31. Beyond Khandak.
The Muslims had just managed to drive away one of the biggest armies they had ever faced. This army had the sole intention of crushing the Muslims of Madina and ending the religion of Islam. The Muslims had strengthened their defences by digging a huge trench that stopped the enemy in their tracks. The army tried its best to cross and attack Madina but the Muslims fought them off with their customary bravery.
Bani Quraizah lived within Madina and towards the end of the battle; they joined the ranks of the enemy to fight against the Muslims. This opened a second front against the Muslims. These actions considerably weakened the Muslims and could easily have caused the downfall of Madina. Bani Quraizah had a treaty with the Muslims of working together to defend Madina against any aggressors. They had broken this treaty at its most critical time.
The army of the kuffar became divided and Allah sent strong winds which destroyed their resolve to fight the Muslims. The army departed the following morning leaving Bani Quraizah to face the consequences of their treachery.
As the Muslims returned to their homes, the Angel Jibrael came to the Prophet (pbuh) and told him to join the angels in fighting against the Bani Quraizah. The Angels went ahead to shake Bani Quraizah, putting fear into their hearts. The Muslims followed behind to fight them because of their treachery and breach of the treaty.
The Prophet (pbuh) gathered all the Muslims and announced to make immediate preparation for battle. The Muslims began to quickly gather their forces and head towards Bani Quraizah. The Prophet (pbuh) appointed Ali head the army into battle.
The Muslims marched to Bani Quraizah’s quarters, which was a fortified city. It would be difficult to fight Bani Quraizah there because it was well protected and had ample supplies that could last for many months. Bani Quraizah had plenty of weaponry and armed men, which would make them a formidable opponent for any army.
The Muslims laid siege to the Bani Quraizah’s quarters with many short skirmishes taking place. Bani Quraizah considered the options available to them and decided to speak to some of the Muslims who had maintained good relationship with them in the past. Bani Quraizah invited Abu Lubaba to their quarters and put on a display of despair. The crying and mourning of the people moved Abu Lubaba so when Bani Quraizah asked him what would happen to them, he pointed to his throat. This signalled that they would be killed in this ensuing battle and its aftermath.
Abu Lubaba immediately realised his mistake and went to the Prophet’s mosque. He tied himself to the wooden post and refused to leave until Allah forgave him for his mistake of leaking information. He remained there for a few days and would only be untied by his wife for prayers and eating food.
The siege had lasted for a few days now and Bani Quraizah were very worried about the possible outcome. They considered all the options available to them. They considered killing all their women and children so that they had nothing to live for. Then they would fight to the death. They also thought about launching a surprise attack on the Saturday, which was normally a day that Jews would not fight. They also considered becoming Muslims so that they could be freed from their previous sins.
They were indecisive so they spoke to the Muslims and asked for a truce. They wanted someone to be judge between the two parties in this situation. Sa’d bin Muadh was proposed and both sides accepted him as judge. Both parties would be bound by his decision. In the past, Sa’d bin Muadh was a great ally of Bani Quraizah and was known to be a just and wise person. However, he was not present because he had been injured in the battle of the trenches.
Sa’d was escorted to the battlefield still very weak and ill from his wounds. He insisted on both parties to abide by his judgement, regardless of whose favour it would be in. After considering the situation, he judged that Bani Quraizah should be put to death for their treachery and double-crossing during the battle of the trenches. All the men should be put to death and the women and children should be sold into slavery. This judgment was made in accordance to the law of the Tawrah.
This command was carried out and Bani Quraizah no longer remained a part of Madina. The women and children were sold into slavery, which was the final end to the whole incident. The Muslims then finally rested after these hectic and testing weeks of battle.
After Bani Quraizah affair, an important chapter was closed in the history of Islam. Many people who had created problems and friction within Madina were finally banished. The armies of Arabia had been soundly defeated and the Muslims had gained a great victory. There had not been many deaths in the incident but one casualty was Sa’d bin Muadh who died from the wounds that were inflicted during the battle of the trench.
There were still many hostile tribes around Madina and many more deep in Arabia who were a menace to lasting peace. They were already amassing forces to ambush Muslims and attack Madina. The Prophet (pbuh) sent a number of small forces, which often resulted in no battles but acted as a deterrent to the rest of the Arabs. There were a few incidents in which there were small skirmishes between the Muslims and different tribes.
The only remaining ‘enemies’ within Madina were the Hypocrites. They had lost all hope of seeing the Muslims beaten in combat against any army in Arabia. They had seen the biggest army ever raised against the Muslims and even they were unsuccessful. However, the hypocrites continued their mischief making, trying to cause friction and division between the Muslims.
There was one particular incident that caused a lot of grievances within the Muslim community. It all began during the Bani Mustalliq expedition when a Muslim force was sent to face an amassing army. During this expedition, Aisha was accompanying the Prophet (pbuh). The expedition was a success and the enemy retreated leaving much of the war booty behind. Soon the victorious Muslims were making the long march back to Madina.
One their return journey, the Muslims would camp during the night and travel during the day. When they reached close to Madina, they setup camp. Aisha had gone to answer the call of nature and had managed to lose the necklace she was wearing. When she returned, she realised that the necklace was missing and decided to return quickly before the caravan left.
It was quite a distance and when she retuned to the camp, the caravan had already departed for Madina. She was devastated and hoped that someone would come back for her when they discovered she was missing. They had loaded her litter, which was there for her privacy; on top of the camel without realising she wasn’t inside it.
As Aisha waited patiently at the location of the old camp, she soon fell asleep. Luckily, Safwan bin Mu’athal was coming behind the army and saw Aisha waiting in the desert. He recognised Aisha and escorted her back to Madina. Aisha sat on the camel that was led by Safwan who walked without saying a word.
As soon as Aisha returned to Madina, the Hypocrites started to spread vicious rumours about Aisha, slurring her good name. She was ill and bed ridden so was unaware of these slandering rumours that had circulated about her character. When she felt better, she went to see her parents after learning about the rumours from a woman named ume-Mistah. She was shocked that anyone could doubt her character, after all she was the wife of the Prophet (pbuh).
When she was asked about the events, she replied that she would leave it in Allah’s hands and He would clear her name. She was heart broken that anyone could think about her in that way and she shed many tears. Soon a verse from the Qur’an was revealed which cleared her name. The whole community was overjoyed and the rumours were put to rest.
Some of the Muslims involved in spreading the rumours were whipped for defaming the name of an innocent person. The main culprit was Abdullah bin Ubai who was also the leader of the Hypocrites. He managed to escape from punishment, even though he had spread the rumours to all quarters of Madina. The prescribed punishment in the Qur’an is reserved for him in the hereafter.
A short while after this unfortunate episode finished, the Prophet (pbuh) had a dream in which he and his companions were performing the Umrah. In his dream, they were shaving their hair and completing the Umrah. This brought great joy to the Prophet (pbuh) who had left Makkan six long years ago. He had dearly missed Makkah and the Holy Ka’bah.
The Prophet (pbuh) told the Sahabah about the dream, which was a sign that they would be performing the Umrah to the holy city. Everyone was excited and many people began to make preparations to join the Prophet (pbuh) in this Umrah. They gathered all their essentials for the journey as well as the sacrificial animals for this pilgrimage.
Fifteen hundred Muslims set off from Madina to make the pilgrimage. They were not armed for battle but only had swords for self-defence as was customary. Their swords remained in their sheaths, which was an indication of the peaceful nature of their journey.
Makkah was still a few days of travelling away when the Quraish learned that the Muslims were coming towards Makkah. They sent out spies to investigate the reason why the Muslims were coming. The spies returned with the news that the Muslims were there for peaceful reasons. They explained that the Muslims were not armed and had their animals for the sacrifice. They advised them to allow the Muslims to come in peace and perform the pilgrimage.
The Makkans were already opposed to the Muslims and they were determined not to let the Muslims enter into Makkah. They called for Khalid bin Walid to lead a force into battle against the Muslims. They dispatched him immediately at the head of 200 horsemen with the intention of stopping the Muslims. Under no circumstances were the Muslims allowed to enter Makkah.
Khalid was no ordinary commander; he was very brave and skilled in battle. He wasted no time in heading for the unarmed Muslim pilgrims. What would be the outcome of this encounter? All will be revealed next time, Insha’Allah.