Military Activities continued
Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq (Abu Rafi) was a terrible Jew criminal, who had mustered the troops of the Confederates and provided them with a lot of wealth and supplies, on the one hand [Fath Al-Bari 7/343], and used to malign the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), on the other. When the Muslims had settled their affair with Banu Quraiza; Al-Khazraj tribe, a rival of Al-Aws, asked for the Prophets permission to kill that criminal in order to merit a virtue equal to that of Al-Aws who had killed another criminal of the Jews, Kab bin Al-Ashraf. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave them his permission provided that no women or children be killed.
A group of five people with Abdullah bin Ateeq at their head, headed for Khaibar where Abu Rafis fort was situated. When they approached the place, Abdullah advised his men to stay a little behind, while he went ahead disguised himself in his cloak as if he had been relieving himself. When the people of the fort went in, the gate-keeper called him to enter thinking he was one of them. Abdullah went in and lurked inside. He then began to unbolt the doors leading to Salams room. There it was absolutely dark but he managed to put him to the sword, and then leave in safety. On his way back, his leg broke so he wrapped it up in a band, and hid in a secret place until morning when someone stood on the wall and announced the death of Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq officially. On hearing the glad news he left and went to see the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who listened to the whole story, and then asked Abdullah to stretch his leg, which he wiped and the fracture healed on the spot.[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/577]
In another version, all the group of five participated in killing that enemy of Islam. This incident took place in Dhul Qadah or Dhul Hijjah in the year five Hijri.[Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 2/223]
Shortly after the conclusion of the battle with the Confederates and Quraiza, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) began to despatch punitive expeditions to force the aggressive tribes and rebellious Arabians to come to peaceful terms with the rising state of Islam.
A platoon of thirty believers under the leadership of Muhammad bin Maslamah was despatched on a military mission in Muharram, the sixth year Hijri, following the two previous battles. It headed for the habitation of Bani Bakr sept. The Muslims attacked that sept and dispersed them in all directions. Plenty of spoils fell to the lot of the Muslims who returned home with a terrible disbeliever, Thumamah bin Uthal Al-Hanafi, chief of Bani Hanifa, who had gone out by order of Musailama, the Liar[As-Seerah Al-Halabiyah 2/297], to assassinate the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Prophets Companions tied him to a pole of the Prophetic Mosque. To a question posed by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Thumamah used to say: "If you were to kill someone, then you would have to choose one of noble descent, if you were to be gracious, then let it be to a grateful man and if you were to ask for money, you would have to ask for it from a generous man." He repeated that three times on three different occasions. On the third time, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ordered that he should be released. He soon went nearby, washed and then came back to profess the new faith addressing the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace): "No face had been more awful to me than yours but now it is the closest to my heart, no religion had ever been more repugnant to me than yours, now it is the dearest in my heart. Now I want to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage)." The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave him good tidings and asked him to do that. On his arrival in Makkah, the Quraishites accused him of apostasy. He denied it and affirmed that he had embraced Islam, and then swore that they would never get a grain from Yamama, a suburban area around Makkah, unless the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would allow it. In fact, he did it and refused to send food supplies to Makkah until the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) interceded at the Makkans earnest plea.[Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/119; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool, p.292-293]
Bani Lihyan had acted treacherously towards ten of the Prophets Companions and had them hanged. Their habitation being situated deep in the heart of Hijaz on the borders of Makkah, and due to deep-seated blood-revenge between the Muslims on the one hand, and Quraish and the Arabians on the other, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) deemed it unwise to penetrate deep and come close to the greatest enemy, Quraish. However, when the power of the allied Confederates collapsed and they began to slacken and resign to the current unfavourable balance of power, the Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace) seized this rare opportunity and decided that it was time to take revenge on Bani Lihyan. He set out in Rabi Al-Awwal or Jumada Al-Ula in the year six Hijri at the head of two hundred Muslim fighters and made a feint of heading for Syria, then soon changed route towards Batn Gharran, the scene of his Companions tragedy, and invoked Allâhs mercy on them. News of his march reached Bani Lihyan, who immediately fled to the mountain tops nearby and thus remained out of his reach. On his way back, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) despatched a group of ten horsemen to a place called Kura Al-Ghamim, in the vicinity of the habitation of Quraish in order to indirectly confirm his growing military power. All these skirmishes took fourteen days, after which he left back for home.
- A platoon led by Ukasha bin Al-Mihsan was despatched to a place
called Al-Ghamir inhabited by Bani Asad in the year six Hijri. The enemy immediately fled
leaving behind them two hundred camels which were taken to Madinah.
- A platoon led by Muhammad bin Maslamah set out towards the habitation
of Bani Thalabah in Dhil Qassa. But a hundred men of the enemies ambushed and killed
all of them except Muhammad bin Maslamah who managed to escape but badly wounded.
- In retaliation against Bani Thalabah, Abu Ubaidah bin
Al-Jarrah, at the head of forty men, was despatched to Dhil Qassa. They walked that night
and took the enemy by surprise in the morning. Again, they fled to the mountains except
one who was injured, and later embraced Islam. A lot of booty fell to their lot in that
- A platoon, under the leadership of Zaid bin Haritha, was sent to
Al-Jumum, the habitation of Bani Saleem, in the same year. A woman from Bani Muzaina
showed them the way to the enemys camp. There the Muslims took some captives and
gained a lot of booty. Later on, the Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace) granted the woman her
freedom and married her to one of his followers.
- Zaid bin Haritha, in Jumada Al-Ula 6 Hijri, at the head of a hundred
and seventy horsemen, set out to a place called Al-Ais, intercepted a caravan of
Quraish led by Abul-As, the Prophets relative and looted their camels.
Abul-As escaped and took refuge in Zainabs (his wife and the Prophets
daughter) house. He begged her to ask the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) for the restitution of his
wealth. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) recommended, but without coercion, that the people do that.
They immediately gave the man back all his wealth. He went back to Makkah, gave over the
trusts to those entitled to them, embraced Islam and emigrated to Madinah where the
Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reunited him with his wife, Zainab, after three and a half years of their
first marriage contract. The verse relating to prohibition of marriage between women
Muslims and disbelievers had not been revealed then.
- In Jumada Ath-Thania, the same year, Zaid at the head of fifteen men
raided Bani Thalabah and captured twenty of their camels but the people had fled.
- In Rajab of the same year, Zaid, at the head of twelve men, set out
to a place called Wadi Al-Qura in a reconnaissance mission to explore the movements of the
enemy. The people there attacked the Muslims, killed nine of them, while the rest
including Zaid bin Haritha managed to escape.[Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 2/226; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/120-122]
- The invasion of Al-Khabt (diluted yoghurt) took place in the
year eight Hijri i.e. before Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty. Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah led
three hundred horsemen to observe a caravan belonging to Quraish. Because of the
inadequacy of food supplies, they began to starve so much that they had Khabt (diluted
yoghurt), hence the appellation "The Army of Al-Khabt". One of the men
slaughtered nine camels at three times, three each time at different stages of the
mission. Abu Ubaidah, the leader of the campaign prohibited him from doing so. The
sea was generous and presented them with an animal called Al-Anbar
(sperm-whale) so rich in fat that they subsisted on it for half a month. When they came
back home, they narrated the story to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who commented that it was
provision granted by Allâh, and asked them to share him some of its meat.[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/625,626; Sahih Muslim 2/145,146]
This campaign came chronologically prior to Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty because of and after which the Muslims stopped intercepting Quraishi caravans.