3  (Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 165 and Biharul Anwar, vol. X, page 119). The Prophet's instructive method serves as an example for us, Muslims, in the matter of insignificant minorities. Such opposition can be tackled only by sincerity, determination and unity. Waqidi has given a more detailed account of the three persons. (vide Mughazi, vol. III, pp. 1049 - 1056). 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The Prophet stayed in Tabuk for ten days[1] and returned to Madina after dispatching Khalid to Dowmah. Twelve hypocrites, out of whom eight were from amongst Quraysh and the remaining four were the inhabitants of Madina, decided to scare the camel of the Prophet from the top of a defile situated on the route between Madina and Syria and to make him fall into the valley. When the army of Islam reached the first point of the defile, the Prophet said: "Whoever desires to go through the desert may do so because the desert is quite extensive". However, he himself went above the defile while Huzayfah was driving his camel and 'Ammar was holding its bridle. When he turned back his head he saw in the moonlit night that some mounted persons were pursuing him. To ensure that they might not be identified they had covered their faces and were conversing in very low voices. The Prophet became angry and challenged them and ordered Huzayfah to turn away their camels with his stick.
The call of the Prophet frightened them very much and they realized that he had become aware of their plot. They therefore, immediately went back the way they had come and joined other soldiers.
Huzayfah says: "I identified them from the marks of their camels and said to the Prophet: "I can tell you who they are so that you may punish them". But the Prophet instructed me in a kind voice not to divulge their secret, because it was possible that they might repent. He also added: "If I punish them the non-Muslims would say that now that Muhammad has achieved power, he has made a victim of his own companions".[2]
1  The period of stay of the Prophet in Tabuk is stated to be twenty days. (Seerah-i Ibn Hisham vol. III, page 527 and Tabaqat-i Ibn Sa'd vol. II, page 168). 
2  Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. III, pp. 1042 - 1043; Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 247 and Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 162. 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
As a consequence of this tedious journey the Prophet did not come face to face with the enemy and no fighting took place, but a number of benefits were achieved.[1]
Firstly, this expedition enhanced the prestige of the army of Islam and the Prophet was enabled to impress his greatness and strength on the hearts of the people of the Hijaz and the frontiers-men of Syria. Consequently the friends as well as the enemies of Islam came to know that its military power had grown so much that it could face the biggest powers of the world and could frighten and intimidate them.
Crime and rebellion had become second nature with the Arab tribes. However, their becoming aware of the strength of the army of Islam could restrain them for quite some time from opposing the Muslims and revolting against them. Hence, after the return of the Prophet to Madina the representatives of the tribes, which had not surrendered till then, began coming to Madina and making declarations regarding their submission to the Islamic Government and embracement of Islam, so much so that the ninth year of migration began to be called the year of deputations.
Secondly, on having concluded various agreements with the frontiers-men of the Hijaz and Syria the Muslims ensured the safety of this region, and were satisfied that the chiefs of these tribes would not co-operate with the Roman army.
Thirdly, by performing this painful journey the Prophet made conquest of Syria easier. He made the commanders of the army acquainted with the difficulties of this region and taught them the method of warfare against the big powers of that time. Hence, the first region which the Muslims conquered after the demise of the Prophet was the territory of Damascus and Syria. Furthermore, by general mobilization the true believers were distinguished from the hypocrites and profound understanding was created among the Muslims.
1 The Prophet stayed in Tabuk for twenty days. One day, after offering morning prayers he delivered a detailed, eloquent and instructive sermon. Thereafter he quotes the text of the sermon. (Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. III, pp. 1014 - 1015). 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The populous region with green trees, running waters and a strong fort situated at a distance of about fifty leagues from Syria was called Dowmatul Jandal.[1] In those days the Christian Okaydar bin Abdul Malik Kindi ruled there. The Prophet feared that in the event of a renewed attack by the Roman army the Christian Ruler of Dowmah would assist them and thus endanger the security of Arabia. For this reason he considered it necessary to derive the maximum benefit from the force available with him, and to depute a unit under the command of Khalid to subjugate the said region. Khalid reached near Dowmatul Jandal along with mounted soldiers and lay in ambush outside the fort.
During that moonlit night Okaydar came out of the fort along with his brother Hassan for hunting. They had not gone far away from the fort they came face to face with the soldiers of Khalid. During the brief encounter, which took place between the two groups. Okaydar's brother was killed, and his men fled and took refuge in the fort and shut its gate, and Okaydar was taken prisoner.
Khalid promised him that if the inmates of the fort opened its gate under his orders and surrendered their arms to the army of Islam he would forgive him and would take him before the Prophet .
Okaydar was aware that the Muslims were truthful and kept their promises. He, therefore, gave orders that the gate of the fort might be opened and the arms surrendered to the Muslims. The arms available in the fort consisted of 400 coats of mail, 500 swords and 400 spears. Khalid left for Madina along, with this booty and Okaydar also accompanied him. Before arriving in Madina, Khalid sent to the Prophet Okaydar's brocade mantle, which the latter used to put on his shoulders like kings. The eyes of the worldly-minded persons were dazzled to look at the mantle, but the Prophet displayed perfect indifference towards it and said: "The dress of the people who will go to Paradise will be more wonderful".
Okaydar reached the Prophet. He declined to embrace Islam, but agreed to pay tribute to the Muslims and an agreement was concluded between him and the Prophet. Thereafter the Prophet gave him costly presents and appointed 'Abbad bin Bishr to convey him safely to Dowmatul Jandal.[2]
1 Dowmah is situated within ten miles of Madina. (Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. III, page 1025). 
2 Tabaqat, vol. II, page 146 and Biharul Anwar, vol. II, page 246. 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The army of Islam arrived in the area of Tabuk in the beginning of the month of Sha'ban 9 A.H. However, no trace of the Roman army could be seen there. It appears that the commanders of the Roman army became aware of the numerical strength of the Muslim soldiery and their bravery and unparalleled self-sacrifices, a small specimen of which had already been seen by them from very close quarters in the Battle of Mu'tah. Hence, they considered it expedient to recall their army within the frontiers of their own territories. By doing so they practically wished to deny that they had mobilized forces against the Muslims, and wanted to give the impression that they had never thought of launching an attack, and that any such report was a mere gossip, and thus wished to prove their impartiality regarding the events which took place in Arabia.
At this juncture the Prophet assembled his esteemed officers, and acting on the established Islamic principle of consultation, asked for their views as to whether they should advance into the territory of the enemy or should return to Madina.
As a result of military consultations it was decided that the army of Islam which had suffered innumerable hardships while performing the journey to Tabuk should return to Madina to revive its strength. Furthermore, by performing this journey the Muslims had already achieved their major aim, which was to scatter the Roman army. The Romans were so much frightened and intimidated that for quite a long period they did not think of launching an attack and during that period, therefore, the security of Arabia from the northern side was ensured.
In order to safeguard the position of the Prophet and to make it clear that their own suggestions could be rejected or withdrawn, the members of the war consultative council added this sentence also: "If you have been ordered by the Almighty Allah to advance you should give orders, and we too shall follow you".[1] The Prophet said: "No order from Allah has been received and if any such order had been received from Him I would not at all have consulted you. According respect to the views of the consultative council, therefore, I have decided to return to Madina from this very point".
The rulers who inhabited the frontier areas of Syria and the Hijaz and wielded influence amongst their people were all Christians and it was possible that one day the Roman army might utilize these local powers and attack the Hijaz with their assistance. It was, therefore, necessary for the Prophet to conclude non-aggression treaties with them so that he might acquire better security.
He personally contacted those frontier rulers, who belonged to areas adjoining Tabuk, and concluded non-aggression treaties with them, subject to certain conditions. As regards areas lying at a greater distance from Tabuk he sent deputations to the rulers concerned so that better security could be ensured for the Muslims.
He also contacted the Rulers of Aylah, Azri'at and Jarba' and non-aggression pacts were concluded between the parties. Aylah is a coastal city situated on the coast of the Red Sea and is at some distance from Syria. Its ruler named Yuhanna (John) son of Rowbah came from his capital to Tabuk, wearing a golden cross round his neck. He presented a white mule to the Prophet and expressed his obedience to him. The Prophet appreciated his gesture and also gave him a present in return.
The said ruler decided to remain a Christian and agreed to pay three thousand Dinars per year as jizyah (tribute) and also to receive every Muslim who passed through the region of Aylah. A pact on the following lines was signed by the parties: "This is a non-aggression pact from the side of Allah and His Prophet, Muhammad for Yuhanna and the residents of Aylah. According to this pact all their means of transport whether by sea or by land and all the persons belonging to Syria, Yemen and the islands, who may be with them, shall be under the protection of Allah and His Prophet. However, if anyone of them violates the rule his wealth shall not save him from punishment. All sea routes and land routes are open for them and they are entitled to frequent them''.[2]
This pact shows that if a nation co-operated with the Muslims in a peaceful manner it was provided all the facilities, and its security was also guaranteed by them.
The Prophet also concluded pacts with the frontiers-men like the people of Azri'at and Jarba' whose lands had great strategic importance, and thus ensured the safety of the Islamic territories from the northern side.
1 Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 161. 
2 Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 526; Seerah-i Halabi, vol. III, page 160 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 160.   
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The camel of Abu-Dharr became incapable of walking and Abu-Dharr was left behind the army of Islam. He waited for some time but without any result. Eventually he left the camel, loaded the provisions on his own back and walked on so that he might join the army of Islam as early as possible. The Muslim soldiers had encamped on a spot as ordered by the Prophet and were taking rest. Suddenly they saw, at a distance, the figure of a man who was traversing the path with a heavy load on his back. One of the companions informed the Prophet of the position. He said: "It is Abu-Dharr. May Allah forgive Abu-Dharr! He walks alone, will die alone and will be brought to life alone''.[1]
The later events proved that what the Prophet had predicted was absolutely correct, because Abu-Dharr died in a very pitiable condition, away from habitation in the desert of Rabzah, when only his daughter was by his side.[2]
1 Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 525. 
2 Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. III, page 1000.  
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
There is no gain saying the fact that, as clearly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an,[1] the Prophet could give information about occult matters of which other people knew nothing. However the knowledge of the Prophet was limited and depended on what he was taught by Allah. It is, therefore, possible that he might not have been aware of certain matters. For example, he might lose some money or misplace the key of the house and might not have been able to locate it. At times, however, he gave occult information about most obscure and intricate matters and left the people wonder-struck. The reason for this ascension and descent is the same as mentioned above viz. whenever Allah willed the Prophet gave information about matters related to the occult world.
On the way the camel of the Prophet was lost and some of his companions went to search it. In the meantime one of the hypocrites got up and said: "He says he is the Prophet of Allah and gives information about the heavens, but it is strange that he doesn't know the whereabouts of his camel". The Prophet came to know about this and made the position clear by means of an eloquent remark. He said: "I know only that what Allah tells me. Just now Allah has informed me about the whereabouts of my camel. It is available in this desert in such and such valley. Its bridle has got entangled in a tree and has prevented it from moving further. Go and bring it".
Some persons went immediately to that place and found the camel exactly in the same position as was described by him.[2]
1 (He is) the Knower of the Unseen, and He reveals to none His secret, save to every messenger whom He has chosen. (Surah al-Jinn, 72:26 - 27). 
2 Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 523. 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The Prophet was fully aware of the poisonous and fast winds and the violent storms of that area, which at times overtook the men and the camels and buried them under the mounds of sand and dust. He, therefore, ordered that the knees of the camels should be tied and none should go out of the camping place alone at night. Experience proved that the precautionary orders given by the Prophet were very useful, because two men belonging to the tribe of Bani Sa'idah violated them and came out of the camping-place alone at midnight with the result that the intense storm suffocated one of them and flung the other on a hill. The Prophet came to know about it and was very much unhappy for those who lost their lives on account of their indiscipline. He, therefore, asked the soldiers once again to maintain discipline.[633]
'Abbad bin Bishr, who headed a group which was responsible for the safety and security of the army of Islam, reported to the Prophet that the Muslim soldiers had become involved in difficulties owing to shortage of water, and the entire storage of water was likely to be finished soon. Hence, some of them slaughtered very precious camels to utilize the water available in their bellies, and others had submitted to the Divine will and were awaiting anxiously the blessing of Allah.
The Almighty Allah, who had promised victory to His Prophet, once again helped him and his faithful companions. Torrential rains came and all drank water to their fill. Furthermore, those appointed to stock provisions, as well as the entire army, stored as much water as they desired.
1 Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. III, page 152. 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The army of Islam was faced with great difficulties on its way from Madina to Syria and it is for this reason that it had been given the name of Jayshul 'Usrah (the army of hardship). However, their faith and fervour overcame all these difficulties and they welcomed all the hardships that came in their way. When the army of Islam reached the land of 'Thamood' the Prophet covered his face with a cloth on account of the hot and scorching winds blowing there, and passed by that place in great haste and said to his companions "Reflect over the end of the lives of the people of Thamood who became subjected to the wrath of Allah because of their obstinacy and disobedience, and remember that no true believer should think that the end of his life will not be like that of those people. The death-like quietness of this place and the ruined houses which have gone into deep silence are a lesson for other nations".
Thereafter, the Prophet ordered the soldiers not to drink water of that place or prepare food or bread with it and that they should not even perform ablution with it, and if they had, in some cases, prepared food or kneaded flour with that water they should give it to the animals to eat.
Then the army of Islam continued its march under the guidance of the Prophet and when a part of the night had passed they reached a well from which the camel of Swaleh had drunk water. On reaching that spot the Prophet gave orders that all should encamp there and take rest.
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
The lofty and strong fort, which had been built by the side of a spring on the road leading from Hijr to Damascus in the border area of the territory of Syria, was called Tabuk. In those times Syria was one of the colonies of the Eastern Roman Empire. Its capital was Constantinople. Its frontier people were the followers of Christianity and the chiefs of the districts were satellites of the Ruler of Syria who himself took orders directly from the Roman Emperor.
The rapid penetration and expansion of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and the brilliant conquests by the Muslims in the Hijaz were being noticed in areas beyond the Hijaz, and were making their enemies tremble and think of ways and means to check this tide.
The fall of the Government of Makkah, the adoption of Islam by the prominent chiefs of the Hijaz, and the bravery and sacrifices of the Muslim warriors, made the Roman Emperor decide to launch a surprise attack on the Muslims with the help of a well-equipped army, because he felt his empire to be in grave danger on account of the extraordinary influence and expansion of Islam. He was very much afraid of the increase in the military and political power of the Muslims.
In those days Rome was the only powerful adversary of Iran and possessed the greatest political and military strength. It was very proud on account of the victories which it had achieved against Iran and the defeat which it had inflicted on the Iranian army.
The Roman army, which consisted of 4000 mounted soldiers and infantry-men and was equipped with the armour of the latest model available in those times, encamped in the frontier strip of Syria. The tribes residing in the border areas (like the tribes of Lakham, 'Amilah, Ghassan and Jazam) also joined them and the vanguard of the army advanced up to Balqa'.[1]
News about the encampment of a group of the Roman soldiers in the frontier strip of Syria reached the Prophet through the caravans, which were travelling between the Hijaz and Syria in connection with trade. He found no alternative except to give a reply to the aggressors with a big army and to protect, from the surprise attacks of the enemy, the religion, which had spread at the cost of the lives of the dear ones of Islam, and of his personal sacrifices, and had since taken root, and was about to spread throughout the world.
This unpleasant news reached him at a time when the people of Madina had not yet properly collected their produce, and the dates were about to ripen, and Madina and its suburbs were, so to say, in the grip of a sort of famine. However, for the godly persons the spiritual life and the protection of high ideals, and jihad in the path of Allah are preferable to everything else.
1 Tabaqat, vol.II, page 165 
Taken From :  The Message  by   Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani

Battle of Khaybar

In Dhu 'l-Hijjah of 8/ 630 the Battle of Khaybar took place. According to al-Waqidi, this battle took place at the beginning of the 7th year of the Hijrah. [55] There were at the time of the settlement of Khaybar (near Medina) fourteen thousand Jews, living in well fortified strongholds. The Messenger of Allah besieged them for twenty some days, and began to break down their fortifications one by one. The strongest of these and most populated with fighters was the stronghold called al-Qumus.
First Abu Bakr took the banner of the Immigrants to lead them in battle, but he soon returned defeated. The next day `Umar ibn al-Khattab carried it, but he too suffered defeat. Thus he began to accuse men of cowardice, as well as being himself similarly charged. This angered the Apostle of Allah. At last he said: "I shall give the banner tomorrow to one who attacks (karrar), and does not retreat.

He is one who loves Allah and His Apostle, and whom Allah and His Apostle love. He shall not return until Allah opens (Khaybar) at his hands." The people of Quraysh wondered who such a man could be. "As for `Ali", they said to one another, "you need not think of him, because he is sore-eyed, unable to see even the ground under his feet." But when `Ali heard what the Apostle of Allah said, he exclaimed: "O Allah, there is no one who can give what you withhold, nor is there anyone who can withhold what you give!"

Next morning people gathered around the Messenger of Allah. Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas reported: "I sat facing him; I knelt, then stood up. He turned to me and said: `Call `Ali for me.' Men cried out all around: `He is so sore-eyed that he is unable to see the ground under his feet!' The Prophet replied: `Send someone to bring him here.' He was brought, and the Prophet laid his head on his knee and spat in his eyes. Immediately they became as clear as Yemenite glass beads."

The Prophet then gave 'Ali the banner and prayed for him. `Ali went out running. Sa'd said: "By Allah, even before I had reached the last men in the line of fighters, 'Ali had already entered the stronghold." Jabir ibn `Abdillah al-Ansari added: "He did not even allow us enough time to put on the arms." Sa'd cried out: "O Abu 'l-Hasan, stop and wait awhile until the men are able to join you! " But 'Ali went on until he fixed the banner near the stronghold.

A man called Marhab came out to meet him in single combat. He came out well armed and surrounded by other Jewish fighters. `Ali met him and they fought until 'Ali struck him with his sword and cut off his leg. He fell down, and `Ali with the other Muslims rushed at him, but he and his Companions fled quickly.

Aban related on the authority of Zurarah that (the fifth Imam) al-Baqir said: " 'Ali reached the gate of the stronghold, which was shut in his face. He pulled it off its hinges and used it as a shield. He then carried it on his back and broke into the fortification with great force. The Muslims then attacked as well, while the gate was still on his back." The Imam continued: " 'Ali suffered greater hardship from the men who were with him than from carrying the gate itself.

He finally threw the gate away from him, while a crier went out to announce to the Messenger of Allah that `Ali had entered the fortification. The Messenger of Allah hastened to the spot and 'Ali went out to meet him. The Prophet said: `I have learnt of your welcome news and your worthy deeds. Allah is well pleased with you, and I too am pleased with you.' 'Ali wept, and the Prophet asked: `What makes you weep?' `I weep for joy' 'Ali answered, `because Allah and His Messenger are well pleased with me."'

It is reported that among the captives whom 'Ali took was Safiyyah daughter of Huyayy. He called Bilal and gave her to him saying: "Do not deliver her to anyone except the Apostle of Allah, so that he may decide what to do with her." Bilal took her and passed by the dead (of her people) on his way to the Messenger of Allah. She nearly died of weeping for them. The Prophet said to him, "Has mercy been removed from your heart, O Bilal?" The Prophet then chose Safiyyah for himself; he freed her and married her.

It is reported that after the Messenger of Allah had concluded the affair of Khaybar, he raised a banner of war and demanded; "Who will rise and take this, and be worthy of it?" He did this because he wished to send an army under it to the gardens of Fadak. az-Zubayr stood up and said: "I would." The Prophet answered, "Leave it alone." Sa'd then stood up, and the Prophet likewise told him to leave it aloe. The Prophet then said: "O 'Ali, rise up and take this standard! " He took it to Fadak, with whose people he made a treaty that he would spare their lives in return for the gardens. Thus the gardens of Fadak belonged exclusively to the Messenger of Allah.

Gabriel then came to him and said: "Allah commands you to give your next of kin their due." He asked: "O Gabriel, who are my next of kin, and what is their due?" He answered: "It is Fatimah; give her, therefore, the gardens of Fadak and whatever in them belongs to Allah and to His Apostle." The Messenger of Allah thus called Fatimah and wrote a document to that effect, which she brought to Abu Bakr after her father's death. She presented it saying: "This is the will of the Messenger of Allah to me and my two sons."

It is further reported that when the Messenger of Allah had conquered Khaybar, news came of the return of Ja'far ibn Abi Talib and his Companions from Abyssinia to Medina. The Prophet exclaimed: "I do not know with which of the two I should be more joyful, whether with the conquest of Khaybar or the coming of Ja`far ! " Sufyan ath-Thawri ( a well-known traditionist and theologian of the second century) reported on the authority of Jabir that when Ja`far returned from Abyssinia, the Messenger of Allah went out to meet him.

When Ja'far ibn Abi Talib saw the Apostle of Allah, he advanced toward him with short modest steps, as an expression of reverence. The Messenger of Allah kissed him on the forehead. Zurarah ibn A'yan (a disciple of the fifth and sixth Imams) reported on the authority of the former that when the Messenger of Allah received Ja'far, he kissed him on the eyes.

It is reported that before the Messenger of Allah set out for Khaybar, he sent `Amr ibn Umayyah ad-Damri to an-Najashi (Negus), ruler of Abyssinia to bring back Ja'far and his Companions. `Amr, however, invited an-Najashi to Islam, and he in fact became Muslim. `Amr then brought back Ja'far and his Companions. an-Najashi provisioned Ja`far and his Companions well, and ordered that each be given a suit of clothes. He had them transported on board two ships.

The Messenger of Allah then sent, as related on the authority of az-Zuhri, `Abdullah ibn Rawahah (a well-known Companion who was martyred in the Battle of Mu'tah) with thirty horsemen, among whom was `Abdullah ibn Anis, to Yasir ibn Rizam, the Jew. The Prophet did so after learning that Yasir had gathered the men of the tribe of Ghatafan to attack the Muslims with them.

The Muslim horsemen came to him and said: "The Messenger of Allah sent us to you wishing to appoint you as the Governor of Khaybar." They continued to plead with him until he gave in and followed them with thirty of his men, so that each one of them would accompany one of the Muslims. After they had gone only six miles, Yasir regretted his decision.

He thus turned to snatch 'Abdullah ibn Anis's sword, but 'Abdullah was on the alert. He spurred on his camel and continued to drive on the men before him until he caught up with Yasir. He then struck him with his sword on the leg, cutting it off. Yasir rushed at him with a thick staff of hard wood having a twisted handle like that of a sceptre. He struck 'Abdullah with it and split open his skull. Seeing this, every man of the Muslims rushed at his Jewish companion and killed him. Only one of the Jews was able to escape. No one of the Muslims was killed.
When they came to the Messenger of Allah, he spat in `Abdullah's wound, which then never caused him any pain until he died.
The Prophet then sent a man named Ghalib ibn `Abdillah al-Kalbi (with a detachment) on a raid to the land of the tribe of Banu Murrah.

He fought valiantly, but was finally taken captive. The Prophet also sent `Uyaynah ibn Hisn al-Badri on a similar raid to the land of the tribe of Banu `Anbar. He too killed some men and was captured.
Note :

[55] See al-Waqidi; vol. 2, p. 364.
Taken From : Beacons of Light by Abu Ali al Fadl ibn al Hasan ibn al Fadl at Tabarsi

Battle of the Camel
After becoming Caliph, Ali gave his first address. It was eloquent and forceful. In it Ali said:
"Area around the Kaaba is sacred. Allah commands the Muslims to live as brothers. A Muslims is he who does not hurt anyone with his word or deed. Fear Allah in your dealings with other men. On the Day of Judgment you will have to answer for your dealings, even with animals. Obey Allah, the Almighty. Do not cast aside His commandments. Do good and keep away from evil."
Ali knew full well that difficult time lay ahead. The forces of lawlessness had been unleashed. It would require tireless work, great patience and much tact to restore law and order. Ali hoped to accomplish the task with the co-operation of his people.
Ali Faces a Dilemma
As soon as the address was over, a party of Companions met Ali, Talha and Zubair among them.
"You are now the Caliph," the deputation said. "Your first duty is to enforce the law of Shari'ah. So punish the murderers of Uthman. It was on this understanding that we pledged loyalty to you."
"I will not let Uthman's death go un-avenged," Ali assured the deputation, "but you must wait. Conditions are not normal yet. The rioters are still powerful in Medina. We are in their grip. My own position is shaky. So please wait. As soon as conditions allow, I will do my duty."
The answer did not satisfy all. Some thought that Ali was trying to evade the issue. Others thought he was sincere in what he said. Some insisted that people must take the matter in their own hands. If Ali was unable to punish the murderers of Uthman, they themselves must do it.
The rioters got to know of what was going on. They felt sure that Ali would punish them if things returned to normal. They saw their only hope in a state of continued unrest. For this they had only to play off one party against the other. Immediately they started the game. They began sowing misunderstanding everywhere. Their aim was to keep the leaders of public opinion divided. In this alone lay their safety and their future.
Soon after entering upon his office, Ali began to feel the terrible weight of the difficulties that beset his path. The rioters supported his cause. They had marched on Medina to make him the Caliph. But they had used a method of which he did not approve. He felt sure that he must punish them. For this he needed the united support of the Companions and all his officers. Of that support he was not very sure. He had to wait and watch. There were people - some of them very honest - who misunderstood this policy of delay. They wanted quick action. They had seen quick action being taken in the days of Abu Bakr and Omar. They did not realize how different the conditions were now.
This was the dilemma that faced Ali. His keen sense of justice demanded firm and quick action; his shaky position forbade it. Ali saw no answer to this dilemma.
Ali Sets About His Task

Ali honestly believed that Uthman's troubles were due to the men who had gathered around him. Wild ambitions of the Banu Omayya family were the real cause of what had happened. They had taken undue advantage of the honest old man, Uthman. They had used him as their tool, jumped into power and misused that power. It was they who had earned a bad name for the late good Caliph. The tragic death of Uthman and the prevailing un-rest could all be traced to the doings of these men. They had to go or things would not come back to normal. Ali made up his ind to strike at the root of all the trouble.
So Ali's first act as Caliph was to dismiss all provincial Governors. He appointed new men in their place. Ibn Abbas and Mughira bin Shaaba were among Ali's staunchest friends. They advised him against hasty action.
"Get from all the Governors the oath of loyalty first," they pleaded. "When you are firm in the saddle, then do what you want. If you dismiss them now, they may refuse to accept you as Caliph. Uthman's murder can be made an easy excsue for this. Under cover of this excuse, they may take up arms against you."
Ali did not listen to this advice. He did not believe that expediency should be allowed to stay the hand of justice. Mughira bin Shaaba got displeased. He warned the new Caliph that his hasty action was likely to land him in difficulties. Then he left Medina and came to Mecca.
Cold Reception for New Governors

Ali's governors set out to take charge of their duties. But none of them had a smooth sailing. Egypt seemed to be the foremost supporter of Ali. But when the new governor reached there, he found things very different. Some of the people accepted him. But there was a strong group which demanded quick punishment for the murderers of Uthman. If that was not done, they said, the would have nothing to do with the new Caliph and his governor. There was another group of people who made a counter demand. They demanded that the murderers of the late Caliph should not be punished at all.
The new governor of Basra faced a similar difficulty. One group of people stood for the rioters and the other was against them. The Governor designate of Kufa was still on his way when he met a strong party of powerful men from that city.
"You better go back," they said. "The people of Kufa will not accept you in place of Abu Musa Ashari. Do not risk your life."
The threat so cowed down the poor governor-designate that he tamely came back to Madina.
When the governor-designate of Syria reached Tabuk, he found his way blocked by Muawiyya's soldiers. He showed them the letter or appointment.
"If you have been appointed by Uthman," they said, "you are welcome. But if you have been sent by someone else, you better go back."
The poor governor-designate had to return to Medina.
The new governor of Yemen took over without any difficulty. But his predecessor had left the public treasury empty.
Ali Takes Action

Kufa and Syria were the two provinces which had openly flouted the new Caliph's authority. Ali sent messengers to the Governors of both the provinces. He asked them to explain things.
Abu Musa Ashari, the Governor of Kufa, sent a satisfactory reply. He assured the Caliph of his loyalty. He further said that he had got from the people the pledge of loyalty for the new Caliph.
In his letter to Muawiyya, Ali had said, "Pledge loyalty to me or get ready to fight."
Muawiyya sent a very clever outspoken man to deliver his letter of reply. Ali opened the letter. All the letter said was, "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful." This amazed Ali.
"What does Muawiyya mean by this?" he asked the messenger.
The man stood up and said, "Gentlemen, when I left Syria, there were fifty thousand veterans weeping for Uthman. Their beards were wet with tears. They have sworn to punish the murders of the late Caliph. They will not sheathe their swords until they have taken the revenge."
One of the men sitting by Ali stood up and said, "O Syrian messenger, do you mean to overawe us with your Syrian army? By Allah, Uthman's shirt is not the shirt of Prophet Joseph. Nor is Muawiyya's sorrow for him the sorrow of Prophet Jacob. If people mourn Uthman in Syria, there are men in Iraq who speak ill of him."
The words of the messenger hurt Ali and he exclaimed, "O Allah! You well know that I have nothing to do with Uthman's murder. By Allah, his murders have escaped."
Muawiyya's reply gave Ali a broad hint about the intentions of the Syrian Governor. He was not going to give in without a fight. So Ali started preparations for the coming fight. Hasan, Ali's eldest son, was against bloodshed. He begged his father to give up the Caliphate rather than start a civil war. "At long last," he went on, "people will have to accept your leadership." However, Ali did not agree with these views of his son.
The impending clash between Ali and Muawiyya caused un-easiness in Medina. All knew how powerful and tactful the Syrian Governor was. Bringing him to his knees was going to be a very tough job. Before long an army was ready to fight those who did not accept the authority of the Caliph.
Aisha Turns Against Ali

Before Ali could deal with Muawiyya, he had to face another danger. Aisha, a widow of the Holy Prophet, turned against him.
Aisha was gone for Haj when Uthman was slain. On her way back, she got the horrible news of his murder. She went back to Mecca. Here she addressed a public gathering. She told people how cruel it was on the part of the rioters to have killed the Caliph in cold blood, in the holy city of the Prophet. She appealed to them to avenge the death of the late Caliph.
Hundreds of men came out at Aisha's call. The Governor of Mecca was one of them. In the meantime, Talha and Zubair also reached Medina. They told Aisha what they had seen at Medina. They urged upon her the need for quick action against the rioters and assured her of their support. They also advised her to go to Basra, to win more support for her couse. Abdullah bin Omar was also in Mecca at the time. People tried to win him over for Aisha's cause. But the pious Abdullah refused to be dragged into the civil war.
Aisha set out to Basra at the head of a big force. More people joined her on the way. By the time she reached Basra, there were three thousand men under her flag.
The Governor of Basra sent men to find out the object of her visit. She told them she had come to tell people of their duty toward the late Caliph. Then the messengers came to Talha and Zubair and put them the same question.
"We are out to avenge the death of Uthman," they replied.
"But you have pledged loyalty to Ali," the messengers added.
"The pledge was taken at the point of the sword," the two leaders said. "All the same, we must have kept the pledge if Ali had avenged Uthman's death, or even if he had allowed us to do that."
The Governor of Basra decided to oppose Aisha, till help came from Ali. He came out of the city with an army and got ready to fight. The two armies stood face to face. Before the fighting began, Aisha made a stirring appeal to the feelings of the opposing army. She spoke of Uthman's cold-blooded murder and explained the need for revenge. Such was the force of her speech that half the army of the Governor walked over to Aisha's side.
The fighting began. It went on till evening and restarted the next day. By midday the two sides made peace. They agreed to send a man to Medina. The man was to find out if Talha and Zubair had pledged loyalty to Ali of their own free-will, or under duress. In the former case, Aisha's army was to go back. In the latter case, the governor was to give up Basra. The Chief Judge of Basra was the person chosen to go to Medina and find out true facts. His report was to be accepted by the parties. So Kaab bin Thaur, the Chief Judge of Basra, went to Medina. He reached the city on a Friday. He made straight for the Prophet's Mosque. Taking his stand before the people he said, "O People, I have been sent by the people of Basra. I have come all the way to find out if Talha and Zubair gave their pledge of their own free-will or whether it was taken by force."
"By Allah!" replied Usama bin Zaid, "it was taken at the point of the sword." Usama's statement was supported by a number of other notable Companions. The Chief Judge of Basra was satisfied that the statement of Talha and Zubair was correct.
Aisha Occupies Basra
Ali came to know of the happenings in Basra. He wrote to the Governor not to give in. "Even if Talha and Zubaid were forced to pledge loyalty," he said in his letter, "force was used to sow differences among them."
In the meantime the Chief Judge of Basra had come back. He confirmed what Talha and Zubair had said. The Governor ws asked by Talha and Zubair to honour his word and give up the city. But by now the Governor had received orders to the contrary. He put his duty to the Caliph above his word and fought to defend the city. However, he was defeated and taken prisoner.
Basra was occupied on the 4th Rabbi al-Thanni 36 (3rd October 656). Immediately Talha and Zubair began a search for people who had taken part in the rising against Uthman. Hundreds of men were rounded up and interrogated. Scores of them were arrested and tried. Many were found guilty and killed. Basra found itself in the grip of a virtual reign of terror.
After occupying Basra, Aisha, Talha and Zubair addressed a long letter to different parts of the Muslim world. The letter described how heavily Allah's hand had fallen on the murderers of Uthman in Basra.
Companions Speak Back to Ali
Happenings at Basra disturbed Ali. For the time being, he had to leave Muawiyya alone. He had to set things right in Iraq first. A clash with Aisha could not be helped. He called upon the people of Medina to gather under his flag, but the response was poor. For most of the Companions the very thought was unbearable. How could they cross swords with the Prophet's widow? Saad bin Waqqas, the conqueror of Iran, said, "O Commander of the Faithful, I want a sword that may separate Muslims from non-Muslims. If you give me that sword, I will fight by your side. If you do not have that sword, please excuse me."
"I request you in the name of Allah," said Abdullah bin Omar, "not to force on me a thing which my heart dislikes."
"The Prophet of Allah ordered me," spoke back Muhammad bin Muslima, "to use my sword as long as the battle was against non-believers. He bade me break it to pieces when the fight against Muslims began. I have alreday broken my sword to pieces." "Please excuse me from this duty" exclaimed Usama bin Zaid. "I have taken an oath not to fight against a man who says 'There is no diety except Allah.'"
When Ushtar came to know of what these Companions had said, he asked Ali to put them in prison.
"No," replied Ali, "I do not want to force them against their will."
Help from Kufa
Toward the end of Rabbi al-Awwal 36 (August 656), Ali set out to Iraq. He hoped to be in Basra before his rivals reached that city. But the journey was too long and the time was too short to permit this. At Dhi Qar, he learnt that Basra has been occupied by Aisha. So he halted there.
Ali had sent several messages to Abu Musa Ashari, the Governor of Kufa, asking for help. Abu Musa had a strong dread of civil war. He hated the sight of Muslims flying at another's throats. He wanted to stay out of the quarrel. The people of Kufa also listened to his advice. They decided not to take sides in the battle between Aisha and Ali.
At last Ali sent his eldest son, Hasan, to Kufa. When he reached there, Abu Musa was addressing a gathering in the Jami mosque. He was making a strong plea for keeping out of the civil war. After he had finished, Hasan jumped onto the stage. He explained to the people how his father was the rightful Caliph, how Talha and Zubair had gone back on their word, and how it was the duty of the people to help their Caliph fight against injustice.
The speech had an immediate effect. A leading man of Kufa stood up and said, "O people of Kufa, our Governor is right in what he says. But the integrity of the State is also a necessity. Without it, there can be no surety of peace and justice. Ali has been elected Caliph. He calls upon you to help him fight injustice. You must help him as best as you can."
The appeal was followed by similar appeals by other leading men of Kufa. There was a stir among the people. Soon about nine thousand men marched off to join Ali. Ali assured these men that he would do all in his power to avoid bloodshed. Even if fighting became unavoidable, he would limit it as much as he could.
The assurance went a long way toward winning over the people of Kufa for the Caliph's cause. This greatly added to his power and prestige. Ali could not look to the coming trial of strength with confidence.
Peace Talks Fail
Reaching Basra, Ali sent a man to Aisha to clear away the misunderstanding she and her supporters had.
"What is it that you people really want?" the man asked them.
"We want nothing but the well-being of Muslims," they rplied. "This is not possible until the death of Uthman has been avenged." "The demand for revenge is very just," Ali's envoy went on. "But how can you lay hands on the mischief-mongers, without first making the hands of the Caliph strong? You have had experience of this. You began punishing the rioters of Basra. But you found yourself helpless in the case of Harqus bin Zubair. You wanted to slay him, but six thousand men rose to defend the culprit. You had to let him go. If necessity can drive you to overlook the crime of one man, how can you blame anything on Ali? If you really want to end trouble, gather under the banner of the Caliph. Do not plunge the people into civil war. It is a question for the whole people. I hope you love peace and order rather then general suffering and bloodshed."
Aisha, Talha and Zubair were moved by the appeal.
"If Ali is really keen to avenge Uthman's death," they declared, "our differences can be easily settled."
They envoy brought back hopeful news for the Caliph. With the envoy also came some men of Basra. They wanted to make sure that Ali was not going to treat them like a fallen enemy. Ali assured them that they had nothing to fear. The hope of peace brightened. But in the army of Ali there were Abdullah bin Saba and his henchmen. Peace was fatal to them. They were very much disturbed by what Ali had said after the envoy's return to Basra.
"O people," he had said, "the greatest favor Allah did to you was unity. Unity made you strong and great. The enemies of Islam did not like this. They have made a bid to shatter out unity. Beware of them. Tomorrow we will march to Basra with a peaceful aim. Those who took any part in Uthman's murder should part company with us." Abdullah bin Saba and his men were taken aback at this declaration. They met in secret council.
"Ali is going to avenge Uthman's death," they whispered to one another. "He now says what Talha, Zubair and Aisha say. We must do something about it."
On the following day, Ali marched off to Basra. Talha and Zubair came out of the city with their army. The two armies lay facing each other for three days. Peace talks were going on. On the third day, the top leaders of both sides had a face-to-face talk. Ali rode forward on his horce. From the other side came Talha and Zubair on their horses. They stood face to face, the necks of their horses touching. "Am I not your brother?" said Ali, addressing the two. "Is not the blood of a Muslim sacred to another Muslim?"
"But you took part in the rising against Uthman," retorted Talha.
"I curse the murderers of Uthman," went on Ali. "O Talha! did you not pledge loyalty to me?"
"Yes, but at the point of the sword," Talha spoke back.
"Do you remember, O Zubair," said Ali, now addressing the second man, "that the Prophet of Allah, one day asked you if you loved me. You said 'Yes'. Thereupon the Prophet of Allah foretold that one day you would fight me for nothing."
"Certainly!" replied Zubair, "I now recall the words of the Prophet of Allah."
After this conversation the three men went back to their camps. The conversation had brought their hearts closer to one another. Each one had been set thinking seriously about the grim outcome of the civil war. The general feeling was the peace was not clearly in sight.
Ali went back to his camp very satisfied. He felt almost sure that bloodshed had been averted. He gave strict orders that no one should shoot even a single arrow. At night he prayed to Allah to save the Muslims the horrors of the civil war.
The Battle Commences
The night came on. The two armies lay in sound sleep. But Abdullah bin Saba and his henchmen set up the whole night. This was their last chance. They must not let it slip by.
It was still dark when the clang of steel rent the air. There was a sudden uproar. Saba and his men had made a sudden attack on Aisha's army! Soon a full-dress batte was in full swing.
Talha and Zubair were startled by the uproar.
"What is this all about?" they asked.
"Ali's army had made a night attack," came the reply.
"Alas!" they exclaimed, "Ali could not be stopped from shedding the blood of Muslims. We had this fear all the time."
Ali got equally startled by the sudden outburst of din.
"What is the matter?" he asked.
"Talha and Zubair have taken us by surprise," replied the followers of Saba.
"Alas!" said Ali, "these gentlemen could not be stopped from killing Muslims, I had this fear all the time."
The fighting soon grew fierce. Muslims flew at the throats of Muslims. Hundreds fell on each side. Talha fell fighting. Zubair fled from the battlefield. The main army of Aisha melted away but stiff fighting still raged round her camel. She sat in a howdah on the camel and directed the fight. A huge crowd of devoted Muslims fought desperately for the honour of the Prophet's widow. One after another seventy men held the nose-string of the camel and laid down their lives.
Ali's heart bled at the sight. Precious lives of Muslims were being lost for nothing. At last the Caliph ordered one of his men to cut the hind legs of the camel. He did it. The beast fell on the forelegs and down came the howdah. With this ended the fighting.
Aisha was taken out of the howdah, with all the respect due to her. She was unhurt. Ali went to her and said, "How do you do, mother!"
"Perfectly all right," replied Aisha. "May Allah forgive your mistake!"
"And may He forgive your mistake too!" said Ali.
Ali made a round of the battlefield. Scores of well-known Companions lay in the dust. About ten thousand men from both sides had lost their lives. Among the killed were some of the best sons of Islam. Ali felt deeply moved. He did not allow his men to take possession of the booty. The whole of it was collected. The people of Basra were told to take back their belongings from the Caliph.
After fleeing the field of battle Zubair was on his way to Mecca. He stopped in a valley to say his prayer. When busy in prayer, he was slain by a man named Amr bin Jarmoz. Jarmoz brought Zubair's arms to Ali. He hoped to get a reward for slaying the Caliph's rival. But, in place of reward, he got a stern rebuke.
"I saw the owner of this sword fight for the Prophet of Allah several times," said Ali. "I give his murderer the news of hellfire."
When Aisha had rested in Basra some days, Ali sent her to Medina. He sent her brother, Muhammad Abu Bakr, with her. As she was about to leave, a number of men gathered around her camel. She addressed them and said, "My children, do not blame one another. By Allah, there is no enmity between me and Ali. It was a mere family squabble. I consider Ali a good man."
To this Ali replied, "She is perfectly right. Our differences were just a family affair. She occupies a very high place in the Faith. Both here and in the world to come, she is the honoured wife of the Prophet of Allah." Ali went many miles to see of Aisha.
Ali now set about restoring order in Basra. The city had been up in arms against the Caliph. But Ali declared a general amnesty. He gave a stirring address in the Jami mosque telling people to be mindful of their duty to Allah. He took the pledge of loyalty from the people and appointed Abdullah bin Abbas as Governor of Basra.
Some leading men of Banu Umayya were in Basra when the city fell. The ill-famed Marwan was also among them. These men went into hiding. The Caliph came to know about them but he gave them the benefit of the general amnesty. In time they escaped to Syria and joined Muawiyya.

Taken from: Muslim wiki



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