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The Battle of Muta


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THE BATTLE OF MUTA

(8th year of the Migration, the month of Jumadal-Ula  / AD 629)

The Prophet sent letters and envoys not only to the rulers of the big states and invited them to Islam but also to the tribes and nations that were subject to them. He sent Harith b. Umayr al-Az­di with a letter to the governor of Busra (now Hawran). Busra was a principality. Its governor and people were Arabs but they were Christians and they were subject to the Byzantine state in terms of foreign policy.

When Harith, the envoy of the Prophet arrived at Muta, one of the villages of Balqa’, a town of Damascus, he was taken to the presence Shurahbil b. Amru’l-Ghassani, the governor of Damascus of the Byzantine Kaiser. When Shurahbil heard that Harith was the envoy of the Prophet, he killed Harith brutally.[1]

When the Messenger of God heard that his envoy had been killed, he became very grieved. The Companions felt grieved, too. No envoy of the Prophet had been killed up to that time.[2]Harith was the first and last envoy of the Messenger of God that had been killed. Therefore, this brutal murder was very important. It was an ugly act that hurt and offended the Messenger of God and the Muslims. With this despicable act, Shurahbil showed his hatred and enmity against Islam and violated the basic international principle, “Do not kill the envoy.”

After evaluating the incident, the Messenger of God formed an army. He appointed Zayd b. Haritha, his freed slave, to command the army that consisted of three thousand mujahids.

After the Messenger of God stated that he appointed Zayd b. Haritha as the commander, he said, “If Zayd is martyred, let Jafar b. Abu Talib replace him. If Jafar is martyred, let Muslims choose an appropriate person as their commander”[3]

Sagacious Muslims realized the subtle meaning in the Prophet’s sentences. They said by crying, “O Messenger of God! We wish they would stay alive and we would benefit from them.” The Messenger of God kept silent.

What about those who would be the commanders? They knew that they would be martyred due to the words of the Messenger of God, but they did not hesitate at all to go there and they obeyed the order of the Prophet willingly. Yes, they went to death consciously. However, this death would be different from normal deaths; and it would take them to the highest rank of life: martyrdom. The only desire they had in their hearts was to elevate the word of God; the only desire in their spirits was martyrdom. That was what made them go on the expedition enthusiastically.   

The Islamic Army is Seen off Madinah

The Islamic army of three thousand people was in a single body and waiting for the command to proceed. Meanwhile, the Prophet gave Zayd a white standard and said to him, “Go up to the place where Haris b. Umayr was killed. Ask them to become Muslims. If they agree, it is all right but if they do not agree, fight them relying on the help of God.”[4]

It is possible to understand only from this advice of the Prophet that the Islamic army set off with the lofty intention of asking them to be Muslims, free from the feeling of revenge. 

Many Muslims went to the Hill of Wada together with the Messenger of God to see the mujahids off. The Messenger of God stopped there and said to the mujahids, “I advise you to fulfill the orders of God, to keep away from His prohibitions, to treat people who are with you well and do them favors. Fight in the way of God with His name. Do not misuse booty! Do not break your promises! Do not kill little children! Do not kill women and old men! Do not cut down or burn trees! Do not demolish houses!  You will find some Christians who have retired into seclusion in churches and worshipping there. Do not touch them!”[5]After that, he said to Zayd b. Haritha:

“When you confront the enemy, offer them to accept one of the following three things. If they accept one of them, do not touch them.

Invite them to migrate to Madinah, which is the land of immigrants. If they accept it, tell them that they will have the rights that muhajirs have and that they will be obliged to do what muhajiras are obliged to do.

If they become Muslims and want to live in their own land, tell them that they will be like Bedouin Arab Muslims and they will have the same rights and obligations as Bedouin Arab Muslims, that they will not be given anything from the booty and that only those who take part in the war together with the Muslims will be given their share of the booty. 

If they do not want to be Muslims, tell them to pay jizya (tax paid by Christians and Jews). If they accept to pay it, do not touch them. If they do not accept to pay jizya, fight them by relying on the help of God. 

If the people of the castle or the town you have besieged ask you to accept their surrender based on the judgment of God, do not accept their surrender based on the judgment of God but based on your judgment. You cannot know what God has judged for them and you might not make the same judgment.

If the people of the castle or the town you have besieged ask you to give them the guarantee of security of God and His messenger, do not give them the guarantee of security of God and His messenger but your and your friends’ guarantee of security. If you break your promise of security, it is less evil for you than breaking the promise of God and His messenger.”[6]

After giving them the orders and advice below, the Messenger of God said good-bye to the mujahids. The Muslims who were there to see them off said, “May God protect you all kinds of danger and bring you back safe and sound.”

Abdullah b. Rawaha greeted the Messenger of God, who was returning to Madinah, by saying,  “Peace be upon the person whom I said goodbye to in the data grove behind, the best person who sees people off and the best friend!”[7]

The Islamic army was seen off among tears coming from the hearts. The white standard given to them by the Messenger of God was waving above them magnificently. Their hearts were pounding excited by the words and the spirit of the Messenger of God. Where were those mujahids, who were travelling into the vast center of the desert going? Seemingly, they were going to the principality of Shurahbil b. Amr near the border of Syria in order to call him to account. In fact, they were not. They were going there to call the arrogant army of the giant Byzantine Empire. 

Shurahbil Makes Preparations

The mujahids, whose hearts were full of excitement and enthusiasm for jihad, were proceeding on their horses and camels by trying to pass through the desert.

Meanwhile, Shurahbil heard that the Islamic army had set off from Madinah.

Shurahbil started to make preparations at once. He informed Heraklius, the Kaiser, about the situation and asked for help. Meanwhile, he sent a military unit as an advanced guard under the command of his brother against the Islamic army, which had stopped at Wadil-Qura. The mujahids defeated them and killed Sadus, the commander of the unit. This defeat intimidated Shurahbil. 

After getting rid of the first attack, the Islamic army left Wadil-Qura and went to Maan, near Damascus. When they arrived at Maan, they were startled by the news they heard: “Heraklius, the Byzantine Emperor, was coming toward the south with one hundred thousand soldiers. His army was equipped with very good weapons.”

What they heard was not a lie. Hazrat Zayd wanted to hear the view of the mujahids. Most of them had the following view:

“Let us write the Messenger of God (pbuh) about the number of the soldiers of the enemy and ask him to send us soldiers or to tell us what he wants us to do.”[8]

There was someone among them who had not spoken but kept silent. Now it was time for him to speak. He was Abdullah b. Rawaha, the great poet and unique hero. He gave Zayd a heroic answer by saying, “By God, what you do not want now is martyrdom, which we desired and set off for. We fight the enemy not because we have more horses or soldiers than them but thanks to the power given to us by our religion, with which God honored us. We should go and fight them. We will have either of the two good things: martyrdom or victory!”[9]

The mujahids listened to those sincere words as if they were not coming from Abdullah b. Rawaha but from another realm. Their hearts, which were hot with the love of belief and jihad were inflamed luminously by those words. They said, “By God, Rawaha is right” and started to proceed toward the enemy with courage.

Accounting Starts

It was the 8th month of the Migration, the month of Jumadal-Ula.

They were in the battlefield of Muta.

The conceited and orderly Christian Byzantine army with more than one hundred thousand soldiers was facing the Islamic army, which seemingly had fewer soldiers and weapons and which was commanded by Zayd. The former had everything but one thing; the latter had almost nothing but belief: Belief in God, the owner of the religion, and reliance on His help; belief made them act with the feeling of sacrificing everything. 

When judging by appearance, the situation was very strange. A great amount of soldiers was facing a very little amount of soldiers that could not be compared. As a matter of fact, when He­rak­lius, the Byzantine Emperor, saw a handful of people against him, he found it meaningless to give so much importance to it and could not help laughing loudly. Then, he reprimanded Shurahbil for putting him to so much trouble unnecessarily.  

However, the Kaiser did not know the difference between two things: the appearance and the reality. In appearance, the Byzantine army had a dazzling magnificence but there was a weak and dim spirit under this dazzling magnificence. In appearance, the Islamic army was very few in number and weak in terms of weapons but there was magnificence, spirit, meaning, excitement and love under this littleness. In history, triumphs and victories did not originate from magnificent appearances but from lofty belief, great spirit and magnificent meaning.   

Both parties saw each other and laid their eyes on each other; it was meaningless to wait any longer.

Zayd b. Haritha, the commander of the Islamic army, held the white standard given to him by the Messenger of God. The fight started very fast like lightning. All of a sudden, the ground was full of blood. The sounds of takbir, clashing swords, neighing horses, the screams of the wounded soldiers and cries intermingled.

Martyrdom of Zayd

Zayd, the great commander, who was fighting the enemy very closely and bravely, received some spear blows from the Byzantines and his body was riddled. His blood sprang around. This great person, who lost his strength to stand, fell down with the spiritual pleasure and peace of sacrificing himself for his sacred aim and became a martyr.[10]

The standard was waiting for its bearer. When Jafar saw that Zayd was martyred, he dashed forward like an arrow and held the sacred white standard as the Messenger of God had said.[11]He ignored the crowd of enemy and their atrocious aggression, attacking their ranks bravely holding the standard. He went on swinging his sword though he knew that he would have the same honorable fate as Zayd. He did not mind the crowd of enemy or their strength. As a brave person, he was fulfilling his duty. Besides, bravery necessitated fulfilling the assigned duty fully. What would he lose if he became a martyr? The World? No problem! There was eternal life. Is it something unimportant to attain enviable ranks in the eternal life by sacrificing the worldly life?     

Jafar is Martyred, too

Jafar, the commander, was attacking the enemy army with the same feeling, excitement and sacred aim as the other mujahids. The Islamic army was as brave as an eagle and the enemy army was as cowardly as a crow. No matter what the result would be, the Islamic army would be beneficial. If they won, they would be victorious both materially and spiritually; if they lost and were martyred, they would attain a spiritual victory and have an honorable epopee. Therefore, they had no fear, panic, worry or hesitation.

The eyes of both the friends and the enemy were on the new commander. Those timid and hesitant eyes were watching the heroic attack of this commander and his killing and wounding anybody that faced him in an amazed and astonished way.

However, the destined end of Jafar was approaching. A malicious sword cut his right hand off his wrist. Thereupon, he held the standard with his left hand. However, after a while, his left hand was cut off, too. If you can, imagine the situation and watch admiringly the effort and patriotism that this great hero showed in the way of elevating the word of God. This unique hero held the sacred standard, which represented the honor of the army and which was given to him by the Messenger of God, with his arms, whose hands had been cut off.[12]He could no longer resist the attack of the enemy. His only aim at that time was to surrender the standard to somebody without letting it fall to the ground. O my Lord! What a magnificent belief, a sacred goal, a lofty effort and patriotism. Jafar was personally experiencing the incident that we cannot imagine.

This magnificent situation did not continue very long. The sword blows of the enemy martyred Jafar just like Zayd.[13]When the mujahids looked at the body of this hero, they saw more than ninety wounds caused by spears, arrows and swords.[14]

Abdullah b. Rawaha Receives the Standard

It was Abdullah b. Rawaha’s turn to become the commander.  

He proceeded toward the enemy on his horse carrying the white standard. The evil-commanding soul wanted to deceive him through delusions and hesitation. Abdullah was between two enemies. One of them was the Byzantine army and the other was his own soul. However, he was struggling against both enemies as it was necessary. While he was attacking the enemy, he was addressing his soul as follows:

“O my soul! I swore that I was going to make you surrender to me. You will either accept it willingly or I will force you to do it. Muslims have gathered and are crying. Some of them are crying saying, ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun’ (To God we belong and to Him is our return). As I understand it, you do not like Paradise very much. You have not attained peace for years. O my soul! If you are not killed now, will you not ever be killed? The time of death has come even if you do not want it. If you do what those two people did, that is, if you prefer martyrdom, you will do the best thing. If you become late, you will be sorry.”[15]

Hazrat Abdullah, who defeated his soul, was fighting bravely. Meanwhile, one of his fingers which was cut started to swing. This great man, whose heart was pounding with the love of God and His Messenger, dismounted from his horse, stepped on the finger that was swinging and broke it off; then, he mounted his horse and rushed toward the enemy ranks like a lion. The belief, prosperity and courage that filled his heart eliminated all of the pains, aches and agonies in his body.

After fighting heroically, Abdullah returned and dismounted from his horse. He had not eaten anything for three days. Meanwhile, somebody gave him a piece of bone with some meat on it. It was going to be the first morsel he was going to eat for three days. Unfortunately, no sooner had he bitten a small piece than he heard a sudden noise from the part where Muslims were. Abdullah threw away the bone he had and said to himself, “You are still busy with filling your stomach!”; he drew his sword and continued fighting.[16]

As a result of this fight, Abdullah attained the high rank he desired.[17]

The Islamic Army Scatters

The Islamic army, three of whose commanders were martyred, and which was left leaderless, scattered. The mujahids hesitated whether to go on fighting or to withdraw. Meanwhile, a few mujahids were martyred.

However, the lofty standard of the Messenger of God did not fall to the ground. When Abdullah b. Rawaha was martyred, Abu’l-Ya­sar Ka’b b. Umayr took the standard and gave it to Thabit b. Aqram. As soon as Thabit took the standard, he rushed to the front of the army, planted the standard on the ground and called the Muslims to come together. Holding the standard in his hand,Thabit b. Aqram shouted to the mujahids, “O mujahids! Choose someone among you as the commander and gather around him.”

The mujahids said, “We have chosen you as the commander; we are pleased with you.”[18]

However, Thabit wanted somebody else to be the commander. It was Khalid b. Walid, who was a new Muslim and who had joined the army to show his loyalty and sincerity to Islam. Thabit said, “I cannot do it” and called out to Khalid, “O Abu Sulayman! Come and take this standard.”

However, Khalid, who was a respectful and emotional hero, wanted Thabit, who was a respectable old man, to hold the standard. He said,

“I cannot take the standard from you. You deserve it more than me. You are older than me and you took part in the Battle of Badr.”[19]

Yes, what Khalid said was true but, at that moment, he did not want the honor of being old or the honor of having been taken part in a battle.  The situation necessitated a person who could save the army of Islam from this dangerous situation. Thabit b. Aqram, who was aware of this fact, repeated his call to Khalid. “Take this standard of Messenger of God! I took it in order to give it to you. You are better than me at fighting and war.”

Then, without letting Khalid answer, he turned to Muslims and said, “Do you agree unanimously to choose Khalid as the commander?”[20]

The mujahids, who could not keep their eyes off this heroic Companion, said, “Yes!” in unison. Thereupon, Khalid took the standard of the Messenger of God and kissed it with respect; then, he mounted his horse and turned toward the enemy. From then on, Khalid was the commander. 

The Prophet Informs about the Phases of the Fight

Meanwhile, the Messenger of God was in Madinah with the Companions who did not take part in the battle. Madinah was more than one thousand kilometers away from Muta but this distance was short for the Messenger of God, who had eyes that could see the truth; the Messenger of God narrated the phases of the battle to his Companions as if the battle was taking place in front of his eyes: “Zayd b. Haritha took the standard and he was martyred. Ask God to forgive him. Then, Jafar took the standard and he was martyred, too. Ask God to forgive him, too. Then, Abdullah b. Rawaha took the standard and he was martyred, too. Ask God to forgive him, too.”[21]Then, he continued to narrate the battle in tears:

“After Abdullah b. Rawaha, a sword from the swords of God took the standard. The battle is heated now. O God! Help him!”[22]

The Prophet was informing about unseen as a miracle by the permission of God Almighty. God, who is the sole knower of the unknown, informs and shows his beloved slave about some incidents when it is necessary and shortens the distances. 

Khalid b. Walidis the Commander

Khalid, whom the Muslims chose as their leader, spurred his horse with courage and rushed against the enemy. The mujahids followed him like arrows that were thrown from bows. The attack of the Muslims was so brave and heroic that the enemy was astonished. Many enemy soldiers were killed before they found out what was happening. Some of the enemy groups were defeated during this attack, which took place before the evening. However, when it started to get dark, the enemy soldiers gathered strength and attacked all together; the Muslims had to withdraw then.

Khalid’s Tactic

As it is known, battles did not use to continue day and night at that time. Soldiers used to put on their armor and take their weapons and start fighting in the morning; in the evening, they used to return to their encampment.

Khalid undertook the duty of commandership just before the evening. After one or two attacks, it got dark and both parties returned to their encampment. Khalid was both a hero and a great tactician of battles; he could startle the enemy with his tactics. It was time to use this ability. During the night, he thought about some plans and tactics that would startle the enemy.  

When the sun rose, the Islamic army appeared with a new arrangement. When the enemy saw them, they were startled and scared. They understood what the noise coming from the ranks of the Muslims they heard at night meant. They said, “It means auxiliary troops arrived at night to help the Muslims. We have not seen those soldiers on the right before.”[23]

The enemy soldiers, who were still under the effect of the sudden blow they received the day before, were scared and worried; they were looking at one another wondering what to do. 

Khalid employed a clever tactic. He changed the place of the Muslim troops; he replaced the soldiers on the right with the ones on the right, and the soldiers at the front with the soldiers at the back.[24]

When the enemy troops saw new faces and new clothes, they thought new troops had come to help the Muslims and became scared and worried.

When Khalid, who was skilled and heroic, noticed that the enemy was spiritually affected by this tactic, he ordered the mujahids to attack at once. The mujahids attacked as if they had just started to fight; and they scattered the enemy. The swords, which were drawn in the way of elevating the word of God, hit the enemy army very hard. The seemingly magnificent army of the enemy had to run away. It looked as if an eagle had attacked chickens.   

On that day, when God rejoiced Muslims with His help, Khalid broke seven swords.[25]God knows how many unbelievers he wounded and killed while breaking seven swords.

Khalid thanked and praised God for the bright victory obtained as a result of his courage, heroism and tactics. The mujahids also thanked their Lord for the unexpected opportunity He granted them.

The tactic designed and applied by Khalid became successful and the mujahids intimidated the enemy army, which was about forty or fifty times bigger than their army. However, the danger was not over yet. The handful of Muslims, who were surrounded by the enemy, had to be withdrawn before the crowded enemy army gathered strength again. Khalid applied the second phase of his plan in order to do this. That night, he moved his army by maintaining the dignity, honor and glory of Islam toward the south. The enemy army was stupefied due to the blows they had received. They just watched the movement of the Islamic army; they probably became glad when the Islamic army moved away.  

Thus, the second phase of Khalid’s tactic became successful, too. The handful of Islamic mujahids were removed from the land of the enemy very easily and saved.

It was a great grant and help of God. Only about fifteen Muslims were martyred during the clashes that lasted for seven days.[26]

Returning to Madinah

Khalid started to move toward Madinah, with his army, which was saved from being destroyed by the help of God. The enemy watched them astonishedly. The enemy soldiers looked as if they had been glued to the ground. They could not dare to follow the Islamic army; it was a big defeat for them.  

The mujahids were approaching Madinah with the dignity and majesty of gaining a bright victory. Meanwhile, Ya’la b. Umay­ya arrived in Madinah before the army and went to the presence of the Messenger of God. When he wanted to narrate what had happened to the Messenger of God, the Messenger of God said, “I will tell you what happened.” He narrated what had happened exactly. Ya’la said, “I swear by God, who sent you with the true religion and book that you did not omit even one word about the incidents.”[27]

The Messenger of God said, “God eliminated the distance between us and I saw the battlefield through my eyes.”[28]

The Prophet Tells Jafar’s Family that Jafar was Martyred

It was the day when Jafar was martyred in Muta.

After the Messenger of God narrated the Companions about the phases of the battle and that three commanders had been martyred, he went to Jafar’s house.

Asma bint Umays, Jafar’s wife, was not aware of anything; she was busy with housework. She had washed the faces of her children and combed their hair.  

The Messenger of God said, “O Asma! Where are Jafar’s children?”

Asma was still unaware of anything. She knew that the Messenger of God loved children a lot; so, she did not think of anything. She brought the children. The Messenger of God embraced and kissed them. Meanwhile the Messenger of God could not help crying.

At that moment, Asma felt as if her heart was wounded. She said, “O Messenger of God! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Why are you crying? Have you received any bad news about Jafar and his friends?”[29]

The Messenger of God told her about the sad incident: “They were martyred today.”[30]

Asma started to cry suddenly; tears were running down her face. The women nearby gathered around her. The Messenger of God said to her,

“O Asma! Do not say any bad words and do not beat your chest.”[31]

Then, the Messenger of God went home and said to her wives, “Do not forget to cook meals for Jafar’s family. Thereupon, they cooked meals for Jafar’s family for three days. It was the first meal cooked for the household of a dead person in Islam.

The Prophet prohibited crying for Jafar for more than three days.[32]

The Messenger of God said that God Almighty gave Jafar two wings in return for his two hands that were cut off and that he flew in Paradise with them. Therefore, he was given the name “Jafar at-Tayyar (the Flyer)”.[33]

The Prophet Cries When He sees the Looks of Zayd b. Haritha’s Daughter

The Islamic army had not returned from Muta to Madinah yet.

The Messenger of God sawZayd b. Haritha’s daughter. She was looking at the holy face of the Messenger of God sadly and she was about to cry. When the Messenger of God saw her, he could not help crying due to his compassion and mercy.

Sa’d b. Ubada asked, “O Messenger of God! What is this?”

The Prophet answered, “It is the yearning of the beloved for the beloved.”[34]

The Islamic Army is Welcomed

It was a hot day.

It was seen that the white standard of the Messenger of God started to shine in the horizon of Madinah. The army that was coming was not the army of Zayd but the army of Khalid b. Walid, who was given the name “Sey­fullahi’s-Sarim [the Sharp Sword of God]”.   

The mujahids who were like embodied spirits and courage statues were sad because of losing fifteen mujahids including three commanders but they were happy because of gaining a bright victory; they were coming to Madinah like gliding bright stars.

The Messenger of God said to the Companions, “Let us go together to welcome our brothers.”

Despite scorching heat, the Muslims obeyed this order and left Madinah in order to welcome them.

The Messenger of God was also leaving Madinah in order to welcome the mujahids. Everybody, children and adults, was around him as if he was a star. He ordered that children be mounted on animals and Jafar’s only son, whose father was martyred, be given to him. The Messenger of God mounted Jafar’s son on his own animal and proceeded.

In the place called Juruf, outside Madinah, the mujahids were welcomed by them; it was a lofty view.

Meanwhile, the mujahids heard some unpleasant words: “Those who escaped fighting in the way of God!”[35]When the mujahids heard those words, they went to the Messenger of God to complain. The Messenger of God said, “You did not escape; you fought and fought repeatedly.”[36]Thus, he consoled them.

Upon the statement of the Messenger of God, the Muslims stopped condemning and upsetting the mujahids by uttering words like that.

THE EXPEDITION OF DHAT AS-SALASIL

(8th year of the Migration, the month of Jumadal-Akhir /AD 629)

Some Arab tribes probably evaluated the result of the Battle of Muta as a defeat and retreat for Muslims; so they gathered in order to attack Madinah. They were the tribes of Quzaa, Baliyy, Juzam, Lahm and Amila.[37]

When the Prophet heard about it, he summoned Amr b. As at once and said, “O Amr! Take your weapons, put on your travelling clothes and then come back to me.”

Amr left at once, took his weapons, put on his travelling clothes and returned to the Prophet. 

The Messenger of God said, “O Amr! I want to send you somewhere leading a military unit so that God will give you peace and wealth!”

Amr said, “O Messenger of God! I did not accept Islam in order to become rich. I accepted Islam without expecting any benefits in order to make jihad and be with you.”

Thereupon, the Messenger of God said, “O Amr! Useful wealth befits a person who helps others.”[38]

The reason why the Messenger of God chose Amr was that he was a relative of the tribe of Baliyy. His grandmother was from the tribe of Baliyy. He sent Amr because he wanted to soften them and to make them accept Islam. 

Besides, the Prophet ordered Amr to invite the tribes to Islam first before attacking them.

After that, Amr left Madinah with about three hundred mujahids from Muhajirs and Ansar. When he approached the place where the polytheistic tribes had gathered, he saw that they were very crowded. Thereupon, he sent Rafi’ b. Makith to the Prophet to ask for help. Thereupon, the Messenger of God sent an auxiliary force of two hundred people under the command of   Hazrat Abu Ubayda b. Jarrah. Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar and many notables of Ansar and Muhajirs were in this military unit.

The Messenger of God told Abu Ubayda to meet Amr and to act together repeatedly.[39]

The auxiliary forces moved very fast and reached Amr and the mujahids. 

Amr said to Abu Ubayda, “I am also your commander because I sent somebody to ask for help from the Messenger of God.”

However, Abu Ubayda wanted to be the commander of his unit and said, “I am the commander of my soldiers and you are the commander of your soldiers.”[40]

Amr said he was the commander of both units and that he had the authority to command. The Muhajirs also took part in the argument supporting Abu Ubayda.

When Abu Ubayda remembered the warning of the Messenger of God, he did not want to lengthen the argument and said, “O Amr! When we left Madinah, the last word of the Messenger of God to me was, ‘When you meet your friend, obey each other; do not fall into dispute.’ If you do not obey me, I will obey you.”[41]

Thus, Amr b. As became the commander. He led the prayers in congregation.[42]

The weather was very cold where they stopped. The mujahids wanted to collect some, wood, to light a fire and to feel warm; however, Amr, the commander, did not allow them to do so. Some Companions objected to it. 

When Abu Bakr wanted to talk to Amr b. As about the issue, Amr said to him, “Were you not ordered to obey me and do what I say?”

Hazrat Abu Bakr said, “Yes, I was...”

Thereupon, Amr said, “Then, do what you are ordered to do.”[43]

Hazrat Umar could not tolerate those words and wanted to object to him; however, Abu Bakr stopped him and said, “Let him do what he wants. The Messenger of God appointed him as our commander because of his skills of war. Since he is the commander now, it is not appropriate to intervene.”[44]

Thereupon, Hazrat Umar kept his temper and did not say anything.

In fact, Amr did not allow the mujahids to light fires because of a tactic and precaution. The number of the enemy soldiers was much more than that of the Muslim soldiers. If they lit fires, their number would be obvious and the enemy would attack them without any fear. However, if they did not light fires, they would not be able to know the number of the mujahids and they would have to act cautiously. As a matter of fact, it happened like that. The enemy thought the Muslims were very crowded and they scattered without even facing fighting them. Very few of them tried to resist, but they had to run away when the mujahids attacked all together.[45]Amr, the commander, knew the skill of war very well. He did not follow the enemy soldiers that ran away lest they should lay an ambush. The Islamic army returned to Madinah with a peace of mind since they fulfilled their duty.

Amr b. As Asks the Prophet a Question

When Amr b. As returned to Madinah with mujahids, he had a feeling in his heart. He expresses his feeling as follows:

“The Messenger of God (pbuh) sent me to Dhat as-Salasil leading an army. Hazrat Abu Bakr and Umar were among the soldiers. 

I thought, ‘If I were not superior to them in the eye of the Messenger of God, he would not have appointed me as the commander while they were soldiers in the army.’

I went to the presence of the Messenger of God and asked him, ‘O Messenger of God! Who is the most beloved person for you?’

He said, ‘Aisha.’

I asked, ‘Who is the most beloved man for you?’

He said, ‘Aisha’s father.’

I asked again, ‘After her father?’

He said, ‘Umar.’ He mentioned some other men.  

Then, I said to myself, ‘I should not repeat this question.’ I was afraid that he would mention my name at the end of the list; so I kept silent.”[46]

In fact, Amr b. As was one of the notables of the Companions but there were so many people superior to him in the eye of God and there were ranks above his rank. When Amr realized it, he did not ask any more questions and kept silent. 

THE EXPEDITION OF SIFU’L-BAHR

(8th year of the Migration, the month of Rajab)

The Messenger of God appointed Abu Ubayda b. Jarrah as the commander of a military unit consisting of three hundred soldiers from Muhajirs and Ansar and sent them to a tribe of Juhaynas.[47]The aim of this expedition was to bring this tribe, which was an enemy of Islam, to reason and to teach them a lesson. Hazrat Umar was also among the mujahids. 

The mujahids, who faced hunger and who had to eat tree leaves by heating them, eventually reached  Sifu’l-Bahr [Sea Coast]. At that time, when they were about to starve, Lord of Majesty, the Sustainer, gave them a huge fish through waves.[48]They ate this fish during their stay there. The mujahids met nobody there; so, they returned to Madinah. The mujahids told the Prophet about the fish they ate there and asked if they needed to do anything for it. The Prophet said, “It was God’s bounty for you from the sea.” He also said, “If you have any piece from that fish, give it to me.”

Some mujahids brought some of that fish so that they would eat on the way. They gave a piece from it to the Prophet and he ate it.[49]

 

[1]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 128; Ibn Qayyim, Zadu’l-Maad, Vol. 2, p. 173; Ibn Sayyid, Uyunu’l-Athar, Vol. 2, p. 153.

[2]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 128; Ibn Qayyim, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 173.

[3]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 128; Ibn Kathir, Sirah, Vol. 3, p. 455.

[4]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 128; Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 2, p. 787.

[5]Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 3, p. 1357; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Vol. 4, p. 162-163; Halabi, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 787.

[6]Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 5, p. 358; Muslim, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 1357-1358; Abu Dawud, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 37

[7]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 4, p. 16.

[8]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 17; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 129.

[9]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 17; Ibn Qayyim, Zadu’l-Maad, Vol. 2, p. 173.

[10]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 19; Ibn Qayyim, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 173.

[11]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 20; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 129.

[12]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 20.

[13]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 38.

[14]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 20; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 38.

[15]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 20-21; Tabari, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 109.

[16]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 21; Tabari, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 109.

[17]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 21.

[18]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 21.

[19]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 130.

[20]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 21; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 129-130.

[21]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 22; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 5, p. 299; Tabari, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 110.

[22]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 129; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, ibid, Vol. 5, p. 299; Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 467.

[23]Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 467; Halabi, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 788.

[24]Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 469; Halabi, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 788.

[25]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 253; Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 472.

[26]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 30; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 407; Vol. 4, p. 141.

[27]Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 468.

[28]Ibn Qayyim, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 174; Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 468.

[29]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 22; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 8, p. 282.

[30]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 22; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 8, p. 282.

[31]Ibn Sa’d , ibid, Vol. 8, p. 282.

[32]Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 477.

[33]Ibn Abdi’l-Berr, al-Istiab, Vol. 1, p. 242.

[34]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 47.

[35]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 24; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 129.

[36]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 24; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 129; Halabi, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 792.

[37]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 131.

[38]Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 4, p. 197.

[39]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 4, p. 272; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 131.

[40]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 4, p. 272; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 517.

[41]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 272.

[42]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 272; Tabari, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 104; Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 617.

[43]Halabi, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 199-200.

[44]Halabi, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 200.

[45]Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 517.

[46]Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 5, p. 113; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 203; Ibn Kathir, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 521.

[47]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 132.

[48]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 4, p. 281; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 411; Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 105.

[49]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 411; Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 3, p. 1536.



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