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Battles fought by Prophet.

The Battle of Badr: 624 A.D.

Following were the Causes of the Battle of Badr:

Economic warfare and strategic alliances of the Prophet

The trade of Makkah was large and profitable. The merchant of Makkah usually travelled to Iraq,
Syria, Egypt, and Abyssinia, for that they crossed the outskirts of Madinah. To ensure the safety
of caravans, the Makkans had long established ties with Bedouin tribes lying along the way. The
Holy Prophet, after coming to know about Quraishite intrigues in Madinah, tried aligning the
Madinah with the Bedouin tribes. By the time, Battle Badr took place, the Holy Prophet had
gained alliance of most of the tribes residing in North and South of Makkah. Due to this Makkans
felt threatened since their economy depended wholly on caravans except for the revenue
generated through yearly pilgrimage.

Quraishite intrigue in Madinah

The Makkans knew well that Abdullah bin Obay still had considerable following. They persuaded
him to drive out the Holy Prophet and his followers. Before Munafiqeen could do anything, the
Holy Prophet came to know of the plans. He deterred the bin Obay from advancing further. He
contended it would lead an all-out war between Muslims and Munafiqeens. Although the
immediate war was averted but the Holy Prophet knew that the Makkans wouldn’t stop. This
came in sync with the Holy Prophet’ strategy of controlling the caravans route.

Events that made the war inevitable

Kurz bin Jabir raid (raided a cattle and a single camel from outskirts of Madinah)

Incident of Nakhla (Abdullah ibn Jahsh along with few other men went to south of Makkah to
keep an eye on caravans. The team raided the coming caravan and in process killed Amr bin
Hazrami, leader of Quraish. This displeased the Holy Prophet who strictly against any bloodshed)
Revelations of Jihad (at the same time, God allowed Muslims to fight those that fought the
Muslims and threatened Islam)

Abu Sufyan caravan in 623 (some Munafiqeens told Abu Sufyan’s caravan, which was passing
near Madinah, that Muslims might attack them. To this Abu Sufyan sent a messenger to Makkah
to ask for reinforcement to save the caravan. The leaders of Makkah decided not only to save the
caravan but to also teach Muslims a lesson. Even though caravan reached safely to Makkah, but
Abu Jahal insisted upon waging a war against Muslims and get rid of them once and for all).

The Main Event

As soon as the news reached Madinah, the Holy Prophet asked Muhajireens to ready
themselves. But he couldn’t ask the Ansars to protect him outside the boundary of Madinah
since it was explicitly stated in the charter. The Ansars, on the other hand, were ever ready to
join him. Even after they joined, the total number Muslims could generate reached 313 only
against the Makkans’ 1000. As soon as the Muslims reached the ground of Badr in January 624
they took control of the water stream there. It didn’t occur to the Makkans to secure the water
line. Instead they were waiting for the Muslims to arrive, in leisure. This proved decisive for the
outcome of the battle. Wars in ancient Arab were fought in 3 stages: 1. Verbal attacks 2. One on
one combat 3. General attack

The second phase proved to an encouraging one for the Muslims since Ali, Hamza, and Obadiah
bin Harish beat three of their opponents. The Quraishites killed in this stage were Utba bin
Rabia, Walid, and Walid bin Utba. By the time the third stage arrived, the Makkan warriors were
already discouraged. Strategically, the Prophet didn’t allow the opponents water. Quraish ran
away leaving behind 70 dead and 70 POW. They also left handful of bounty. The dead also
included Abu Jahal. Only two POWs were executed back home, for they had committed
unforgivable cruelties back in Makkah. Others were treated so well that most of them converted
to Islam.

Impact and Significance

It was a struggle between old and new Arabia. The new Arabia emerged victorious. Had that not
been the case, the peninsula of Arab would have remained an unknown land with no culture,
civilization, and customs. From here, emanated a force that conquered vast lands and left an
impression that will last till the end. For any battle, morale is what matters. The importance here
can be understood in how the battle bolstered Muslims’ confidence while at the same time
generating skepticism among the Quraish. The battle turned POWs into converts; and that too
willingly. It also consolidated power of Islam and the Holy Prophet in Madinah. The Prophet was
now the de facto leader of Madinah. The battle was also a start of the Prophet’s military career,
in which he would go on to prove his mettle. Some Bedouin tribes also came in the fold of Islam.
The battle also resulted in gigantic loss to Quraish leadership. A lot of chiefs/renowned
personalities of Banu Makhzum and Umayya died in the battle. They all were wealthy merchants
too. Abu Sufyan now became the leader in Makkah and vowed to take revenge.

The Battle of Ohud: 625 A.D.

Causes

The key cause of the battle was the Battle of Badr itself which had generated intense animosity
among the Quraish. They lost their prestige, leaders, and at some extent trade. Another chief
cause was Abu Sufyan’s raid in the outskirts of Madinah, which came to be known as Ghazwat
as-Sawiq. Upon hearing of the raid, the Prophet along with some men reached the spot. The
Makkans in confusion fled leaving behind their bags filled with meal which is called ‘sawiq’ in
Arabic. In addition, Safwan bin Umayya sent his caravan to the North well to the East of Madinah
to avoid the blockade by Muslims on coastal route on the West. But Muslims somehow came to
know of this and on orders of the Prophet raided the caravan with 100 men. They captured the
merchandise worth 100,000 dirhams. For all of these reasons, the Makkans set out to Madinah
with 3000 men under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. Women also accompanied the army. Among
them one was Hind bin Utbah, daughter of Utba bin Rabia and wife of Abu Sufyan. She had
vowed to avenge her father.

The Main Event

The Makkan army reached oasis near a hill called Ohud, North of Madinah. Whereas in Madinah,
key leaders were discussing the strategy to be adopted. the Holy Prophet was in favor of defence
position and not leave Madinah. But the young warriors were energetic and wanted to fight.
Finally, the Muslim army left Madinah to face the opponent at Ohud. The army had 1000 mean,
of which 300 were Abu Sufyan’s. Half way through the road, Sufyan deserted the Muslim army
along with his 300 men, leaving Muslims only 700 in number. Next morning, the Holy Prophet
set out to station the army strategically. Army was placed on the western slope of Ohud. This
had few advantages, but there was a rear passage on the hill. the Holy Prophet put 50 men there
to protect the passage so that the Quraish couldn’t cross it. According to the Arabic tradition, as
was mentioned in the last battle, the Muslims were winning decisively till the second stage. They
were on advance even in the third stage. The Quraish upon seeing their losses retreated a bit.
Seeing them retreating, few Muslims started plundering the camps, more and more Muslims
joined the plundering. The turning point occurred when the Muslims stationed at the passage
joined the raiding too. Only 12 remained there. Seeing this, Khalid bin Waleed hurried to
passage rallying an army behind him. From here on, Muslims were now in defence position and
their defeat was largely inevitable. In the fighting, the Holy Prophet got injured too. Someone,
probably among the Muslims, started rumor that the Holy Prophet had died which further
declined the morale of Muslim army. The Makkans upon hearing the news also retreated a bit
and finally decided to return to Makkah.

Results & Impact

70 Muslim warriors were martyred. Among them one was Hamza, uncle of the Holy Prophet. He
was killed by Hind bin Utbah. The Makkans mutilated the martyrs of the war. In fact, Hind ate
Hamza’s liver. The chief reason behind the defeat was desertion of archers stationed at the rear
passage. Due to the defeat, certain Bedouin tribes started leaving the fold of Islam. Some of
them were being bribed by the Makkans. They resorted to evil schemes. Once, they invited 70
Muslims for preaching. The clan killed them upon their arrival. If Badr brought them prestige,
confidence, and bounty, Ohud brought them the realization that discipline, were obedience
necessary. They knew now that it was their greed that turned the victory into a defeat. Some
Muslims were now even more resolute. Their faith was now strengthened. The Makkans were
definitely victorious. But for them the war was not ideological but personal. They had set out to
avenge their near and dear ones, which they did. They returned without further marching
towards Madinah. Had they done so, Islam might not have spread. There was no single objective
among their ranks. It was every man for himself. Victory or no victory, their defeat was inevitable
in the coming times.

Battle of Ditch: 627 A.D.

Causes

Following are the causes of the Battle of Ditch:

Abu Sufyan had challenged the Holy Prophet to meet him next year at Badr. The Muslims
reached there with an army of 1500 men. They waited there for 8 days but there was no trace of
the Quraishites. This had two-pronged impact: Muslims were bolstered because the Makkans
didn’t appear and the Makkans themselves were now sure that the Holy Prophet and his
followers were still resolute and undeterred after Battle of Ohud. The Holy Prophet’s expeditions
against the desert tribes helped the Makkans. Makkans had now the support of dozens of
smaller Bedouin tribes. The Jewish tribe, Banu Nazir, which had been driven out of Madinah to
Khyber also joined hands with the Quraish.

From here and there, the Makkans managed to form an army of 10,000 men for the battle. The
estimates vary between 10k to 25k. It was under the command of Abu Sufyan. The Muslims
could only muster army of 3000 men.

The Main Event

In view of defeat at Ohud, Muslims this time decided to adopt defensive strategy. They knew too
well that 3 sides of Madinah were covered and largely impenetrable. Only Southern side
remained undefended and opened. Salman, a close companion, suggested the trench-warfare
method. They were to build trenches along the Southern border of Madinah so that the enemies
wouldn’t at least get in. hence, the work to dig a trench begun and lasted for 8 days. The enemy
upon their arrival were shocked and appalled. The pagan Arabs were simple men. They liked to
fight in the open. They abhorred the idea of any other and untraditional method. They started
abusing the Muslims while Muslims started hurling arrows toward them. The Prophet came to
know Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayza. They were conspiring with Makkans against their fellow
citizens. On the other hand, Makkans had found one weak spot in the trench. They kept coming
but Muslims kept them at bay. But Muslims were weary after keeping that one spot safe for
weeks now.

The Prophet thought about playing not only physical but mind game. He sent a man to Jews to
request them. The man asked the Jews to ask the Makkans for hostage if they were to receive
Jew aid. The man told them that the Makkans were treacherous lot. The Jews accepted the
advice. On the other hand, the Prophet sent a man to the Makkan army and told them that the
Jews were a treacherous lot who would ask for hostages if the time came. When the time came,
the Jews asked for hostages and the Makkans realized the Muslims were correct. So any hope for
alliance between them was thwarted this way. The battle had been going on for 30 days now.
The native Arabs were not accustomed to such long wars and so weren’t Bedouin tribes. Their
supplies were running short with each passing day. Their camels and horses were dying due to
notorious winter, for which Madinah is famous.

Abu Sufyan on seeing the situation called meeting and the leaders decided to abandon the
battle and return. He fully knew that Bedouin tribes would defect any day now. So, this way fled
leaving behind only empty camps with dead camels and few horses.

Results & Impact

In war terms, battle of ditch was a peaceful affair. Only 9 Muslims were martyred. The trench
proved to be a determining factor. Makkans didn’t expect such wittiness from the Muslims.
Again, the war was a war of waiting. Muslims had their whole city, Madinah, behind them to
support them for supplies. Whereas the Makkans had limited supplies which were dwindling
with each day. Another key cause was disunity among the army. The Makkans had promised
their smaller allies bounty and return within short period. Tribes’ patience was running short.
The war also proved how sharpness can save many lives. The sharpness was first digging trench
and then sowing the seeds of suspicion between Banu Qurayza and the Makkans. By the time
the war happened, the Makkans had already lost their trade to Syria. They had run short of
wealth at home. In short, they were now ever in defensive position. There was also tensions
within the Quraish over the leadership. Another key impact of battle of dich was expulsion of
Jews from Madinah, as we shall see later.

Treaty of Hudaibiya

Prophet sets out on Pilgrimage

Year after the battle of ditch, the Prophet saw a dream of performing an Umrah. He told his
companions about it and told them to ready themselves for performing Umrah. In 628, they set
out for Makkah. In total, there were 1400 Muslims with 70 camels who were to be sacrificed.
They left with peaceful intention, only carrying sheathed sword for their protection. But the
Makkans would not have it. They had genuine apprehension though. They believed performing
umrah was a cover and the Muslims were coming to plunder and pillage Makkah.

The Quraish & the pledge of tree

When Muslims came to know of their intentions they took the route less traveled. Here the
Prophet’s camel halted, which was a sign from Allah. The place is called Hudaibiya. Within short
period, a cavalry came nearby to Hudaibiya from Quraish side. The negotiations started now.
After much murmur and trade of barbs from Quraish side, it was finally decided that Usman
would be sent since he had a strong clan there which would protect it. Hazrat Usman didn’t
return for long time, the Quraish contrived to hold him for negotiations so that Muslims would
grow fearful. And Muslims did grow anxious as the time passed. Seeing this, the Prophet called
all the Muslims there and took pledge from the ones present that they would never desert
Hudaibiya nor would they disobey him. They would also die in the cause of Islam, if a need
arose. This pledge they took in the shadow of tree. It is because of this it is called “pledge of the
tree” or Bayt-e-Rizwan.

Concluding the Treaty of Hudaibiya

Quraish finally sent one its leaders, Suhail bin Amr. He was to negotiate for the Makkans. After
much deliberation, a ten-year truce was concluded between the Prophet and Suhail. When
Hazrat Ali started writing the treaty, Suhail objected over the word “the God” and “Muhammad
– messenger of Allah”. He had them replaced by “O God” and “Muhammad bin Abdullah.” This
irked Muslims, but the Prophet yielded. He knew the sensitivity of the situation. He also believed
in Allah and maintained there was a reason a treaty was being concluded.

Main theme of the Treaty

It was a truce for 10 years between the Muslims of Madinah and the Quraish of Makkah. The
Muslims couldn’t perform the pilgrimage this year but can return next year and stay for 3 days.
Any Arab tribe may come in alliance with the Muslims and any Muslim tribe with Makkans.
Anyone who flees from Quraish to Madinah would be returned whereas if a Muslim came to
Makkah or was there wouldn’t be returned.

Muslims were disappointed

It is conspicuous from the clauses that Muslims were at disadvantage. They couldn’t perform
Umrah that year. They had to return individuals whereas the Quraish wouldn’t. The episode of
Abu Jandal further disheartened the Muslims. Abu Jandal was a Muslim residing in Makkah. He
was tortured and humiliated by the Quraish and his family. When he came to know the Prophet’s
presence, he came running to Hudaibiya and wanted to leave with the Muslims. He showed
Muslims the scars he received for being a Muslim in Makkah. Abu Jandal’s father insisted he be
returned. Suhail obstinately argued that the treaty be respected. The Prophet asked them to
have an exception but the Quraish wouldn’t yield. Abu Jandal had to be returned leaving
Muslims despondent and disappointed.

Why it was a victory?

While on his way to Makkah, the Prophet received a revelation. It read, “Verily we have given
unto thee a victory”. It was now clear that Allah did have plan for the treat. Muslims were now
joyous.

The Settlement at Iyes

A Makkan Muslim named Abu Basir succeeded in fleeing Makkah. He arrived in Madinah for
refuge. His masters came running behind him and used the clause as an excuse to take him back.
As per the treaty, he was allowed to be taken. On the way back, he killed one of his masters and
other ran back to Makkah. Now, Abu Basir knew he couldn’t return to Quraish because he had
killed one of them. They would either kill him or intensify the torture. He started living on hilly
coast called Iyes that lay between the way to Syria. It soon became a place for every Muslim
fugitive from Makkah to flee to. About 70 Muslims from Makkah came to live there. Since the
place lay on the way to Syria, the band started looting and plundering the Makkan caravans
passing from there. It should be noted here that Muslims of Madinah had stopped scuffling with
Makkan caravans after the truce. And Makkans knew that Madinah had no hand in Iyes events.
Reluctantly, they had to come to the Prophet to abrogate the clause of repatriation – the clause
that had irked the Muslims too fiercely. Finally, the settlement at Iyes came to Madinah and the
clause was removed from the treaty. In addition, the Muslims would conquer Jews of Khyber in 2
months. This was another victory due to the treaty. Since the treaty only mentioned the Arab
tribes, Muslims were now free to pursue their goals against the Jews of Khyber. Further, it can
also be concluded that Madinah became an equal power to Makkah. If they were willing to come
to the table, it meant they considered Madinah an equal. More Muslims came into the fold of
Islam in the following 2 years than had ever before. Eminent personalities like Khalid bin Walid
and Amr bin Al-as, who were hostile to Islam, came to accept it.

The Fall of Makkah

Background

After the treat of Hudaibiya, Banu Baqr allied itself with Quraish while Banu Khuza’a aligned
itself with Muslims of Madinah. Both resided in Makkah, though and were bitter rivals. On the
suggestions of Quraish, Banu Baqr attacked Banu Khuza’a members and that too in Kaaba where
bloodshed was strictly prohibited. The members of Khuza’a along with their chief hurried to
Madinah to ask for help.

It is also necessary to express here that the Quraish leadership was itself divided over the future
course. Abu Sufyan of Umayya bloc was against inciting Banu Baqr while members of Banu
Makhzum incited Banu Baqr and wanted to somehow throw away the treaty of Hudaibiya.
Consequently, the Prophet presented Makkans with three options 1. To pay blood money 2.
Leave Banu Baqr unprotected 3. Renounce the treat null and void.

All three options were a dilemma for the Makkans. Paying blood-money would leave their image
tarnished. Leaving Baqr unprotected would grow apprehensions among their other allies. And
abrogating the treaty altogether meant war, which most of the Quraishites were not ready to
fight, except for few leaders of Makhzum.

The Prophet Marches on Makkah: 630 A.D.

The Prophet had already decided to march to Makkah. He kept hi plan a secret till the end. On
January 1, 630 an army of 10,000 warriors left Madinah for Makkah. The Prophet had asked for
allied tribes to provide with men and supplements, which they willingly did. The army after
arriving there, lit thousands of goblet fires. First, it sent a signal to Makkans that an army has
arrived. Second, everyone was to light his /her own fire. Since there were a lot of fires, it looked
like a big army had marched. The majority of the Quraish wanted to surrender except for few.
Abu Sufyan rushed to the army camp to submit himself to Islam, which he finally did. Next
morning, he was sent by the Prophet back to Makkah to deliver a message that anyone who
takes a shelter under Abu Sufyan or Kaaba would be forgiven and left unhurt. Right after that,
the Prophet marched with dividing his army into 4 columns. They all were to cover different
parts of the Makkah city.

A bloodless occupation

All the columns were strictly prohibited from initiating the attack or even trying to incite one. For
example, Sa’ad bin Obaidiah uttered some foul words when he entered Makkah, but the Prophet
at once went to him and had him replaced by his son Qays bin Sa’ad.

All columns met no resistance, except for Khalid bin Walid’s. He was to enter from Southern side
where resided die hard Makhzums. The leaders of Makhzum fought a bit, but after seeing their
inevitable loss ran on their heels. 19 Makkans were killed there and 2 Muslims too. The Prophet
entered Makkah, a place that had mercilessly persecuted Muslims and attacked Madinah
repeatedly, with no feeling of vengeance or hostility. He entered as a “Prophet of Peace” rather
than as a “Prophet of War”. He directly went to Kaaba to perform a Tawaf. Then he set on to
smash the idols present inside it.

Quraish submits

After conquering Makkah, he called all Makkans to Mount Safa. There he asked them what kind
of punishment they were expecting. Their mind went wild thinking of all the atrocities they had
committed upon the Prophet and his followers. The Prophet said: No blame on you this day. Go,
you are free. The statement had profound effect on the Makkans. They came in flocks to submit
to Islam. Even the bitter enemies were forgiven. Hind bin Utbah, wife of Abu Sufyan and
daughter of Utbah bin Rabia, came to ask for forgiveness which was readily accepted. Note that
she was the one who ate the Prophet’s uncle’s liver after battle of Ohud.

Wife of Ikrima, son of Abu Jahal, came to submit and asked for forgiveness of her husband. Both
were forgiven. Ikrima returned. Suhail bin Amr, too, submitted through his son.

In short, it was conquest not through arms but through peace and mercy. After the submission,
then the Prophet went on to destroy the idols present inside the Kaaba.

Significance of the conquest

Sir William Muir writes, “The magnanimity with which Muhammad treated a people who had so
long hated and rejected him is worthy of all admiration. It was indeed for his own interest to
forgive the past and cast into oblivion its slight and injuries. But this did, nonetheless, require a
large and generous heart.”
It opened the way to all-out unification of Makkah. The enemies that had rallied all smaller
enemies to counter Islam were now faithful friends. All the nomadic tribes that had still not
come in the fold of Islam came under it after this event. They were now sure that he was the
Prophet since his bitter enemy has accepted it.

Soon after the fall of Makkah, a tribe named Hawazin rose to challenge the Prophet. It lay at the
South-East of Makkah. They had great relations with Persia and were already subtle rivals of
Quraish due to Quraish’s trade and spiritual supremacy.

They were met at Hunayn, where they were beaten by Muslim army. The POWs that included
women and children were released which softened their hearts and most of them accepted
Islam. The first one to do so was their Chief Malik.

LAST DAYS OF THE HOLY PROPHET

The Farewell Pilgrimage

The 10th year of Hijrah had seen Islam triumphant over the whole of Arabia. The Prophet
announced his intention to perform Hajj. 90,000 individuals responded to his call. By the time,
they had started performing hajj on the 8th Zu’l Hajj, the crowd had amounted to 124,00. All the
rites and rituals were performed that day the way we perform them today.

Farewell Sermon at Arafat

The Prophet delivered a sermon/speech at Arafat for the last time before leaving this ephemeral
world. He started as, “O people! Listen to my words, for I do not know whether I shall ever meet
you in this place again after this year.”

The following points paint a clear picture of the message of the sermon.

1. The blood and property are sacred. Lord will ask you of your works. One mustn’t breach
another’s property.

2. All usury is abolished.

3. All bloodshed in the Days of Ignorance is to be left unavenged.

4. You have rights over your people and they have rights over you. You have taken them
only as a trust from God.

5. Every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim, and that all Muslims are brethren.

6. Everyone is equal. No Arab has superiority over Ajmi and vice versa.

7. Feed and clothe your slaves well. If they commit a fault, of which you aren’t inclined to
forgive, then part from them.
“Let him that is present tell it unto him that is absent. May be he that shall be told may
remember better than he who has heard it.”

Then the Prophet asked, “O God! Have I conveyed Thy message? Upon this people replied with
one accord. “Yes”, The Prophet added: “O God! Thou art my Witness.”

At the very moment a revelation came, which the Prophet read instantly, “this day, have I
perfected for you your faith, and completed My blessings upon you, and have accepted for you
al-Islam as your religion.”

Achievements of the Holy Prophet

End of Jahiliya period

Unification of the Arab tribes

Consolidation of Islam

Foundation of a universal religion

Never in the history of the world a man had so little achieved much as the Prophet did. The Holy
Prophet began his life as an orphan, lived his boyhood and youth in poverty as a shepherd and a
salesman, and then as a recluse in Mount Hira, then he became a humble preacher, for which he
was persecuted and hunted out of his native city, to become a refugee in an alien city. At last, he
rose to be ‘the Ruler of Arabia.’