The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets(saw) – Volume II

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Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) was one of the sons of the Promised Messiah(as). Born on April 20, 1893 he passed his matriculation in 1910 with distinction, and according to the wishes of the Promised Messiah(as), attained an MA in Arabic in 1916. A great religious scholar and prolific writer, his books and speeches are easily understandable by the average reader. Some of his important works include Siratul Mahdi (Life of the Mahdi), Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya (The Ahmadiyya community), Tabligh-e-Hidayat (Propagation of Guidance), Kalimutal Fasl (The Decisive Word) and Hamara Khuda (Our God). He also contributed countless articles to magazines and periodicals of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, such as the daily Al-Fazl, and was Editor of The Review of Religions for many years. Sirat Khatamun Nabiyyin is his magnum opus; an outstanding biography of the Holy Prophet(saw), which includes insightful analysis and commentary on various aspects of his life. For the first time this book has been translated into English. The English rendering, “The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets,” will be serialised in various parts in The Review of Religions.

CHAPTER III

Early Battles, Commencement of Fasting, Alteration of the Qiblah and Initial Discussion on the Battle of Badr

First ever serialisation of the newly translated Volume II of Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)’s epic biography, Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). In this section, the ‘Ghazwat’ and ‘Sarayah’ battle campaigns commence.

Translated from the Urdu by Ayyaz Mahmood Khan

Commencement of Ghazwat and Sarayah[1] and the Ghazwah of Waddan – Safar 2 A.H.

Now the Maghazi of the Holy Prophet(saw) practically commences. At times, it was a custom of the Holy Prophet(saw) to set out with the Companions himself, and on some occasions he would dispatch a company in the leadership of a Companion. Historians have given separate names to each one of these two types of campaigns. As such, a campaign in which the Holy Prophet(saw) personally took part has been termed a ‘Ghazwah’ by historians. A campaign in which the Holy Prophet(saw) did not personally take part is referred to as a ‘Sariyyah’ or ‘Ba‘ath’. However, it should be remembered that in a Ghazwah or Sariyyah, it is not necessary to set out specifically for the purpose of Jihad by the sword. Rather, every such journey in which the Holy Prophet(saw) personally participated, whilst in a state of war is known as a Ghazwah, even if it was not specifically for the purpose of fighting. In the same manner, every such journey which was undertaken by a community, as per the command of the Holy Prophet(saw), is known as a Sariyyah, or Ba‘ath, in the terminology of historians, even if its fundamental purpose was not of battle. However, out of ignorance, some people consider every Ghazwah and Sariyyah to be a battle campaign, which is incorrect.

It has already been mentioned that divine permission of Jihad by the sword was granted in the month of Safar, during the second year of migration. Since immediate action was required to protect the Muslims from the bloody intentions and threatening schemes of the Quraish, the Holy Prophet(saw) set out from Madinah with a community of the Muhajirin, in the name of Allah the Exalted. Prior to departure, the Holy Prophet(saw) appointed Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah(ra), Chief of the Khazraj, as the Amir of Madinah in his absence, and set out towards the southwest of Madinah on the road to Makkah until he finally reached Waddan. The people of the Banu Damrah resided here. This tribe was a branch of the Banu Kinanah, and in this manner, these people were the paternal cousins of the Quraish. Upon reaching here, the Holy Prophet(saw) engaged in discussions with the chieftain of the Banu Damrah, and settled a treaty by mutual agreement. The conditions of this treaty were that the Banu Damrah would maintain friendly relations with the Muslims, and would not aid an enemy against the Muslims. Furthermore, when the Holy Prophet(saw) called upon them in support of the Muslims, they would come immediately. On the other hand, on behalf of the Muslims, the Holy Prophet(saw) agreed that the Muslims would maintain friendly relations with the Banu Damrah, and would aid them whenever it was required. This treaty was formally written and signed by both parties. After an absence of fifteen days, the Holy Prophet(saw) returned.[2] Another name for the Ghazwah of Waddan is also the Ghazwah of Abwa’. This is because the village of Abwa’ is closely situated to Waddan, and this was the same place where the noble mother of the Holy Prophet(saw) passed away. Historians write that in this Ghazwah, along with the Banu Damrah, the Holy Prophet(saw) was conscious of the Quraish as well. This means that in actuality, this campaign of the Holy Prophet(saw) was to put down the threatening schemes of the Quraish. Furthermore, its objective was to dispel that poisonous and threatening influence, which the caravans of the Quraish, etc., had created against the Muslims amongst the tribes of Arabia, and due to which the state of the Muslims was extremely vulnerable during these days.

Sariyyah of ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith(ra)- Rabi‘ul-Awwal 2 A.H.

Upon his return from the Ghazwah of Waddan, in the month of Rabi‘ul-Awwal, the Holy Prophet(saw) dispatched a company of the Muhajirin, comprising of seventy men mounted on camels, in the leadership of a close relative, ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith Muttalibi(ra). The objective of this campaign was to forestall the attacks of the Quraish of Makkah. As such, when ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith(ra) and his companions covered some ground and arrived close to Thaniyyatul-Murrah, they suddenly noticed that 200 armed young men had set up camp in the command of ‘Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl. The two parties encountered one another and a few arrows were exchanged in a confrontation.[3] However, this group of idolaters then stood down from further conflict due to the fear that the Muslims probably had hidden reinforcements at their disposal and consequently, the Muslims did not pursue them.[4] Albeit, two individuals from the army of the idolaters named Miqdad bin ‘Amr(ra) and ‘Utbah bin Ghazwan(ra) fled from the command of ‘Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl and joined the Muslims. It is written that they set out with the Quraish for this very purpose, so that they could find an opportunity to join the Muslims.[5] The reason being, that they were Muslims at heart, but could not migrate out of fear of the Quraish due to their weakness. Moreover, it is possible that this very occurrence caused them to lose heart and they decided to step back considering this to be an evil omen. History has not recorded whether this army of the Quraish, which was definitely not a trade caravan and regarding which Ibni Ishaq has used the words Jam‘un Azimun (i.e., a grand army), set out in this direction with a specific objective. However, it is definite that their intentions were not favourable. It was due to the Grace of God that upon finding the Muslims vigilant and upon witnessing some of their own men joining the Muslims, they lost courage and retreated. Moreover, a practical benefit which the Companions derived from this campaign was that two Muslim souls were delivered from the tyranny of the Quraish.

Sariyyah of Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib(ra) – Rabi‘ul-Awwal 2 A.H.

In this very month, the Holy Prophet(saw) dispatched another company of thirty men mounted on camels to Saiful-Bahr in the east of Madinah, where the region of ‘Is was situated, under the command of his biological paternal uncle, Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib(ra). When Hamzah(ra) and his companions promptly arrived, they found the head chieftain of Makkah, Abu Jahl, present there to welcome them with an army of 300 mounted men. This number was ten times the number of Muslims, but the Muslims had gone forth from their homes in order to carry out the command of God and His Messenger, and the fear of death could not force them back. Both armies began to line up before one another and battle was about to begin when the chief of that region, Mujaddidi bin ‘Amr Al-Juhni, who held relations with both parties, intervened and, on the brink of war, conflict was averted.[6] Ibni Sa‘d, who often follows his teacher Waqidi, writes that this was a caravan of the Quraish which encountered the Muslims. However, Ibni Ishaq, as quoted by Ibni Hisham, has not made mention of a caravan. He has only written that 300 mounted men of the Quraish were encountered, and they were commanded by Abu Jahl. In light of other factors, the number of disbelievers as reported by Ibni Ishaq proves to be correct. Furthermore, it is definite that this company of disbelievers set out against the Muslims. As such, the attack of Kurz bin Jabir Fihri which shall appear ahead, supports this notion.

Ghazwah of Buwat – Rabi‘ul-Akhir 2 A.H.

During the last days of this very month or in the beginning of Rabi‘ul-Akhir, the Holy Prophet(saw) once again received news of the Quraish. Upon this, the Holy Prophet(saw) took along a community of Companions and set out himself. He appointed Sa’ib bin ‘Uthman bin Maz‘un(ra) as the Amir of Madinah in his absence. However, the whereabouts of the Quraish could not be ascertained and upon reaching Buwat, the Holy Prophet(saw) returned.[7]

Ghazwah of ‘Ushairah & Sariyyah of Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas – Jamadiyul-Ula 2 A.H.

After this, in Jamadiyul-Ula, upon receiving news of the Quraish of Makkah once again, the Holy Prophet(saw) set out from Madinah with a company of the Companions and appointed his foster brother, Abu Salamah bin ‘Abdul-Asad(ra) as the Amir in his absence. In this Ghazwah, after making numerous rounds, the Holy Prophet(saw) finally reached ‘Ushairah, which was situated close to the coast and the region of Yanbu‘. Although a battle with the Quraish did not take place, nevertheless the Holy Prophet(saw) settled a treaty with the Banu Mudlij on terms as were agreed upon with the Banu Damrah, and subsequently returned. It was during this journey that the Holy Prophet(saw) dispatched a company of eight Muhajirin in the leadership of Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas(ra) towards Khara’, in order to obtain intelligence on the Quraish.[8]

Attack of Kurz bin Jabir and Ghazwah of Safwan – Jamadiyul-Akhir 2 A.H.

However, despite such vigilance and various Muslim parties constantly making watchful rounds in the surroundings of Madinah, the mischief of the Quraish managed to break through. As such, ten days had not passed since the return of the Holy Prophet(saw) to Madinah when a chieftain of Makkah named Kurz bin Jabir Fihri very cunningly, along with a company of the Quraish, suddenly raided a pasture of Madinah, which was situated only three miles from the city, and fled with camels, etc., belonging to the Muslims. As soon as the Holy Prophet(saw) received news of this, he appointed Zaid bin Harithah(ra) as the Amir in his absence, and set out in his pursuit along with a group of the Companions. The Holy Prophet(saw) pursued him until he reached Safwan which is an area close to Badr, but he made good his escape. This Ghazwah is also known as Ghazwah Badratul-Ula.[9]

This raid of Kurz bin Jabir was not a minor Bedouin act of plunder, rather, it is definite that he had set out against the Muslims on behalf of the Quraish, with a particular motive. As a matter of fact, is it very likely that he had specifically come with the intention of inflicting injury upon the very person of the Holy Prophet(saw), but upon finding the Muslims vigilant, settled upon the robbery of their camels and ran off. This also demonstrates that the Quraish of Makkah had planned to raid Madinah so as to utterly destroy the Muslims. It should also be remembered that the Muslims had already been given permission for Jihad by the sword prior to this, and in a sense of self-defense, they had begun to employ an initial plan of action in this regard as well. However, until now, they had not practically suffered any loss in terms of wealth or lives. However, the raid of Kurz bin Jabir was one which practically inflicted harm upon the Muslims. In other words, even after the acceptance of the challenge of the Quraish, it was the disbelievers who practically initiated battle.

ENDNOTES

  1. Ghazwat is the plural of Ghazwah and Sarayah is the plural of Sariyyah (Publishers)
  2. * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 405-406, Ghazwatu Waddan, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
    * Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, by ‘Allamah Shihabud-Din Qustalani, Vol. 2, p. 230, Awwalul-Maghazi Waddan, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  3. * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 406, Sariyyatu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
    * Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Vol. 3, pp. 11-12, Dhikru Ma Kana Minal-Umuril-Madhkurati Fi Awwali Sanatim-Minal-Hijrati / Khutbatu Rasulillahisa Fi Awwali Jumu‘atin….., Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
  4. Tarikhul-Khamis Fi Ahwali Anfasi Nafis, by Husain bin Muhammad bin Hasan, Vol. 1, p. 357, Sariyyatu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith, Mu’assasatu Sha‘ban, Beirut
  5. * Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Vol. 3, p. 12, Dhikru Ma Kana Minal-Umuril-Madhkurati Fi Awwali Sanatim-Minal-Hijrati / Khutbatu Rasulillahisa Fi Awwali Jumu‘atin….., Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
    * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 406, Sariyyatu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith / Man Farra Minal-Mushrikina Ilal-Muslimin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  6. *As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 408-409, Sariyyatu Hamzah Ila Saifil-Bahr, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
    * Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Vol. 3, p. 12, Dhikru Ma Kana Minal-Umuril-Madhkurati Fi Awwali Sanatim-Minal-Hijrati / Khutbatu Rasulillahisa Fi Awwali Jumu‘atin….., Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
  7. *Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Vol. 3, p. 12, Dhikru Ma Kana Minal-Umuril-Madhkurati Fi Awwali Sanatim-Minal-Hijrati / Khutbatu Rasulillahisa Fi Awwali Jumu‘atin….., Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
    * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 410-411, Ghazwatu Buwat, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  8. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 411-412, Ghazwatul-‘Ushirati / Sariyyatu Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqaṣ, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  9. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 412, Ghazwatu Ṣafwan Wa Hiya Ghazwatu Badril-Ula, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
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