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Seerah (57) - The Battle of Ahzab (2) The last lesson had mentioned how the trench was

dug by the Prophet (s) after Salman had suggested this to him. Different people were assigned to dig different parts of the trench and according to one report from Ibn Sa'ad the Prophet (s) actually drew the line and demarcated where the trenches would be drawn. Therefore the Prophet (s) took charge of the logistics as expected. For some reason it is not mentioned why there seems to have been a food shortage from the very beginning. Allah knows best but one can logically think of many reasons for this. The battle was in winter and there were no fruits in this season so the Muslims had to rely on their stores. Secondly Madinah had not prepared for a seige. Thirdly the people are no longer able to engage in trade and commerce rather are engaged with the trench so the supplies dwindled. So we learn from the first day of a food shortage. We do not know why this there was a food shortage as the books do not mention this but what we have mentioned may be possible causes and Allah knows best. But within 3-4 days of digging the trench the supplies dwindled. In Sahih Bokhari, there is a mention that the sahaba would have dried barley and oil to mix together to eat. They themselves said that this had a bad odor which they had to ignore as they ate it. Jaabir narrates that sometimes they would only find pits of dates to eat. There are many miracles narrated with regards to food at this battle. In a hadith narrated by Jaabir ibn Abdullah we learn that once the Prophet (s) was digging in the trench and as he put his hand up Jaabir narrates that he saw a big rock tied to the stomach of the Prophet (s). In those days when they would get hungry they would tie a rock to their stomach very tightly to make it feel like they were hungry and because the stomach was tightly shut they would not feel the urge for hunger as much. The Prophet (s) did this quietly without others knowing and it so happened when doing labor that his shirt was lifted and Jaabir saw this. Jaabir was newly married and about17-18 at the time. Recall the hadith of the Jaabir and the camel that was spoken in a previous lesson. So Jaabir returned to his wife telling her that he saw the Prophet (s) the way he did and that Jaabir did not have the strength to bear his beloved Prophet (s) in this state. So next he asks her what they had at home to eat. She replies they had some bread and a small baby goat that should not be sacrificed as only a small amount of meat would come out, but they decided to do this anyway to feed the the Prophet (s). The wife thus knead the dough and cooked some barley while Jaabir sacrificed the goat and came to the Prophet (s), whispering to him (in order to not attract attention of his invitation) that his wife has just prepared some food and that he was inviting the Prophet (s) and only 1-2 people together to this food. At hearing this, though Jaabir's invitation was only meant for the Prophet (s), the Prophet (s) stood up and yelled, "Ya people of Khandaq, Jaabir and his wife have prepared a meal for us and all of you are welcome." Jaabir panicked and went running home to his wife, telling her that this had happened and they did not know what to do. The wife asked him, "did you say this!? Or was it the Prophet (s) who made the announcement?" and Jaabir replied it was the Prophet (s). Jaabir's wife's emaan was so strong that she resssured him that because the Prophet (s) said so he would take care of it with Allah's blessing. The Prophet (s) came to the food and told Jaabir not to lift the pot until he got there. When he went to the house the pot was on the stove where the meat was cooking. He made du'a, spit into it, and than made du'a over the bread as well. The room was so small that ten people at a time were invited who came, ate and left and this happened until every single one had eaten to their full. A narrator and student of Jaabir decades later asked Jaabir how many people in total were fed and he said that there were about 1,000 people. There are numerous food miracles in the Seerah but in sheer quantity this miracle is likely the highest in number of people fed. There are 3-4 other similar food miracles narrated where a small amount of food was taken by the Prophet (s) who made du'a for it and asked Allah to bless it and Allah responded. And this is what blessing or Barakah is - to increase in whatever we have, even if it be $1 let it increase in good to be like a $1,000 dollars and so on with all aspects of what we own (our time, our food, our provision, our house etc). The essence of Barakah is that the quantity remains the same but the quality is much higher. This is what the mentions that include " Tabarak" in the Qur'an mean as the root word here is also Baraqah. There are countless narrations where the Prophet (s) asked in many various types of du'as for Allah to increase the blessings in his sustenance and all that he

did and owned. In the hadith of Khandaq it is reported that once the sahaba came across a stone in the line for the trench that the Prophet (s) had drawn and one after the other the sahaba kept hacking at the stone but it would not break. Some asked to go around the stone but look at their obedience to his command, they refused to go around it as this was his command. So they sought his permission and when done so the Prophet (s) asked for the axe. So he was given the axe, descended into the trench, and he said, "Bismillah! Allahu Akbar!" and hit it once, and with one hit 1/3rd of the stone crumbled. And when it crumbled he said, "Allahu Akbar! I have just seen that Allah has given me the keys to Shaam, by Allah I can see the red castles in Syria now." And of course the first land to captured after the death of the Prophet (s) was Shaam. Abu Bakr was so eager to get to Shaam that in the last days of his Khilafah the battle for Jerusalem was taking place and it was won by the Muslims by the time Ummar became Khalifah. Than the Prophet (s) hit the stone again and said, "Allahu Akbar! I have been given the keys to Faaris (Persia) and I can see the white pillars of tecephon now!" This is the capital of Persia and he has never seen these white pillars in his life yet he says so. And today these white pillars still stand high. And indeed the second land after Shaam was Faaris. Yarmuk and Qaadisiyah were two great battles at the time of Ummar. This remains a miracle that can not be explained from a human perspective; how can backward, uneducated, war inexperienced or skilled Bedouins carve out half the Roman empire and destroy the Persian empire overnight? This is unbelievable and to this day no historian can give a sound explanation of this though many theories exist but this is a true miracle for us. And the Prophet (s) predicted all of this. In the third strike the entire stone crumbled than and he said, "Allahu Akbar! I have been given the keys to Yemen and I can see the doors of San'aa from this maqam of mine!" and ofcourse Yemen was conquered partially at the lifetime of the Prophet (s) and the rest in the reign of the Khulafaa. So all three lands were the lands surronding Arabia and our Prophet (s) predicted that all of them would be conquered. Another prediction that he gave while digging the trench was that the Prophet (s) saw Ammar ibn Yasir do double the work of everyone else and being young and having witnessed his parents' shuhadah he did have this enthusiasm and determination. And the Prophet (s) said to him, "May Allah have mercy on you, the group that has gone outside the law will execute you." This hadith came true in the reign of Ali when the two armies fought and the closer to the truth was Ali and Mua'wiyah made an ijtihaad and Allah will forgive him and we only say good about the sahaba. But Ammar was on the side of Ali and Mua'wiyah's forces shot an arrow which hit Ammar in the neck and killed him. The forces of Ali took this as a sig that they were on the truth as everybody remembered this hadith of Ammar ibn Yasir. Notice the Prophet (s) did not call this group Kaafir or illegal but did something illegal in that they disobeyed the khalifah and Mua'wiyah made an ijtihaad which he was sincere him and we believe that Allah will forgive him. So this was the prediction of Ammar being killed. Some scholars have differed and said this occured at the building of the first masjid and some said it occured now but the fact is both narrations actually occur. Some have said that this occur twice as there is evidence for this as well. Ibn Sa'ad mentions that there were around 4,000 people from the Quraysh and the outlying tribes taking part, being far larger than Uhud and Badr. This was Quraysh's largest force in history. There were 300 horses and 150 camels. Than he mentions that Banu Sulaym had 700, Banu Fizaara had 1000, Banu Asja' 400, Banu Mur-ra 400 and so on but there were many groups and this is why it was called Ahzab, the confederates. Ahzab literally means the groups and Hizb means a group. Because the Quraysh had the largest numbers and had the biggest group but the group did not have unity and later we see Allah's plan that this was their downfall in that they broke off very easily. They were without a leader and only really had an alliance which as we will see crumbled very fast. The plan was for the Muslims to have their backs on a mountain called Jabal Silla and facing the trench. The Muslims would also have their back to Madinah. It was during this time that the Prophet (s) suggested that the women and kids go to Banu Haretha's fortress, Al Fari'. The reason for this was the treachery that may come from Banu Quraydha. Some of the leaders of the confederates had very interesting histories. The primary leader of the Quraysh was Abu Sufyaan or Sakhr ibn Harb ibn Ummayah. The Banu Ummayah are the cousins of Banu Mannaf (Banu Hashim comes from here). So the Banu Hashim and Banu Ummayah

were rival clans. Sakhr ibn Harb was born 10 years before the Prophet (s) and so he was somewhat older and he remained a noble enemy while not stooping to the dirty, crude tactics that Ummayah, Ukbah, Abu Jahl and Abu Lahad did. Such people generally speaking were so dispicable that Allah never guided them whereas those that remained noble in their enmity Allah did guide them. This includes Sakhr bin Harb, Khalid bin Waleed and Umar bin 'Aas. Sakhr had caused Badr, led Uhud and led Khandaq but because he retained dignity he eventually became Muslim at conquest Makkah. Abu Sufyaan was one Muslim that perhaps the most booty was given to him at Hunayn, when the Prophet (s) had the equivalent of millions of dollars of booty with him but he returned penniless to Madinah. Certain people got valleys of sheep, hundreds of camels and at the top of this list was Abu Sufyaan because when he initially converted he didn't do so out of conviction but because he suffered a political defeat. But by giving this money Abu Sufyaan saw that this man, the Prophet (s), is not interested in wealth or power and money wins people over by human nature. In the books of Seerah it is mentioned that when he was given this booty he said, "I swear by Allah ya Mohammed, you are the most generous person I have ever seen, may my mother and father be given in ransom for you. I fought you and you remained a noble enemy and now that I have come to peace with you you are a noble friend." And because of this Islam did enter his heart and Abu Sufyaan always wanted chiefdom and so his son was born in this blood. Mua'wiyah eventially became the first king of Islam and the founder of the Ummayid dynasty. Another interesting leader of the confederates was Uyayna ibn Hisan, the leader of Banu Fazaara. He was called of the people of Ajlaaf or crude bedouins. He was known for his horrible manners. It is narrated that one the Prophet (s) was sitting with Aisha (before Hijab was revealed) and Uyayna came to visit for a treaty or trade. And so when he saw Aisha firstly he entered without knocking at the door of the Prophet (s) and the Prophet (s) said, "Oh Uyayna where are your manners? You have to ask before you come". And his response was, "I have never once asked permission from a Mudari (another main tribe where he was from) before entering his house." This was his complete lack of manners and arrogance. And he asked "who was this young red one - Humayra". And the Prophet (s) replied "this is Aisha". And than in his crude manners he said, "why don't I give you someone more beautiful?" This was jahiliy practice to cement ties that they would give each other their wives. And the Prophet (s) said "Allah has made this haraam". After he left when asked who this was the Prophet (s) replied, " this is the fool that is obeyed amongst his people." It is also mentioned that he was polite with him but harsh when he left and so Aisha asked why the Prophet (s) was behaving so. So the Prophet (s) asked, " when have you known me to be like this? The worst of mankind are those who people are nice to only in order to save themselves from their evil." Another story of Uyayna ibn Hisan mentioned how he became the tribal leader though he was one of the most uncivilized of the bedouins. The books of history mention that Hisan his father had ten sons and towards the end of his life he suffered a disease which was very painful. So he called his sons one by one and promised them for one thing and they agreed. And he asked them to take the knife and stab him to remove his pain. This was a jahiliy practice. So everyone of them replied, "have you ever heard of a son killing his own father?" and this was disgusting in that tribe especially. Everyone refused until Uyayna came along and asked for the recompense for doing so and the father said, "whoever listens to me will be the chieftain after me" as his father was in pain and this was his way of committing suicide. And so Uyayna stabbed his own father and achieved chieftainhood. Towards the end of the Seerah Uyayna had to accept Islam along with the other Bedouins. But as soon as one of the false Prophets, Tulayha, declared himself a prophet Uyayna joined him. When Khalid came and destroyed the false prophet's armies Uyayna was captured and tied up. In those days prisoners would be tied with their hands around their necks. So the people were all prodding him and asking him how could he do this after being a Muslim leader and he replied, " I never accepted Islam in the first place." He was never really a Muslim to begin with and Abu Bakr was worried that killing him would cause war. So Uyayna outwardly accepted Islam and returned to his tribe and he is of those that we don't know and only Allah knows the truth. Another leader was Tulayha al Assadi, the leader of Banu Asad. The Banu Asad had 700 people (a large amount for the time) and Tulayha has an interesting history. At this moment he was standing outside Madinah willing to kill the Muslims. After the war he returns to his tribe and eventually all the people of Arabia has to embrace Islam so he sends a delegation and embraces

Islam outwardly. But as soon as the Prophet (s) passes away he is one of those ten who declare prophecy. Musaylama was most famous with Saj-jah being second and Tulayha the third most famous of the ten. He also said he had a qu'ran and started spewing forth weird concoctions calling it qur'an. Khalid bin Waleed was sent against him who simply destroyed Tulayha's tribe and they repented and returned to Islam. Tulayha had a fast horse and fled to Syria. Amazingly in Syria he genuinely accepted Islam and returned to Madinah repentent. Abu Bakr granted him forgiveness and Tulayha always felt guilty about what he had done, making du'a often to Allah to accept him as a shaheed. He died fighting with Khalid bin Waleed at Qaadisyah after accomplishing a lot at this battle . This is a great lesson for us that brings us hope in that Tulayha did the unbelievable of declaring himself a prophet and claiming that he had a qur'an yet he genuinely repented and inshaAllah Allah has accepted his repentence. We don't however consider Tulayha to be a sahabi as he did not see the Prophet (s) as a Muslim. This is hope and inspiration for for all of us thus that our lesser sins will be forgiven. Before the ahzab arrived, the second largest group after the Quraysh were the tribe of Ghatafaan. They had been promised a large amount by the Yahudh of half of the produce of Khayber. As they were not eager to fight they sent an emissary to Madinah offering asking that if Madinah were to give them 1/3rd of their produce than Ghatafaan would agree not to fight. In doing this Ghatafaan showed how they were completely money hungry mercenaries with no purpose beside gaining materials and wealth. So the Prophet (s) made shura and called the young leaders of the 'Aws and Khazraj, Saad ibn Mua'adh and Sa'ad ibn Ubadah. He asked them of their position and some books mention that the Prophet (s) wanted to pay this amount and was not against it. This is halal even though it is a type of ransoming or black mail. Sa'ad both asked, " is this something that Allah has commanded you to do or something that ijtihaad is there? If from revelation we hear and obey, but if not from revelation we will never humiliate ourselves in Jahiliyyah so why now with Islam?" Here we see an amazing wisdom of why Allah had chosen the Ansar. They were fiercely independent and had never been conquered. The Prophet (s) was happy at this and the emissary was sent back. How long did it take to dig the trench? Ibn Sa'ad said 6 days and other reports mention 15 days and even 1 month but as Ibn Hajar comments that the 1 month time frame is the siege itself not the building of the trench. The most authentic book says the time was 6 days but it could not have been more than 2 weeks. One of the problems is that the actual incident was a week of digging the trench and than 30 days of siege so when the sahaba would narrate they would not say that this incident happened at a certain day, rather they would mention 2-3 incidents without knowing when they happened. Imagine that we had trouble chronologically ordering Uhud and Badr and the two battles were but a few hours, what about this one that lasted around 40 days? So we have many narrations that we put together and hope that they are close to the truth. Ibn Sa'ad mentions the Prophet (s) left his house on 8th of Dhul Qa'idah on the 5th year A.H. This was his opinion. This is when the Prophet (s) began camping in his tent close to the trench. This was also when the Muslims were divided into portions to guard the trench. All the women were sent to Al-Fari' because the Muslims were sleeping close to the trenches not their houses. A group of sahaba had the job to patrol the trench the entire night and to just shout out " Allahu Akbar!" repeatedly as loud as they could so that people may think that there was a large army on the other side. Umm Salamah narrates of many battles with the Prophet (s) where there was fighting and fear and she lists Hunayn, Hudaybiyyah, Muraysi', Makkah and so on but she narrates that none of them were more tiring and fearful for the Muslims than Khandaq. And she narrates that they were worried about their kids and themselves from Bani Quraydha and that Madinah was being patrolled constantly and the Takbeer would be heard all night long. Thus there were people whose job it was to patrol. Even the Prophet (s) engaged in this patrolling. Aisha narrates that she stayed with the Prophet (s) in the tent at the battle lines and narrates that one night she heard the clinking of an armor and the Prophet (s) asked who this was, and it was Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas to give offer the Prophet (s) relief from his services and to let him rest. Aisha narrates he came in and fell asleep quikcly till he snored i.e. he was extremely tired. She says that she never forgot this favor of Sa'ad who gave up his own sleep to let the Prophet (s) sleep. We also learn that it was the middle of winter and the sahaba would be so cold that they would

return to the tent to warm up. Thus there were hunger, fatigue, fear and cold. It was at this point of time that another blow came that inflicted a new fear in the sahaba. This caused the shifting of the scenario to the worse and this was the betrayal of Banu Quraydha. It was at this time that Huyyay bin Akhtab, the chieftain and the most evil of Banu Nadeer had convinced Banu Quraydha to betray the Muslims. This shows us a difference between father and daughter that the two are not related in faith. Ibrahim's father was the idol maker and he was khalil ullah. Nuh was a Prophet and his son could not believe in Allah doing this. And here we see Huyay who had gone to Makkah to draw in the Quraysh and now he snuck his way back into Madinah. Why Huyyay? Because he knew Madinah and with this we understand that the trench would only protect from large groups from entering but not one person, especially Huyay who knew the city and was born and raised there. The Banu Quraydha also really needed to see the leader of Banu Nadeer to be convinced. Their leader was Ka'ab ibn Asad al Quradi and initially he rejected this as he he made a promise to the Prophet (s) three different times. But Huyay knew his own people and what would bribe them and he kept promising protection and immunity until finally Ka'ab agreed to shfit over. It was none other than Zubayr ibn al Awam who informed the Prophet (s) of this treachery. The Prophet (s) asked for a volunteer to go and find out as he felt the Banu Quraydha would shift and Zubayr stood up for this. This was when the Prophet (s) said the famous phrase, "every Prophet has a hawwari - a disciple - and my disciple is Zubayr ibn al awam." We do not know the details but Zubayr spied on them and likely he would have seen preperations for war. He than returned and told the Prophet (s) that they had destroyed the treaty. Because the Prophet (s) would not act on a presumption alone he sent 4 leaders of Ansar close to Banu Quraydha in the days of Jahiliyyah to find out the truth. The 4 noticed evasive answers from the Banu Quraydha without commitment to the treaty. This was clear treachery from Banu Quraydha. This was thus confirmed to the Prophet (s) that the Banu Quraydha had now changed sides. This was the worst thing for the sahaba and there are many narrations of how they spent their nights sleepless. The Banu Quraydha were 1500-2000 men and the Muslim women and children were completely unprotected. Allah descibes in Surah Ahzab ayaat 10 and 11:


33:10 [Remember what you felt] when they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when [your] eyes became dim and [your] hearts came up to [your] throats, and [when] most conflicting thoughts about God passed through your minds:


33:11 [for] there and then were the believers tried, and shaken with a shock severe. Allah mentions that their the hearts were in their throats. For anyone that has been in a life threatening situation they know that one literally feels their heart in their throat. And Allah says that here is when the Muslims as well began to doubt Allah and Allah says that this was when the believers were tested and they were shaken to the core. Thus even some sahaba amongst them were shaken. This is not perfection of emaan but it is also not a sign of hypocrisy. This shows there is not 100% tawakkul as should be but we defend them from their perspective that they had been in this war for weeks without supplies and help had not arrived. Of course this was when the tide began to change and this will be discussed in the next lesson.

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