Thursday 2nd of February 2023
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In 5 A.H. the Holy Prophet (S) received the commandment of Allah making Haj Wajib on all Muslims. In the following year he saw in a dream that he was actually performing the Haj along with his companions. He therefore decided to perform Haj that very year.
The Holy Prophet (S) announced to the Muslims that he intended to go for pilgrimage to Makka in the month of Zilqad of 6 A.H. The Muhajireen, who had migrated to Madina with the Holy Prophet (S), were delighted at this opportunity to return to their beloved home town. The Ansar, who were the original residents of Madina, were also keen to undertake this blessed journey. In all, about 1,400 Muslims prepared to accompany the Holy Prophet (S) to Makka.
The Holy Prophet (S) left Madina on schedule and sent an advance party to scout the route ahead and to warn him of any threat from the Quraish. He ordered the Muslims not to carry any arms other than swords. Along the journey, the Holy Prophet (S) and his companions put on their Ehram, and chose 70 camels for sacrifice during the Haj.
Meanwhile, the Quraish learned of the advance of the Muslims towards Makka and despatched 200 soldiers to stop them. When the Holy Prophet (S) received word that an ambush awaited them, he asked their guide to take them on a route that would bypass the enemies. Finally, after travelling through rough country, they reached a place where there was a well by the name of Hudaybiya, 10 miles from Makka.
Here, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered the Muslims to stop and pitch their tents. He then sent a message to the Quraish that he wished to enter Makka to perform the pilgrimage. He also let them know that he had come in peace and wished to settle matters by discussions.
The Holy Prophet (S) then asked Umar bin Khattab, who had not fought the Quraish in any battle, to act as a representative of the Muslims and go to Makka. Umar excused himself, saying that his position was weak. The Holy Prophet (S) therefore sent Uthman bin Affan, who was the nephew of Abu Sufyan, the chief of the Makkans.
Because he was related to Abu Sufyan, Uthman was warmly received in Makka. The Quraish told him that he was free to do the Haj himself, but they would not allow the rest of the Muslims to enter the city. Uthman refused to perform the Haj alone, so he was detained in Makka.
When Uthman did not return, the Muslims feared that he had been killed. The Holy Prophet (S) said that there was a possibility of battle breaking out, so he took a solemn oath of allegiance from the Muslims that they would support him even in the face of death. This famous allegiance was taken under an acacia tree, and is known as the Pledge of Rizwaan. The event has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an as follows:
Indeed Allah was well pleased with the believers when they pledged their allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts so He sent down peace on them and rewarded them with an immediate victory.
Surah al-Fath, 48:18
Soon afterward, Uthman returned from Makka, safe and unharmed. With him was a man called Suhail who was sent by the Quraish with instructions to settle the dispute peacefully. As a result of the discussions between Suhail and the Holy Prophet (S), a peace treaty was signed between the Muslims and the Quraish. The conditions of the treaty were:
The Muslims should return to Madina that year without performing Haj.
They could return the next year but their stay would not exceed 3 days.
The Muslims should not bring any arms with them except sheathed swords.
There would be no war between the Quraish and the Muslims for 10 years.
Any idolater or Makkan Muslim visiting Madina without permission of his tribe would be sent back to Makka, but a Muslim of Madina going to Makka without permission would not be allowed to return.
Any tribe of Arabia would be free to join any of the parties to the treaty and the allies also would be bound by this treaty.
At the conclusion of this treaty, the weak-faithed Umar accused the Holy Prophet (S) of selling them short. Although some of these terms seemed to be against the interests of the Muslims, it proved not to be the case. After staying 3 days at Hudaybiya, the Muslims returned to Madina. On the way, the Surah of Fath (Victory), was revealed, which described the treaty as an open victory for the Muslims.
The Treaty of Hudaybiya brought welcome peace to Arabia after a long period of unrest. In the 2 years after this treaty, more people accepted Islam than in the whole 19 years since the beginning of the Holy Prophet's (S) mission.

In the peace that followed the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiya, the Holy Prophet (S) had a great opportunity to spread the religion of Islam. In 7 A.H. he wrote letters to several neighbouring states inviting their rulers and people towards Islam.
At the time, there were four powerful states around Arabia. On one side there was Iran, which ran from Central Asia up to Iraq.
The second state was Byzantine, known as Rome amongst the Arabs. The Byzantine Empire included Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine.
The third state was Egypt, which had been a part of the Byzantine Empire, but was now independent.
The fourth state was Abyssinia, which lay to the south of Egypt, and whose influence extended to other populated areas in Africa.
A brave officer by the name of Abdullah Huzafah was sent by the Holy Prophet (S) to Khusro Parvez, the Emperor of Iran. When the letter inviting him to Islam was read before him, the Emperor flew into a rage. He tore the letter to pieces and rudely turned Abdullah out of his court.
When Abdullah returned to Madina and related his experience, the Holy Prophet (S) was displeased and cursed Khusro saying,
"O Lord! Break his kingdom into pieces."
Meanwhile, the arrogant Emperor sent a letter to the ruler of Yemen, who was under him, ordering him to send some men to capture the Holy Prophet (S) and bring him to his court.
Accordingly, two officers from Yemen came to Madina to carry out his orders. When they saw that the Holy Prophet (S) had the powerful support of the Muslims, they realised that they had no chance of capturing him.
However, they informed the Holy Prophet (S) of their orders and warned him of the consequences of displeasing the powerful Emperor of Iran. In reply the Holy Prophet (S) told them that Khusro Parvez had just been killed by his own son, Shirviyah, who was now the new Emperor.
The Holy Prophet (S) then advised them to tell the people of Yemen to come out of Iranian control and come towards Islam. The officers were so impressed with the miraculous knowledge of the Holy Prophet (S) that they accepted Islam on the spot and later many people from Yemen also became Muslims.
To Hercules, the Kaiser of Rome, the Holy Prophet (S) sent Dihyah bin Kalbi with a letter of invitation to Islam. The Kaiser received Dihyah with honour and was impressed with the contents of the letter.
After making enquiries in Arabia and discussions with the Roman priests, he was convinced that the message was from the very same Prophet whose coming had been foretold in the Tawrat and Injeel.
However, he was afraid that if he openly declared himself a Muslim, he would be removed from power by the influential Christians priests. Nevertheless, he wrote a letter to the Holy Prophet (S) expressing his faith and devotion to him and sent to him several presents.
Amongst the gifts were a white mule named Duldul which later remained with Imam Ali (A) and his progeny for many years. The Kaiser also sent two slave girls. One of them, Maria Qabtia, was married by the Holy Prophet (S) while Hasan bin Thabit married the other.
To the Maqauqis, the Ruler of Egypt, the Holy Prophet (S) sent Haatib bin Abi Balta'ah, a wise and experienced traveller. After the king read the message he thought over the contents of the letter for a long time.
In the discussion that followed, Haatib explained in length the message and mission of the Holy Prophet (S). Although he was convinced by the arguments of Haatib, the Maqauqis was not prepared to give up his position as the head of the Coptic Church. He wrote a letter of regret to the Holy Prophet (S) and sent some presents back with Haatib. When the Holy Prophet (S) received the letter in Madina he remarked,
"He has not accepted Islam on account of fear for his rulership, but his rule and authority will come to an end soon."
To Asmaha, the Negus of Abyssinia, the Holy Prophet (S) sent two letters with 'Amr bin Umayyah. In one letter he invited the Negus to Islam. In the other he requested him to allow and make arrangements for the return of Ja'far bin Abu Talib and the other Muslims who had migrated to Abyssinia in the early difficult days of Islam.
The king received the messenger of the Holy Prophet (S) with great respect and kissed the letters as a mark of respect before reading them. On finishing the letter regarding the invitation to Islam, the Negus immediately recited the Kalima and became a Muslim. He also obeyed the request of the Holy Prophet (S) regarding the arrangements for the return of the Muslims and sent his own son Raarhaa with them.
In addition, the Holy Prophet (S) also sent letters to many other tribes and states, notably the prince of Ghassaan and the ruler of Yamamah. Both these men, however, did not give a firm commitment to Islam because it did not suit them politically. However, many other chiefs and rulers became inclined towards Islam and sent their representatives to Madina to learn more about the Holy Prophet (S) and Islam.
By sending his messengers far and wide, the Holy Prophet (S) showed that Islam was a religion not only for the Arabs, but for the whole world.

To the north of Madina was situated a fertile land known as the Valley of Khayber. The area was populated by 20,000 Jews who were skilled in farming and warfare. They had built seven strong forts in Khayber to protect themselves from any attack.
When the Jewish tribes of Bani Qaynqaa and Bani Nuzayr were expelled from Madina because of their plots against Islam, some of them settled at Khayber. Here, they continued in their old ways, encouraging and helping the Arab tribes to harm the State of Islam.
Even after the Jews had lost against the Muslims in the Battle of Ahzab, they remained a source of danger to the Muslims. Moreover, the Holy Prophet (S) had sent letters to various leaders of neighbouring countries, and he was worried that those leaders who had rejected the message of Islam might pair up with the Jews of Khayber to threaten the Muslims.
Since he had just signed a peace treaty with the Quraish, the Holy Prophet (S) knew that he would have no trouble from them and he could thus concentrate on removing the danger to Islam from Khayber. He therefore ordered the Muslims to get ready to conquer the last centre of the Jews in Arabia.
The Muslim army consisted of 1,600 men, of whom 200 were mounted soldiers. The army marched out under standard of Imam Ali (A).
To stop the tribes of Bani Ghatfaan and Bani Fazarah from assisting their Jewish allies, the Holy Prophet (S) first marched towards them so that they moved away from their homes.
Then, the Holy Prophet (S) changed his direction for Khayber and by the time the two tribes realised that the real target was the Jews, it was too late for them to help their allies.
The seven forts of Khayber were named Na'im, Qamus, Katibah, Nastaat, Shiq, Watih and Sulaalim. All the forts had watchtowers with sentries posted to keep a lookout for any trouble. The forts were specially constructed to defend the entire area and the walls were equipped with weapons like giant catapults to push back an enemy attack.
The Muslim army reached the area of Khayber and after studying the situation, they occupied all the important points of access so that the Jews could not escape.
The arrival of the Muslims went unnoticed and when the farmers came out of the forts the next morning, they were shocked to find themselves confronted by an army. The Jews rushed back into the forts and held meetings to decide how to tackle the situation. Finally, it was decided to move the women and children to one fort and the food to another. This could be done because the forts were connected by underground tunnels. The Jews then planned to attack the Muslims with the best warriors from each fort.
Meanwhile the Muslims also prepared for war. The first fort of Khayber to fall to the Muslims was Na'im. In the conquest of this fort, some Muslims were killed and many were wounded. These soldiers were taken to a make-shift hospital where their injuries were treated by the women of the Bani Ghifar tribe.
The next fort that was attacked was Qamus. After a struggle, this fort was also captured. Two women who were present in the fort were arrested, one of whom was Safiyah, daughter of Hay bin Akhtab. This lady later became the wife of the Holy Prophet (S). The conquest of the two forts greatly increased the confidence of the Muslims, while the Jews became very disturbed and frightened.
As the siege of the forts continued, the Muslims began to run out of food and were forced to eat the meat of horses, which is Makruh but not Haraam to eat.
At this difficult time, one shepherd who tended the sheep of the Jews approached the Holy Prophet (S). After some discussions, he was convinced of the truth of Islam and became a Muslim. When he asked what he should do with the sheep that were in his care, the Holy Prophet (S) told him in clear terms in the presence of hundreds of hungry soldiers,
"In my religion, the breach of trust is one of the greatest crimes. Take the sheep to the gate of the fort and hand them over to their owners".
The shepherd did as he was ordered and then participated in the battle and was martyred.
By his action the Holy Prophet (S) showed clearly that he was not in Khayber to conquer land and wealth, but his aim was to remove the threat to Islam from the Jews. In spite of the needs of his men, he would not permit the unlawful use of the enemy's property and instead prayed to Allah to grant the Muslims victory over the fort where food was stored.
As days passed, one fort after another came under the hands of the Muslims. Time and time again, the heroes of Islam showed their bravery and spirit of self-sacrifice to attain the blessings of Allah .
After capturing the forts of Na'im and Qamus, the Muslims turned their attention to the forts of Watih and Sulaalim. These forts were very heavily guarded and the Muslims could not gain victory even after trying for ten days.
Both Abu Bakr and Umar led the Muslims on separate occasions to try and enter the forts but they were forced to retreat. Umar even demoralised the Muslims by praising the courage of the chief of the Jews, a fearful warrior by the name of Marhab. This action of Umar displeased the Holy Prophet (S) very much.
Finally, the Holy Prophet (S) announced a famous message. He declared,
"Tomorrow I shall give the standard to a person who loves Allah and the Prophet and who is loved by Allah and the Prophet, and Allah will accomplish the conquest of this fort at his hands. He is a man who has never turned his back to the enemy and does not run away from the battlefield".
All the soldiers were curious to learn who that person would be, and the next morning they gathered around the Holy Prophet (S) to see who would be chosen to lead the soldiers. The Holy Prophet (S) asked,
"Where is Ali?".
He was informed that Imam Ali (A) was suffering from an eye infection so severe that he was unable to see. The Holy Prophet (S) ordered that Imam Ali (A) be brought to him. When Imam Ali (A) came, the Holy Prophet (S) rubbed his eyes and prayed for his recovery. The eyes of Imam Ali (A) were instantly cured and he never had trouble with them again.
The Holy Prophet (S) then ordered Imam Ali (A) to advance against the enemy. He told him to ask the chiefs of the forts to accept Islam. If they refused he was to ask them to surrender and live freely under Muslim protection and pay tax to the Muslim state. If this offer was also refused, then he should fight.
Imam Ali (A) approached the forts wearing a strong coat of armour and carrying his twin-tongued sword, Zulfiqar.
The Jews sent out one of their best warriors, Harith the brother of Marhab, to fight the Muslims. The soldiers of Islam were struck with fear when they saw the powerful Harith advance toward them. However, Imam Ali (A) met his challenge and after a brief fight, Harith lay dead on the ground.
The death of his brother enraged Marhab. He came out of the fort fully armed and in a deadly mood. He was dressed in a heavy coat of armour and wore on his head a cap made of stone which he had covered with a helmet. As he challenged the Muslims, he recited his war poem stating,
"The walls of Khayber testify that I am Marhab. I am the best of warriors and those who face me in the battlefield are coloured with their own blood."
Imam Ali (A) stepped forward and recited his own poem, stating,
"I am the person whose mother named him Haidar, a wild lion. In battle I make short work of my enemies."
The words of Imam Ali (A) were carefully chosen. He knew that Marhab had been recently having bad dreams about being ripped apart by a lion and his words therefore caught Marhab by surprise and disturbed him. However, Marhab advanced with a terrible fury, determined to use all his skill to avenge his dead brother.
The blows of the two warriors struck awe in the hearts of the onlookers. Suddenly Marhab plunged his three-pronged lance towards Imam Ali, who avoided the thrust and struck a powerful blow to the head of Marhab. The sword of Imam Ali (A) broke through the helmet, stone cap and head of Marhab and finally stopped at his teeth.
A silence fell as the Jews unbelievingly watched their champion fall dead. As he shouted "Allahu Akbar!" in victory, Imam Ali (A) was surrounded by several experienced Jewish soldiers. However, they could not match his skill and soon they lay dead.
During the fight someone struck a blow at Imam Ali (A), breaking his shield. He turned to the gate of the fort and wrenched it off its hinges and used it as a shield. When he finally threw it away, even 10 Muslims could not lift it. Imam Ali (A) later commented that he had lifted the gate by the strength granted to him by Allah due to his firm faith in the Day of Judgement.
As a result of the bravery of Imam Ali (A), the fort was taken and soon all forts were within the hands of the Muslims. The Muslims lost 20 men in this battle while the Jews lost 93 men. The Holy Prophet (S) had made the Jews realise how useless it was to plot the downfall of the Muslims. After the victory he restored all their land to them with the orders that half of the profit from their agricultural activity should be given over to the Muslims in return for protection.
The Jews however, did not forget their humiliation at the hands of the Muslims. After their defeat, a Jewish woman by the name of Zainab brought some lamb meat as a gift for the Holy Prophet (S). The meat was poisoned and the Holy Prophet (S) ate only a little bit, but that poison had an effect on his health in the long term and when he was on his death bed a few years later, he said that his illness was partly due to the poison he had been given at Khayber.
On the day of the victory, the Muslims who had migrated from Makka to Abyssinia returned home. The Holy Prophet (S) was overjoyed and commented that he did not know what pleased him more - the victory at Khayber or the return of his cousin Ja'far bin Abu Talib with the Muslims from Abyssinia.

After his victory at Khayber the Holy Prophet (S) decided to destroy the remaining strongholds of the Jews and thus end the danger to Islam. He therefore turned his attention to the Jewish village of Fadak, which was a fertile territory 180 kilometres north of Madina.
He sent an envoy to the elders of Fadak. The chief of the village, preferred peace and surrender to fighting. In return for the protection of the Muslims, he agreed to give half of the produce of the region to the Holy Prophet (S).
According to the rules of Islam, the lands conquered through war and military power are the property of all the Muslims and their administration lies with the ruler of the Muslims. However, those lands that are submitted to the Muslims without war, as in the case of Fadak, belong to the Holy Prophet (S) and after him, to the Holy Imam (A) of the time. They have the right to distribute such properties as they see fit. This is evident from the following verse:
Whatever God has bestowed on His Prophet from the people of the towns is for God and the Prophet and his relatives and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not circulate among the rich ones of you...
Surae Hashr, 59 : 7(Part)
The land of Fadak thus came into the possession of the Holy Prophet (S), and when the following verse was revealed,
And give the kinsman his due, and the needy and the wayfarer...
Surae Bani Israa'il, 17 : 26(Part)
he made a gift of Fadak to his dear daughter Bibi Fatima (A).
He did this for several reasons. Firstly, he was commanded to give his near ones their due. The Holy Prophet (S) and all the Muslims were indebted to Bibi Khadija (A) who sacrificed her entire wealth for the sake of the early Muslims. Her money had been used to spread Islam, free those Muslims who were slaves and support them in their times of trouble as in the three years of social boycott that they had faced in Makka. Now the Holy Prophet (S) could return her favours by gifting her daughter the rich land of Fadak. He also knew that after him, Imam Ali (A) would need Fadak as a source of income to safeguard his position as Caliph.
Finally, he wanted to leave some provision for his daughter and grandchildren so that they could live with dignity after his death.
However, after the Holy Prophet (S) passed away, Abu Bakr, who had stolen the right of Imam Ali (A) to the Caliphate, took Fadak away from Bibi Fatima (A). He did this to ensure that Imam Ali (A) would not have the means to regain his rights.
When her agents informed her that they had been replaced by the Caliph's men at Fadak, Bibi Fatima (A) decided to contest her right by legal means.
Abu Bakr refused to acknowledge her claim, and asked her to provide witnesses. Although she already possessed the property of Fadak and there had never been any doubt about her ownership, she brought two witnesses. These were Imam Ali (A) and a woman named Umme Ayman, about whom the Holy Prophet (S) had guaranteed that she would go to heaven.
Even then, Abu Bakr would not agree and he quoted a fake tradition saying,
"The Holy Prophet has said, `We the group of Prophets do not inherit, nor are we inherited and what we leave is for alms.'"
This was a blatant lie and moreover no one but Abu Bakr claimed to have heard it.
Bibi Fatima (A) then gave an eloquent lecture in which she first explained about the Oneness of Allah and the nature of the mission of her father. She then proved that Abu Bakr was lying by quoting the following verse:
And Sulaiman inherited Dawood...
Surae Naml 27 : 16(Part)
Although Abu Bakr was ashamed of his conduct and decided to return Fadak to her, she never forgave him for his actions. She did not speak to him again as long as she lived and at her funeral six months after her father died, he was not allowed to take part as per her will.
Eventually, Abu Bakr wrote a certificate to the effect that Fadak was the absolute property of Bibi Fatima (A) and gave it to her. However, when she was going back to her house, Umar al-Khattab chanced to meet her and came to know the contents of the certificate. He brought it back to Abu Bakr saying,
"As Ali is a beneficiary in this case, his evidence is not acceptable. As for Umme Ayman, being a woman, her testimony is also of no value on its own."
Saying this, he tore up the certificate in the presence of Abu Bakr. This action grieved Bibi Fatima (A) so much that she cursed him saying,
"May Allah cause your abdomen to be torn in the same way."
This prayer proved fateful, because in 24 A.H., Umar was stabbed thrice in the stomach by his killer, Abu Lulu.
After this, Fadak remained in the hands of successive rulers until the time of the Umayyad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, who returned it to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A). However, the next Caliph took it away and it remained with the Bani Umayyah Caliphs until their rule ended. During the rule of the Bani Abbas it was returned briefly, but then taken away forever.

One of the conditions of the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiya was that the Muslims would be permitted to visit Makka the following year. They would be allowed to stay there for three days to carry out their religious duties.
After a year had passed, the Holy Prophet (S) declared that the Muslims should prepare for the Umrah, the minor Haj. The announcement was met with great joy, especially by the Muhajirs, who had not seen their relatives and home town in seven years. 2,000 Muslims prepared to make the journey.
The Holy Prophet (S) put on his Ehram in the mosque and the others followed him. Then the Muslims proceeded to Makka reciting the Talbiyyah (Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk - Here I am, my Lord, here I am). They took with them 80 camels for sacrifice. The sight of this caravan, which possessed so much majesty and dignity, made many idolaters inclined towards Islam. As a result, many became Muslims.
One of the conditions of the treaty was that, when entering Makka, the Muslims should be unarmed except for a single traveller's sword. The Holy Prophet (S) knew that this made them vulnerable to attack from the Quraish, whom he did not trust. Therefore, he sent 200 well armed men in a valley near Makka and to wait there for his arrival.
When the Quraish learnt of this action of the Holy Prophet (S) they realised that it was useless to plan any surprise attacks on the Muslims. They therefore opened the gates of Makka and vacated the city for the nearby mountains and hills. From here, they could observe all their activities of the Muslims during their three days' stay.
The Holy Prophet (S) entered Makka with the Muslims and the sound of "Labbayk" echoed throughout the city, filling the Makkans with awe. He performed Tawaaf of the Holy Ka'aba while mounted on his camel.
At this stage he ordered that the Muslims join him in saying:
"There is no god but Allah. He is One and Matchless. He has acted according to his promise (He had promised that the Muslims would visit the Holy Ka`ba soon). He helped His servant. He raised the army of One God to the highest rank and condemned the armies of the idol worshippers to loneliness".
On that day all the centres of pilgrimage and the places where ceremonies of Umrah are performed, including Masjidul Haraam, the Holy Ka`ba and the hills of Safa and Marwah were under the control of the Muslims.
Seeing the Muslims perform their sacred rites at these places made a great impact on the leaders of the Quraish, and now they finally believed that this mighty religion and its leader could never be stopped.
The time for noon prayers arrived. The Holy Prophet (S) ordered Bilal to recite the Adhaan. Bilal climbed onto the roof of the Holy Ka`ba, and loudly announced the call to prayer. Every word was like an arrow in the hearts of the listening Quraish. One of them hid his face in his handkerchief as he heard Bilal's recitation. He could not bear to hear the open declaration of the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad (S) which had once been the greatest crime according to the disbelievers of Quraish.
Afterwards, the Holy Prophet (S) led the Muslims in performing Sa'i between the hills of Safa and Marwah. The hypocrites and idolaters had spread the rumour that the Muslims had become weak due to the poor climate in Madina. To show them that they were wrong, the Holy Prophet (S) did "Harwalah" during part of the Sa'i, and the Muslims followed him. Harwalah is a type of quick walking, just short of running.
Then the Muslims sacrificed their camels and came out of the state of Ehram and had their hair cut. The Holy Prophet (S) then ordered that 200 Muslims should proceed to the valley where the Muslim soldiers were camped, to replace them so that they could come and perform their Umrah.
The rites and ceremonies of Umrah came to an end. The Muhajirs went to their homes to meet their relatives. They also invited some Ansar to their homes to return some of the hospitality that the Ansar had shown them on their arrival in Madina.
After three days the Holy Prophet (S) gave the order for the Muslims to leave Makka for Madina. Before he left, he received a proposal of marriage from a Quraish woman Maimoona, who was the sister-in-law of Abbas, the uncle of the Holy Prophet (S). He accepted this proposal and married her in Makka.
The short visit of the Muslims and the glory of Islam had made a deep impression on the minds of the citizens of Makka. Many of them were left with a longing to learn more about the religion and the conduct of the Muslims had won a greater victory than any war.
The Holy Qur'an says:
Allah made the dream of His messenger come true for a genuine purpose. If Allah wills, you (believers) will enter the Sacred Mosque in security with your heads shaved, nails cut and without any fears in your heart.
Surae Fat'h, 48 : 27
By 8 A.H. there was security in most of Arabia and the call of Islam had extended to many parts. The Jews in the north and the Quraish in the south had been subdued by the victories of the Muslims in battle and they did not pose a threat any longer.
The Holy Prophet (S) sent envoys to neighbouring countries and invited their rulers to embrace Islam. Some of these envoys were well received, while others were mistreated and even killed. One such envoy, Harith bin Umayr Azdi was sent with a letter to the ruler of Syria. Before he could reach his destination, he was captured at Moota by Shurahbil, the governor of the ruler of Syria in the border towns. Disregarding the universal law about the safety of envoys, Shurahbil killed Harith. In a separate incident, 15 missionaries sent to the Syrians were also killed.
When the Holy Prophet (S) received the sad news, he was deeply grieved and decided to punish Shurahbil and those who obstructed the spread of Islam. He gave orders for Jihad and 3,000 men assembled at Jurf, the military station of Madina. He instructed the army to march towards Moota and first invite the people to become Muslims. If they accepted Islam, the murder of the envoy would not be avenged but if they resisted, the Muslims should fight against them in the Name of Allah .
Ja'far bin Abu Talib was appointed as the commander of the army and the Holy Prophet (S) said that if Ja'far was killed then Zayd bin Harith would lead them, and if he was killed then Abdullah bin Rawaahid would assume command. If he too was killed, then the Muslim army should select their commander from amongst themselves. Before dispatching the expedition, the Holy Prophet (S) instructed them to observe the following rules:
1. Not to interfere with the monks and nuns who were worshipping in their monasteries.
2. Not to lift their hand against any women, children or old people.
3. Not to cut down trees or destroy buildings.
These instructions were an example of the Holy Prophet's (S) vision and the efforts he was making to bring about changes and reforms in all walks of life, in a period in Arabia when no scruples were exercised, particularly in war.
In response to the news of the march of the Muslim army, Hercules of Rome and the Syrian Ruler sent their best troops to the borders and Shurahbil gathered an army of 100,000 soldiers.
In addition to being hopelessly outnumbered, the Muslims were also facing a professional army. Due to their constant wars with Iran, the Romans had become experts in war strategy and tactics. They were also equipped with better weapons and transport. Also, the Romans had the advantage that they were fighting at home while the Muslims were in a foreign land.
Despite being in a weaker position, the Muslim forces gave a heroic account of their valour. Ja'far divided his men into 3 divisions and the armies met at Sharaf near Moota. The battle began with single combats but soon turned into a full scale war. The Muslims fought courageously but soon the differences in number proved too great. Ja'far was surrounded and lost one arm and then the other. Eventually, he was killed with a blow to the head and after him Zayd and then Abdullah were also martyred.
By the end of the first day the Muslim army was in disarray and their numbers were severely reduced. As their new commander, the Muslims chose Khalid bin Walid.
During the night, Khalid ordered the remaining wings of the Muslim army to change sides with each other, and the sound of the movements of a large number of men convinced the enemy that reinforcements had arrived.
On the next day Khalid arranged the Muslim army in such a way as to give an impression that new troops had joined them. These tactics made the enemy hesitate and Khalid took the opportunity to withdraw the Muslim army and return to Madina.
The retreat of the Muslims was not well received by some in Madina who said that they should have fought on till the very end. However, given the circumstances, Khalid was right in bringing them back because it would have been pointless to sacrifice the lives of more Muslims.
The Holy Prophet (S) was much grieved at the loss of Muslim lives and especially that of his cousin Ja'far. He saw in his dream that Ja'far had been given 2 wings like angels in heaven and since then Ja'far in known as Tayyaar - the one who flies.
Just before his death, the Holy Prophet (S) prepared a strong force under Usama bin Zayd, to return to Moota. However, this expedition never got off the ground because of his illness. Although Usama was ready to march, some Muslims, especially Abu Bakr and Umar, were worried that they would be absent from Madina when the Holy Prophet (S) passed away. They wanted to be present to put a stop to the successorship of Imam Ali (A) and put their own plans into action. However, two years later, a powerful Muslim army returned to Syria and conquered the Romans in the battle of Yermuk, bringing a large part of Syria under Islam.
From the day the Holy Prophet (S) entered Madina and made it the capital of the Muslims, he set up a network of spies and observers throughout Arabia. These men informed him about the plans of his enemies and allowed him to take precautionary measures. At the times of the Battles of Uhud and Ahzab these spies had proved invaluable to the Holy Prophet (S).
In 8 A.H. the intelligence network of the Holy Prophet (S) reported to him that, in the valley of Yaabis, thousands of people were gathering to sign a mutual agreement to make a full-scale attack on Madina. They were willing to lay down their lives to destroy Islam and their main objective was to kill the Holy Prophet (S) or his valiant officer Imam Ali (A).
On receipt of the news, the Holy Prophet (S) gathered the Muslims in the mosque and informed them of the danger. A group of men were appointed to counteract the threat and Abu Bakr was nominated as its commander. The small unit left Madina for Yaabis. When they reached the stony valley of Yaabis, they found their way blocked by the men of Bani Salim.
The chiefs of the tribe asked Abu Bakr,
"What is the purpose of this military expedition?"
Abu Bakr replied,
"I have been appointed by the Prophet of Allah to present Islam to you and to fight you if you decline to accept it."
At that moment, the chiefs displayed the large number of men in their army and this sight unnerved Abu Bakr. He ordered the Muslims to retreat to Madina although they were inclined to put up a good fight.
The return of the army disappointed the Holy Prophet (S). He now entrusted the army to Umar.
This time the enemies were on the alert and had hidden themselves behind the stones and trees at the entrance to the valley. When the Muslims arrived they were ambushed by the enemy and Umar ordered a retreat.
Amr al-Aas, a cunning politician who had just become a Muslim, came to the Holy Prophet (S) and said,
"War is deceit."
He meant that victory in war was not always achieved by strength and valour but could also be achieved by clever planning and deceit.
He added,
"If I am allowed to lead the soldiers I will achieve victory."
The Holy Prophet (S) accepted this proposal but the cocky Amr was no more successful than the two commanders before him.
The successive defeats had demoralised the Muslims. Now the Holy Prophet (S) organised an army once more but this time selected Imam Ali (A) as commander and gave him the battle standard in his hand. Imam Ali (A) marched off at the head of the Muslims, carrying a spear. As he watched him ride off, the Holy Prophet (S) commented,
"He is an attacking commander who never flees the battlefield."
This statement shows what the Holy Prophet (S) thought of the disgraced earlier commanders.
Imam Ali (A) took an entirely different route to Yaabis to avoid being spotted by any scouts of the Bani Salim. He travelled by night and concealed his men by day. When they arrived closer to the valley he ordered the men to rest and refresh themselves.
The next morning, after praying the dawn prayers, he led his men up the mountainous land behind the valley. From that point the army descended into the valley.
Inspired by the presence of Imam Ali (A), the Muslims proceeded forth in an irresistible tide. They caught the enemy by surprise and caused havoc in their ranks. Before the enemy could organise themselves they were facing the furious onslaught of Imam Ali (A) who overpowered them by quickly killing seven of them. Some more men were killed and the others ran away leaving a large booty behind.
The brave and victorious commander returned to Madina and the Holy Prophet (S) came forward to receive him.
On seeing the Holy Prophet (S), Imam Ali (A) dismounted immediately in respect. The Holy Prophet (S) patted the back of Imam Ali (A) and said,
"O Ali, mount the horse, Allah and His Prophet are pleased with you."
At that time the Holy Prophet (S) uttered a famous sentence saying,
"O Ali, if I had not been afraid that a group of my followers might say the same thing about you as the Christians say about Prophet Isa (A), I would say something about you that would make people gather the dust of your feet as an article of blessing."
The bravery and conduct of Imam Ali (A) was so valuable that Allah revealed Surae Aadiyaat about the event. The Sura contains powerful and stirring oaths in appreciation of the military spirit of the soldiers who took part in the battle. The Holy Qur'an says:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful. By the snorting chargers (of the warriors), whose hooves strike against the rocks and produce sparks, while they run during a raid at dawn, and leave behind a trail of dust that engulfs the enemy.
Surae Aadiyaat, 100 : 1 -


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