28. Double Tragedy
The Muslims of Madina had just finished a gruelling battle against the Makkans as they defended Madina from their aggression. The Muslims suffered some losses and were forced to retreat when the Makkans made a counter strike, just as the Muslims were winning the battle. The archers who were defending the rear side of the Muslim forces had left their post, thinking that the battle was over. The Makkan cavalry saw this weakness and quickly exploited it causing havoc in the Muslims ranks.
However, the Muslims had managed to regroup and rally around the Prophet (pbuh). They even chased after the Makkan army in case they change their minds and returned to fight the Muslims again.
The news of the Muslim’s ‘defeat’ had reached Madina and there were many groups who were ecstatic about the Muslim losses. The two main groups were the Jews of Madina and the Hypocrites. Both of these groups had enjoyed the peace Islam had brought to Madina but deep down they wanted nothing more than the Muslims to be crushed by the Makkans.
The Jews openly expressed their happiness of the Muslim losses and took this opportunity to invent lies against the Prophet (pbuh). They began to say that Muhammad (pbuh) was no more than an impostor and began to say some nasty things against him.
The hypocrites in Madina celebrated the defeat of the Muslims at Uhud. They openly boasted that they had walked away from the battlefield even though this had been a cowardly act. They encourage the people in Madina to leave Islam saying that Muhammad (pbuh) was no more than a normal leader. However, the Muslims knew better – he was the true messenger of Allah for all humanity.
One of the results of Uhud was that many tribes around Madina were now thinking about attacking the Muslims and began planning their own raids on Madina. Previously, the Muslims had seemed invincible but now this image had been shattered in their minds. This ill-will and hostility had become a major menace to peace in Madina.
When finally the heroic Muslims returned to Madina; this was the atmosphere they were welcomed with. They were utterly exhausted by the fighting and the long marches they endured. Many of the Muslims were injured and nursing wounds. However, despite this, they were ready to defend Islam and their community by following the command of their beloved Prophet (pbuh).
The news reached the Prophet (pbuh) that the Bedouins were recruiting an army to attack Madina. The Prophet (pbuh) immediately despatched a small force to face this new enemy. About 150 Muslims were despatched under the leadership of Abu Salamah. When the Bedouins heard the news that a Muslim army had been sent, they immediately ran away leaving everything behind.
In this whole episode, the only casualty was Abu Salamah who had been injured at Uhud. His injuries became infected and the wounds opened up. He was in urgent need of medical attention. Despite the best efforts and care provided by his Muslim companions, the injuries were too great and soon Abu Salamah passed away. He had been a well-respected, loved and pious Muslim.
There were other such small skirmishes that had similar results. Before very long, the forces hostile to the Muslims had been beaten and peace was restored. However, this peace wouldn’t last long and was shattered by two horrific events of treachery and deceit. These events saw a new type of evil which led to the death of some very pious and learned Muslims.
A mixed delegation came to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) requesting him to send some Muslims to teach their tribes about Islam. After considering their request, Muhammad (pbuh) sent with them some knowledgeable Muslims. However, this delegation had no intention of learning about Islam from these Muslims but had other more sinister motives.
As the small group reached a place called al-Raji. The tribe of Abu Lihyan were already waiting to ambush the Muslims with 100 archers. The tribe attacked the Muslims who were all killed in the fighting apart from two Muslims – Khubaib and Zaid bin Ad Dathna. The tribes arrested these two Muslim so that they could sell them to the Makkans.
These prisoners knew that the Makkans would not show them any mercy or compassion and they would be facing death soon. The Makkans would take revenge on them for the deaths of their comrades in the battle of Badr. Both these Muslims had fought in the battle against the Makkans at Badr. The Makkan tribes would be ready to pay a handsome price so that they could witness the death of this two brave youngsters.
On arrival in Makkah, Khubaib was the first to be taken for crucifixion to a place outside Makkah called at Tan’im. They allowed Khubaib to make a final prayer and he prayed two Rakahs. He turned to the executioner after salah and said that he would have prayed longer but he did not want them to think that he was afraid to die.
Abu Sufyan stepped forward and asked “Would you not wish that Muhammad (pbuh) was here and you were safe with your family?” Khubaib replied that he wish that Muhammad wasn’t even hurt by a thorn whilst he (Khubaib) was safe with his family! Abu Safyan was shocked at how much love and respect the people had for Muhammad (pbuh).
Zaid bin Ad Dathna was purchased and murdered by Safwan bin Omaiyah in revenge for the death of his father. This was another cold-blooded execution that saw the end of another pious Muslims at the hands of the Makkans.
Shortly after this appalling incident at al-Raji, another delegation came to visit the Muslims in Madina. Their spokesman, Abu Bara, requested that a small group of Muslims should be sent to the people of Najd to teach them about Islam This time Abu Bara gave his personal protection and promise to the Prophet (pbuh) saying that the Muslims would not be hurt.
The Prophet (pbuh) initially was very reluctant and concerned that there might be sinister motives behind this request. The death of the last group of Muslims was still fresh in everyone’s mind.
After much consultation and guarantees of protection from Abu Bara who headed this delegation, the Prophet (pbuh) decided to send forty or so Muslims to teach the people of Najd about Islam. On the way, they passed through the locality of Bani Saleem and Bani ‘Amir. This tribe did not honour the guarantee and protection given by Abu Bara and decided to attack the Muslim. They were encouraged by Amir bin at-Tufail to quickly armed themselves and lay waiting for the Muslims.
The Muslims were unaware of any possible hostilities. They would travel during the day and pray during the night. They were a very peaceful and learned people, many of whom had learned directly from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Bani Saleem attacked this peaceful group at a place near Ma’una well. This time the enemy had no intention of taking Muslims prisoners but instead wanted to murder them all.
The Muslims were on a peace mission to teach about Islam and were not prepared for battles. However, they fought of these aggressors with the customary bravery and acts of great heroism. However, this bigger and well-armed army overpowered them.
The fact that the protection offered by Abu Bara had not been enforced was also a shock which went against the honour of Arabs. The Muslims were now reeling from this second shameless act of aggression.
Amr bin Omaiyah and Al-Mundir bin Ubayah were two of the survivors from this group of Sahabah who returned to Madina with this bad news. He had been tending to the sheep whilst this battle took place. When he returned, he saw the carnage that had taken place. However, as he returned to Madina, he attacked and killed two men from Bani Kilab. He was angry that their tribe had been involved in the massacre of the unarmed and peaceful Muslims.
This was also a grave mistake especially because these two people were returning from Madina under the Prophet’s protection. The news of this massacre of the Muslims reached Madina; they were utterly devastated by the loss of these innocent lives. When the news of the death of two innocent people reached the Prophet (pbuh), he was very angry with Amr. The Prophet (pbuh) decided to pay the blood money in compensation for the death of these two innocent victims.
The Muslims and the Jews had an agreement that they would jointly pay the blood money when the need arose. The Prophet (pbuh) decided to visit Bani Nadeer to collect this money. Little did anyone know that the Bani Nadeer would try and action their own plan trying to kill the Prophet.
What would happen with this fragile peace that existed in Madina? Would Bani Nadeer succeed in their sinister plan and how would the Muslim community react to such an act of treachery? The Bani Nadeer were no weak tribe who had much support from groups inside Madina as well as outside communities – would they call for an all out war against the Muslims?
All will be revealed next time, Insha’Allah