Grace and Truth
04. THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD ACCORDING TO IBN HISHAM
7 - Muhammad's WARS Around Medina -- (625 - 627 A.D.)
The Defeat at Uhud and its Consequences (March 625 until 626 A.D.) -- The Battle of the Ditch and its Consequences (March till May 627 A.D.)
7.02.28 -- The campaigns against the Banu Ghatafan (October 625 A.D.) and Dumat al-Jandal (August and September 626 A.D.)
7.01 -- Muhammad's WARS Around Medina -- (625 - 627 A.D.)
According to Muhammad Ibn Ishaq (died 767 A.D.) edited by Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham (died 834 A.D.)
An edited translation from Arabic, originally by Alfred Guillaume
A selection with annotations by Abd al-Masih and Salam Falaki
7.02 -- The Defeat at Uhud and its Consequences (March 625 A.D. until 626 A.D.)
7.02.1 -- Events Leading to the Battle of Uhud*
According to the reports of Muhammad ibn Muslim al-Zuhri and other scholars, whose traditions I have combined into a single account, the encounter at Uhud came about as following: After the defeat of the Quraysh at Badr, when both those who had fled as well as Abu Sufyan and his caravan had returned to Mecca, Abd Allah ibn Abi Rabi'a, ‘Ikrima ibn Abi Jahl and Safwan ibn Umayya with other Quraysh, who at Badr had lost fathers, sons or brothers, made their way to Abu Sufyan and those who had merchandise with the caravan and said to them: “Muhammad has mistreated you and killed the best among you. Sacrifice your goods for the battle against him. Perhaps we can avenge our defeat.” The Quraysh said they were prepared for this. Against them Allah revealed, as one of the scholars explained to me: “Truly, the disbelievers are expending their wealth to bar from Allah's way, and they will expend it; then it will be an anguish for them, then they will be conquered; and the disbelievers: to Hell they will be herded” (Sura al-Anfal 8:36).
“Uhud” is a mountain about 8 km north of Medina.
When Abu Sufyan and those among the caravan had put forth the necessary money, the Quraysh and their allies, along with the clans of Kinana and the inhabitants of Tihama, which were obedient to them, decided to battle Muhammad. Abu ‘Azza Amr ibn Abd Allah al-Jumahi, a poor man with a large family, who had been captured at Badr and then been freed by Muhammad, was asked by Safwan ibn Umayya to set out with the Quraysh and to assist them as poet with his tongue. He responded: “Muhammad has pardoned me. I will not do anything against him.” Safwan said: “You must assist us. If you return home from the war, I will make you rich. If you fall, I will treat your daughters as I do my own, sharing both good and bad with them.” At this Abu ‘Azza went to Tihama and summoned the Banu Kinana to battle.
Jubayr ibn Mut’im called his Abyssinian slave Wahshi to him, who was skilled in spear throwing according to the manner of the Abyssinians, such that he seldom missed his target, and said to him: “Go out with the people, and if you kill Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad, thereby revenging my uncle Tuayma ibn Adi, you shall be free.”
7.02.2 -- The Departure of the Quraysh
The Quraysh departed with their entire force and strength, along with the allies and those who followed them from among the Banu Kinana and the inhabitants of Tihama. Their women also accompanied them, so that the men would be all the more emboldened to fight and not flee away. Abu Sufyan, the field commander, took Hind, the daughter of 'Utba, with him. As often as Hind passed by Wahshi, she said to him: “O Abu Dasma”, (for so he was called), “quench our thirst for revenge and revitalize your own self!” The Quraysh advanced forward to two springs in the mountains, in the hollow of Sabkha, near Qanat, at the edge of the valley, across from Medina.
7.02.3 -- Muhammad's Vision
When Muhammad and his companions heard where the Quraysh had set up camp, he said: “By Allah, I have had a true vision. I saw bulls and a notch in the blade of my sword. I also put my hand into a strong coat of arms, which, according to my interpretation, represents Medina. I have seen how bulls that belonged to me were slaughtered. That means that some of my companions will be killed. The notch on the blade of my sword means the death of one of my relatives.” Muhammad then continued on: “If you want to remain in Medina and leave the enemy in his camp, he will have a bad position if he stays there. But if he should penetrate the place we are in, then we will have to fight him in the middle of the city.” Abd Allah ibn Ubayy shared this view, and Muhammad, by no means willingly, went out to encounter the enemy.
Some Moslems, who had not been involved in the fighting at Badr, yet whom Allah allowed to die the martyr death at Uhud, said together with others: “O messenger of Allah, lead us to the enemy! He shall not behold us as being weak and cowards!”
Abd Allah asked Muhammad if he could remain in Medina. “We have never”, he said, “gone out against an enemy without being defeated by him, while no one has attacked us in the city that we would not have beaten back. Therefore leave them. If they stay, they will be in a difficult situation. If they press into our city, then our men will go out to meet them, while our women and children will cast down stones at them. If they turn back, they will be covered with shame, just as they came.”
But the militants pressed Muhammad until he went to his house and put on his coat of arms. -- It was on a Friday, after the prayer. -- Muhammad performed prayers for the helper Malik ibn Amr of the Banu al-Najjar, who had died that day, and only then went to his troops. They now regretted what they had done and said: “We should not have compelled Muhammad!” They then said to him: “We have compelled you, and that was not right! If you want, then remain, Allah be merciful to you!” Muhammad answered: “It is not fitting for a prophet when he once put on the coat of arms to take it off again until he has fought.” He then went out with one thousand of his companions.
7.02.4 -- The Retreat of the Hypocrites
When they had come to Shawt, between Medina and Uhud, Abd Allah separated from Muhammad with a third of the people and said: “He listened to others and did not follow my council. We do not know, O you people, why we should let ourselves be killed.” Abd Allah turned back with the hypocrites and doubters from among his people.
Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn Haram, a brother of the Banu Salama, hurried after them and said: “I admonish you by Allah, do not depart your people and your prophet in the face of the enemy!” They responded: “If we knew that it would come to battle, we would not abandon you, but we do not believe this will happen.” When they continued on in their stubbornness and fully wanted to turn back, he said: “May Allah damn you, you enemies of Allah! He will make you expendable to his prophet!” Someone other than Ziyad reported that on the day of Uhud the Moslems had said to Muhammad: “Should we not call our allied Jews for help?” But he answered: “We don't need them!”
Ziyad related: “Muhammad pressed forward to the stony field of the Banu Harith. There a mare waved its tail from side to side and touched the hook on which the sword hung, so that if fell out of the sheath. Muhammad, who saw some things as an omen*s, yet without inquiring after the flight of birds or similar events, said to the bearer of the sword: ‘Draw your sword, for I see that today our swords will be drawn.’”
* Fortune tellers predicted the future from the flight of birds or the tracks of animals.
The author attempts to refute every trace of the influence of heathen practices and customs in the life of Muhammad, especially since some traditions give the impression that from time to time Muhammad himself spoke and acted as a fortune-teller.
He then said to his companions: “Who will go with us against the enemy on a nearby path upon which he will not encounter us?” Abu Haythama, a brother of the Banu Haritha, said: “I, messenger of Allah!” He proceeded with him across the field of the Banu Haritha and between their properties, until they came to the field of the blind Mirba ibn al-Qaizi, who was a hypocrite. When he heard the voice of Muhammad and his companions, he threw dirt in their face and cried out: “Even if you are a messenger of Allah, I will not allow you to enter my garden.” At this the people rose up in order to kill him, but Muhammad said: “Do not kill him! His eyes and his heart are blind.” But before Muhammad could speak, Sa’d ibn Zaid, a brother of the Banu Abd al-Ashhal, had already jumped on him and wounded his head with his bow.”
7.02.5 -- Muhammad Prepares for Battle
Muhammad then went on to the ravine of Uhud, where the valley runs towards the mountain. Here he set up camp. In the rear, the mountain of Uhud protected him. He forbade his people to begin fighting until he would give the command. The Quraysh had let their animals, which were in reserve and standing in wing, graze upon the grain fields of Samgha, which belonged to the Moslems. When Muhammad refrained from fighting, one of the companions said: “Should the crops of the sons of Qayla be grazed off without us fighting?” At this Muhammad placed his people, who numbered 700 men, in battle position. He positioned Abd Allah ibn Jubair, of the Banu Amr ibn Auf, who was distinguished by his white garment, at the head of the 50 archers and said: “Keep the enemy riders away from us with your arrows, so that they do not fall onto us from the rear. The encounter may take a favourable or an evil turn for us; you remain at your post so that we will not be attacked from your side.”
Muhammad protected himself by wearing two layers of armour.* He gave the banner to Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr. Muhammad also took into the ranks that day Samura ibn Jundub and Raafi‘ ibn Khadij, a brother of the Banu Haritha. Both were only fifteen years old. He had previously sent them back. But it was told him: “Raafi‘ is a good archer!” When he enlisted him, it was also said to him: “Samura can pin Raafi‘ down.” So he took him also. But he refused to take Usama ibn Zaid, Abd Allah ibn Umar, Zaid ibn Thabit, from the Banu Malik, Bara ibn Azib, from the Banu Haritha, Amr ibn Hazm, from the Banu Malik and Usayd ibn Zuhair, from the Banu Haritha, who also were only 15 years old. However, he did let them participate in the Battle of the Trench.
* The doubled-layer metal of two coats of arms offered additional protec-tion. Jesus and His apostles wore no armour and faced their enemies without any weapons. The spiritual armour of a Christian is of spiritual na-ture (Ephesians 6:11-17). Although Jesus possessed all power (cf. Mat-thew 28:18), even over His own life (cf. John 10:18), he still confronted His enemies without weapons and said: “I am He. Therefore if you seek Me, let these (men) go their way!” (John 18:6,8).
The Quraysh, who numbered 3,000 men, including 200 riders on the flank, who were led by Khalid ibn Walid and ‘Ikrima, also placed themselves in battle position.
7.02.6 -- Regarding Abu Dujana
Muhammad said: “Who will take this sword for the price it will cost him?” Several people rose up. But Muhammad gave it to no one until Abu Dujana Simak ibn Kharasha, a brother of the Banu Sa’ida, stepped forward and asked: “For what price?” Muhammad said: “You must strike the enemy with it until it bends.”* - “So give it to me”, Abu Dujana said, and Muhammad gave it to him. Now Abu Dujana was a brave man who distinguished himself in battle. As soon as he bound on a red turban, people knew he wanted to fight. Once he had taken the sword, he took out the red cloth, fastened it around his head and proudly strut up and down between the two lines. When Muhammad saw him so proudly walking, he said: “Such a gait is pleasing to Allah only at a place like this.”
* Muhammad handed over his legendary sword to a brave man with the command to strike the enemy so often with it until it bends. He did not summon him to a spiritual battle against his own sin, but rather spurred his followers on to physically annihilate his enemies, and expected of him the pledge of his own life.
7.02.7 -- The Account of the Wicked Abu ‘Amir
Out of hatred toward Muhammad, Abu ‘Amir Abd Amir ibn Saifi, of the Banu Dhubaya, went to Mecca with 50 Awsites and there assured the Qurayshites that, if he were to oppose his people, not two of them would be able to resist him. When the conflict began, Abu ‘Amir stood in front of the allies and their slaves. He cried out: “O you Awsites! I am Abu ‘Amir.” They answered: “Allah damn you, O wicked one!” Muhammad had given him this nickname, while the pagans were calling him “monk”.
When he heard this answer, he said: “My people were visited with evil after my departure.” He then fought hard against them and threw stones at them. Abu Sufyan, in order to spur them on, said to the standard bearers from the Banu Abd al-Dar: “O you sons of Abd al-Dar! You were in charge of our flag on the day of Badr, and you saw what happened to us. The destiny of the army depends upon the banner; if it fails, so too shall the army in battle fail. Protect our banner or leave it to us, and we will protect it.” The Banu Abd al-Dar grew zealous and promised to fulfil their duty and said: “We should give you our flag? Tomorrow in battle you shall see our deeds.” By doing this Abu Sufyan had attained his goal. When the conflict began, Hind rose up with the other women that were with her. They followed the men with tambourines and spurred them on to battle. Hind called to them, among other things:
Courageous, you sons of Abd al-Dar, / courageous, you protectors of those / that follow you. / Strike with sharp swords! / If you advance, / then we shall embrace you, / and spread out soft carpets beneath you! / But if you should retreat, / then we shall leave you, / leave and no more love you.
According to Hisham, the motto of the believing Moslems on the day of Uhud was: “Kill! Kill!”*
* The guiding words of Christ are: repentance, forgiveness, faith, love and hope, but never “Kill! Kill! The Spirit of Christ builds up; the spirit of Muhammad destroys.
The battle developed and became more and more intense. Abu Dujana fought and pushed into the middle of the enemy ranks. As often as he attacked an opponent, so reported Zubair, he killed him. Among the unbelievers there was a man who struck and killed every wounded he encountered. When he got close to Abu Dujana, I prayed to Allah to pit them against each other. This also happened, and they traded two blows with each other. The unbeliever struck Abu Dujana`s shield and thereby damaged his own sword. Then Abu Dujana killed him. I further saw how he raised his sword over the head of Hind, before he again withdrew it. I then said: “Allah and his prophet know more!”
7.02.8 -- The Death of Hamza, the Lord of the Martyrs
Hamza threw himself into the thick of the battle, until he killed Artat ibn Abd Shurahbil, one of the standard bearers. When Siba ibn Abd al-‘Uzza, who was nicknamed Abu Niyar, came by him he challenged him to a duel, in that he called out to him: “Come here, you son of the female circumciser!” His mother, Umm Ammar, a freedwoman of the Thaqifite Shariq ibn Amr, circumcised the virgins of Mecca. Hamza killed him as well.
Wahshi relates: “As Siba came near to me, I saw Hamza, who with his sword was mercilessly mowing the people down like a dark brown camel. He called out to him: “Come here, o son of a female circumciser!” He struck him a blow but missed his head. Immediately I swung my spear and threw it into Hamza's belly with such force that it came out again between his feet. He staggered toward me but was defeated and fell down in a heap. I waited until he was dead. I then pulled the spear out, proudly went back to the army and said: “Now I need nothing else!” I had only killed him in order to come free.
When I came to Mecca, I received my freedom. I remained in Mecca until Muhammad conquered the city. I then fled to Tayf. Yet when deputies from Tayf came to Muhammad, in order to embrace Islam, I did not know which direction I should flee to. I thought about emigrating to Yemen, Syria or another country. While I was in such distress, someone said to me: “Woe to you! By Allah, Muhammad kills no one that accepts his religion and makes the confession of faith.” After he said this, I travelled to Mecca, and before Muhammad suspected anything I stood before him and made the true confession of faith. When he saw me he asked: “Are you Wahshi?”
When I gave affirmation to his question, he had me sit down and demanded me to tell him how I killed Hamza. When my story ended, he said: “Woe to you! Be gone, I never want to see you again!”
From that time on I always avoided him, that he should never see me again, until Allah took him to himself.”
7.02.9 -- The Death of Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr
Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr defended Muhammad until ibn Qamia al-Laithi killed him. He mistakenly took him for the messenger of Allah, returned to the Quraysh and said: “I have killed Muhammad.”
Once Mus’ab was dead Muhammad handed the flag over to Ali, who with other Moslems was continuing the battle.
Maslama ibn ‘Alqama told me: “When the battle became intense on the day of Uhud, Muhammad sat under the banner of the helpers and commanded Ali to advance forward with it. Ali obeyed and said: “I am the one who crushes everything!* Abu Sa’d ibn Abi Talha, the standard bearer of the unbelievers, asked him if he wanted to take up his challenge. Ali said: “Yes”, and they fought with each other between the two rows. Ali struck him a blow that knocked him to the ground, whereby he then left him without killing him. When his companions asked him why he had not killed him, he said: “He came against me with his private parts exposed; therefore the love of kin held me back. I knew that Allah had already killed him.”
* Ali, the spiritual progenitor of the Shiites, assumed the name “the one who crushes everything” from the 99 most beautiful .
7.02.10 -- The Story of ‘Asim ibn Thabit
‘Asim ibn Thabit ibn Abi al-Aqlah fought until he killed Musafi and Julas, the sons of Talha, with an arrow. Julas still ran to his mother Sulafa and laid his head on her lap. She asked who had wounded him, and he answered: “I heard how a man, the one who shot the arrow at me, said: ‘Take him! I am the son of Abi al-Aqlah.’” Then she solemnly vowed that she would drink wine from the head of Abi al-Aqlah if Allah would give her dominion over him.
7.02.11 -- Handhala, Whom the Angels Would Have Washed
Handhala ibn Abi Amir fought against Abu Sufyan and gained the upper hand. Yet when Shaddad ibn al-Aswad saw this, he struck Handhala with such a blow that killed him. Muhammad said: “The angels will wash your companion Handhala.” They asked his family about his condition, and his wife said: “He was unclean, but went out as soon as he heard the battle cry.” Allah then sent the believers his support and fulfilled his promise. They advanced toward the unbelievers with their swords until they fled their camp and their flight became obvious.
7.02.12 -- The Misfortune Following the Victory
Yahya ibn Abbad reported to me of his father, who had told him about his grandfather. “By Allah, I still know how I looked at the servants and friends of Hind, the daughter of ‘Utba, who fled in all haste, so as to barely escape being taken captive. The archers advanced toward the enemy camp, from which we had driven back the enemy, thereby exposing our backs to the enemy riders who immediately attacked us from the rear.*
* The lack of cover from behind allowed the riders from the Quraysh to overrun the Moslems.
A voice was then heard that cried: “Muhammad has been killed”, whereby we took to flight after we killed the enemy standard bearers, so that none would dare come near it again. The one who uttered the cry was the spirit of the mountain (i.e. Satan).
The banner of the Quraysh remained lying until Amra, the daughter of Alqama of the Banu Harith, raised it and the Quraysh again gathered round it. The last standard bearer was Suab, an Abyssinian slave of the Banu Abi Talha. He had fought until both his hands had been chopped off. He then defended the banner while on his knees, pressing it between his neck and his breast, until he was killed. Dying he cried out: “Allah, have you helped me? I am pardoned.”
Hassan ibn Thabit composed the following poetry over this incident:
You extol yourselves with your flag. But what a wretched fame, when the flag is given to a drunkard; when you entrust your fame to a slave, the lowest of all mankind to tread upon the dust of the earth. You falsely imagined on the day of battle -- for the fool lives in delusion and knows not what is right -- that you would sell our milk-laden female camels in Mecca, with reddish udders, whose reddened front feet please the eye, but that were not reddened through dye.
7.02.13 -- What Befell Muhammad on the Day of Uhud
The Moslems had been exposed and put to flight, the enemy bringing them defeat. It was a day of trial and testing in which Allah had honoured some with martyrdom. Finally the enemy pressed forward and got close to Muhammad. He was struck by a stone that ‘Utba ibn Abi Waqqas slung against him, so that he fell over. One of Muhammad's front teeth was knocked out and he was wounded on the cheek and the lips.
Humaid al-Tawil reported from Anas ibn Malik: “A front tooth of the prophet was knocked out on the Day of Uhud and he was wounded in the face, so that blood flowed down it. He said, while wiping it away: “How can a people prosper, that colours with blood its prophet that calls them to Allah?” At this Allah revealed: “You will not benefit from this affair, whether He (Allah) repents towards them, or tortures them; for they are evildoers” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:128). Rubaih ibn Abd al-Rahman reported: “ ‘Utba ibn Abi Waqqas had on that day slung a stone against Muhammad that knocked loose the lower right front tooth and wounded the lower lip. Abd Allah ibn Shibab al-Zuhri wounded him on the forehead, and ibn Qamia wounded him on the cheek. There were also two rings on his helmet that were pressed into his cheek, and he fell into one of the pits which Abu ‘Amir had secretly made, so that the believers would fall into them. Ali then grabbed Muhammad's hand and Talha ibn ‘Ubaid lifted him up until he was standing again. Malik ibn Sinan sucked the blood from his face and swallowed it. Muhammad said: “Whoever mixes my blood with his will remain untouched by hell.’”*
* Jesus gave the blood He shed on the cross a spiritual meaning and said: “Whoever drinks My blood and eats My flesh has eternal life” (John 6:54a). He was referring to the bread and the wine of Holy Communion, which are eaten and drunk as a sign of His sacrificed body. Jesus died as the Lamb of God for the sin of the world. Muhammad, on the other hand, received his wounds in a battle for power and booty. His blood has no saving power at the last judgment and cannot save any Muslim from hell.
Abd al-Aziz ibn Muhammad reported that Abu Ubaida ibn al-Jarrah pulled one of the two armour rings from Muhammad's face. As he did, a front tooth fell out. He then removed the second armour ring from Muhammad's face, und thereby the second tooth fell out. Hassan ibn Thabit composed the following verse against ‘Utba:
When Allah punished a people for their deeds and for their rebellion against the Merciful, the Lord of the East, then may He shame you, Utayb* ibn Malik, and cast one of his thunderbolts at you from death! With evil you stretched out your right hand against the prophet and made his mouth to bleed. May lightning cut them off! Did you not think of Allah and of the place that is awaiting you, when adversity approaches?
* Utayb is a diminutive form of ‘Utba - used here as mockery.
When the enemy pressed upon Muhammad, he asked: “Who will sacrifice himself for us?”* Ziyad ibn al-Sakan with five other helpers then rose up and one after the other fought to protect Muhammad, until each was killed. The last was Ziyad or his son Umara, who fought until he was seriously wounded. A number of the believers then came around and drove the enemy away from him. Muhammad said: “Bring him here to me!” When he was brought to him, Muhammad propped up the man's head on his foot, and in this position he died.**
* Muhammad demanded that five to seven of his followers sacrifice them-selves for him. However, Jesus did the opposite: He gave His life as a ransom for many. Here the anti-Christian Spirit in Islam becomes espe-cially evident. Muhammad never sacrificed himself for his people.
** Muhammad did not embrace the dying man that sacrificed himself for him with an embrace, no, rather he allowed him to only lay his head upon his foot.
7.02.14 -- Regarding Those who Fought for Muhammad
Abu Dujana offered his body as a shield for Muhammad. He bowed down over him and offered his back to the enemy arrows, until he was covered with them. Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas protected Muhammad with his bow. Muhammad handed him the arrows and said: “Shoot! You are more precious to me than my father and my mother!” In the end he even handed arrows to him without tips and said: “Shoot with these!” Asim ibn Umar reported to me that Muhammad himself shot arrows until his bow was no longer usable, which then was taken and used by Qatada ibn al-Nu’man. The latter was hit in the eye that day, so that it fell down upon his cheek.
According to the report of Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, after the retreat caused by the news that Muhammad had been slain, Ka‘b ibn Malik was the first to recognize him. “I saw”, so he explained, “how his eye sparkled beneath the visor.” I then cried out loudly: “Rejoice, o you believers, here is the messenger of Allah!” But he gave me a sign that I should remain quiet. When the believers recognized Muhammad, they went with him to the ravine. They were, among others: Abu Bakr, Umar, ‘Ali, Talha, Zubayr and al-Harith ibn al-Simma.
While Muhammad rested in the ravine, Ubay ibn Khalaf came up and called: “Where is Muhammad? I shall perish if he gets away.” The people then asked Muhammad whether one of them should go out against Ubay. He answered: “Let him be!” When he came near, Muhammad grasped the lance of Harith ibn al-Simma and swung it in such a way that we flew away like a poisonous fly from the back of a camel when it shakes itself. He then went up to him and struck him such a blow in the neck that he nearly fell from his horse. He swayed and bowed from one side to the other.
Ubay had at one time encountered Muhammad in Mecca and had, according to the report of Salih ibn Ibrahim, said to him: “I have a mare named al-‘Audh. I feed her every day with a ration of grain, so that I might ride upon her to kill you.” Muhammad had answered him: “Not so, but if Allah wills, I will kill you!” When he returned back to the Quraysh with a slight wound to the neck, from which only little blood flowed, he said: “By Allah, Muhammad has killed me.” The Quraysh said to him: “By Allah, you are a weakling and have lost your heart.” He responded: “He told me in Mecca that he would kill me. And if he only would have spit in my face, I then would have to die even from that.” The enemy of Allah died in Sarif, during the return from Mecca.*
* Possibly Muhammad killed this enemy with his magical powers.
7.02.15 -- How Muhammad Reached the Ravine
When Muhammad arrived at the entrance of the ravine, Ali went out to fill his water-skin at a cistern and bring it back to Muhammad. But he found the odour of the water to be nauseating and did not drink of it. He wiped the blood from his face and poured water over his head and said: “Allah's wrath will be fierce against the one who bloodied the face of his prophet.”
While Muhammad was in the ravine with his companions, several Quraysh climbed up the mountain. Khalid ibn Walid commanded these riders. Muhammad then said: “Allah, do not let them come upon us!” Umar and some helpers fought against them until they had driven them from the mountain. Muhammad then wanted to climb up a cliff that jutted out from the mountain. But since he was wearing a double layer of armour, he was too weak to accomplish it. Therefore Talha supported him from below until he had climbed the cliff and stood upright. Umar, a freedman, reported that Muhammad performed the noontime prayer while sitting. The believers, also sitting, followed him in prayer. Many believers had fled. Some made it as far as al-Munaqa, passing over al-A‘was.
7.02.16 -- The Grace to Die as a Martyr
When Muhammad set out to Uhud, they left Abu Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman and Thabit ibn Waqsh behind in the solid houses with the women and children, for both were well advanced in years. One of them said to the other: “Might it be that you have no father! What are you waiting for? By Allah, neither of us has a longer time to live than a donkey can hold out from thirst. Today or tomorrow we will die. Do we not rather want to take up our swords and join with the messenger of Allah? Perhaps Allah will give us the grace to die with him as martyrs.” They then went to join the remaining believers, with sword in hand, and no one recognized them. Thabit was slain by the unbelievers, Abu Hudhaifa, however, by the believers. Hudhaifa cried out: “My father!” They said: “By Allah, we did not recognize him.” And so it happened, whereby one man answered in reply: “Allah, the All-merciful, forgive you!” Muhammad wanted to pay him the expiatory money, but Hudhaifa paid it to the poor believers, an act that brought him still greater standing with Muhammad.
Yazid, a son of Hatib ibn Umayya, was wounded at Uhud, and he was brought dying into the home of his family. Those who lived in the house gathered around him, and the believing men and women said: “Take joy, son of Hatib, in paradise!” Hatib, who was aged and still steeped in paganism, revealed on this day his hypocrisy, in that he said: “What are you proclaiming to my son? Is it a garden near Harmal?* By Allah, by acting out a false sham you have cost this young man his life!”
* This was a reference to the place, where he would be buried.
7.02.17 -- The Death of the Jew Mukhayriq
Mukhayriq, one of the Banu Tha‘laba ibn al-Fityun, was also among those who were killed at Uhud. On this day he said to the Jews: “You know, by Allah, that you are obliged to help Muhammad.” They replied: “Today is the Sabbath.” But he responded: “A Day of Rest does not exist,” then took up his armour and his sword and said: “If I fall Muhammad is to inherit my property and can do with it as he likes.” He then went to Muhammad and fought at his side until he was slain. As it was reported to me, Muhammad is to have said: “Mukhayriq was the best of all Jews!”
7.02.18 -- The Story of al-Harith ibn Suwayd
Al-Harith ibn Suwayd, who was a hypocrite, went with the believers to Uhud. During the battle he attacked and killed Mujadhdhar ibn Dhiyad and Qays ibn Zaid, and then joined the Quraysh in Mecca. As it was reported, Muhammad gave Umar the command to kill him if he got a hold of him. But he got away and remained in Mecca. He then had them tell his brother Julas that he wanted to convert, in order to be able to return to his people. Allah then revealed: “How should Allah guide a people who disbelieved after they had believed, and had born witness that the Messenger is true, and the clear signs had come to them?” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:86). One day when Muhammad was sitting with some of his companions, al-Harith came out of a garden wrapped in two garments dyed red. Muhammad immediately commanded Uthman ibn ‘Affan to cut off his head.*
* Men who had been Moslems, then had converted to another religion, and then again wanted to become Moslems, such persons often find no more mercy.
7.02.19 -- The Death of ‘Amr ibn al-Jamuh
Amr ibn Jamuh was a man who limped strongly. He had four sons who fought like lions at the side of Muhammad. They tried to restrain their father on the Day of Uhud. They told him Allah would pardon him. He went to Muhammad and said to him: “My sons want to hold me back and not allow me to join you in the battle. But, by Allah, I hope to enter into paradise with this crippled condition. Muhammad responded: “Surely Allah will forgive you. You are not under obligation to enter into the war.” His sons said, however: “Why do you want to hold him back? Perhaps Allah will give him the grace to die a martyr.”* Amr then went into battle and was killed on the Day of Uhud.
* Many Moslems hope to die as martyrs in Holy War, and thereby be immediately translated into the eternal gardens with its joys and delights.
7.02.20 -- The Story of Hind and the Mutilation of Hamza
Salih ibn Kaysan reported: “Hind, the daughter of ‘Utba, and the women who were with her, mutilated the fallen comrades of Muhammad, cutting their ears and noses off. Hind made of the men's ears and noses anklets, necklaces and earrings and gave them to Wahshi, the slave of Jubayr ibn Mut‘im. She also cut out the liver of Hamza, bit off a piece of it and spit it out again. She then climbed onto a high rock and called out with a loud voice:
We have paid you back for the Day of Badr and every war will be followed by a war much more violent. I could not bear the pain from the loss of ‘Utba, nor my brother and his uncle and my first-born. Now I have eased my heart and fulfilled my vow. Wahshi has assuaged the burning in my breast, I will always be grateful to him, until my bones decay in the grave.
Muhammad himself went, as I so heard, to search for Hamza, and he found him in the middle of the valley. The liver had been cut out of the body. He was totally mutilated, with cut off ears and cut off nose.
When Muhammad saw this, he said: “If I did not fear that Safiyya would be distressed and that it would be taken as a precedent after me, I would leave him lying until wild animals and birds of prey consumed him. If Allah grants me victory over the Quraysh anywhere, then I will mutilate thirty of them.” When the believers saw Muhammad's pain and fury regarding the mistreatment of his uncle, they said: “By Allah, if one day Allah gives us victory, we will mutilate them in a manner unseen before among Arabs.” As Muhammad so stood before Hamza, he said: “By Allah, such a misfortune has never befallen me before. I was never in such a painful state as now.” Then he continued: “Gabriel has come and conveyed to me that Hamza is one of those dwelling in the seventh heaven. There it is written: ‘Hamza, son of Abd al-Muttalib, the lion of Allah and his messenger.’” Muhammad, Hamza and Abu Salama ibn Abd al-Asad were milk-brothers. A freedwoman of Abu Lahab had breast fed them each.
Muhammad ibn Ka‘b al-Qurazi and another responsible man of Ibn ‘Abbas related that following these words of Muhammad and his companions, Allah revealed: “126 And if you punish, then punish even as you have been punished; and if you are patient, it is truly better for those who practice patience. 127 And be patient; and your patience is only by Allah. And do not be sad about them, and do not feel distressed by what they deceive.” (Sura al-Nahl 16:126-127).
Thereupon Muhammad forgave, bore everything with patience and forbade mutilation. Humayd reported to me of Hasan, who had heard it from Samura ibn Jundub: “Muhammad never left a place in which he had been staying without admonishing us to give alms and to abstain from mutilation.” A reliable man told me about Miqsam, a freedman of Abd Allah ibn al-Harith, who had heard it from Ibn ‘Abbas: Muhammad had Hamza draped in an overcoat and prayed over him, speaking out the “Allahu Akbar” seven times. Then he had the remaining dead laid near Hamza and prayed for them and for him together, so that he was prayed for seventy two times.
As I heard it, Safiyya, the daughter of Abd al-Muttalib, came again to look for Hamza, her paternal and maternal brother. Muhammad said to her son, Zubayr ibn al-Awwam: Go to her and take her back, lest she see what has happened to her brother.” When Zubayr said this to her, she said: “Why? I heard that my brother has been mutilated. It happened in the cause of Allah! We are painfully moved by this, but I will plead for Allah's revenge and bear it patiently, as Allah wills.” When Zuhayr brought these words to Muhammad, he said: “Let her!” She came, looked at Hamza, prayed for him, took her refuge in Allah and implored his mercy for him. Muhammad then let him be buried.
7.02.21 -- The Burial of the Martyrs
Some of the believers brought their dead to Medina in order to bury them there. Later Muhammad forbade this and said: “Bury them where they have fallen.” When Muhammad saw those who had been killed at Uhud, he said: “I declare before these that whoever has been wounded in the path of Allah will be raised on the Day of Resurrection with bleeding wounds. These wounds will have the colour of blood but the scent of musk. Search out the one who has learned most of the Quran by heart. Lay him in front and his companions behind him.” For they placed two or three in each grave.*
* There is a tradition that says: “Whoever has memorized the Quran will be justified and can furthermore take along 40 of his family members with him to paradise.”
7.02.22 -- Of Washing the Swords
When Muhammad returned to his family, he gave his sword to his daughter Fatima and said: “Wash the blood off, my daughter, by Allah, it has proven its worth to me today.” Ali as well gave her his sword and said the same thing. Muhammad said to him: “Even though you fought bravely, but Sahl ibn Hunaif and Abu Dujana have fought no less bravely!”
7.02.23 -- How Muhammad Pursued the Enemy
Early Sunday morning, on the 16th of Shawwal (10th month), Muhammad's herald made it known that the enemy was to be pursued, but that only the fighters from the preceding day were to go out. Muhammad went out as far as Hamra al-Asad, six miles away from Medina, and put Ibn Umm Maktum in charge over Medina. He remained there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He then returned to Medina.
7.02.24 -- The Killing of Abu ‘Azza and Mu’awiya ibn al-Mughira
Before the return to Medina, Muhammad took Mu‘awiya ibn al-Mughira, the grandfather of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan through his mother Aisha, and Abu Azza al-Jumani as prisoners. These had already been taken captive at Badr and pardoned by Muhammad. As he now again pled for mercy, Muhammad said: “No, by Allah, you shall not caress your cheeks in Mecca and say: ‘I have outwitted Muhammad twice.’ Chop his head off, Zubayr!” Zubayr obeyed the command. Mu’awiya ibn al-Mughira was killed by Zayd ibn Haritha and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir. He had fled to Uthman ibn ‘Affan, who had implored Muhammad's grace for him. Muhammad pardoned him under the condition that should he be found in the area after three days he would have forfeited his life. He hid himself and remained for more than three days. Muhammad then sent the two named men to the place where he was hiding and they killed him.
The Day of Uhud was a day of testing, misfortune and purging. Allah thereby tested the believers and made the hypocrites known, who bore witness to the faith with their tongue, but concealed disbelief in their hearts. It was a day on which Allah honoured some, who were destined to enjoy his presence, with martyrdom.*
* What error! God pardons no sinner who murders others and himself dies in the process. There is no grace apart from that which comes through faith in the substitutionary and vicarious death of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus is the only righteousness that counts before God.
Abd al-Malik reported that, according to al-Bakkay, who had heard it from Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Muttalabi: “To the revelations given at Uhud belong sixty verses of Sura Al ‘Imran (3rd Sura), in which events of the day are described and some are set right.”
A total of 70 helpers and emigrants fell as martyrs. The entire number of polytheists killed at Uhud was 22 men.
7.02.25 -- The Snares of ‘Adal and al-Qara at the Spring of Raji’* (July 625 A.D.)
Asim ibn Amr ibn Qatada reported to me: “After the encounter at Uhud, there came a caravan from ‘Adal and al-Qara (they belong to the clan of Hawn or Hun ibn Khuzayma ibn Mudrika) to Muhammad. They told him that Islam had found entrance among them. He should send a number of companions to accompany them, so that they might instruct them in the Quran, in the laws and in the teachings of Islam. Muhammad sent along six companions. Abd Allah ibn Tariq, an ally of the Banu Zafar, was named to be their leader. They departed with the caravan until they came to the spring of Radji’, which belonged to Hudhaylites in the Hijaz. When they entered in during the early hours of the evening, the caravan, in an act of betrayal, called out to the Hudhaylites, and while the believers were off their guard in the camp, men with drawn swords attacked them. But when they took up their weapons to protect themselves, the Hudhaylites swore by Allah that they did not want to kill them, but only wanted to get an advantage with the Meccans from them. But Marthad, Khalid and Asim (three of the companions) retorted. “We will make no agreement with unbelievers, nor accept any promise.”
* “Radji” lies 15 km north of Mecca.
He and his two companions fought until they were slain. The Hudhaylites wanted to take Asim's head and sell it to Sulafa, the daughter of Sa’d ibn Shuhayd. It is she that had vowed that if she should get Asim's head in her possession, she would drink out of Asim's skull, for he had killed her two sons at Uhud. But since a swarm of bees was buzzing around his body, they said: “We will wait till evening, when the bees have flown away, and then we shall take him.” But Allah took him to himself, because he, Asim, had sworn not to allow himself to be touched by one who was godless. Zayd, Khubayb and Abd Allah, however, who were weak and clung to life, surrendered and were taken as prisoners to Mecca to be sold there. But when they came to Zahran, Abd Allah freed his hands from the bindings and grabbed for his sword. The people withdrew and threw stones at him until he was dead. He was buried in Zahran. Zayd and Khubayb were brought to Mecca. Hujair ibn Abi Ihab, the Tamimite, bought Khubayb in order to get revenge against him for his father. Zayd was bought by Safwan ibn Umayya, who through him sought to take revenge for his father Umayya ibn Khalaf. Safwan sent him with his freedman Nistas to Tamim, outside of the holy area, to have him killed there. Several Quraysh assembled there, among them there was also Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. This man said to Zayd: “I implore you by Allah, would it please you to be home with your family and to have Muhammad killed here in your place?” Zayd answered: “By Allah, it would not please me if Muhammad were even pricked by a thorn in the place he is staying, so that I could remain by my family.”
Nistas then and there killed Zayd. Khubayb was lead to Tan’im (a village near Mecca), where he was crucified. Before he died, he asked that he be allowed to perform a prayer in which he could kneel twice. When it was permitted him, he prayed in a complete manner. He then asked: “If I did not fear that you thought I was drawing out my prayer out of fear of death, I would have prayed even more.” He was then lifted up to the gallows and bound firmly. He then cried out: “Allah! The message of the one you sent has come to us. Let the news of what has been done to us go to him! Allah! Count them, let them die one by one! Let none escape your punishment!” Then he was killed”*
* This crucified Muslim did not pray for his enemies for forgivenss as did Jesus or Stephen, but cursed them, indeed every last one of them.
7.02.26 -- The Attack at the Well of Ma‘una* (July 625 A.D.)
Muhammad stayed for the remaining days of Shawwal (10th month) and the months Dhu al-Qa’da (11th month) and Dhu al-Hijja (12th month) in Medina. He left the pilgrimage to the unbelievers. The pilgrimage ceremony in Mecca was, at that time, practiced by the disbelievers. In Safar (2nd month) - at the beginning of the fourth month following the encounter in Uhud - the attack at the Well of Ma‘una took place. It happened in the following manner: Abu Bara Aamir ibn Malik ibn Ja‘far, who went by the name Mulayb al-Asinna, visited Muhammad in Medina. Muhammad presented him with the teaching of Islam and challenged him to convert. Although Abu Bara did not become a Moslem, he showed that he was also not averse to it. He asked Muhammad to send one of his companions to Najd. This one was to call the inhabitants of the province to Islam. Abu Bara hoped they would heed the summons. When Muhammad responded, saying he did not trust the residents of Najd, Abu Bara answered that he would protect the ambassadors. Muhammad should only send them out to preach Islam. Muhammad sent al-Mundhhir ibn Amr, a brother of the Banu Sa’ida, who in this manner, along with forty superb believers, went out to meet death. The delegation came as far as the Well of Ma‘una, which lies almost exactly midway between the land of the Banu Amir and the plain of the Banu Sulaym. When the believers had set up camp there, they sent Haram ibn Milhan with the writing of Muhammad to Amir ibn Tufayl, the enemy of Allah. This one did not even bother to read the writing, but immediately fell upon Haram and killed him. He then called the Banu Amir together. Yet they did not pay heed to his summons to attack the Moslems. They did not want to betray Abu Bara, who had promised them protection. It was then that Amir called the clans of Sulaym from the branch of Usayya, Ri’l and Dhakwan together. They listened to him and followed him. They set out against the Moslems and encircled their camp. The believers reached for their swords and fought until they had all been killed. Only Ka‘b ibn Zayd, a brother of the Banu Najjar got away. They had neglected to give him the deathblow, since he apparently was already in the last throes of death. He crawled away from the dead, however, and survived. Later he fell as a martyr in the Battle of the Trench.
* Bi’r Ma‘una, the well Ma‘una, lies 150 km southeast of Medina.
Amr ibn Umayya al-Damri and a helper from the Banu Amr ibn Auf were with their herds. They first noticed that something must have happened by the vultures that were hovering over the camp. They cried out: “By Allah, these vultures mean something!” When they approached the location, they saw their people lying in their blood. The riders that had attacked them were still in the area. The helper then said to Amr: “What do you think?” Amr answered: “Let us return to Muhammad and bring him news.” The helper responded: “I will not save my life at the place, in which al-Mundhsir has been killed. I also do not want others to bring me news of his death.” He then fought until he was killed. Amr ibn Umayya was taken captive. When Amir ibn Tufayl heard that he was of the tribe of Mudhar, he had the hair of his head shaved and then granted him freedom for the price of a slave who, so it was believed, had belonged to his mother. Amr then set off for Karkara. Along the way -- before Qanat (a village in the vicinity of Medina) -- he met two men from the Banu Amir, who sat down beside him in the shadows. Amr asked them which tribe they belonged to. When he heard they were Amirites, he waited until they were asleep. Since he did not know that between the Amirites and Muhammad a protection and covenant agreement existed, he killed them in their sleep, thereby thinking he had taken revenge for the fallen comrades of Muhammad. When Amr came to Muhammad and reported to him of the incident, Muhammad said: “You have slain two men whose blood redemption money I must pay.” He then added: “This is the work of Abu Baras. I was unhappy to let this delegation go out, for I was concerned about it.” When Abu Bara got word of the attack and the death of the believers, he was very saddened that Amir had shamed him in such a way and that Muhammad's companions had met with such a grave misfortune.
7.02.27 -- The Banning of the Jewish Tribe the Banu Nadir from Medina (August 625 A.D.)
As it was reported to me by Jazid ibn Ruman, Muhammad then went out to the Banu Nadir, to ask of them to pay a part of the blood money to the Banu Amir, who were under his pro-tection -- a tribute he was required to recompense for the two men that Amr had killed. At that time, too, there was a treaty of protection between the Banu Nadir and the Banu Amir. Once Muhammad had shared his request with them, they showed the greatest willingness to comply with his requests. After they had drawn back for a time of consultation, they said: “We will never again find such a good opportunity to kill Muhammad” -- for he was leaning with his back to the wall of one of their houses. “Who will go up to the roof of this house and cast a heavy stone down upon him, so that in the future we will have rest from him?” The Jew Amr ibn Jihash then rose up and said: “I am ready to do it!” He climbed up the roof to cast a huge chunk of rock upon Muhammad.
But heaven warned Muhammad of this intention and he withdrew. Immediately he went back to Medina. After those who had accompanied him -- among them Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali -- had waited a long time for him, they went searching for him. They asked someone coming from Medina about him. This one said he had seen how Muhammad had entered the city. They also then returned to Medina. Muhammad told the companions that the Jews had wanted to kill him* and gave the command to arm for a war campaign against them. He then set off and set up his camp in the vicinity of them.**
* This unproven claim led to the second civil war in Medina and to the Banu Nadir being banished from Medina.
** Paul commanded the church: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to the wrath of God; for it is written ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19)
He then installed Ibn Umm Maktum over Medina. This was also the time Moslems were forbidden to drink wine.*
* The drinking of wine was not prohibited all at once. This prohibition happened in two stages. Only after Muhammad was convinced of the maturity and strength of his followers did he reveal the conclusive verse (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:90-91). The first ordinance can be read in Sura al-Baqara 2:219).
He besieged the Banu Nadir for six days. Then they withdrew to their secure fortresses. Muhammad had all the date palms cut down and burned. The Jews then called out: “O Muhammad! Did you not yourself forbid wanton destruction and castigated the one who did it? How can you chop down these date palms and have them burned?” Furthermore a number of the Banu Auf had sent a message to the Banu Nadir recommending them to: “Stand firm and protect yourselves! We will not abandon you. If you are being attacked, we will fight with you. If you are driven out, then we shall depart with you.”
However, the Banu Auf hesitated to help them, for Allah had filled their hearts with fear. They asked the prophet to spare the life of the Banu Nadir and let them have as much of their goods -- apart from their protective armour -- as a camel could carry. Muhammad agreed to this. Some tore down their houses to load the door lentil onto their camels.
Some of them went to Khaybar, others to Syria. The residents of Khaybar submitted to the Banu Nadir. They took their wives, their children and their possessions with them and were accompanied by kettledrummers, flutists and singers, all making music.*
* The Jews left their fortresses like proud victors, accompanied by drums and trumpets.
Among those departing there was also Umm Amr, the lady friend of ‘Urwa ibn al-Ward, whom they (the Banu Nadir) had bought from him. She was a woman of the Banu Ghifar and possessed a beauty and poise that at that time was not found in any other tribe.
The remaining possessions of the Banu Nadir were left for Muhammad, who did with it as he wished. He distributed them among the first emigrants. Among the helpers only Sahl ibn Hunayf and Abu Dujana Simak ibn Kharasha received something, because they were poor.*
* Whether the Moslems gained victory or suffered defeat, the Jews of Medina had to continually suffer the consequences. Their possessions, which were taken from them, made the poor refugees from Mecca prosperous. With this Muhammad achieved the main goal of his Holy War.
Of the Banu Nadir only two men converted to Islam: Yamin ibn ‘Umayr ibn Ka‘b and Abu Sa‘d ibn Wahb, thereby saving their possessions. Muhammad said to Yamin: “Have you seen what your cousin did to me and what he intended to do with me?” Yamin then put out a reward for his death. As it is supposed, Amr was then killed.
Sura 59 (al-Hashr, The Crowding) then appeared concerning this campaign, in which is mentioned how Allah punished the Banu Nadir, how Muhammad gained lordship over them and how actions were taken against them. There one reads: “2 It is He who expelled the disbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes for the first crowding. You did not think that they would leave, and they thought that their fortresses would defend them against Allah; but Allah came upon them from whence they had not reckoned, and he cast terror into their hearts as they destroyed their homes with their own hands, and the hands of the believ-ers; therefore take heed, you who have eyes! 3 Had Allah not prescribed dispersal for them, he would have tortured them in this world; and there awaits them at the end of time the torture of fire. … 5 Whatever palm trees you cut down, or left standing upon their roots, that was by Allah's leave, that he might humiliate the vicious. … 7 Whatever booty Allah has given to his Messenger from the people of the towns (i.e. that which was not conquered in war through the attacks of the believers on horses and camels) belongs to Allah, and to his Messenger, and to the near kinsmen, and the orphans, and the poor, and the traveller, so that it be not a thing taken in turns among the rich of you. Whatever the Messenger gives you, take; whatever he forbids you, give over! … ” (Sura al-Haschr 59:2-7)
7.02.28 -- The Campaigns Against the Banu Ghatafan (October 625 A.D.) and Dumat al-Jandal (August and September 626 A.D.)
Following the campaign against the Banu Nadir, Muhammad remained in Medina for the month of Rabi’a al-Akhir (4th month) and a part of the month of Jumada al-Ula (5th month). Then he set out for Najd against the Banu Muharib and Tha’laba from the tribe of Ghatafan. He placed Abu Dharr al-Ghifari and Uthman ibn ‘Affan over Medina and set up his camp in Nakhl. There Muhammad encountered a large force of Ghatafan, yet it came to no battles because each feared the other. Muhammad there performed the prayer of fear* and continued on. Muhammad prayed a prayer with a detachment, performing two prostrations and then spoke the prayer of blessing, while the others were standing across from the enemy. Then the later group approached and he prayed with them a prayer of two prostrations, followed by the prayer of blessing. Ghawrath, one of the Banu Muharib, is supposed to have asked his people, the Banu Muharib and Ghatafan: “Shall I kill Muhammad?” They answered: “Certainly, but asked him how he intended to do it?” He responded: “I will attack him with trickery.” He then went to Muhammad, who was sitting with his sword lying across his lap, the handle of which was decorated with silver. Ghawrath asked if he could have a look at the sword. He pulled it from the sheath, swung it and wanted to kill Muhammad. But Allah held him back. Ghawrath then said to Muhammad: “Are you not afraid of me?” -- “No, why should I be afraid of you?” -- “Do you not fear me although I hold a sword in the hand?” -- “No, Allah will protect me from you.” He then gave Muhammad his sword back.
* The prayer of fear is a freewill prayer that a Muslim can perform like every other ritual prayer when he feels himself threatened (mostly during battle).
Following this Muhammad returned to Medina, remained in the city until the month of The Pilgrimage (12th month), and left the pilgrimage to the unbelievers. It was the fourth year since his arrival in Medina. In the month of Rabi’a al-Awwal (3rd month of the following year, that is, the fifth year after the Hijra, he went out against Dumat al-Jandal*. He put Siba ibn Ghurfuta in charge of Medina, but turned around and came back before he reached Dumat al-Jandal. He encountered no enemies. Muhammad remained the rest of the year in Medina.
* “Dumat al-Jandal” is an oasis in northern Arabia approximately 590 km north of Medina. It belonged to the southern part of the Byzantine sphere of control. The Christian tribe of the Banu Kinda lived there.
7.03 -- The Battle of the Ditch and its Consequences (March - May 627 A.D.)
The Battle of the Ditch, as it is called, took place in Shawwal (10th month) in the year 5 A.H. (i.e. anno hijra). Yazid ibn Ruman reported to me of it from ‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr. Various scholars supplemented it here or there. Summarizing all the reports, the campaign played itself out in the following way. A number of Jews and some other enemies from the tribes of Nadir and Wa’il went to the Qurayshites in Mecca and summoned them to fight against Muhammad.* The Meccans promised them help until Muhammad was entirely destroyed. Accordingly the Quraysh said to the Jews: “You are the men with the oldest book of the world and know why we quarrel with Muhammad. Tell us: Which religion is better, ours or his? They answered: “Your religion is better! You are closer to the truth.” The following verse in the Quran refers to them: “51 Have you not seen those to whom was given a share of The Book? They believe in sorcery and demons, and say to the disbelievers, ‘These are more rightly guided than those who believe in The Way (of Islam).’ 52 They are those whom Allah has cursed; and whomever Allah has cursed, for him you will never find any helper’” (Sura al-Nisa 4:51-52).
* If this assertion is true, Jews who had been driven out, in their hatred toward Muhammad, assembled an allied force to battle against him.
“54 Or are they jealous of the people for what Allah has brought to them in his benevolence? Truly We (Allah) have brought to the Family of Abraham the Book and the Wisdom, and We brought to them mighty kingship. 55 But some of them have believed, and some of them have barred from it (Islam); and Hell is enough of a Blaze (for them)!” (Sura al-Nisa 4:54-55) The Quraysh were very pleased with these words and the summons to participate in the battle against Muhammad. They came to an agreement and promised to fight. The Jews then went to the Ghatafan of Qays Aylan and urged them to fight against Muhammad as well. They promised to participate and said that the Quraysh had also allied themselves with them. These also agreed. The Quraysh then set out under the leadership of Abu Sufyan and the Ghatafan under ‘Uyayna ibn Hisn with the Banu Fazara. The Banu Murra under the leadership of Harith ibn Auf and the Banu Ashja under Mis'ar ibn Rukhaylah followed them.
7.03.1 -- How a Ditch was Dug (March 627 A.D.)
When Muhammad got news of the enemy approach, as well as their intention, he had a ditch dug around Medina.* Muhammad himself participated in the work, so as to instil in the believers a longing for Allah's reward. The believers worked hard, the hypocrites were less diligent, claiming to be too weak to work, and thus they returned to their homes without the knowledge or approval of Muhammad. Contrary to this, when the believers had something urgent to do they presented it to Muhammad, and asked him for permission to tend to it. Muhammad gave his permission. As soon as they had tended to their business, they returned to the work out of a longing for Allah's blessing. In regard to the obedient believers Allah revealed: “Truly the believers are those, who believe in Allah and His Messenger and who, when they are with him upon a common matter, never go away until they ask his leave. Truly those who ask your leave are those who believe in Allah and his messenger. So, if they ask your leave for some affair of their own, give leave to whomever you want of them, and ask Allah's forgiveness for them; truly Allah is forgiving, merciful” (Sura al-Nur 24:62). Regarding the hypocrites, however, who went to their families without permission, it was revealed: “Do not make the calling of the Messenger among yourselves like your calling of one another. Allah knows those of you who slip away to hide; so let those who oppose his command beware, lest seduction befall them or painful torture befall them” (Sura al-Nur 24:63).
* The Bedouins were not accustomed to carrying out sieges; therefore Muhammad listened to the suggestion of a Persian slave and had a deep ditch dug around Medina.
7.03.2 -- The Quraysh Before Medina
The ditch was finished when the Quraysh arrived and set up camp at the place where the streams of Ruma flow into each other, between Juruf and Zaghaba. Including the allies and the followers of the Banu Kinana, with the inhabitants of Tihama, the army made up 10,000 men. The Ghatafan and their followers from Najd joined them as well. Their camp was at the front tip of Naqma, on the side that led to Uhud. Muhammad left the city with 3,000 men and set up his camp before its gates, but so that his back was leaning toward Sal (a mountain near Medina) and the ditch was separating him from the enemy. He installed Ibn Umm Maktum over Medina. He had the women and children taken into the fortresses.
7.03.3 -- How the Jewish Tribe of the Banu Qurayza Broke the Agreement
Huyay ibn Akhtab, the enemy of Allah, went to Ka‘b ibn Asad, the chief of the Qurayzites who had entered into an alliance with Muhammad in the name of the Qurayzites. When Ka‘b heard about the arrival of Huyay, he had the gate of his fortress closed and refused him entrance. Huyay cried out: “Open Ka‘b! Woe to you!” Ka‘b responded: “Woe to you! You bring misfortune! I have contracted with Muhammad an alliance and will not break it, for I saw in him only faithfulness and sincerity.” Huyay again asked for entrance, and when Ka‘b stuck to his refusal he cried out: “By Allah, you have only closed your gate because you fear I might want to share your millet porridge with you!” In this he insulted Ka‘b so strongly that he opened to him. Huyay then continued on: “Woe to you, Ka‘b! I am offering you the greatest fame of all times and a mighty army. I come with the Qurayshites as well as their lords and leaders. They are camped at the confluence of the streams of Ruma. The Ghatafan and their lords and leaders are camped at the front tip of Naqma, on the side of Uhud. They have taken it upon themselves not to break up camp until Muhammad and his followers are destroyed.” Ka‘b responded: “By Allah, you bring me humiliation, clouds of war that bring thunder and lightning, yet have already been emptied of their water and are totally empty. Woe to you, Huyay; leave me with my intention. I only see Muhammad to be faithful and upright. But Huyay did not stop trying to convince him and finally swore to Allah that, in the event the Quraysh and the Ghatafan should withdraw, without having killed Muhammad, that he would go to him in his fortress and share his same fate. So Ka‘b finally broke the covenant of protection and faithfulness that he had contracted with Muhammad.
7.03.4 -- Muhammad Sends out Scouts
When Muhammad and the believers got word of the breach of covenant, he sent Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh, the head of the Awsites, and Sa‘d ibn Ubada, the leader of the Khazrajites, as well as Abd Allah ibn Rawaha and Khawwat ibn Jubayr, a member of the Banu Amr ibn Auf, to see if the news he had received was true. “If it is true”, he said, then let me understand it by means of a sign; do not, however, weaken the confidence of the people. If it is not true, then proclaim it loudly!” Those named went to the Jews and found everything to be just as they had heard. The Jews said: “Who is the messenger of Allah? There exists absolutely no covenant or contract between us and Muhammad.” Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh, a very excitable man, reviled them. But they reviled him back. Sa‘d ibn Ubada then said: “Stop the reviling! What has happened between us and them needs to be settled with more than mere slander.” They then returned to Muhammad and said: “It is a great infidelity that these tribes have committed against Khubayb and his companions.” Muhammad commented: “Allah is great! Rejoice over the good news, O you believers!”
7.03.5 -- The Moslems in Distress
The danger grew and fear spread among the followers of Muhammad, for the enemy came from above and below, such that the believers came to think the worst and some of the hypocrites let their words run freely. Mu’attib ibn Qushayr, a brother of the Banu Amr ibn Auf, said: “Muhammad has promised us the treasures of Kyros (Kisra) and the emperor*. Now we can no longer even walk about in our gardens without mortal danger!”
* These titles referred to the rulers of the Persians and the Byzantines.
Aus ibn Qayzi, one of the Banu Haritha, said: “Our houses now stand defenceless before the enemy, although they were filled with men of his clan. They lie outside the city; thus per-mit us to go home!”
Muhammad and the unbelievers camped across from each other more than twenty days, almost a month long, without it coming to war. The city was only besieged, and some arrows were shot back and forth.
When the danger grew still greater, Muhammad sent -- as it was reported to me by Asim ibn Umar and other reliable witnesses from Muhammad ibn Muslim al-Zuhri -- to Uyayna ibn Hissn and to Harith ibn Auf, the leaders of the Ghatafan, and promised them a third of the dates of Medina if they would withdraw with their people. The offer was accepted and peace came about. The contract was drafted, while lacking a firm decision or witnesses. Muhammad sent, before he wanted to sign the agreement, to Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh and Sa‘d ibn Ubada to ask their council. They asked: “Do you want us to agree to the contract for your sake, or is it a command of Allah which we must follow, or are you doing it for our sake?” Muhammad answered: “I want to only do it for your sake, for, by Allah, I see that the Arabs shoot at you as if it were from one bow and oppress you from all sides. Therefore I wanted to break their united force.” Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh responded: “We, too, like our opponents, were at one time polytheists and idolaters. We did not worship Allah and did not know him, and yet they did not dare to eat even one of our dates. If they do not enjoy them as our guests or buy them for money, then are we now to merely give them what is ours, although Allah has honoured us by leading us to Islam, and glorified us through it and through you? By Allah, that is not what we want. We will let them taste of our swords until Allah decides between us and them.” Muhammad said: “You are right!” Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh took the contract, wiped out the writing and said: “They only wish to fight against us!”
7.03.6 -- Some Unbelievers Cross the Ditch
The believers with Muhammad were besieged by the enemy, although it did not come to battle.* Yet some of the Quraysh riders wrapped themselves in their battle garb. They rode out, and when they came by the camp of the Banu Kinana they cried out: “Prepare yourselves for battle! Today you shall come to know the true knights.” Then they rode forward all the way up to the ditch. When they saw it they cried out: “By Allah, this is trickery that no Arab has ever employed before!”
* The Bedouin fighters were not accustomed to storming a ditch with rampart. The trench was the idea of Salman al-Farisi, one of the ransomed Persian slaves. Therefore, the Quraysh only passively besieged the city and thereby lost the war even before it had begun.
It is maintained that Salman was the one who advised Muhammad in this matter. A scholar explained to me that on that day the Emigrants had said: “Salman is one of ours!” The Helpers boasted the same thing. Muhammad said: “Salman belongs to us, the men of the sanctuary.”
The enemy riders then searched for a place where the ditch was narrower and beat their horses until they set over onto the other side, where they rode to and fro in the swampy region between the ditch and Sal. Ali advanced forward with other Moslems and occupied the place where the enemy had jumped across the narrow ditch. The riders attacked them. Amr ibn Abd Wudd, who had fought at Badr until his wounds had made him unable to continue battle, who had not been present at Uhud, yet who now distinguished himself at the Battle of the Ditch -- that it might be plain to see which position he occupied -- remained standing and challenged the believers to begin duels. Ali stepped forward and said: “You have called upon Allah as witness that a Qurayshite not propose two things to you without you accepting one.” He answered: “So it is.” -- “Now I call on you to believe in Allah and his messenger, and to become Moslem.” -- “I will have nothing to do with it.” -- “Then I challenge you to climb down and fight a duel.” -- “For what purpose then, my cousin, I have no desire to kill you!” -- “But, by Allah, I desire to kill you.” This so enraged Amr that he jumped from his horse, hacked off its foot and struck it on the head. Then he went to meet Ali and fought with him until he was killed. The other riders then fled and crossed back over the ditch.
7.03.7 -- The Courageous Deed of Saffiya, the Daughter of Abd al-Mutallib
Yahya ibn Abbad reported to me (Aisha) from his father: Saffiya, the daughter of Abd al-Muttalib, was in Fari, the fortress of Hassan ibn Thabit, who had remained with the women and children. A Jew then arrived and walked around the fortress. At that time the Banu Qurayza had secretly participated in the war and broken the alliance with Muhammad. Between them and us -- Aisha was to say -- there was no one to protect us. Muhammad and the believers stood across from the enemy. They could not abandon their post if we were to be attacked by someone. I then said to Hassan: “Look how this Jew creeps around our fortress. By Allah, I fear he could show the Jews that are behind us a weak point in our fortress. Muhammad and his companions are not able to occupy themselves with us. Go down and kill him!” Hassan responded: “Allah forgive me, daughter of Abd al-Muttalib! You know very well that I am not the man for it!” When he said this to me and I then knew I could expect no help from him, I girded myself, grabbed a club, went down to him and struck him dead. I then went into the fortress again and said to Hassan: “Go down and strip him! It is only shame -- for he is a man -- that kept me from doing it.” Hassan responded: “I don't want to rob him of his clothes!”
7.03.8 -- How the Unbelievers Were Disunited Through Deceit
Nu‘aym ibn Mas’ud, from the tribe of Ghatafan, came to Muhammad and said: “I have, without any one in my tribe knowing of it, become a Moslem. Command me what you want!” Muhammad responded: “You are only one against many. Try and help us, if you can, through trickery and deceit, for Holy War is (nothing other than) deceit!”*
* Holy War is one of the three occasions in which a Muslim is permitted to employ lying, trickery and deceit in every form to bring victory to Islam.
Nu‘aym went to the Jewish tribe of the Banu Qurayza, near whom he had lived, and said: “You know my love and attachment to you.” They responded: “You are right; we harbour no suspicion against you!” He continued on: “The Quraysh and the Ghatafan are not in the same position as you. You dwell in this land with your wives, children and possessions. You cannot go off to another land. However, the Quraysh and the Ghatafan, who have come to do battle with Muhammad and his companions, and to whom you aid, have another land for their wives and their possessions. If they have opportunity they will make the most of it, if not, they will depart to their own land and leave you with Muhammad in yours, whom you alone will be unable to defend yourselves against. Therefore do not fight with them until they have provided you with hostages from among the most noble of their people, so that you can fight against Muhammad alongside them, until he has been destroyed.” The Jews answered: “You have given us sound advice.”
At this Nu‘aym went to the Quraysh and said to Abu Sufyan and his entourage. “You know that I love you and have nothing to do with Muhammad. I have heard something and feel obliged to tell it to you for your own good. But keep it secret!” They answered: “That we will do!” He continued on: “Know that the Jews regret what they determined against Muhammad. They sent men to him that they might convey to him: ‘We regret our deed. Will you be satisfied if we take hostages from the most noble of the Quraysh and Ghatafan and deliver them to you. You can have them executed and then we will fight with you against the rest until we have destroyed them?’ Muhammad declared himself to be satisfied with this. So when the Jews send to you and demand hostages, do not give them a single man!”
He then left the Quraysh and went to the Ghatafan and said to them: “You are my clan and my tribe. I love no one more than you. You need never doubt my faithfulness.” They said: “You have spoken truly; we have no doubt about you.” He then asked them to keep what he had said secret. When they had promised it, he directed the same words and the same warning to them as he did to the Quraysh. On a Friday evening in Shawwal (10th month), the fifth year after the immigration, Allah ordained it, as a present for Muhammad, that Abu Sufyan and the leaders of the Ghatafan sent ‘Ikrima along with others to the Banu Qurayza to say to them, “We will stay here no longer. Horses and camels are perishing. Therefore come tomorrow to the battle against Muhammad, so that we can make an end to the matter.”*
* The Bedouins were used to short and quick attacks of robbery, but no month-long military sieges with idle periods of waiting and problems with supply lines. For that reason the mood in the camp of the Qurayshites changed.
At this the Qurayza responded: “Today is the Sabbath, a day on which we do not work. Some of us have sinned against this commandment and -- as is well known to you -- have been harshly punished for it. Furthermore, we will not fight with you against Muhammad before you provide us with hostages who will afford us safety until we together have annihilated Muhammad. We fear that you will, should the war become mighty and you receive wounds, take off for your own land and leave us in our own land with this man, against whom we are powerless.”
When the messengers returned with this answer, the Quraysh and the Ghatafan said: “By Allah, what Nu‘aym has said is true!” So they had word given to the Qurayza: “We will not give you a single hostage. If you want to fight with us, then move out.”
When this message came to the Qurayza, they said: “Nu‘aym has told the truth. These people are only bent on fighting; when they find a good opportunity, they avail themselves of it, if not, they withdraw to their home and leave us alone to fight with Muhammad.” They again had the Quraysh and Ghatafan informed that without hostages they would not fight with them. But these stood firm in their refusal. In this way Allah stirred up mistrust among them. In those winter nights he also sent a cold, strong wind that overthrew their cooking-pots and tore their tents.*
* After the storm in the ice-cold winter night damaged or even tore away the tents of those laying siege, the word went around that Muhammad had allied himself with the spirits. The words “wind” and “spirit” have, in Arabic as well as in Hebrew, the same root.
Jesus did not call upon the wind to destroy His enemies; rather, He calmed the storm to save and protect His disciples from destruction.
7.03.9 -- Hudhayfa in the Camp of the Enemies
When Muhammad got word of how Allah had torn apart the pact of unity among the enemies, he called Hudhayfa and sent him into the enemy camp. He wanted to find out what would happen the coming night. Hudhayfa gave the following report of it: “I still see it before me, how we were with Muhammad at the ditch. He prayed a part of the night and then turned to us and called out: ‘Who will see what the enemy is planning tonight?’
As a reward he promised that he would pray that Allah would make the one it concerned a companion of his in Paradise. But no one volunteered, both out of fear as well as because of the cold and hunger. When no one rose up, Muhammad called to me. I had no other choice than to stand up. He commissioned me to find out what the enemy was doing, but forbade me from doing anything on my own initiative. I made my way into the enemy camp where the storm and Allah's hosts were just then raging against the enemies, so that not a single cooking-pot remained standing, no fire was burning and no tent left standing upright. Abu Sufyan rose up and said: ‘Every one of you look now who is sitting beside you!’ I immediately grabbed the hand of my neighbour and asked him: ‘Who are you?’ He told me his full name. Abu Sufyan then continued: ‘We are not remaining longer here. Cattle and camels are dying. The Banu Qurayza have abandoned us and we have heard an evil report about them. The wind is blowing against us. Not one cooking-pot or tent remains standing and no fire is burning. We are breaking camp! I am not staying here any longer.’ He then went to his camel, mounted it and gave it a whack even before it had been fully untied. If Muhammad had not strictly forbidden me from doing anything before I returned, I would surely have killed Abu Sufyan with an arrow. I then returned to Muhammad. He was just then praying and was wearing a garment made out of Yemeni cloth that belonged to one of his wives. As soon as he saw me, he drew me to himself, threw a part of the garment over me, bowed himself and fell down while I was very close to him. When he finished his prayer, I gave him a report.” As soon as they heard that the Quraysh had departed, the Ghatafan, too, made plans to return. On the following morning, Muhammad and the believers left the ditch, returned to the city and laid down their weapons.
7.03.10 -- The Angel Gabriel's Declaration of War Against the Jewish Tribe of the Banu Qurayza
Toward noon Gabriel came (according to the report of al-Zuhri) to Muhammad. Gabriel had his head draped in a silk turban and rode upon a mule whose saddle was covered with a silk blanket. He asked: “Have you already laid down the weapons?” Muhammad answered, “Yes!” Gabriel then spoke: “But the angels have not yet laid down the weapons, and I have come to summon the people to war. Allah commands you to go out against the Banu Qurayza, and I am going to them to shake their strongholds.”* Muhammad commanded the one calling to prayer to announce that no one was to perform the afternoon prayer anywhere else than near the Banu Qurayza. He then installed Ibn Umm Maktum over Medina and sent out Ali with his banner. The people came around hurriedly.
* In the New Testament the Angel Gabriel came as a messenger of peace. It was not the same angel who drove Muhammad to wage war against the Jews. The spirit that ruled over Muhammad used the name of Gabriel as a cover. The word of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:8 applies to him, where every demon is cursed that brings a legalistic religion after the revelation of the Gospel.
When Ali drew near to the fortresses of the Banu Qurayza, he heard how they were speaking very ugly of Muhammad. He returned and told Muhammad, whom he encountered on the way: “Do not go near these malicious people!” He asked: “Why, did you hear them speaking evil of me? When they see me they do not say such things.”*
* Aside from their biting mockery, hypocrisy was one of the most frequent accusations Muhammad made against the Jews (Sura al-Baqara 2:14).
When he got close to the fortresses, he cried out: “You brothers of apes!* Has Allah shamed you and sent down punishment upon you?” They answered: “O Abu Qasim! You know better than that!”
* According to Sura al-Baqara 2:65, some of the Jews were turned into apes and swine because of their disobedience and breach of covenant (see also Suras al-Maida 5:60 and al-A’raf 7:166).
Even before Muhammad reached the Banu Qurayza, some of his companions met him at Sauran. He asked them if someone had ridden past them. They answered: “Yes, Dihya ibn Khalifa, the Kalbite, rode past us on a mule whose saddle was a blanket adorned with silk.” Muhammad responded: “It was Gabriel, who has been sent to the Banu Qurayza to shake their strongholds and to fill their hearts with dread.”
* Dihya ibn Khalifa is described as a handsome young man. Muhammad said that the archangel sometimes brought him the revelation in the form of Dihya, which led Salman Rushdie to make an obscene conjecture.
Muhammad halted at a well of the Banu Qurayza called “Anna”. The Moslems gathered around him. Some came only after the last evening prayer. They had not yet performed the afternoon prayer because Muhammad had had it announced that one was only to pray near the Banu Qurayza. Pressing business matters, which they were not able to transact during the war, had held them up. Therefore they performed the afternoon prayer only after the evening prayer, and Allah did not rebuke them for it, and also Muhammad did not reprimand them.
7.03.11 -- The Besieging of the Jewish Banu Qurayza in Medina (May 627 A.D.)
Muhammad besieged the Banu Qurayza for 25 days, until they were sorely pressed and Allah cast terror into their hearts. Huyay ibn Akhtab had, in accordance with his promise, gone into one of their fortresses following the withdrawal of the Quraysh and Ghatafan. When they became convinced that Muhammad would not withdraw before he had subjected them, Ka‘b said: “You see what has come over you! I suggest to you three alternatives. Choose one of them! First, we will follow this man and declare him to be truthful; for, by Allah, it has long become plain to you that he is the sent prophet who is written of in our Scripture. Your lives, your possessions and your children will then be in safety.” But they answered him: “We will not renounce the laws of the Torah and exchange them for something else.” -- “Well,” Ka‘b said, “then let us go the other way by which we will kill our wives and children and then go out to meet Muhammad and his companions with drawn swords, without having an encumbrance behind us. May God then decide between us and him. If we perish we leave behind no family that we need to be concerned about. If we are victorious we will take their wives and children.” The Jews then answered: “If we kill these poor ones, then life will have nothing more good to offer!” -- “Well,” Ka‘b continued, if you don't want to choose this way, then there is still a third: Today is Friday evening. Perhaps Muhammad imagines himself to be in safety. Make an attack. We might be able to sur-prise Muhammad and his companions.” But they responded: “Should we desecrate the Sabbath and do things that no one among us has done except those who -- as you know -- were turned into apes?”* At this Ka‘b cried out: “Not a single one of you has ever, since the time his mother gave birth to him, come up with a resolute decision!”
* An Islamic legend claims that Jews who did not sanctify the Sabbath were transformed into apes.
7.03.12 -- Abu Lubaba and his Repentance
The Banu Qurayza, who were also allies of the Aus, finally sent to Muhammad and asked him to send Abu Lubaba ibn Abd al-Mundshir to them, so that they could take council with him. Muhammad sent him. When he came to them, the men stood up before him. The wives and the children pressed around him trembling and crying, so that he was quite touched. They asked him if he would advise them to surrender to Muhammad. He nodded, yet pointed at the same time to his throat. By this he wanted to say that Muhammad would slaughter them. “But, by Allah,” Abu Lubaba was later to say, “yet before I had moved my feet from the place I was standing, I recognized that I had betrayed Allah and his messenger.”
Abu Lubaba then went away, but did not go to Muhammad. Instead he bound himself firmly to a pillar of the mosque and swore he would not move from the place until Allah had forgiven him his words. He also took Allah as witness that he would never again set foot in the area of the Banu Qurayza or ever again show himself there where he had betrayed Allah and his prophet. When Muhammad, who was amazed that he had not turned up, heard what had happened, he said: “If he had come to me, I would have implored Allah's grace for him. But now I will not untie him from the pillar until Allah himself pardons him.” Muhammad was just then in the dwelling of Umm Salama, when the pardoning of Abu Lubaba was revealed to him. Umm Salama said: “I heard in the early morning how Muhammad laughed. I asked him what he was laughing at. He said: ‘Allah has forgiven Abu Lubaba.’ I asked whether I could let him know this (this was before the time Muhammad's wives were prescribed to be behind a curtain), and he replied affirmatively.” She went and stood before the door of her room and cried out: “Rejoice Abu Lubaba, Allah has forgiven you!” The people then went running to him to untie him. But he swore he would not budge an inch from the place until Muhammad himself would untie him. Muhammad did this when he went past him on the way to the Morning Prayer. Abu Lubaba had been bound for six days. Whenever the prayer times came around his wife unbound him long enough for him to pray, as was reported to me by a scholar. Then he was again tied to the pillar. The revelation regarding his repentance reads: “And others have confessed their sins, they have mixed a good deed with another one, which is evil …” (Sura al-Tawba 9:102).
In the night in which the Banu Qurayza surrendered, Thalaba ibn Sa’ya, Usayd ibn Sa’ya and Asad ibn Ubayd converted to Islam. They were cousins of the Qurayza and Nadir, but be-longed to the tribe of Hadl, whose origin goes back still further.
7.03.13 -- The Jewish Banu Qurayza Surrender (May 627 A.D.)
The Banu Qurayza surrendered the following morning. The Awsites ran up and said: “These Jews are our allies and not the Khazraj. Now you know how you previously went against the allies of the Khazraj.” The Banu Qaynuqa’, whom Muhammad had besieged earlier, were allies of the Khazraj. When they were surrendering, they called upon the name of Abd Allah ibn Ubay, and Muhammad sent him to them.
While the Awsites so spoke, Muhammad asked them whether they would be satisfied if he would appoint one of them to be the arbitrator. When they answered yes, he said: “Well then, Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh it is!” Muhammad had had him brought into the tent of a woman from the tribe of Aslam when he had been struck by an arrow. Her name was Rufayda, and she treated and served the wounded in the mosque in order to attain her salvation.
When Muhammad made him to be the arbitrator over the Banu Qurayza, his people placed him upon a donkey on which they had put a leather cushion. He was a strong, attractive man, and while they were leading him to Muhammad they said: “Deal kindly, Abu Amr, with your allies. Muhammad has placed their fate in your hand, so that you might treat them gently.
While they were speaking thus to him, he responded: “Now is the time that I do nothing worthy of rebuke in the eyes of Allah.” Following this some of his tribal men returned to the home of the Banu Abd al-Ashhal and lamented the death of the men of the Banu Qurayza, even before Sa‘d came to them.
When Sa‘d came to Muhammad and the believers, Muhammad called out: “Stand up before your lord!” The emigrants said to one another: “Muhammad must certainly mean the helpers.” But these said: “Muhammad gave the command to all believers!” They stood up and said to Sa‘d: “Muhammad has made you the arbitrator over your allies.” Sa‘d then asked them: “Do you swear by Allah that my judgment will be carried out?” They answered: “Yes.” Sa‘d further asked: “Do all those who also stand on the side of Allah's prophet swear as well?” (Out of respect he did not mention the name of Muhammad.) Muhammad, too, answered with a “yes”. “Well then,” Sa‘d said, “my verdict is that all the men are to be executed, their property distributed, and their wives and children are to be made prisoners.” Muhammad spoke to Sa‘d: “Your verdict is identical with the judgment of Allah, who is above the seven heavens.”*
* Compare with Matthew 5:7; 7:1-5 and John 8:44.
7.03.14 -- The Execution of the Jewish Tribe of the Banu Qurayza in Medina (May 627 A.D.)
When the throng of believers and their helpers had withdrawn, Muhammad had the Jews locked up in the house of the daughter of al-Harith, a woman of the Banu al Najjar in Medi-na. Then he went to a square that is still today the market place of Medina and had ditches dug there. He then had the men of the Banu Qurayza brought forth in regiments and executed before the ditches. It was between 600 to 700 men, according to others 800 to 900.* Among them there were also Huyay ibn Akhtab and Ka‘b ibn Asad. The Qurayza asked Ka‘b, as the men were being led away in divisions, what he thought would happen to them. He answered: “Will you never become wise? Do you not see that those led away do not return? By Allah, they will be executed!”
* The first mass grave in the history of Islam, filled with 600-800 murdered Jews, was dug in Medina. The women and children were sold as slaves.
They continued in this manner until Muhammad was finished with them all. The last one to be executed was Huyay ibn Akhtab, the enemy of Allah. He was wearing a striped outer garment that had finger-wide tears on every end, so that no one could take it off him. His hands were tied behind his back. When he saw Muhammad, he said: “By Allah, I do not reproach myself for having become your enemy, but whoever is unfaithful to Allah will be destroyed.” He then turned to the people and said: “It is no misfortune when, in accordance with the imposed and written command of Allah, the bloody destiny over the sons of Israel is executed.” He then sat down and his head was struck off.
Aisha explained: “There was only one woman killed among the Banu Qurayza. She was with me and talked with me and laughed so much that her entire body was shaken, while Muhammad was having the men killed at the market. Suddenly a voice called out: ‘Where is so and so?’ and her name was called. She answered: ‘Here I am!’ I asked her: ‘What is happening?’ -- ‘I am going to be killed.’ -- ‘For what?’ -- ‘Because of a crime.’ She was then led away and decapitated. By Allah,” Aisha said, “I will never forget how amazed I was that she was so vigorous and laughed so much, although she knew she was going to be executed.” This woman had killed Khallad ibn Suwayd by throwing down a millstone on him.
7.03.15 -- Zubayr ibn Bata Disdains his Pardon
According to the report of al-Zuhri, Thabit ibn Qays went to Zubayr ibn Bata, the Qurayzite, the father of Abd al-Rahman, who had done him much good during the time of polytheism -- one of the sons of Zabir reported to me that on the day of Bu’ath he had spared his life and let him go after he had cut off the hair on his head -- and asked him: “Do you still recognize me?” -- (At that time he was an old man.) He then answered: “How could I not recognize you?” -- “Now then”, Thabit said, “I will repay you what I owe you.” Zabir responded: “It is only proper that the noble repay one another.”
Thabit went to Muhammad and said: “I am indebted to Zabir for a good deed that I should like to repay him. Give me his blood!” Muhammad gave it to him, and he then returned to Zabir and told him. Zabir then said: “What should an old man do with life without wife and children?” Thabit went again to Muhammad and implored him to give him also his wife and his children, and Muhammad granted them to him. When he announced this to Zabir, the man replied: “How can a family in the Hijaz survive without possessions?” Thabit went again to Muhammad and asked also for Zabir's possessions. This, too, he received. When Thabit shared this with him, he said: “What is the man doing whose face shines like a Chinese mirror, so that the virgins of his tribe see themselves in it -- namely Ka‘b ibn Asad?” -- “He has been executed.” -- “And what about Huyay ibn Akhtab, the prince of the desert and city dwellers?” -- “He has also been killed.” -- And what about Azzal ibn Simaw’al, the first to attack and the protector when we fled?” -- “He is dead.” -- “And the other two assemblies?” (He meant the Banu Ka‘b and the Banu Amr ibn Qurayza.) -- “They have been exterminated. All were killed.” -- “Now then, I request you Thabit, by that you are indebted to me, to let me follow my tribesmen, for, by Allah, after the death of these men, life has no more value, and I do not have the patience to wait even as long as a bucket is separated from a thirsty camel before I join these friends.”
Thabit then led him forward and he was beheaded. When Abu Bakr heard what he had said, he added: “By Allah, he will meet his friends in hell, where they will burn for all eternity.”
7.03.16 -- The Story of the Jewish Boys ‘Atiyya and Rifa’a
Muhammad had issued the command to kill every man among the Banu Qurayza that had a beard. The Qurayzite ‘Atiyya explained: “When Muhammad gave the command to kill every adult, I was still a boy without a beard. Therefore they let me live. Rifa’a ibn Samau’al, the Qurayzite, who had already reached adolescent age, implored Salma, whom he already knew for some time, for protection. She was the daughter of Kays, the sister of Salit, one of Muhammad's aunts, who prayed with him in both directions (towards Jerusalem and towards Mecca) and who paid homage customary to the manner of women*. She asked Muhammad to give him to her, for he promised to pray and to eat camel's meat. Muhammad gave him to her, and thus saved his life.
* Hommage in the manner of women meant no responsibility to participate in Holy War.
7.03.17 -- The Division of the Booty from the Jewish Banu Qurayza
Muhammad then divided among the Muslim Believers the women, children and possessions of the Banu Qurayza, and appointed that day the portion for the riders and for the foot infantry and took out the fifth. The riders received three portions -- one for the man and two for the horse. Those on foot received one portion. In this war there were 36 horses involved. Here for the first time the booty was divided up and the fifth was taken away. Later military campaigns were to follow this precedent. Muhammad then sent Sa‘d ibn Zayd al-Ansari with prisoners of the Banu Qurayza to Najd and used them as payment to buy horses and weapons.*
* Holy War developed more and more into a lucrative and well-organized business with slaves, animals and merchandise.
7.03.18 -- The Jewess Rayhana becomes Muhammad's Wife
From the women of the Banu Qurayza, Muhammad had chosen Rayhana, the daughter of Amr ibn Khunafa, one of the Banu Amr ibn Qurayza. She remained as a slave by his side until his death. Muhammad suggested marriage to her and proposed she seclude herself like the other women. But she requested him to keep her as a slave, for it would be easier for him and for her, and so he agreed. At the beginning she resisted Islam and wanted to remain a Jewess, so that Muhammad kept back from her, which distressed him. But one day while he was sitting with his companions, he heard two sandals behind him and said: “They are the sandals of Tha‘laba ibn Sa’ya, who is bringing me the news of the conversion of Rayhana.” He entered and announced just that. Muhammad was very pleased over this.
The Battle of the Ditch and the campaign against the Banu Qurayza is mentioned in Sura al-Ahzab 33, or “The Confederates”. Allah reminded them of the dangers, of his kindness, of how he was sufficient to help them and of the various utterances of the hypocrites. There one reads: “9 O you, who have believed, remember Allah's blessing upon you when soldiers came against you, and we sent against them a wind and soldiers, that you did not see;* but Allah was seeing the things you did. 10 When they came against you from above you and from below you, (the Qurayza came from above and the Quraysh and Ghatafan came from below) and when your eyes swerved and your hearts reached your throats, while you entertained about Allah thoughts; 11 there it was that the believers were tested and very strongly shaken. 12 And when the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts there is sickness, said, ‘Allah and his messenger promised us only delusion.’ 13 And when a party of them said, ‘O people of Yathrib, there is no abiding here for you, therefore return!’ And a part of them were asking leave of the prophet, saying, ‘Our houses are exposed’; yet they were not exposed; they desired only to flee” (Sura al Ahzab 33:9-13) in the event the enemy would come upon them from all sides.
* Muhammad claimed for himself the ability to enlist the wind and the spirits to bring Islam to victory.
“14 And if entrance had been forced against them from outlying quarters, and then had been asked to apostatise, they would have done so, without hesitating much about it. 15 But they had previously made a covenant with Allah, that they would not turn their backs (in the face of danger). And one will be questioned about the covenant of Allah. 16 Say: Fleeing will not profit you, when you flee from death or killing; and you will not be made to enjoy but lit-tle. 17 Say: Who would protect you from Allah, if he de-sires evil for you, or desires mercy for you? Besides Allah they will find for themselves no protector and no helper. 18 Allah could know those of you who hinder, and those who say to their brothers, ‘Come to us!’ But they hardly come to battle. 19 … when fear approaches, you see them looking at you, their eyes rolling like one who swoons of death; but when the fear departs, they scold you with sharp tongues …” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:14-19).
7.03.19 -- The Death of Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh
Once the fate of the Banu Qurayza had been determined, the wounds of Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh opened, and he died a martyr. Mu‘adh ibn Rifa’a al-Zuraqi had reported to me: It is said among my people that when Sa‘d lay dying, Gabriel came to Muhammad in the middle of the night -- he wore a turban of gold brocade silk -- and said to them: “Who is the dead one for whom the portals of heaven have opened, for whom the throne* joyously shook?” Muhammad rose up quickly and ran to Sa‘d but found him already dead.
* Moslems believe in the throne of God and the throne guardians that carry it. The vision of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1 and 33) had come all the way to Medina and been made known there.
Aisha once returned from Mecca in the company of Usayd ibn Hudhayr. He was mourning the death of one of his wives. Aisha then said to him: “May Allah forgive you, Abu Yahya. How can you mourn a wife after you have lost a cousin for whose death the throne joyously shook?”
7.03.20 -- The Listing of the Martyrs From the Battle of the Ditch
There fell only six men of the believers at the ditch and three unbelievers. One of them was Nawfal ibn Abd Allah ibn al-Mughira, who wanted to cross the ditch, who attempting to do so fell into it and was killed. The unbelievers wanted to buy his corpse, which the Moslems had taken possession of. Muhammad let them have it, whereby he said: “We have nothing to do with the corpse or with its price.” Yet according to Zuhri, Muhammad received 10,000 dirhams for the corpse.*
* The Battle of the ditch was essentially a bloodless struggle for the Moslems. Only the Jews had to pay for it with their lives.
Khallad ibn Suwayd from the Banu al-Harith ibn al-Khazraj fell in the war against the Banu Qurayza. A millstone had been thrown on him that crushed him. Muhammad is to have said: “He received the double reward of a martyr.” Abu Sinan ibn Mihsan, one of the Banu Asad ibn Khuzayma, died during the besiegement and was buried in the cemetery of the Banu Qurayza, that till now functions as a place of burial. When the Moslems returned home from the ditch, Muhammad said: “From now on the Quraysh will no longer come out against you, but you will wage war against them.” And so it happened. Never again did the Quraysh go out against Muhammad, but he fought them, until Allah gave Mecca into his hand.
7.03.21 -- The Killing of the Jewish Judge Sallam Abu Raafi’ in Khaybar* (June 627 A.D.)
When the Campaign of the ditch and the battle against the Qurayza were over, the Khazraj asked Muhammad for permission to kill Raafi’ Sallam, who lived in Khaybar. He had belonged to those who had roused up the various groups against Muhammad. The Awsites had previously killed Ka‘b ibn al-Ashraf because of his animosity against Muhammad. Muhammad permitted them to do this. Abd Allah ibn Ka‘b reported: “In addition to all that Allah had done for Muhammad, it came about that two tribes, the Aws and the Khazraj, fervently contended for Muhammad's favour - like two male camels. If the Aws had rendered a service to Muhammad, the Khazraj would say: “By Allah, they shall not have the advantage over us,” and did not rest until they had accomplished a similar feat. The Awsites said the same thing if the Khazrajites had done something useful for Muhammad. After the Awsites had killed (the Jew) Ka‘b ibn al-Ashraf, because of his spitefulness toward Muhammad, the Khazraj got to considering who had shown equal spite against Muhammad. There then came to mind Sallam, who lived in Khaybar. They then asked for permission to kill him, which Muhammad then granted them.”
* Khaybar lay 160 km northwest of Medina. Many Jews had fled there after they had been banished or driven out of Medina.
Then five men from the Banu Salama made their way to Khaybar. Muhammad appointed Abd Allah ibn Atik their leader and forbid them to kill any children or women. The men came at night to the house of Sallam and then bolted all the doors. Sallam was in the upper chamber. They climbed the stairs and, standing before the door, asked for entrance. Sallam's wife went out and asked: “Who are you?” They answered: “We are Bedouins who want to buy grain.” She responded: “Here is your lord, enter in!” After they had gone in, they immediately bolted the door out of fear people should pass by who could come between them. The woman cried out loudly, but they pressed forward to Sallam in the darkness with their swords -- he lay on the bed spread out like an Egyptian linen cloth. When the woman shrieked loudly they wanted to kill her with the sword. But then they remembered the prohibition of Muhammad and let her alone. Had it not been for his express prohibition they would have made an end of her that night. While they were attacking him, it came about that Abd Allah ibn Unays had already struck his belly through and cried out: “Enough! Enough!” They quickly left the chamber. Abd Allah ibn Atik, who had poor eyesight, fell down the stairs and injured himself severely. They quickly carried him to a canal by one of the wells. The Jews lit torches and zealously searched for them, but without success. Finally they returned to Sallam and all gathered around him, for he was their judge.
They wondered if the enemy of Allah was really dead. One of them was ready to mingle among the people. He himself said: “Sallam's wife stood there with a lamp in her hand. She looked Sallam in the face -- he was surrounded by many people -- and said to them: ‘By Allah, I recognized the voice of Abd Allah ibn Atik among the intruders.’ I responded: 'How could Abd Allah ibn Arik have come here?’ Then she drew nearer to Salam, looked at him again and cried out: ‘By the God of the Jews, he is dead!’ -- I never heard in my whole life a sweeter word than this.” The man then came back and gave report to them. Then they hoisted their companion onto their shoulders and returned to Muhammad to report to him the death of the enemy of Allah.
Yet when each of them claimed to have killed him, Muhammad said: “Give me your swords!” He looked at them carefully and said, while pointing to the sword of Abd Allah ibn Unays: “This one killed him, for there are still bits of food clinging to the blade.”*
* Jesus forbade Peter to use his sword (Matthew 26:52). Muhammad, however, examined the swords for food remains from the stomach of the one stabbed, so as to determine whom the honour of the assassination belonged.
7.03.22 -- The Conversion of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As
‘Amr ibn al-‘As said the following: “When we returned home from the Battle of the ditch, I met together with some of the Quraysh who shared my thoughts and listened to me. I said to them: “By Allah, I believe Muhammad is controlling the circumstances in an unpleasant manner. Therefore I have taken resolve and want to hear your thoughts.” They asked me what I had determined to do and I said: “I consider it good that we go to the Najashi (Negus, the Ethiopian ruler) and remain with him. If Muhammad is victorious over our people, we will remain with him, preferring to live under his rule than that of Muhammad. If our people are victorious, then we are known to them so that we will have only good to expect from them.” The Quraysh consented to this view, and I summoned them to gather presents for the Najashi.
Since nothing was dearer to him than leather from our country, we gathered together much leather and travelled to him. When we arrived, there also came ‘Amr ibn Umayya al-Damri, who Muhammad had sent to visit the Najashi because of Ja‘far and his companions. When he came out, I said to my companions: “There is ‘Amr ibn Umayya. How would it be if I go to the Najashi and request that he give him over to me, and if he gives him to me I shall then kill him? The Quraysh would see that, should I kill Muhammad's messenger, then I would have a higher standing with the Najashi than they do!”
I immediately went to the king and, as usual, fell down before him. He said: “Welcome, friend, have you brought me something from your country?” I said, “Yes, O King, I have brought much leather.” I then had it brought to him. He admired it and it pleased him. I then said: “O King! I just now saw a man depart from you who is the envoy of our enemy. Give him to me that I might kill him, for he has killed the best and the most noble of us.” The Najashi* then grew furious. He stretched out his hand and struck himself on the nose, so that I thought he would break it. I had such a fear of him that, had the earth split open before me, I would have gladly sunk into it. I then answered him: “O king, by Allah, if I had known that this request would be so unpleasant to you, I would certainly not have asked you!” He responded: “Do you require of me that I deliver up to you the envoy of a man to whom the great Namus (Gabriel) came with the revelation, just as he did to Moses?” I asked in amazement: “Is this so?” He answered: “O ‘Amr, listen to me and follow him! By Allah, he is right and will be victorious over his opponent like Moses was victorious over Pharaoh and his armies.” I asked: “Will you accept my allegiance to him?” He gave affirmation to this and stretched out his hand. I confessed Islam before him and made my way to my companions with another intention -- yet I kept my conversion secret. I then made my way to Muhammad to become a Moslem. Underway I encountered Khalid ibn al-Walid -- it was just before the conquest of Mecca -- who was coming from Mecca. I asked him: “Where does your way lead, Abu Sulaiman?” He answered: “By Allah, the sign has become complete. The man is a prophet. By Allah, I am going to become a Moslem. How long shall I still wait?” I then said: “By Allah, I, too, am coming to convert.”
* This story involving the Najashi may well have been invented by Amr ibn al-As to bring his later conversion into a better light.
We then together went to Muhammad in Medina. Khalid gave allegiance to him first. I then drew close to him and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I will give allegiance to you if my past sins will be forgiven.” (Of the future ones I said nothing.) Muhammad answered: “Pay homage! Islam blots out, ‘Amr, whatever sins have been committed in the past” (Sura al-Fath 48:2). I then paid homage and departed.”
7.04 -- Test
- as an encouragement in future service for Christ.
Every participant taking part in this test is allowed to use, for the purpose of answering the questions, any book that stands available to him or ask any trustworthy person he chooses. We await your written answers, including your complete address on paper or e-mail. We pray to Jesus, the living Lord, for you, that He might call, send, lead, strengthen, preserve and be with you each day of your life!
United with you in the service of Jesus,
Send your answers to:
Or per e-mail to: