Mar 4, 2013

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Seerah Series Part 12: The Expedition to Khaybar

Seerah Series Part 12: The Expedition to Khaybar

REWARD FROM ALLAH:
Allah – glory be to Him and may He be exalted! promised those who had made the Pledge at Hudaybiyyah the reward of coming victory as well as booty. The Qur’an says:

Allah was well pleased with the believers when they were pledging allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down Tranquillity upon them, and rewarded them with a near victory and many spoils to take; and Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. (48: 18-19)

The Conquest of Khaybar was to be the first of these victories. Khaybar, seventy miles north-east of Madinah, was a Jewish colony with citadels and was the headquarters of the Jewish garrison. It was the last and most formidable Jewish stronghold in Arabia. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah wanted to be secure on that front because the Jews spent much of their wealth on stirring up the neighbouring Arab tribes to wage war against the Muslims.

AN ARMY OF BELIEVERS:
On his return from al-Hudaybiyyah, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stayed in Madinah during the month of dhu’l Hijjah and for part of Muharram. At the end of Muharram, he set out for Khaybar. While travelling, one of the Companions, Amr ibn al-Akwa’ recited these verses:

By Allah, were it not for Allah, we would not have been guided nor given sadaqah, charity, nor prayed.

If people treat us unjustly or try to attack us we resist.

Send down tranquillity and make us firm against the enemy.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah advanced with his army which numbered fourteen hundred men including two hundred cavalry. Those who had lagged behind on the al-Hudaybiyyah expedition were refused permission to take part in the expedition. Twenty women accompanied the party in order to care for the sick and wounded and to prepare food and supply water during the fighting.

On the way, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for food but only some dried up barley was brought. He asked for it to be moistened, then he and all those who accompanied him ate it. When he was approaching Khaybar, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah prayed for the benefits that would come from conquering the colony and sought refuge from its evil and the evil of its people. When he went on an expedition against a people, he would not attack until morning. When, if he heard the adhan from the locality, he held back, it was a sign that there were believers among the inhabitants. But if he did not hear the adhan, he would attack. The adhan was not heard the next morning so the army advanced. They met the early workers of Khaybar carrying their spades and baskets but when they saw the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the army, they cried, ‘Muhammad with his army!’ and fled. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Allah is great! Khaybar is destroyed! When we arrive in a community, it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.’

A VICTORIOUS GENERAL:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his army overpowered the fortresses of Khaybar one by one. The first fortress to be conquered was that of Na’im. The Jews defended well against the Muslims but Ali ibn Abi Talib eventually crushed them. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had said, ‘Let the standard be taken by a man who loves Allah and His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and he will conquer this fort.’

All the great Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) vied for this honour, as each of them hoped to be the standard-bearer. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called Ali ibn Abi Talib, whose eyes were inflamed, to him and he applied spittle to his eyes while praying for his success. Ali’s eyes were soon cured and he received the standard. He said, ‘I will fight them until they are like us.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, ‘Go ahead and invite them to Islam. Tell them the obligations they owe to Allah. By Allah, if one man is guided to the faith by you it is better for you than having red camels.’

ANOTHER VICTORY:
When Ali came near the fort, Marhab, the famous Jewish war-lord, appeared reciting verses about his bravery. They fell upon one another immediately. Ali’s sword ran through Marhab’s helmet, splitting his head in two. A great victory was gained through his death.

THE SLAVE’S REWARD:
A black Abyssinian slave was tending sheep for his Jewish master when he saw the Jews taking up arms. He was told that they were going to fight the man who claimed to be a Prophet. The slave was curious. He took his sheep right up to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and asked, ‘What is it that you say, and what do you invite people to?’

‘I invite people to Islam; that is, you testify that there is no god but Allah, that I am the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and that you worship only Allah.’

‘What will I get if I testify and believe in Allah!’ ‘You will enter Paradise if you die with this faith.’ The slave accepted Islam and then asked, ‘Prophet of Allah! I hold these sheep in trust. What should I do with the flock?’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, ‘Abandon them in the field near the fort. Allah will make sure that they reach their master.’

The slave did as he was told and the sheep returned to their master. The Jew then discovered that his slave had become a Muslim. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah urged his people to fight for the sake of Allah. When the battle between the Muslims and Jews was under way, the black slave was among the Muslims who were fighting and were martyred. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah came to his Companions to say, Allah has blessed this slave and brought him to Khaybar. I saw two houris by him even though he had never prostrated to Allah.’

THE BEDOUIN’S REWARD:
A Bedouin also came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and accepted Islam. He then went to accompany the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah in the campaign. Some of the Companions were asked to take care of him.

When, on the expedition to Khaybar, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah captured some booty, he allocated a share to the Bedouin who was some distance away grazing the Muslims’ flocks. When he came and was given his booty, he asked, ‘What is this?’

‘A share which the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has allotted to you.
He then took it to the Prophet and asked, ‘What is this, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah?’
‘A portion of the booty which I have allotted to you .’

‘I did not follow you for this,’ he said, ‘I followed you so that I might be shot with an arrow here,’ and he pointed to his neck,’ and die and enter Paradise.’
‘If that is what you want,’ the Prophet told him,
‘Allah will confirm it.’
In a later battle the Bedouin’s dead body was brought to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
‘Is it the same man?’ he asked.
‘Yes.’
‘He was true to Allah and Allah made his wish come true,’ said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who shrouded him with his own cloak. Then he recited the funeral prayer over him. His words included, ‘O Allah, this is Your slave who went out as a Muhajir in Your way. He was killed as a martyr and I am a witness for him.’

CONDITIONS FOR REMAINING IN KHAYBAR:
The Jews of Khaybar were besieged in their fortresses. Fighting continued for days. At last they asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah for terms of peace. He allowed them to stay in Khaybar on condition that they gave to the Muslims in Madinah half of all the crops and fruit they produced on their farms. Each year the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah used to send Abdullah ibn Rawahah to Khaybar where he divided the produce in half and let the Jews choose the half they wanted. ‘On this the heavens and earth stand’ was the Jews’ comment on his sense of justice.

POISONED MEAT:
During the Khaybar expedition, an attempt was made to poison the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. A Jewess, Zaynab bint al-Harith, the wife of Sallam ibn Mishkam, presented him with roasted mutton, having enquired what joint he liked best. When she was told, ‘shoulder,’ she put a quantity of poison in it and took it to him. When he tasted it, he realised immediately that it was poisoned and spat it out.

He summoned the Jews who gathered round and asked them, ‘Will you be truthful about something I will ask of you?’
They said, ‘Yes.
‘Did you put poison in this mutton?’
‘Yes.
‘What made you do it?’
If you were false,’ they said, ‘we would get rid of you. But if you are really a Prophet, the poison would not harm you.
Zaynab was then brought to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. She confessed, ‘I wanted to kill you.
He answered, ‘Allah would not give you power over me.
His Companions asked, ‘Shall we kill her?’
‘No,’ he said, and she was set free.

However, when Bishr ibn al-Bara’ ibn Ma’rur, who had also eaten some of the mutton, died a painful death, Zaynab was killed.

BOOTY:
After the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had conquered Khaybar, he went on to Fadak and then to Wadi’l-Qura. He invited the Jews to Islam, telling them that if they became Muslims, their life and property would be safe and they would be rewarded by Allah. The Jews of Wadi’l-Qura decided to fight the Muslims but were soon forced to surrender.

The Jews handed over their possessions and the Muslims took them as booty. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then divided things up between his Companions, leaving the land and property in the Jews hands.

When the Jews of Tayma’ learnt that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had defeated the people of Khaybar, Fadak and Wadi’l-Qura, they offered him peace terms which he
accepted. They were allowed to keep their land and property. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then returned to Madinah.

‘UMRAT AL-QADA’
In the following year, 7 A.H., the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the Muslims set out for Makkah. The Quraysh of Makkah vacated their houses and stayed up in the mountains overlooking the valley. The Muslims stayed in Makkah for three days and performed ‘umrah. The Qur’an says:

Allah has indeed fulfilled the vision He vouchsafed to His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) truly, ‘You shall enter the Holy Mosque, if Allah wills, in security, your heads shaved, your hair cut short, not fearing.’ He knew what you knew not, and appointed before that a nigh victory. (48: 27)

RIVALRY:
Islam changed dramatically the hearts and minds of the new Muslims. Baby daughters, who had been buried alive in the days of the Jahiliyyah, were now precious arrivals whose custody and upbringing were considered honourable,

When the Prophet left Makkah after ‘umrah, Umamah, the little daughter of Hamzah, followed him, calling out, ‘Uncle! Uncle!’
Ali took her hand and said to Fatimah, ‘Here is your niece, ‘ and Fatimah took care of her.
Ali, Zayd and Ja’far all claimed her guardianship.
Ali said, ‘I will take her. She is my uncle’s daughter.’
Ja’far said, ‘She is my uncle’s daughter too, and her aunt is my wife.’
Zayd said, ‘She is my brother’s daughter.’
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah dealt with the controversy. He gave her to her aunt, saying, ‘A maternal aunt is like a mother.’
To comfort Ali(R.A.), he Said, ‘You are mine and I am yours.’
And to Ja’far he Said, ‘You are like me in character and appearance.
He said to Zayd, ‘You are my brother and my mawla.’

Biography of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

Source: Jamiat Kwa Zulu Natal

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