Senior Jeopardy 2020
EARLY MUSLIM BATTLES & TREATY OF HUDAIBIAH
BATTLE OF BADR
For the first 13 years of Islam, despite intense persecution, the Muslims did not fight Quraysh. Once in Medina, the Prophet Muhammad received a revelation giving the Muslims permission to respond militarily. In the two years after the emigration, the encounters between the two groups were small skirmishes and raids. In Ramadan of 624 CE, this changed.
That year, the Prophet Muhammad received information that Quraysh had a large caravan returning from Syria to Mecca. The Muslims planned to raid the caravan in retaliation for Quraysh’s taking the property that Muslims could not take with them to Medina. The Prophet Muhammad did not intend to go to battle. Abu Sufyan, one of the Meccan leaders who was with the caravan, received word of the plan for the raid and called on the Meccans to send troops to protect the caravan.
Before the Prophet decided to fight the Meccans, he consulted his followers who were made of up Muslims who emigrated from Mecca (called muhajirun) and Muslims from Medina (called ansar). He waited for the support of the Muslims from Medina because the Constitution of Medina that they signed on to did not include fighting outside of Medina. Once he received their support, the Prophet Muhammad decided to engage in battle.
At the wells of Badr, the Muslims and the Meccans met for battle. The Muslims were outnumbered by the Meccans 3 to 1. The battle began with an Arab tradition where each side sends out warriors to fight each other. Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law and cousin, Hamza, the Prophet’s uncle, and Ubayda, a companion of the Prophet from his clan, represented the Muslims and defeated the Meccan warriors. The battle then began and ended with a decisive victory for the Muslims.
This victory was important in Islamic history because it gave the Muslims a boost in morale. They saw this victory as a sign from God. This view was further supported by verses in the Qur’an. One example is verses 123-125 in chapter 3:
Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus may ye show your gratitude. Remember thou saidst to the Faithful: Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (specially) sent down? “Yea”? if ye remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels making a terrific onslaught.
The term "gratitude" may be a reference to discipline. At Badr, the Muslim forces had allegedly maintained firm discipline, whereas at Uhud they broke ranks to pursue the Meccans, allowing Meccan cavalry to flank and rout their army. The idea of Badr as a furqan, an Islamic miracle, is mentioned again in the same surah.
Quran: Al Imran 3:13 (Yusuf Ali). "There has already been for you a Sign in the two armies that met (in combat): One was fighting in the cause of Allah, the other resisting Allah; these saw with their own eyes Twice their number. But Allah doth support with His aid whom He pleaseth. In this is a warning for such as have eyes to see."
Badr is also the subject of Sura 8: Al-Anfal, which details military conduct and operations. "Al-Anfal" means "the spoils" and is a reference to the post-battle discussion in the Muslim army over how to divide up the plunder from the Quraishi army. Though the Sura does not name Badr, it describes the battle, and several of the verses are commonly thought to have been from or shortly after the battle.
In these verses, the Muslims were told that their victory was a result of God’s intervention, sending thousands of angels to fight with the Muslims. This battle was also significant because it established the Muslims as a formidable force in Arabia.
The importance of this battle in the history of Islam continues into the present day. In fact, several military operations in the last 50 years were named after this battle because it signifies victory. “Operation Badr,” for example, was used by the Egyptian army in 1973. Thus, the Battle of Badr is an important event in the history of Islam and continues to have relevance for Muslims everywhere.
BATTLE OF UHUD
The second battle between Muslims and the Makkans, the Battle of Uhud is seen in Islam as evidence that victory is never guaranteed, disobedience and greed cause defeat, and neither defeat nor victory are permanent. The Makkans were a society described as being rife with vices and oppression, perversion, and ignorance. Another lesson Muslims take from the Battle of Uhud is obedience to Prophet Muhammad, for without it, as the archers in this battle experienced, there are negative consequences.
In A.D. 625, the Muslims of Madinah learned a difficult lesson during the Battle of Uhud. When attacked by an invading army from Makkah, it initially looked like the small group of defenders would win the battle. But at a key moment, some fighters disobeyed orders and left their posts out of greed and pride, ultimately causing the Muslim army a crushing defeat.
The Muslims Are Outnumbered
After the Muslims' migration from Makkah, the powerful Makkan tribes assumed that the small group of Muslims would be without protection or strength. Two years after the Hijrah (the migration of Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Makkah to Yathrib), the Makkan army attempted to eliminate the Muslims in the Battle of Badr. The Muslims showed that they could fight against the odds and defend Madinah from invasion. After that humiliating defeat, the Makkan army chose to come back in full force to wipe out the Muslims for good.
They set out from Makkah with an army of 3,000 fighters, led by Abu Sufyan. The Muslims gathered to defend Madinah from invasion with a small band of 700 fighters, led by Prophet Muhammad himself. The Makkan cavalry outnumbered the Muslim cavalry with a 50-to-1 ratio. The two mismatched armies met at the slopes of Mount Uhud, just outside the city of Madinah.
Defensive Position Taken at Mount Uhud
Using Madinah's natural geography as a tool, the Muslim defenders took up positions along the slopes of Mount Uhud. The mountain itself prevented the attacking army from penetrating from that direction. The Prophet Muhammad assigned about 50 archers to take up post on a nearby rocky hill to prevent the vulnerable Muslim army from attack at the rear. This strategic decision was meant to protect the Muslim army from being surrounded or encircled by the opposing cavalry. The archers were under orders to never leave their positions under any circumstances unless ordered to do so.
The Shifting Battle
After a series of individual duels, the two armies engaged. The confidence of the Makkan army quickly began to dissolve as Muslim fighters worked their way through their lines. The Makkan army was pushed back, and all attempts to attack the flanks were thwarted by the Muslim archers on the hillside. Soon, Muslim victory appeared certain. At that critical moment, many of the archers disobeyed orders and ran down the hill to claim the spoils of war. This left the Muslim army vulnerable and shifted the outcome of the battle.
As the Muslim archers abandoned their posts out of greed, the Makkan cavalry found their opening. They attacked the Muslims from the rear and cut off groups from one another. Some engaged in hand-to-hand combat, while others tried to retreat to Madinah. Rumors of the Prophet Muhammad's death caused confusion. The Muslims were overrun, and many were injured and killed.
The remaining Muslims retreated to the hills of Mount Uhud, which the Makkan cavalry could not ascend. The battle ended, and the Makkan army withdrew.
The Aftermath and Lessons Learned
Nearly 70 prominent early Muslims were killed in the Battle of Uhud, including Hamza bin Abdul-Mutallib and Musab ibn Umayr. They were buried on the battlefield, which is now marked as the graveyard of Uhud. The Prophet Muhammad was also injured in the fighting.
The Battle of Uhud taught the Muslims important lessons about greed, military discipline, and humility. After their previous success at the Battle of Badr, many had thought that victory was guaranteed and a sign of Allah's favor. A verse of the Quran was revealed soon after the battle that chastised the Muslims' disobedience and greed as the reason for defeat. Allah describes the battle as both a punishment and a test of their steadfastness.
"Allah did indeed fulfill His promise to you when you, with His permission, were about to annihilate your enemy, until you flinched and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight [of the booty] which you covet. Among you are some that hanker after this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then did He divert you from your foes in order to test you. But He forgave you, For Allah is full of grace to those who believe." (Quran 3 (Al-Imran):152)
However, the Makkan victory was not complete. They were not able to achieve their ultimate aim, which was to destroy the Muslims once and for all. Rather than feeling demoralized, the Muslims found inspiration in the Quran and reinforced their commitment. The two armies would meet again at the Battle of the Trench two years later.
THE BATTLE OF KHANDAQ (MOAT) OR AHZAB
Upon settling down at Khaybar, the Banu Nadhir decided to seek revenge against the Muslims. They contacted the Meccans, and 20 leaders from the Jews and 50 from the Quraish made covenant in the Ka'bah that so long as they lived, they would fight Muhammad. Then the Jews and the Quraish contacted their allies and sent emissaries to a number of tribes. Banu Ghatfan, Banu Asad, Banu Aslam, Banu Ashja', Banu Kinanah and Banu Fizarah readily responded and the coalition contributed ten thousand soldiers who marched upon Medina under the command of Abu Sufyan.
When news of these preparations reached Medina, the Holy Prophet consulted his companions. Salman al-Farsi advised to dig a moat on the unprotected side of Medina.
Muslims were divided into parties of 10, and each party was allotted 10 yards to dig. The Holy Prophet himself participated in this task. The khandaq (moat) was completed in nick of time: just 3 days before the host of the enemies reached Medina. The Muslims could muster only three thousand men to face this huge army.
Banu Nadhir, met secretly with Banu Quraizah, a Jewish tribe still in Medina. Banu Quraizah tore up the treaty, which they had signed with the Muslims. This treachery and danger from inside Medina, when Muslims were surrounded by the combined armies of pagans and Jews of all of Arabia on the outside, had a telling effect on the Muslims. The enemy was astonished to see the moat because it was a new thing for the Arabs. They camped on the outside for 27 (or 24) days. Their number increased day by day, and many Muslims were extremely terrified, as the Qur'an gives us the picture. Surah al-Ahzab describes various aspects of this siege.
For example, see the following verses form Surah Al-Azab:
When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes turned dull, and the hearts rose up to the throats, you began to think diverse thoughts about Allah. There, the believers were tried, and they were shaken a tremendous shaking. (Qur'an 33:10-11)
At that time, many hypocrites, and even some Muslims, asked permission to leave the rank of the Muslims and to return to their homes:
And when a party of them said: O people of Yathrib! There is no place for you to stand, and a party of them asked permission of the Prophet saying: Verily our houses are exposed, and they were not exposed; they only desired to fee away. (Qur'an, 33:13)
The bulk of the army, however, steadfastly bore up the hardship of inclement weather and rapidly depleting provisions. The coalition's army hurled arrows and stones at the Muslims.
The Holy Prophet went to the place where the Mosque of Victory (Masjid-ul-Fath) now stands and prayed to Allah. A fierce storm raged which uprooted the tents of the enemies; their pots and belongings went flying in all directions; an unbearable terror was cast in their ranks. The Meccans and the pagan tribes fled away. The first to flee was Abu Sufyan himself who was so upset that he tried to ride his camel without first untying its rope. This episode is referred to in the Qur'an:
O ye who believe! Remember the bounty of Allah unto you when came upon you the hosts, so We sent against them a strong wind and hosts that ye saw not: and Allah is seeing all what you do (Qur'an, 33:9)
And God turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not achieve any advantage, and Allah sufficed for the believers infighting, and Allah is Strong, Mighty. (Qur'an, 33:25)
As a direct result of this defeat of the infidels' combined forces in the Battle of Ahzab, the influence of the Quraish waned, and those, tribes who were till then hesitating to accept Islam out of their fear of Quraish began to send deputations to the Prophet. The first deputation came from the tribe of Mazinah, and it consisted of four hundred persons. They not only accepted Islam but also were ready to settle down at Medina. The Prophet advised them to return to their homes.
Likewise, a deputation of a hundred persons came from the Ashja' and embraced Islam. The tribes of Juhainah lived near them and were influenced by their conversion. One thousand of their men came to Medina.
Elimination of the Bann Quraizah
According to the terms of the treaty which the Banu Quraizah had contracted with the Muslims, they were bound to assist the Muslims against outside aggression. But, not to speak of assisting the Muslims or even remaining neutral, they had sided with the Meccans and joined the besieging foe. What was worse, they had tried to -attack the fortress where Muslim women and children had been lodged for safety. Living in such a close proximity to Medina, they had become a serious menace.
As soon as the siege of their own town was lifted, the Muslims surrounded the Banu Quraizah's fortress. For some time they resisted but they ultimately opened the gates of their fortresses on the condition that their fate should be decided by Sa'd ibn Ma'adh, chief of the Aws. Basing his judgement upon Jewish law, Sa'd ruled that the fighting men should be killed and their women and children made captive. but some of them came to the Prophet; he granted them safety and they embraced Islam. He exiled all the Jews from Medina. It was in this connection that the following ayats were revealed:
And He drove down those of the people of the Book who backed them from their fortresses, and He cast awe into their hearts: some you killed and you took captive another part (of them). And He made you inherit their land and their dwellings and their properties, and (to) a land which ye have not yet trodden, and God has power over all things. (Qur'an, 33:26-27)
THE TREATY OF HUDAIBIAH AND THE PLEDGE OF RIDHWAN
In Dhul-Qa'dah, 6 A.H., the Prophet decided to perform the 'umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) to the Ka'bah which had been till then denied to the Muslims due to the hostility of the Meccans. Fourteen hundred Muhajirun and Ansar showed readiness to go with him. Lest there be any misgivings in any quarter about his intentions, he directed the Muslims not to carry any arms other than swords, and he himself put on the robes of ihram and took up camels to sacrifice.
The Muslims camped at Hudaibiyah, ten miles from Mecca. An envoy was sent to the Meccans to obtain-their permission for visiting the Ka'bah but it was rejected. Instead, the Meccans collected a force to prevent the Muslims from entering Mecca. The Quraish sent Budayl of the tribe of Khuza'ah, to tell the Prophet that he was not allowed to visit the Ka'bah. The Prophet said that he had not gone there to fight but to perform the pilgrimage.
Ultimately, 'Uthman (who belonged to the same clan to which Abu Sufyan belonged) was sent to persuade the Quraish to allow the Muslims to visit the Ka'bah. News came that 'Uthman had been killed by the Quraish. The Muslims took a pledge on the hands of the Prophet, known as "Bay'atur-Ridhwan", to stand by him to the last. Referring to this pledge, the Qu'ran says:
Indeed God was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to thee under the tree, and He knew what was in their
hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory. (Qur'an, 48:18)
However, it came to be known later that the news of Uthman's murder was not true. After considerable difficulty, a treaty was ultimately signed with the Quraish which contained the following provisions:
- The Muslims should return to Medina that year without performing the pilgrimage.
- They could return the next year but their stay should not exceed three days.
- The Muslims should not bring any arms with them except sheathed swords.
- There would be no war between the Quraish and the Muslims for ten years.
- Muslims residing in Mecca would not be allowed to migrate to Medina, but if any Muslim wanted to settle in Mecca, he should not be prevented from doing so.
- Any idolater or Meccan Muslim migrating to Medina without the permission of his clan will be sent back to Mecca, but a Muslim of Medina going back to Mecca without permission will not be allowed to return.
- Any tribe in Arabia will be free to join any of the parties to the pact, and the allies also will be bound by this treaty.
After three days' stay at Hudaibiyah, the Muslims returned to Medina. On the way back, Surah 48 titled "The Victory" was revealed. It described the treaty as an open victory for the Muslims. Later events confirmed that it was really a great victory for them. Till then, idolaters and Muslims had not been mixing with each other. By virtue of this treaty, they started doing so freely. It is recorded that during the two years following this treaty, more people accepted Islam than during the whole nineteen years since the inception of the mission. A clear proof is found in the fact that while only 1,400 Muslims had accompanied the Prophet for the lesser pilgrimage when the treaty of Hudaibiyah was concluded, two years later, that is, when Mecca fell in the hands of the Muslims, 10,000 Muslims accompanied him.
THE BATTLE OF KHAIBAR
The banishment of the Jewish tribes of Banu Nadhir and Banu Qinaqa' from Medina had accentuated the animosity of the Jews towards the Muslims. These tribes had settled down at Khaibar at a distance of about eighty miles from Medina. "Khaibar" means: "fortified place". It was a Jewish stronghold comprised of seven fortresses.
By the middle of Muharram, 7 A.H., the Holy Prophet marched on Khaibar with 1,400 persons. In about seven days, six of the Jewish fortresses were overrun by the Muslims. Then Qamus was besieged.
An agreement was reached with the Jews of Khaibar. Their lands and movable property were left in their hands. They were allowed to practice their religion freely. In return for the protection they would receive, they were required to pay the Muslims half the produce of their lands. The Prophet maintained the right to turn them out of their lands whenever he so decided. The battle of Khaibar is important as it put an end to the Jewish resistance and, for the first time, a non-Muslim people were made "Protected Persons" of the Muslim commonwealth.