(THE SEALED NECTAR)
Memoirs of the Noble Prophet
Author: Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
Jamia Salafia - India- .
Translated by: Issam Diab .
The Second Stage
Al-Hudaibiyah Truce marked a new phase in the process of Islamic action and life of the Muslims. Quraish, a bitter enemy of Islam, now withdraws from the war arena and embraces a peaceful settlement with the Muslims, thus the third support of a tripartite enemy (Quraish, Ghatfan and the Jews) is broken, and being the holder of the banner of paganism in Arabia, the other pagans aggressive feelings towards Islam considerably subsided. Ghatfan Tribe no longer constituted any remarkable threat, and their provocative deeds were mainly Jewish-instigated actions. The Jews, after being banished from Madinah, resorted to Khaibar to change it into a hot bed of intrigues against the Prophet . There, they used to hatch their plots, ignite the fire of dissension and allure the Arabs living in the vicinity of Madinah to join them with the aim of exterminating the new Islamic state, or at least inflict heavy losses on the Muslims. The Prophet , not heedless of their devilish schemes, placed a decisive war with them as a first priority on his agenda shortly after the endorsement of the above-mentioned treaty. The treaty of Hudaibiyah allowed the Muslims to intensify their Islamic career and double up their ceaseless efforts in propagating their Dawah, and consequently give this sort of action preponderance over the military activities. Hence, we deem it imperative to divide this post-treaty stage into two sections:
Late in the six year A.H., on his return from Hudaibiyah, the Prophet decided to send messages to the kings beyond Arabia calling them to Islam. In order to authenticate the credentials of his envoys, a silver seal was made in which were graven the words: "Muhammad the Messenger of Allâh"
Envoys were chosen on the basis of their experience and knowledge, and sent on their errands in Muharram in the year 7 A.H., a few days before heading for Khaibar.
1. A Deputation to Abyssinia (Ethiopia):
Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), his name was Ashama bin Al-Abjar, received the Prophets message, despatched by Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari, which At-Tabari referred to, either late in the sixth year or early in the seventh year A.H. Deep scrutiny into the letter shows that it was not the one sent after Al-Hudaibiyah event. Wording of the letter rather indicates that it was sent to that king when Jafar and his companions emigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) during the Makkan period. One of its sentences read "I have despatched my cousin, Jafar with a group of Muslims, to you. Do be generous towards them and give up haughtiness."
Al-Baihaqi, on the authority of Ibn Ishaq, gave the following narration of the Prophets letter sent to Negus:
"This letter is sent from Muhammad, the Prophet to Negus Al-Ashama, the king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance and believes in Allâh and His Messenger. I bear witness that there is no god but Allâh Alone with no associate, He has taken neither a wife nor a son, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. I call you unto the fold of Islam; if you embrace Islam, you will find safety,
Should you reject this invitation, then you will be held responsible for all the evils of the Christians of your people."
Dr. Hameedullah (Paris), a reliable verifier, has adduced a version of the above letter disclosed only a short time ago and identical to Ibn Al-Qaiyims narration. Dr. Hameedullah exerted painstaking effort and used all means of modern technology to verify the text of the letter, which reads as follows:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad the Messenger of Allâh to Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Salutations, I entertain Allâhs praise, there is no god but He, the Sovereign, the Holy, the Source of peace, the Giver of peace, the Guardian of faith, the Preserver of safety. I bear witness that Jesus, the son of Mary, is the spirit of Allâh and His Word which He cast into Mary, the virgin, the good, the pure, so that she conceived Jesus. Allâh created him from His spirit and His breathing as He created Adam by His Hand. I call you to Allâh Alone with no associate and to His obedience and to follow me and to believe in that which came to me, for I am the Messenger of Allâh. I invite you and your men to Allâh, the Glorious, the All-Mighty. I hereby bear witness that I have communicated my message and advice. I invite you to listen and accept my advice. Peace be upon him who follows true guidance."
The text of this letter is doubtlessly authentic, but to maintain that it was written after Al-Hudaibiyah event is still a question lacking in definite evidence.
When Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damari communicated the Apostolic letter to Negus, the latter took the parchment and placed it on his eye, descended to the floor, confessed his faith in Islam and wrote the following reply to the Prophet :
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Negus Ashama to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh. Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allâh! and mercy and blessing from Allâh beside Whom there is no god. I have received your letter in which you have mentioned about Jesus and by the Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus is not more than what you say. We fully acknowledge that with which you have been sent to us and we have entertained your cousin and his companions. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allâh, true and confirming (those who have gone before you), I pledge to you through your cousin and surrender myself through him to the Lord of the worlds."
The Prophet had asked Negus to send Jafar and his companions, the emigrants to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), back home. They came back to see the Prophet in Khaibar. Negus later died in Rajab 9 A.H. shortly after Tabuk Ghazwa. The Prophet announced his death and observed prayer in absentia for him. Another king succeeded Negus to the throne and another letter was sent to him by the Prophet but whether or not he embraced Islam is still a question not answered yet.
2. Letter to the Vicegerent of Egypt, called Muqawqas:
The Prophet wrote to Juraij bin Matta, called Muqawqas, vicegerent of Egypt and Alexandria saying:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad slave of Allâh and His Messenger to Muqawqas, vicegerent of Egypt.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Thereafter, I invite you to accept Islam. Therefore, if you want security, accept Islam. If you accept Islam, Allâh, the Sublime, shall reward you doubly. But if you refuse to do so, you will bear the burden of the transgression of all the Copts.
Hatib bin Abi Baltaa, who was chosen to communicate the message, requested an audience with Muqawqas before imparting the contents of the letter. He addressed Egypts vicegerent saying: "There used to be someone before you who had arrogated the status of the Supreme Lord, so Allâh punished him and made an example of him in the Hereafter, and in this life; therefore, take warning and never set a bad example to others." Muqawqas answered: "We are in no position to relinquish our religion except for a better one." Hatib resumed: "We invite you to embrace Islam, which will suffice you all what you may lose. Our Prophet has called people to profess this Faith, Quraish and the Jews stood against him as bitter enemies, whereas Christians stood closest to his Call. Upon my life, Mosess news about Christ is identical to the latters good tidings about the advent of Muhammad; likewise, this invitation of ours to you to embrace Islam is similar to your invitation to the people of Torah to accept the New Testament. Once a Prophet rises in a nation, he is eligible for positive response, hence you are subject to the same Divine Law. Bear in mind that we have not come to dissuade you from religion of Christ but rather bidding you to adhere to its tenets." Muqawqas meditated over the contents of the letter deeply and said: "I have come to the conviction that this Prophet bids nothing abominable; he is neither a straying magician nor a lying soothsayer. He bears the true manifest seeds of Prophethood, and so I will consider the affair deeply." He took the parchment and ordered that it be kept in an ivory casket. He called a scribe to write the following reply in Arabic:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muqawqas to Muhammad bin Abdullah.
Peace be upon you. I have read your letter and understood its contents, and what you are calling for. I already know that the coming of a Prophet is still due, but I used to believe he would be born in Syria. I am sending you as presents two maids, who come from noble Coptic families; clothing and a steed for riding on. Peace be upon you."
It is noteworthy that Muqawqas did not avail himself of this priceless opportunity and he did not embrace Islam. The presents were accepted; Maria, the first maid, stayed with the Prophet , and gave birth to his son Ibrahîm; the other Sirin, was given to Hassan bin Thabit Al-Ansari.
3. A Letter to Chosroes, Emperor of Persia:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh to Chosroes, king of Persia.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance, believes in Allâh and His Messenger and testifies that there is no god but Allâh Alone with no associate, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. I invite you to accept the religion of Allâh. I am the Messenger of Allâh sent to all people in order that I may infuse fear of Allâh in every living person, and that the charge may be proved against those who reject the Truth. Accept Islam as your religion so that you may live in security, otherwise, you will be responsible for all the sins of the Magians."
Abdullah bin Hudhafa As-Sahmi was chosen to carry the letter. This envoy carried it to the king of Bahrain but we do not know as yet if the latter despatched to Chosroes by one of his men or chose Abdullah himself.
The proud monarch was enraged by the style of the letter as the name of the Prophet had been put above his own name. He tore the letter into shreds and forthwith dictated a command to his viceroy in Yemen to send a couple of troopers to arrest the Prophet and bring him to his presence. The governor, Bazan by name, immediately sent two men to Madinah for the purpose. As soon as the men reached Madinah, the Prophet was informed by a Divine Revelation that Pervez, the emperor of Persia, had been murdered by his son. The Prophet disclosed to them the news and they were stunned. He added asking them to tell their new monarch that Islam would prevail everywhere and outstrip the sovereignty of Chosroes himself. They hurried back to Bazan and communicated to him what they heard. Meanwhile, Sherweh, the new monarch sent a letter to Bazan confirming the news and bidding him to stop any procedures as regards the Prophet till further notice. Bazan, together with the Persians in Yemen, went into the folds of Islam, and gladly signified his adhesion to the Prophet.
4. The Envoy to Caesar, King of Rome:
Al-Bukhari gave a long narration of the contents of the letter sent by the Prophet to Hercules, king of the Byzantines:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad, the slave of Allâh and His Messenger to Hercules, king of the Byzantines.
Blessed are those who follow true guidance. I invite you to embrace Islam so that you may live in security. If you come within the fold of Islam, Allâh will give you double reward, but in case you turn your back upon it, then the burden of the sins of all your people shall fall on your shoulders.
The Muslim envoy, Dihyah bin Khalifah Al-Kalbi, was ordered to hand the letter over to king of Busra, who would in turn, send it to Caesar.
Incidentally, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, who by that time had not embraced Islam, was summoned to the court and Hercules asked him many questions about Muhammad and the religion which he preached. The testimony which this avowed enemy of the Prophet gave regarding the personal excellence of the Prophets character and the good that Islam was doing the human race, left Hercules wonder-struck.
Al-Bukhâri, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, narrated that Hercules sent for Abu Sufyan and his companions, who happened to be trading in Ash-Sham, Jerusalem. That was during the truce that had been concluded between the polytheists of Quraish and the Messenger of Allâh . Hercules, seated amongst his chiefs of staff, asked, "Who amongst you is the nearest relative to the man who claims to be a Prophet?" "I (Abu Sufyan) replied: I am the nearest relative to him from amongst the group. So they made me sit in front of him and made my companions sit behind me. Then he called upon his translator and said (to him). Tell them (i.e. Abu Sufyans companions) that I am going to ask him (i.e. Abu Sufyan) regarding that men who claims to be a Prophet. So if he tells a lie, they should contradict him (instantly). By Allâh had I not been afraid that my companions would consider me a liar, I would have told lies", Abu Sufyan later said.
Abu Sufyans testimony went as follows: "Muhammad descends from a noble family. No one of his family happened to assume kingship. His followers are those deemed weak with numbers ever growing. He neither tells lies nor betrays others, we fight him and he fights us but with alternate victory. He bids people to worship Allâh Alone with no associate, and abandon our fathers beliefs. He orders us to observe prayer, honesty, abstinence and maintain strong family ties." "Hercules, on hearing this testimony, turned to his translator bidding him to communicate to us his following impression which reveals full conviction in the truthfulness of Muhammads Prophethood: I fully realize that Prophets come from noble families; he does not affect any previous example of Prophethood. Since none of his ancestors was a monarch, we cannot then allege that he is a man trying to reclaim his fathers monarchy. So long as he does not tell lies to people, he is for the more reason, immune to telling lies as regards Allâh. Concerning his followers being those deemed weak with numbers ever growing, it is something that goes in agreement with questions of Faith until this latter assumes its full dimensions geographically and demographically. I have understood that no instance of apostasy has as yet appeared among his followers, and this points to the bliss of Faith that finds its abode in the human heart. Betrayal, as I see, is alien to him because real Prophets hold betrayal in abhorrence. Bidding worship of Allâh with no associates, observance of prayer, honesty and abstinence and prohibition of paganism are traits bound to subject to him all my possessions. I have already known that a Prophet must arise but it has never occurred to me that he will be an Arab from among you. If I was sure I would be faithful to him, I might hope to meet him, and if I were with him, I would wash his feet. Hercules then requested that the Prophets letter be read. The observations of the emperor and finally the definite and clear-cut exposition of the Islamic message could not but create a tense atmosphere amongst the clergy present at the court. We were ordered to go out." Abu Sufyan said, "While coming out, I said to my companions, The matter of Ibn Abi Kabshah (i.e. Muhammad ) has become so prominent that even the king of Banu Al-Asfar (i.e. the Romans) is afraid of him. So I continued to believe that Allâhs Messenger would be victorious, till Allâh made me embrace Islam." The king did not embrace Islam for it was differently ordained. However, the Muslim envoy was returned to Madinah with the felicitations of the emperor.
On his way back to Madinah, Dihyah Al-Kalbi was intercepted by people from Judham tribe in Hasmi, who looted the presents sent to the Prophet . Zaid bin Haritha at the head of five hundred men was despatched to that spot, inflicted heavy losses on those people and captured 1000 camels, 5000 of their cattle and a hundred women and boys. The chief of Judham who had embraced Islam filed a complaint with the Prophet, who gave a positive response to the formers protest, and ordered that all the spoils and captives be returned.
5. A Letter to Mundhir bin Sawa, Governor of Bahrain:
The Prophet despatched Al-Ala bin Al-Hadrami to the governor of Bahrain, carrying a letter inviting him to embrace Islam. In reply, Al-Mundhir bin Sawa wrote the following letter:
"Allâhs Messenger ! I received your injunctions. read your letter, which you wrote to the people of Bahrain extending to them an invitation . Islam appealed to some of them and they entered the fold of Islam, while others did not find it . In my country, there live Magians and Jews, and therefore you may inform me of the them."
The Prophet wrote the following letter in reply to his:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad, Messenger of Allâh to Mundhir bin Sawa.
Peace be on you! I praise Allâh with no associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Thereafter, I remind you of Allâh, the Mighty, the Glorious. Whoever accepts admonition, does it for his own good. Whoever follows my messengers and acts in accordance with their guidance, he, in fact, accepts my advice.
My messengers have highly praised your behaviour. You shall continue in your present office. Give the new Muslims full chance to preach their religion. I accept your recommendation regarding the people of Bahrain, and I pardon the offences of the offenders; therefore, you may also forgive them.
Of the people of Bahrain whoever wants to go on in their Jewish or Magian faith, should be made to pay Jizya (poll-tax)."
6. A Letter to Haudha bin Ali, Governor of Yamama:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad, Messenger of Allâh to Haudha bin Ali.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere. You should accept Islam, and whatever under your command shall remain yours."
The envoy chosen was Sulait bin Amr Al-Amiri, who after communicating his message, carried back the following reply to the Prophet :
"The Faith, to which you invite me, is very good. I am a famous orator and poet, the Arabs highly respect me and I am of account among them. If you include me in your government, I am prepared to follow you."
The governor then bestowed a reward on Sulait and presented him with clothes made of Hajr fabric. Of course, he put all those presents in the trust of the Prophet .
The Prophet did not accept Haudhas demand. He usually turned down such peremptory tone, and would say that the whole matter was in the Hand of Allâh, Who gave His land to whoever He desired. Gabriel later came with the Revelation that Haudha had died. The Prophet , in the context of his comment on this news, said: "Yamama is bound to give rise to a liar who will arrogate Prophethood to himself but he will subsequently be killed." In reply to a question relating to the identity of the killer, the Prophet said "It is one of you, followers of Islam."
7. A Letter to Harith bin Abi Shamir Al-Ghassani, King of Damascus:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad, Messenger of Allâh to Al-Harith bin Abi Shamir.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance, believes in it and regards it as true. I invite you to believe in Allâh Alone with no associate, thenceafter your kingdom will remain yours."
Shuja bin Wahab had the honour of taking the letter to Harith, who upon hearing the letter read in his audience, was madly infuriated and uttered: "Who dares to disposs me of my country, Ill fight him (the Prophet)," and arrogantly rejected the Prophets invitation to the fold of Islam.
8. A Letter to the King of Oman, Jaifer, and his Brother Abd Al-Jalandi:
"In the Name of Allâh,
From Muhammad bin Abdullah to Jaifer and Abd Al-Jalandi.
Peace be upon him who follows true guidance; thereafter I invite both of you to the Call of Islam. Embrace Islam. Allâh has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures in order that I may instil fear of Allâh in the hearts of His disobedient creatures so that there may be left no excuse for those who deny Allâh. If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if you refuse my Call, youve got to remember that all your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship."
Amr bin Al-As, who was chosen to carry the letter, narrated the following story that happened before he was admitted into the audience of Jaifer.
"When I arrived in Oman I contacted Abd, who was known to be more mild-tempered than his brother:
Abd: You have to see my brother and read to him the letter you are carrying. He is my senior in both age and kingship. Incidentally, what is the purport of your mission?
Amr: The Prophet calls upon you to believe in Allâh Alone with no associate, discard any other deities and testify to the slavehood and Messengership of Muhammad.
Abd: O Amr! You come from a noble family, but first of all, tell me what was your fathers attitude concerning this Faith? You know, we used to follow his steps.
Amr: Death overtook him before believing in Muhammads mission; I wish now he had embraced Islam and been truthful to it before his death. I myself had adopted the same attitude until Allâh guided me towards Islam.
Abd: When did you embrace Islam?
Amr: When I was at Neguss court. By the way, the latter did also enter into the fold of Islam.
Abd: What was his peoples reaction?
Amr: They approved of him and followed his steps.
Abd: The bishops and monks?
Amr: They did the same.
Abd: Beware Amr of lying for this soon betrays man.
Amr: I never tell lies; moreover, our religion never allows it.
Abd: Has Hercules been informed of the Islamization of Negus?
Amr: Yes, of course.
Abd: How did you happen to know that?
Amr: Negus used to pay land tax to Hercules, but when the former embraced Islam, he swore he would discontinue that tax. When this news reached Hercules, his courtiers urged him to take action against Negus but he refused and added that he himself would do the same if he were not sparing of his kingship.
Abd: What does your Prophet exhort you to do?
Amr: He exhorts us to obey Allâh, the All-Mighty, the All-Glorious, be pious and maintain good ties with family kin; he forbids disobedience, aggression, adultery, wine, idolatry and devotion to the cross.
Abd: Fair words and fair beliefs are those you are calling for. I wish my brother would follow me to believe in Muhammad and profess his religion, but my brother is too sparing of his kingship to become a subordinate.
Amr: Should your brother surrender himself to Islam, the Prophet would give him authority over his people and take alms tax from the wealthy people to be given to the needy.
Abd: That is fair behaviour. But what is this alms tax you have mentioned?
Amr: It is a Divine injunction that alms tax be taken from the well-to-do people who have surplus wealth and be distributed to the poor.
Abd: I doubt if this can work among our people.
Amr stayed for some days to be admitted into Jaifers court until he was finally granted this permit. "He asked me to hand him the letter to read it. After that he asked me how Quraish reacted and I answered that they had followed him, some out of their own freewill and others overpowered by military fighting. Now, people have chosen Islam in preference to other creeds, and have realized through their mental insight that they had been straying in darkness. None, except you, is now out of the domain of Islam, so I advise you to embrace Islam so that you can provide security to yourself and your country."
Here, he asked me to call on him the following day. The following day he showed some reluctance in receiving me but his brother, Abd, interceded and I was given the chance to see him again but this time to address me in a threatening arrogant tone. However, after a private talk with his brother and reconsidering the whole situation, both brothers embraced Islam and proved to be true to Islam that had begun to make its way into this new area.
The context of this story reveals that this letter was sent at a much later date than the others, most likely after the conquest of Makkah.
Through these letters, the Prophet managed to communicate his Message to most monarchs at that time; some believed, while others remained obdurate and persisted in their disbelief. However, the idea of embracing Islam, and the advent of a new Prophet preoccupied all of them.
It was in fact not a battle but rather a skirmish carried out against a platoon of Bani Fazarah. The place by which it was fought is known as Dhu Qarad, a reservoir of water at a days journey from Madinah. According to the majority of scholars, this incident took place three days before the battle of Khaibar.
It has been narrated on the authority of Salamah bin Al-Akwa, the hero of this battle, that the Messenger of Allâh sent his hireling Rabah, with his camels to a nearby pasture. I, taking Talhahs horse, went there for the same purpose. When the day dawned, Abdur Rahman Al-Fazari made a raid, drove away all the camels, and killed the man who looked after them. I told Rabah to ride the horse, take it to Talhah and inform the Messenger of Allâh that the polytheists had made away with his camels. Then I stood upon a hillock and turning my face to Madinah, shouted thrice: "Come to our help!" After that I set out in pursuit of the raiders, shooting at them with arrows and chanting (self-eulogatory) verse:
I am the son of Al-Akwa
Today is the day of defeat for the mean.
By Allâh, I continued shooting at them and hamstringing their animals. Whenever a horseman turned upon me, I would come to a tree (hid myself) sitting at its base, shoot at him and hamstring his horse. At last they entered a narrow mountain gorge. I ascended that mountain and held them at bay throwing stones at them. I continued to chase them in this way until I got all the camels released with no one left with them. They fled in all directions and I following and shooting at them continually until they dropped more than thirty mantles and thirty lances, lightening their burden. On everything they dropped, I put a mark with a stone so that the Messenger of Allâh and his Companions might recognize them (that it was booty left by the enemy). They went on until they came to a narrow valley. They sat down to eat something, and I sat on the top of a tapering rock. Four of them ascended the mountain coming towards me. When they were near enough to hear me, I shouted: "Do you recognize me?" They said: "No. Who are you?" I said: "I am Salamah son of Al-Akwa. I can kill anyone of you I like but none of you can kill me." So they returned. I did not move from my place until I saw the horsemen of the Messenger of Allâh , who came riding through the trees. The foremost among them was Akhram, behind him was Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari followed by Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad. Akhram and Abdur Rahman Al-Fazari met in combat. Akhram hamstrung Abdur Rahmans horse but the latter managed to strike him with his lance and kill him. Abdur Rahman turned around riding Akhrams horse. Abu Qatadah, seeing this, got engaged in fierce combat with Abdur Rahman, smote him with his lance and it was fatal. The polytheists consequently fled away and I was in their pursuit until before sunset they reached a valley with a spring of water called Dhu Qarad. They rested there to have a drink. I however, running in hot pursuit, turned them out of the valley before they could drink a drop of water. Later on, the Prophet , along with his Companions, overtook me. I addressed him saying: Messenger of Allâh, let me select from our people one hundred men and I will follow the marauders and finish them. In reply, the Prophet said: "Ibn Al-Akwa, you have taken enough and so now you have to show magnanimity; now they have reached the habitation of Ghatfan where they are being feted." He added saying: "Our best horseman today is Abu Qatadah, and our best footman today is Salamah." He allotted me two shares of the booty - the share meant for the horseman and the other meant for the footman, and combined both of them for me. Intending to return to Madinah, he made me mount behind him on his she-camel called Al-Adba.
The Conquest of
Khaibar was a spacious strongly fortified territory, studded with castles and farms, lying at a distance of 60-80 miles north of Madinah, now a village known for its uncongenial climate. After Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty, the major party of the anti-Islam tripartite coalition Quraish, the bedouin horde of Najd tribes and the Jews was neutralized, therefore, the Prophet deemed it an appropriate time to settle his affairs with the other two wings the Jews and the Najd tribes in order that peace and security could prevail and the Muslims may devote their time and effort in propagating the Message of Allâh and calling people to embrace it. Khaibar itself had always remained a hotbed of intrigue and conspiracy, and the Jews had always constituted it a source of military provocations and war instigation centre, so it was given a top priority on the agenda of the Prophets compelling exigencies. The Jews of Khaibar had united by an ancient alliance with the Confederates, triggered Bani Quraiza to practise treachery, maintained contacts with Ghatfan and the Arabians and they even devised an attempt at the Prophets life. In fact, the continual afflictions that the Muslims had sustained were primarily attributable to the Jews. Envoys were repeatedly sent to them for peaceful settlement, but all in vain. Consequently the Prophet came to the conclusion that a military campaign was a must in order to forestall their hostilities.
Interpreters of the Noble Qurân suggest that capturing Khaibar had been a Divine promise implied in Allâhs Words:
i.e., Al-Hudaibiyah Peace Treaty and the surrender of Khaibar.
The hypocrites and people weak of heart had hung back from joining the true Muslims in Al-Hudaibiyah campaigns, so now Allâh, the All-Mighty inculcated the following words in His Prophets ears:
For this reason, the Prophet invited only those who were willing to fight in the cause of Allâh to accompany him in his march against Khaibar. 1400 men only, who had sworn allegiance in response to his call.
Meanwhile, Siba bin Arfatah Al-Ghifari was chosen to run the affairs of Madinah. Another incident of high significance is noteworthy, namely the Islamization of Abu Huraira, a venerable Muslim scholar and an authentic narrator of the Prophetic traditions.
The hypocrites of Arabia took notice of the fresh Islamic intentions so they began to alert the Jews to the imminent military activities. Their chief, Abdullah bin Ubai delegated an envoy to the Jews of Khaibar warning them against the dangers approaching, and nerving them to resist the Muslims as they outnumbered the latter and were better equipped. On hearing the news the Jews despatched Kinanah bin Abi Al-Huqaiq and Haudha bin Qais to their former allies, the tribe of Ghatfan requesting military assistance, promising to grant them half the yield of the fruit that their farms could yield if they managed to beat the Muslims.
The Prophet marched by way of Isra Mountain and then went forward with the army till he halted in a valley called Ar-Raji, encamping between Khaibar and Ghatfan so as to prevent the latter from reinforcing the Jews. The guides accompanying him led him to an intersection from which branched out three roads with different designations; all leading to his destination. He abstained from following the first two roads on grounds of their ominous designation and chose the third for its propitious indications.
It is noteworthy that some interesting incidents featured the Muslims march towards Khaibar; of which we mention the following:
We would have neither been guided rightly nor practised charity, nor offered prayers.
We wish to lay down our lives for You; so forgive You our lapses,
And keep us steadfast when we encounter (our enemies).
Bestow upon us peace and tranquility,
Behold, when with a cry they called upon us to help.
The Messenger of Allâh said: "Who is this driver (of the camels)?" They said: "It is Amir." He said: "Allâh will show mercy to him." A man said: "Martyrdom is reserved for him; O Messenger of Allâh, would that you had allowed us to benefit ourselves from his life." The Prophets Companions had already known that he would never invoke Allâhs mercy upon a close Companion but to single him out for martyrdom.
The following morning, at sunrise, the Muslims encountered the Jews when they had come out about their jobs with their axes, spades and strings driving their cattle along. They began to shout in surprise: "Muhammad has come along with his force!" The Messenger of Allâh said: "Allâh is Great, Khaibar shall face destruction. Behold! When we descend in the city centre, it will be a bad day for those who have been warned (but have not taken heed)."
For encampment, the Prophet had chosen a certain plot of land he deemed suitable to serve as the headquarters of his army. However, a veteran fighter of his called Hubab bin Al-Mundhir suggested that they, under the exigencies of war requirements and for the sake of providing maximum logistic facilities, shift to another place. On approaching the vicinity of Khaibar, the Prophet ordered his troops to halt, and began to invoke his Lord saying: "O Allâh! Lord of the seven heavens and what they harbour beneath, Lord of the seven earths and what lies in their wombs, Lord of devils and whomsoever they have led astray; we beseech You to grant us the good of this village (Khaibar), the good of its inhabitants and the good that lies in it. We seek refuge with You from the evil of this village, the evil of its inhabitants, and the evil that lies in it." Then he ordered, "Now march (towards the village) in the Name of Allâh."
"The banner", the Prophet declared "would be entrusted to a man who loves Allâh and His Messenger and they (Allâh and His Messenger) love him." All the Muslims came forward in the following morning hoping to be granted the honour of carrying the banner. The Prophet called for Ali bin Abi Talib whose eyes used to hurt, and handed it to him. Ali, on his part, pledged he would fight the enemies until they embraced Islam. The Prophet answered him saying: "Take things easy and invite them to accept Islam and brief them on their duties towards Allâh. I swear by Allâh that if only one should be guided through your example, that would surely outweigh the best of our camels."
Khaibar, it seems, was split into two parts with five forts in the first: Naim, As-Sab bin Muadh, the castle of Az-Zubair, Abi Castle, and An-Nizar in Ash-Shiqq; three others were in part two: Al-Qamus, Al-Wateeh and As-Salalim.
The Actual Operation begins:
The Prophet began the campaign by reducing the minor strongholds one after the other. The first fort he was to attack was Naim, the first defence line with a formidable strategic position. Marhab, the leader of the fort, invited Amr bin Al-Akwa to meet him in combat and the latter responded; when Amr struck the Jew, his sword recoiled and wounded his knee, and he died of that wound. The Prophet later said: "For him (Amir) there is a double reward in the Hereafter." He indicated this by putting two of his fingers together. Ali bin Abi Talib then undertook to meet Marhab in combat, and managed to kill him. Yasir, Marhabs brother, then turned up challenging the Muslims to a fight. Az-Zubair was equal to it and killed him on the spot. Real fighting then broke out and lasted for a few days. The Jews showed courage and proved to be too formidable even to the repeated rushes of the veteran soldiers of Islam. However, they later realized the futility of resistance and began to abandon their positions in An-Naim and infiltrate into the fortress of As-Sab.
Al-Hubab bin Al-Mundhir Al-Ansari led the attack on As-Sab fortress and laid siege to it for three days after which the Muslims stormed it with a lot of booty, provisions and food to fall to their lot therein. This victory came in the wake of the Prophets invocation to Allâh to help Banu Aslam in their relentless and daring attempts to capture that fort.
During the process of the war operations, extreme hunger struck the Muslims. They lit fires, slaughtered domestic asses and began to cook them. When the Prophet inquired about the fires and cooking, he ordered that they throw away the meat and wash the cooking pots, forbidding the practice of eating such meat.
The Jews, meanwhile, evacuated An-Natat and barricaded themselves in Az-Zubair fort, a formidable defensive position inaccessible to both cavalry and infantry. The Muslims besieged it for three days, but in vain. A Jew spy told the Prophet about a subterranean water source that provided them with water, and advised that it be cut off in order to undermine their resistance. The Prophet did that so the Jews got out to engage with the Muslims in fierce fighting during which some Muslims and ten Jews were killed, but the fort was eventually conquered.
Shortly after this battle, the Jews moved to Abi Castle and barricaded themselves inside. The same events recurred; the Muslims besieged the new site for three days and then the great Muslim hero Abu Dujanah Sammak bin Kharshah Al-Ansari of the red ribbon led the Muslim army and broke into the castle, conducted fierce military operations within and forced the remaining Jews to flee for their lives into another fort, An-Nizar.
An-Nizar was the most powerful fort, and the Jews came to the established conviction that it was too immune to be stormed, so they deemed it a safe place for their children and women. The Muslims, however, were not dismayed but dragged on the siege, but because standing at a commanding top, the fort was impregnable. The Jews inside were too cowardly to meet the Muslims in open fight but rather hurled a shower of arrows and stones on the attackers. Considering this situation, the Prophet ordered that rams be used and these proved effective and caused cracks in the ramparts providing an easy access into the heart of the fort, where the Jews were put to rout and fled in all directions leaving behind their women and children.
With these series of military victories, the first division of Khaibar was totally reduced, and the Jews in the other minor fortresses evacuated them and fled to the second division.
The Second Part of Khaibar conquered:
When the Prophet , along with his army, moved to this part of Khaibar, Al-Katiba, he laid a heavy siege to it for fourteen days with the Jews barricading themselves inside their forts. When he was about to use the rams, the Jews realized that they would perish, therefore, they asked for a negotiable peace treaty.
There is one controversial point in this context. Was this part of Khaibar (with its three forts) conquered by force? Ibn Ishaq clearly stated that Al-Qamus fort was conquered by force. Al-Waqidi, on the other hand, maintained that the three forts were taken through peace negotiations, and force, if any, was resorted to only to hand the fort over to the Muslims; the two other forts surrendered without fighting.
Ibn Abi Al-Huqaiq was despatched to the Messenger of Allâh to negotiate the surrender treaty. The Prophet agreed to spare their lives on condition they evacuate Khaibar and the adjacent land, leaving whatever gold and silver they had in their possession. However, he stipulated that he would disavow any commitment if they concealed anything. Shortly afterwards, the forts were handed over to the Muslims and all Khaibar was reduced and brought under the sway of Islam.
This treaty notwithstanding, Abi Al-Huqaiqs two sons concealed a leather bag full of jewels, and money belonging to Huyai bin Al-Akhtab, who carried it with him when Banu Nadir had been banished. Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi, who had hidden the musk somewhere, was obdurate in his denial and so he was killed when the musk was discovered and his dishonesty was proven. Abi Al-Huqaiqs two sons were killed in recompense for breaching the covenant, and Safiyah, Huyais daughter was taken as a captive.
Distribution of Spoils:
In accordance with the agreement already concluded, the Jews would be obliged to evacuate Khaibar, but they were anxious to keep on cultivating the rich soil and fine orchard for which Khaibar was famous. They, therefore, approached the Prophet with the request that they be allowed to cultivate their lands and they would give half of the produce to the Muslims. Muhammad was kind enough to accede to their request.
The Messenger divided the land of Khaibar into two: one half to provide the food to be stored in case of any accidental calamity that might befall the Muslims, and for entertaining the foreign delegates who started to frequent Madinah a lot; the other half would go to the Muslims who had witnessed Al-Hudaibiyah event whether present or absent. The total number of shares came to 36, of which 18 were given to the people above-mentioned. The army consisted of 1400 men of whom were 200 horsemen. The horseman was allotted 3 shares and the footman one.
The spoils taken at Khaibar were so great that Ibn Umar said: "We never ate our fill until we had conquered Khaibar." Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - is narrated to have said: "Now we can eat our fill of dates."
On their return to Madinah, the Emigrants were able to return to the Helpers of Madinah all the gifts they had received. All of this affluence came after the conquest of Khaibar and the great economic benefits that the Muslims began to reap.
The conquest of Khaibar coincided with the arrival of the Prophets cousin Jafar bin Abi Talib and his companions along with Abi Musa Al-Ashari and some Muslims from Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
Abu Musa Al-Ashari narrated that he and over fifty companions, while in Yemen, took a ship which landed them in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and they happened to meet there Jafar and his companions. He said, "We stayed together until the Prophet sent an envoy asking us to come back. When we returned, we found out that he had already conquered Khaibar, yet he gave us our due shares of the spoils." The advent of those men came at the request made by the Messenger of Allâh to Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), through a Prophetic deputy, Amr bin Omaiya Ad-Damari. Negus sent them back, 16 men altogether with their wives and children on two boats. The rest of emigrants had arrived in Madinah earlier.
In the same context, Safiyah, whose husband Kinanah bin Abi Al-Huqaiq was killed for treachery, was taken as a captive and brought along with other prisoners of war. After the permission of the Prophet was sought, Dihyah Al-Kalbi chose one of them and she happened to be Safiyah. The other Muslims, however, advised that Safiyah, being the daughter of the chief of Bani Quraiza and Bani Nadir, should be married to the Prophet , who agreed to their opinion, invited her to Islam, freed and took her as wife on her embracing Islam. The wedding feast consisted of dates and fat, and was held on his way back to Madinah at a spot called Sadd As-Sahba.
After the conquest of Khaibar, a Jewish woman called Zainab bint Al-Harith offered the Prophet a roasted sheep she had poisoned. He took a mouthful, but it was not to his liking so he spat it out. After investigation, the woman confessed that she had stuffed the food with poison alleging that if the eater were a king, she would then rid herself of him, but should he be a Prophet, then he would be bound to learn about it. The Prophet , however, connived at her treacherous attempt, but ordered that she be killed when Bishr bin Al-Bara died of that poison.
The number of Muslims who were martyred was controversial, but it ranged between 16 and 18, while the number of Jews killed came to 93.
The rest of Khaibar also fell to the Muslims. Allâh cast fear into the hearts of the people of Fadak, a village standing to the north of Khaibar, and they hastened to ask for peace, and be allowed to leave in safety, and give up their wealth in return for that. The Prophet entered into an agreement with them similar to the previous one with the people of Khaibar. Fadak was exclusively the Prophets because neither Muslim cavalry nor camelry were involved in fight thereby.
No sooner had the Prophet discharged the affair of Khaibar than he started a fresh move towards Wadi Al-Qura, another Jewish colony in Arabia. He mobilized his forces and divided them into three regiments with four banners entrusted to Sad bin Ubada, Al-Hubab bin Mundhir, Abbad bin Bishr and Sahl bin Haneef. Prior to fighting, he invited the Jews to embrace Islam but all his words and exhortations fell on deaf ears. Eleven of the Jews were killed one after another and with each one newly killed, a fresh call was extended inviting those people to profess the new faith. Fighting went on ceaselessly for approximately two days and resulted in full surrender of the Jews. Their land was conquered, and a lot of booty fell in the hands of the Muslims.
The Prophet stayed in Wadi Al-Qura for four days, distributed the booty among the Muslim fighters and reached an agreement with the Jews similar to that of Khaibar.[\]
The Jews of Taima, hearing beforehand about the successive victories of the Muslim army and the defeats that their brethren, the Jews, had sustained, showed no resistance when the Prophet reached their habitation. On the contrary, they took the initiative and offered to sign a reconciliation treaty to the effect that they receive protection but pay tribute in return. Having achieved his objective and subdued the Jews completely, the Prophet made his way back home and arrived in Madinah in late Safar or early Rabi Al-Awwal 7 A.H.
It is noteworthy that the Prophet , being the best amongst war experts, realized quite readily that evacuating Madinah after the lapse of the prohibited months (Muharram, Dhul Qada and Dhul Hijja) would not be wise at all with the presence of the desert bedouins roaming in its vicinity. Such a careless attitude, the Prophet believed, would tempt the undisciplined mob to practise their favourite hobby of plundering, looting and all acts of piracy. This premonition always in mind, the Prophet despatched Aban bin Said at the head of a platoon to deter those bedouins and forestall any attempt at raiding the headquarters of the nascent Islamic state during his absence in Khaibar. Aban achieved his task successfully and joined the Prophet in Khaibar after it had been conquered.