The Engagement Of Hunayn

The engagement of Hunayn took place in 8/ 630. The tribe of Hawazin gathered a large multitude of men against the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah was told that Safwan ibn Umayyah had a hundred suits of armour in his possession. He asked him for them, and Safwan enquired: "Would you seize them by force, O Muhammad?" "No", he answered: "rather a loan guaranteed." He thus agreed and gave them to him.

The Messenger of Allah left Mecca with two thousand fighters. He had with him as well an additional ten thousand men. One of his Companions observed: "If you are defeated today, it will not be for reasons of inadequate numbers." The Messenger of Allah was troubled by this observation; thus Allah sent down: On the day of Hunayn when you were pleased with your own large numbers . . . [Qur'an 9:25].

A man called Malik ibn `Awf an-Nasri came with some men of the tribes of Qays and Thaqif. The Messenger of Allah sent `Abdullah ibn Abi Hadrad as a spy, and he heard Ibn `Awf saying: "O people of Hawazin, you are indeed the quickest to anger and most numerous among the Arabs. This man, moreover, has not yet met a people who would engage him in a true fight. When you meet him, break the tips of your swords in fighting; rush at him as one man!" Ibn Abi Hadrad then came to the Apostle of Allah and recounted all this to him. `Umar rejoined, "Do not listen, O Apostle of Allah, to what Ibn AN Hadrad is saying." He answered: "O `Umar, you were gone astray, then Allah guided you. Ibn Abi Hadrad is a truthful man."

As-Sadiq related that it was Durayd ibn as-Sammah who accompanied the men of Hawazin. Although Durayd was an old man, they brought him with them in order that they might benefit from his wise counsel. When they reached Awtas (a place three days' journey from Mecca), the old man exclaimed: "A goodly place this is for horses to gallop. There is neither rough terrain nor a plain of quicksand. Why then do I hear the braying of camels and donkeys and the cries of infants?" He was told that Malik ibn `Awf had had men bring their wealth, womenfolk and children with them. He called for Malik, and when he came he said to him: "O Malik, you have become the chief of your people. This, moreover, is a day which will be important for many days to follow. Why do I then hear the braying of camels and donkeys, the cries of infants and the bleating of sheep? " He answered: "I wish to have behind every man his family and wealth (so that he will be forced) to defend them." Durayd objected: "You fool, you will accomplish nothing if you do not place the power of Hawazin on the horses at the front. For would anything stand in the face of a retreating man? If you win,

it will be only because men welded their swords and spears. But if you lose, you will have exposed your family and wealth." Malik retorted: "You are an old man; you have lost your mind!" Durayd replied: "I may have become old, but you shall bring your people to humiliation because of the foolishness of your reason and of your views. Yet, I have not for a moment taken leave of my reason." He then exclaimed: "It shall be a hard war. Would that I were a strong young man (i.e., at the time of Muhammad's proclamation of his Prophethood), so that I could run (in battle) with speed and agility."

Jabir ibn `Abdillah al-Ansari said: "Thus we continued our journey until we reached the valley of Hunayn; there we were overwhelmed by troops of men brandishing swords, spears and iron bars, waiting in ambush in the bends and narrows of the valley. As they saw us, they rushed at us as one man in their determination. People retreated quickly, so that no one even stopped to look at another. The Messenger of Allah stepped aside to the right, and nine of the sons of `Abdu'l-Muttalib surrounded his mule to defend him. Malik ibn `Awf ran out crying, `Show me Muhammad!' and rushed at the Messenger of Allah. He was tall and well-built, but a rash person. One of the Muslims met him in single combat, but Malik killed him." It was reported that the man was Ayman the son of Umm Ayman (the Prophet's wet-nurse). Malik then spurred his horse on, but it would not advance toward the Messenger of Allah. A man called Kaladah ibn al-Hanbal, who was a step-brother to Safwan ibn Umayyah (Safwan being still an Associator) cried out: "Magic has indeed been rendered ineffectual today! " Safwan reproached him saying: "May Allah break your mouth; by Allah, I prefer that a man of Quraysh lord over me than a man of Hawazin ! "

Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that a man called Shaybah ibn `Uthman ibn Abi Talhah of the tribe of `Abdu'dDar, said: "I shall now take my revenge; today I shall kill Muhammad." This was because his father had been killed in the Battle of Uhud. "Thus," he continued, "I sought Muhammad to kill him, but something came over me so that my heart felt as though pressed down, and I was unable to endure it. I knew then that he was (divinely) protected." It is further related on the authority of `Ikrimah that Shaybah said: "When I saw the Messenger of Allah on the day of Hunayn totally abandoned, I remembered my father and uncle and how `Ali and Hamzah killed them. Thus I thought to myself, `I shall today take my revenge on Muhammad.' When, however, I came to attack him on his right, I saw al-`Abbas ibn `Abdi 'l-Muttalib standing by him clad with a white suit of armour as though made of silver. He was brushing the dust off it. I thought, `He is his uncle; he would not abandon him.' Then I came at him from behind, and was about to cut him down with my sword. But a fiery wall of hot flame looking like a thunderbolt stood between me and him. I was afraid that it would consume me. I covered my eyes with my hand and ran away. The Messenger of Allah turned to me and called out, `O Shubayb, come close to me.' He then prayed, `O Allah, remove Satan from him.' I lifted my eyes toward him, and he was indeed dearer to me than my hearing and my sight. He then said to me, `O Shubayb, fight against the rejecters of faith!' "

It is reported on the authority of Musa ibn `Uqbah that the Messenger of Allah stood up in the stirrups of his donkey and said: "O Allah, I beg of You to fulfil what You had promised me. O Allah, they should not gain victory over us! " He then called his Companions and reproached them saying: "O you men who gave the oath of allegiance (bay`ah) on the day of Hudaybiyyah! O Allah, hasten to the aid of your Prophet!" It is also related that he cried out: "O supporters of the Messenger of Allah, O sons of the tribe of Khazraj!" He then commanded al-`Abbas to call the people together, and the Prophet's Companions came to him running. It is reported that the Prophet exclaimed: "Now the fighting has become fierce! I am the Prophet without doubt, I am the son of Abdu'l-Muttalib!"

Salamah ibn al-Akwa' reported that the Messenger of Allah then dismounted his mule, took a handful of dust and threw it at their faces saying: "May these faces be disgraced! " There was not a creature of Allah among them but that his eyes were filled with dust. Thus they turned and quickly fled. The Muslims followed them and slew them. Allah, moreover, granted the Muslims their women, children, livestock and wealth. Malik ibn `Awf fled to the stronghold of at-Ta'if with some of their notables. At that time, when they saw Allah's support and the great honour He bestowed on His religion, many of the people of Mecca became Muslims.

Aban reported on the authority of Abu `Abdillah (as-Sadiq) that the Messenger of Allah captured in the Battle of Hunayn four thousand head of cattle and twelve thousand she-camels, in addition to unknown quantities of other spoils. The Messenger of Allah left the booty, both wealth and captives, in a place called al-Ji'irranah (near Mecca). The Associators then split into two groups. The Bedouins and their followers went in the direction of Awtas. The tribe of Thaqif and their followers went to at-Ta'if. The Messenger of Allah then sent 'Abu `Amir al-Ash'ari to Awtas, where he fought until he fell in battle. His cousin Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (the famous Companion) took up the banner and fought until Allah granted him victory.

The Siege Of At-Ta'if

In the month of Shawwal of the year 8/630, the Messenger of Allah led an army to at-Ta'if, which he then besieged for about fifteen days. A man called Nafi` ibn Ghaylan ibn Mu'attab went out for battle with the Muslims with a number of horsemen of the tribe of Thaqif. 'Ali encountered him in the midst (batn) of Wajj (a valley in at-Ta'if). 'Ali killed him, and the Associators fled defeated. Some men and a number of their relatives came down from the stronghold of at-Ta'if to the Messenger of Allah; among them was Abu Bakrah, who was a slave to a man called al-Harith ibn Kaladah al-Munba'ith. Abu Bakrah was called `al-Mudtaji" (the man lying down), but the Apostle of Allah changed his name to `al-Munba'ith' (the man who was raised up). Another man was Wardan, who was a slave of `Abdullah ibn Rabi `ah. They both accepted Islam. When the peace delegation from at-Ta'if came to the Messenger of Allah, they too became Muslims and requested the Prophet to return the two slaves to them. "No", the Prophet said, "they are Allah's freemen."

Al-Waqidi reported from his masters that the Messenger of Allah consulted with his Companions regarding the fortress of at-Ta'if, and Salman the Persian suggested that he set up a mangonel against it. He thus ordered that one be made. It is reported that a man called Yazid ibn Zam'ah brought a mangonel and two battering engines. It is also reported that it was Khalid ibn Said who brought them. But the men of Thaqif threw hot iron bars at them which burnt one of the engines. The Messenger of Allah ordered that their vineyards be cut down and burnt. Sufyan ibn `Abdillah ath-Thaqafi, however, called out to him and said: "Why do you wish to cut down and burn our properties? You either seize them if you prevail over us, or you should leave them for Allah and for the sake of our blood relationship." The Apostle of Allah replied: "Rather, I leave them for Allah and for the sake of our blood relationship." He thus spared them. 

The Messenger of Allah sent 'Ali during the siege of at-Ta'if with men and horses and ordered him to break any idol he found. He was confronted by a large crowd of the tribe of Ithath'am. A man of the group came forth for single combat, challenging `Ali with the demand, "Is there any one to engage me in single combat?" No one took up the challenge. Finally `Ali stood up to face him, but `Abu'l`As ibn ar-Rabi ` (the husband of the Prophet's daughter) jumped up and asked `Ali: "Would you wish to be spared fighting him, O commander?" "No," he answered, "but if I am killed, you shall assume the leadership of the people." He then came forth to meet the man saying :

Duty is upon every chief,(either) to nourish his spear (with blood) or have it broken (in battle).

He then struck the man and slew him. He went on his way until he broke all the idols he saw and then returned to the Messenger of Allah while he was still besieging at-Ta'if. When he saw him, the Prophet cried out: "Allah is most great! " He then took `Ali and conferred with him alone.

It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdillah al-Ansari that when the Messenger of Allah took `Ali aside on the day of at-Ta'if, `Umar ibn al-Khattab came to him and said: "You confer with him alone and spend time alone with him instead of us!" The Prophet answered: "O `Umar, it is not I who chose him; rather Allah chose him." `Umar turned away saying: "This is the same as when you told us on the day of Hudaybiyyah: `You shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah wills, in safety, with your heads shaven (i.e., for consecration)' [Qur'an 48: 27] ; yet we have not entered it. Rather, we were prevented from approaching it." The Prophet called him back and said: "I did not say that you would enter it that year." When `Ali returned, the Apostle of Allah looked as though he was afraid (that 'Ali had returned defeated), and he stood up. A man called Said ibn `Ubayd exclaimed (slanderously): "Indeed, the quarter (to be conquered) still stands intact (i.e., 'Ali has returned without fulfilling his mission)." The Prophet retorted: "May you not be able to stand or have strength! " Sa'id immediately fell and broke his leg.

Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that the Messenger of Allah besieged the people of at-.Ta'if for thirty some days. He then departed from them without raising among them the call to prayer (as sign of victory). In the following Ramadan, however, a delegation from them came to him, and they accepted Islam.

The Messenger of Allah then returned to al-Ji'irranah, where he divided the booty which the Muslims had seized on the day of Hunayn. It was divided among `those whose hearts were reconciled' of the people of Quraysh, [57] and the rest of the Arabs; but nothing at all went to the Ansar. It is, reported, however, that the Prophet allotted a small share to the Ansar, but gave the largest portion to the Hypocrites.

Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that the Prophet gave Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and his son Mu'awiyah a hundred camels each. He also gave a hundred camels each to Hakim ibn Hizam of the tribe of Asad ibn `Abdi'l-`Uzza ibn Qusayy, an Nadir ibn al-Harith ibn Kaladah, al-Harith ibn Hisham of the Banu Makhzum, Jubayr ibn Mut'im of the tribe of Banu Nawfal ibn `Abd Manaf, and Malik ibn `Awf an-Nasri. These men were thus known as `the people of the one hundred.' It is also reported that he gave `Alqamah ibn `Ulathah, al-Aqra` ibn Habis and `Uyaynah ibn Hisn a hundred camels each. But he gave a man called al-`Abbas ibn Mirdas only four, which he disdained with manifest displeasure, reciting the following verse:

Would you then make my share of the booty like that of slaves,Even less than those of `Uyaynah and al-Aqra `!Yet neither Hisn nor Habis Ever excelled Mirdas in the assembly,Nor was I ever below any man of their status;Yet whomever you debase today will never be raised up.

In battle I was indeed a man of courage;Still I was given nothing, nor was I protected.

Hearing of this, the Apostle of Allah said to him: "Are you the man who said, `Would you then make my share of the booty even less than that of the slaves al-Aqra` and `Uyaynah?' " Abu Bakr observed: "May my father and mother be a ransom for you, you are not a poet!" (that is, the Prophet broke the rhyme). The Messenger of Allah asked: "How did he recite?" Abu Bakr then recited al`Abbas's verses to him. Then addressing 'Ali, the Prophet ordered, "Go and cut off al-`Abbas's tongue!"

Al-`Abbas, relating the incident, said: "This command was, by Allah, for me harder to bear even than the day of Khath'am. 'Ali took me by the hand and led me away. I said, `O 'Ali, will you cut off my tongue?' `I shall do with you as I was commanded', he answered. Thus we went until he brought me into the stables. He then said to me, `Take for yourself, excluding the four you have already received, the remainder of a hundred.' I said: `May my father and mother be a ransom for you; how generous, clement, noble and endowed with great knowledge are you (the Prophet and his family)!' He said to me, `The Messenger of Allah gave you only four camels, thus counting you among the Immigrants. If you wish, take them, or else take the one hundred. You would then be one of the people of the one hundred.'. I replied, `O 'Ali, is this what you advise me?' He answered: `I enjoin you to take what he has given you and be contented.' `I will indeed do so', said I"

It is reported that a group of the Ansar were angered by what the Prophet did. Vile words issued from their mouths, so that one of them said: "The man has favored his own family and cousins, yet we are the people who have endured every hardship." When the Messenger of Allah learnt of what the Ansar were thinking, he ordered them all to assemble, without anyone joining them. He came to them as though in great rage, with 'Ali following behind, and sat in their midst. He began to reproach them saying: "Did I not come to you while you were on the brink of a pit of fire, and Allah delivered you from it through me?" "Yes", they answered, "to Allah and His Apostle belong all the favour and magnanimity toward us." He went on: "Did I not come to you while you were enemies, and He reconciled your hearts?" "Yes indeed," they replied. He said: "Did I not come to you while you were few in number, and Allah increased you through me?" [58] He thus reproached them as Allah had wished; then he fell silent. After a while, he asked, "Will you not answer me?" "Yes", they said, "we shall answer you, O Apostle of Allah. May our fathers and mothers be a ransom for you, to you belong all magnanimity, generosity and favour toward us."

The Prophet answered: "No, rather if you so wish you could say, `You came to us rejected and driven out by your people, yet we sheltered you and believed you. You came to us frightened, yet we gave you security.' " They raised their voices to him entreatingly, and their chiefs rose and kissed his hands and feet and knees. They exclaimed: "We are pleased with Allah and His Apostle. This is our wealth and property; divide them among your people, if you so wish!" He replied: "O people of the Ansar, are you displeased because I have divided some wealth unevenly in order that I may reconcile some men, and yet I left you to your faith? Are you not happy that others return with sheep and cattle, when you and the Messenger of Allah return with your portion?" He then declared: "The Ansar are my trusted people and keepers of my secrets! If other people would traverse an easy valley, and the Ansar choose a hard terrain, I would walk with the Ansar. O Allah, forgive the Ansar, their children and the children of their children!"

It is reported that among the women who were captured was the Prophet's sister (in nursing), the daughter of Halimah. She stood before him and exclaimed: "O Muhammad, your sister is a captive! " The Messenger of Allah took off his outer garment and spread it for her to sit on. He then bent down and began to console her. She used to carry him in her arms while her mother nursed him.

A delegation met the Messenger of Allah in al-Ji'irranah where they accepted Islam. They said: "O Apostle of Allah, we are a people of well-known lineage, and we are a large tribe. You know well what tribulations we have endured. Bestow upon us some favour, therefore; may Allah bestow His favour upon you! " Their spokesman, Zuhayr ibn Sard, then stood up and said: "O Apostle of Allah, had we been so kind to al-Harith ibn Abi Shimr and an-Nu'man ibn al-Mundhir, and if they had vanquished us as you had, he (an-Nu'man) would have pitied us and bestowed his bounty upon us. You are the best of those who care for others. You know that among the captives are your maternal aunts, your nurses and the daughters of your nurses. We do not ask you for any wealth, but we do ask you for them." The Messenger of Allah had, however, already divided them among the people. But when his sister spoke to him, he said: "As for my share as well as the shares of the sons of `Abdu'l Muttalib, they are yours. As for those whom the Muslims took, you may use me in interceding for them."

After they had offered the noon prayers, the Prophet's nursing sister rose and spoke, and the people spoke also. Everyone gave her their women captives, except al-Aqra' ibn Habis and `Uyaynah ibn Hisn. They refused saying: "O Apostle of Allah, these people have captured some of our women, and we too have captured some of their women." The Messenger of Allah cast lots for them and prayed, "O Allah, let their lot be lost." Thus one of them won a servant of the clan of `Aqil and the other a servant of the clan of Numayr. When they saw this, they gave what they had withheld (in exchange for what they had won). It is reported that had the women not fallen into the shares of other people, he would have given them all to her, as he did with those who did not fall into anyone's share. But because they were included in the shares of the booty of the people, he did not wish to take them back except with their consent.

It is reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Anyone of you who gives up his rightful booty shall have six shares from the first booty we seize. Return, therefore, to the people their women and children." His sister, likewise, spoke to him on behalf of Malik ibn `Awf, and he said: "If he comes to me, he shall have my pledge of security." When Malik came to him, he fulfilled his promise and gave him a hundred camels.

It is reported by az-Zuhri on the authority of Abu Said al-Khudri who said: "As we were sitting around the Messenger of Allah while he was dividing the booty, a man of the tribe of Tamim called Dhu 'I-Khuwaysirah came to him and said: `O Apostle of Allah, divide with justice!' He answered: `Alas for you, who shall act justly if I do not act justly? For I will fail and lose if I do not act justly.' `Umar ibn al-Khattab said: `O Apostle of Allah, give me permission that I may cut off his head!' The Messenger of Allah replied: `Let him go, people; he shall have certain Companions beside whose prayers anyone of you would look at his prayers with disdain, and would disdain his fasting beside their fasting. However, they will recite the Qur'an, but it will not penetrate further than their throats. They shall as easily slip out of Islam as would an arrow from its bow. It is as though a man would then look at the shafts (of his arrows), but find nothing. He would then look at the quivers of his arrows, but would find nothing. He would also look at his arrows before being sharpened, but would also find nothing.

Finally, he would look at the tips of his arrows, but would find nothing there. Yet, his arrow would penetrate faster than the flow of excrement and blood. Their sign shall be a black man whose arm shall be like a woman's breast, or like a piece of flesh as it shakes up and down. They shall rise against the best group among men." [59] Abu Said said: "I bear witness that I heard this from the Apostle of Allah. I also testify that `Ali ibn Abi Talib fought against them while I was with him. The man described by the Prophet was brought, and I looked at him. I found him to be exactly as the Messenger of Allah had described." [60]

Then the Messenger of Allah rode away and the people followed him demanding: "O Apostle of Allah, give us our share of the booty! " They thus continued until they brought him to the foot of a tree. He then took off his garment and said: "O people, give me back my garment! For by Him in Whose hand is my soul, had I possessed the number of all the trees of the earth in cattle, I would have divided them among you. You would have never found me miserly, or a coward." He then went to a camel and took a hair from its hump, which he held between his fingers and said: "O people, by Allah, I do not possess of your booty even as much as this hair, except the fifth, and the fifth shall be returned to you. Give over then even the needle and thread, for hiding things is a shame for those who are guilty of it, an offence whose punishment shall be the Fire on the Day of Resurrection."

A man came to the Prophet with a ball of hair threads. He said: "O Apostle of Allah, I took this to sew the saddle of my camel." The Messenger of Allah answered: "As for my share of it, it is yours." The man said: "If the matter is so grave, I have no need of it." He then threw it down from his hand.

The Messenger of Allah left al-Ji'irranah in Dhu'lQi'dah for Mecca, where he performed the lesser pilgrimage, after which he left for Medina. He left as his representative in Mecca Mu'adh ibn Jabal. Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that the Prophet left as his representative `Attab ibn Usayd, but that he left Mu'adh with him to instruct the people in the principles of the Faith and to teach them the Qur'an. `Attab ibn Usayd led the people in that year, which was the eighth year of the Hijrah, in the rites of the pilgrimage.

The Prophet remained in Medina from the month of Dhu 'l-Hijjah to Rajab (that is, the last month of year 8 to the seventh month of the following year).