Battle of Al-Ahazb
غزوة الأحزاب

The Seerah of: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Decorative Lines

The Battle of the Trench
الخندق غزوة

The Battle of the Trench (Arabic: غزوة الخندق, Transliteration: Ghazwah al-Khandaq) also known as the Battle of the Confederates (Arabic: الخندق غزوة , Transliteration: Ghazwah al-Ahzab), was a fortnight-long siege of Yathrib (now Medina) by Arab and Jewish tribes. The strength of the confederate armies is estimated around 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels, while the Medinan defenders numbered 3,000. The battle began on March 31, 627.

The largely outnumbered defenders of Medina, mainly Muslims led by Islamic prophet Muhammad, dug a trench, which together with Medina’s natural fortifications, rendered the confederate cavalry (consisting of horses and camels) useless, locking the two sides in a stalemate. Hoping to make several attacks at once, the confederates persuaded the Medina-allied Banu Qurayza to attack the city from the south. However, Muhammad’s diplomacy derailed the negotiations, and broke up the confederacy against him. The well-organized defenders, the sinking of confederate morale, and poor weather conditions caused the siege to end in a fiasco.

The siege was a “battle of wits”, in which the Muslims tactically overcame their opponents while suffering very few casualties. Efforts to defeat the Muslims failed, and Islam became influential in the region. As a consequence, the Muslim army besieged the neighbourhood of the Banu Qurayza tribe, leading to their unconditional surrender.

The defeat caused the Meccans to lose their trade and much of their prestige.

Battle of the Trench

Part of the Muslim-Quraish Wars

  • Date: March 31 till April 627 AD (Dhu al-Qi’dah, 5 AH)
  • Location: Surrounding perimeter of Medina
  • Result: Failure of siege; Decisive Muslim victory

Belligerents

Muslims: Confederates including

  • the Pagan Quraysh of Mecca
  • the Jewish/Arab tribes of Banu Qaynuqa,and Banu Nadir
  • Other Pagan Arab tribes such as Banu Murra, Khaybar, Huyyay ibn Auf Murri, Banu Ghatafan, Bani Assad, Banu Shuja, and more (see Confederates)

Commanders and leaders (Strength)

  • Muhammad: 3,000
  • Abu Sufyan: 10,000

Casualties and losses

  • Muhammad: Light
  • Abu Sufyan: Extremely Heavy

Name

The battle is named after the khandaq (Arabic الخندق) that was dug by Muslims in preparation for the battle. The word khandaq is the Arabic form of the Persian word kandak (meaning “That which has been dug”). For this reason the word “trench” could be replaced with “ditch”. It may also be referred to by its original Arabic name “khandaq”.

Salmān al-Fārsi (Salman the Persian) advised Muhammad to dig Kandak, or “Trench”. The battle is also referred to as the Battle of Confederates (Arabic غزوة الاحزاب). The Qur’an uses the term confederates (Arabic الاحزاب) in sura Al-Ahzab[Quran 33:9–32] to denote the confederacy of pagans and Jews against Islam.

Background

After their expulsion from Mecca, the Muslims fought the Meccan Quraysh at the Battle of Badr in 624, and at the Battle of Uhud in 625. Although the Muslims neither won nor were defeated at the Battle of Uhud, their military strength was gradually growing. In April 626 Muhammad raised a force of 300 men and 10 horses to meet the Quraysh army of 1,000 at Badr for the second time.

Although no fighting occurred, the coastal tribes were impressed with Muslim power. Muhammad also tried, with limited success, to break up many alliances against the Muslim expansion. Nevertheless, he was unable to prevent the Meccan one.

As they had in the battles of Badr and Uhud, the Muslim army again used strategic methods against their opponents (at Badr, the Muslims surrounded the wells, depriving their opponents of water; at the Battle of Uhud, Muslims made strategic use of the hills). In this battle they dug a trench to render the enemy cavalry ineffective.

The Confederates

Early in 627, the Jews of Banu Nadir met with the Arab Quraysh of Makkah. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, along with other leaders from Khaybar, traveled to swear allegiance with Safwan at Makkah.

The bulk of the Confederate armies were gathered by the pagan Quraysh of Makkah, led by Abu Sufyan, who fielded 4,000 foot soldiers, 300 horsemen, and 1,000-1,500 men on camels.

The Banu Nadir began rousing the nomads of Najd. The Nadir enlisted the Banu Ghatafan by paying them half of their harvest. This contingent, the second largest, added a strength of about 2,000 men and 300 horsemen led by Unaina bin Hasan Fazari. The Bani Assad also agreed to join, led by Tuleha Asadi. From the Banu Sulaym, the Nadir secured 700 men, though this force would likely have been much larger had not some of its leaders been sympathetic towards Islam. The Bani Amir, who had a pact with Muhammad, refused to join.

Other tribes included the Banu Murra, with 400 men led by Hars ibn Auf Murri, and the Banu Shuja, with 700 men led by Sufyan ibn Abd Shams. In total, the strength of the Confederate armies, though not agreed upon by scholars, is estimated to have included around 10,000 men and six hundred horsemen. At the end of March 627 the army, which was led by Abu Sufyan, marched on Medina.

In accordance with the plan the armies began marching towards Medina, Meccans from the south (along the coast) and the others from the east. At the same time horsemen from the Banu Khuza’a left to warn Medina of the invading army.

Muslim defense

The men from Banu Khuza’a reached Muhammad in four days, warning him of the Confederate armies that were to arrive in a week. Muhammad gathered the Medinans to discuss the best strategy of overcoming the enemy. Meeting the enemy in the open (which led to victory at Badr), and waiting for them inside the city (a lesson learnt from the defeat at Uhud) were both suggested.

Ultimately, the outnumbered Muslims opted to engage in a defensive battle by digging deep trenches to act as a barrier along the northern front. The tactic of a defensive trench was introduced by Salman the Persian. Every capable Muslim in Medina including Muhammad contributed to digging the massive trench in six days.

The ditch was dug on the northern side only, as the rest of Medina was surrounded by rocky mountains and trees, impenetrable to large armies (especially cavalry). The digging of the ditch coincided with a near-famine in Medina. Women and children were moved to the inner city. The Medinans harvested all their crops early, so the Confederate armies would have to rely on their own food reserves.

Muhammad established his military headquarters at the hillock of Sala’ and the army was arrayed there; this position would give the Muslims an advantage if the enemy crossed the trench.

The final army that would defend the city from the invasion consisted of 3,000 men, and included all inhabitants of Medina over the age of 15, except the Banu Qurayza (the Qurayza did supply the Muslims with some instruments for digging the trench).

Siege of Medina

Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench)

The siege of Medina began on March 31, 627 and lasted for 27 days. Since sieges were uncommon in Arabian warfare, the arriving confederates were unprepared to deal with the trenches dug by the Muslims. The Confederates tried to attack with horsemen in hopes of forcing a passage, but the Medinans were rigidly entrenched, preventing such a crossing.

Both of the armies gathered on either side of the trench and spent two or three weeks exchanging insults in prose and verse, backed up with arrows fired from a comfortable distance. According to Rodinson, there were three dead among the attackers and five among the defenders. On the other hand, the harvest had been gathered and the besiegers had some trouble finding food for their horses, which proved of no use to them in the attack.

The Quraysh veterans grew impatient with the deadlock. A group of militants led by ‘Amr ibn ‘Abd Wudd (who was thought to be equal to a thousand men in fighting) and Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl attempted to thrust through the trench and managed to effect a crossing, occupying a marshy area near the hillock of Sala. ‘Amr challenged the Muslims to a duel.

In response, Ali ibn Abi Talib accepted the challenge, and was sent by Muhammad to fight. Both the fighters got lost in the dust as the duel became intense. Finally, the soldiers heard scream(s) which hinted decisive blows, but it was unclear which of the two was successful.

The slogan, ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the greatest) from the dust confirmed Ali’s victory. The confederates were forced to withdraw in a state of panic and confusion. Although the Confederates lost only three men during the encounter, they failed to accomplish anything important.

The Confederate army made several other attempts to cross the trench during the night but repeatedly failed. Although the confederates could have deployed their infantry over the whole length of the trench, they were unwilling to engage the Muslims at close quarter as the former regarded the latter as superior in hand-to-hand fighting. As the Muslim army was well dug in behind the embankment made from the earth which had been taken from the ditch and prepared to bombard attackers with stones and arrows, any attack could cause great casualties.

Banu Qurayza

The Confederates then attempted several simultaneous attacks, in particular by trying to persuade the Banu Qurayza to attack the Muslims from the south. From the Confederates, Huyayy ibn Akhtab, a Khaybarian, the leader of the exiled Jewish tribe Banu Nadir, returned to Medina seeking their support against the Muslims.

So far the Banu Qurayza had tried their best to remain neutral, and were very hesitant about joining the Confederates since they had earlier made a pact with Muhammad. When Akhtab approached them, their leader refused to allow him entry.

Akhtab eventually managed to enter and persuade them that the Muslims would surely be overwhelmed. The sight of the vast Confederate armies, surging over the land with soldiers and horses as far as the eye could see, swung the Qurayza opinion in the favour of the Confederacy.

News of the Qurayzah’s supposed renunciation of the pact with Muhammad leaked out, and Umar promptly informed Muhammad. Such suspicions were reinforced by the movement of enemy troops towards the strongholds of the Qurayza.

Muhammad became anxious about their conduct, and realized the grave potential danger the Qurayza posed. Because of his pact with the Qurayza, he had not bothered to make defensive preparations along the Muslims’ border with the tribe. The Qurayza also possessed weaponry: 1,500 swords, 2,000 lances, 300 suits of armor, and 500 shields.

Muhammad sent three leading Muslims to bring him details of the recent developments. He advised the men to openly declare their findings, should they find the Banu Qurayza to be loyal, so as to increase the morale of the Muslim fighters. However, he warned against spreading the news of a possible breach of the pact on the Qurayza’s part, so as to avoid any panic within Muslim ranks.

The leaders found that the pact indeed had been renounced and tried in vain to convince the Qurayza to revert by reminding them of the fate of the Banu Nadir and Banu Qaynuqa at the hands of Muhammad. The findings of the leaders were signaled to Muhammad in a metaphor: “Adal and Qarah”. Because the people of Adal and Qarah had betrayed the Muslims and killed them at the opportune moment, Maududi believes the metaphor means the Qurayza were thought to be about to do the same.

Crisis in Medina

Muhammad attempted to hide his knowledge of the activities of Banu Qurayza; however, rumors soon spread of a massive assault on the city of Medina from Qurayza’s side which severely demoralized the Medinans.

The Muslims found themselves in greater difficulties by day. Food was running short, and nights were colder. The lack of sleep made matters worse. So tense was the situation that, for the first time, the canonical daily prayers were neglected by the Muslim community. Only at night, when the attacks stopped due to darkness, could they resume their regular worship. According to Ibn Ishaq, the situation became serious and fear was everywhere.

Quran describes the situation in surah Al-Ahzab:

Behold! they came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah! (10) In that situation were the Believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking. (11) And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (even) say: “Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!” (12) Behold! A party among them said: “Ye men of Yathrib! ye cannot stand (the attack)! therefore go back!” And a band of them ask for leave of Muhammad, saying, “Truly our houses are bare and exposed,” though they were not exposed they intended nothing but to run away. (13) And if an entry had been effected to them from the sides of the (city), and they had been incited to sedition, they would certainly have brought it to pass, with none but a brief delay! …(14)

… They think that the Confederates have not withdrawn; and if the Confederates should come (again), they would wish they were in the deserts (wandering) among the Bedouins, and seeking news about you (from a safe distance); and if they were in your midst, they would fight but little…

… When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: “This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.” And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience.(22) [Quran 33:10–22 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] ”

Muslim response

Immediately after hearing the rumors about the Qurayza, Muhammad had sent 100 men to the inner city for its protection. Later he sent 300 horsemen (cavalry was not needed at the trench) as well to protect the city. The loud voices, in which the troops prayed every night, created the illusion of a large force.

The crisis showed Muhammad that many of his men had reached the limits of their endurance. He sent word to Ghatafan, trying to pay for their defection and offering them a third of Medina’s date harvest if they withdrew. Although the Ghatafan demanded half, they eventually agreed to negotiating with Muhammad on those terms. Before Muhammad began the order of drafting the agreement, he consulted the Medinan leaders.

They sharply rejected the terms of the agreement, protesting Medina had never sunk to such levels of ignominy. The negotiations were broken off. While the Ghatafan did not retreat they had compromised themselves by entering into negotiations with Medina, and the Confederacy’s internal dissension had thereby been increased.

At about that point, Muhammad received a visit from Nuaym ibn Masud, an Arab leader who was well respected by the entire confederacy, but who had, unbeknownst to them, secretly converted to Islam. Muhammad asked him to end the siege by creating discord amongst Confederates.

“ The whole was a battle of wits in which Muslims had the best of it; without cost to themselves they weakened the enemy and increased the dissension. ”

—William Montgomery Watt

Nuaym then came up with an efficient stratagem. He first went to the Banu Qurayza and warned them about the intentions of the rest of the Confederacy. If the siege fails, he said, the Confederacy will not be afraid to abandon the Jews, leaving them at the mercy of Muhammad. The Qurayza should thus demand Confederate leaders as hostages in return for cooperation. This advice touched upon the fears the Qurayza had already harbored.

Next Nuaym went to Abu Sufyan, the Confederate leader, warning him that the Qurayza had defected to Muhammad. He stated that the Jewish tribe intended to ask the Confederacy of hostages, ostensibly in return for cooperation, but really to hand over to Muhammad. Thus the Confederacy should not give a single man as hostage. Nuaym repeated the same message to other tribes in the Confederacy.

Collapse of the Confederacy

Nuaym’s stratagem worked. After consulting, the Confederate leaders sent Ikrimah to the Qurayza, signaling a united invasion of Medina. The Qurayza, however, demanded hostages as a guarantee that the Confederacy would not desert them. The Confederacy, considering that the Qurayza might give the hostage to Muhammad, refused. Messages were repeatedly sent back and forth between the parties, but each held to its position stubbornly.

Abu Sufyan summoned Huyayy ibn Akhtab, informing him of Qurayza’s response. Huyayy was taken aback, and Abu Sufyan branded him as a “traitor”. Fearing for his life, Huyayy fled to the Qurayza’s strongholds.

The Bedouins, the Ghatafan and other Confederates from Najd had already been compromised by Muhammad’s negotiations. They had taken part in the expedition in hopes of plunder, rather than any particular prejudice against Islam. They lost hope as chances of success dwindled, uninterested in continuing the siege. The two confederate armies were marked by recriminations and mutual distrust.

The provisions of the Confederate armies were running out. Horses and camels were dying out of hunger and wounds. For days the weather had been exceptionally cold and wet. Violent winds blew out the camp fires, taking away from the Confederate army their source of heat. The Muslim camp, however, was sheltered from such winds. The enemy’s tents were torn up, their fires were extinguished, the sand and rain beat in their faces, and they were terrified by the portents against them. They had already well nigh fallen out among themselves. During the night the Confederate armies withdrew, and by morning the ground was cleared of all enemy forces.

Aftermath: Siege and demise of the Banu Qurayza

Invasion of Banu Qurayza

Following the retreat of the Confederate army, the Banu Qurayza neighbourhoods were besieged by the Muslims, in revenge for their treachery. After a 25 day siege of their neighbourhood the Banu Qurayza unconditionally surrendered. When the Banu Qurayza tribe surrendered, the Muslim army seized their stronghold and their possessions. On the request of the Banu Aus, who were allied to the Qurayza, Muhammad chose one of them, Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh, as an arbitrator to pronounce judgment upon them. Sa’ad, who would later die of his wounds from the battle, decreed the sentence according to the Torah, in which the men shall be killed and women and children enslaved. Muhammad approved of this decision, and the next day the sentence was carried out.

The men – numbering between 400 and 900 – were bound and placed under the custody of Muhammad ibn Maslamah, while the women and children were placed under Abdullah ibn Salam, a former rabbi who had converted to Islam.

Ibn Ishaq describes the killing of the Banu Qurayza men as follows:

“Then they surrendered, and the Apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of d. al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the Apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief.

There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the Apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, ‘Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!’ This went on until the Apostle made an end of them.

Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the Apostle he said, ‘By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.’ Then he went to the men and said, ‘God’s command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.’ Then he sat down and his head was struck off.”

Several accounts note Muhammad’s companions as executioners, Ali and Al-Zubayr in particular, and that each clan of the Aws was also charged with killing a group of Qurayza men.

It is also reported that one woman, who had thrown a millstone from the battlements during the siege and killed one of the Muslim besiegers, was also beheaded along with the men. Ibn Asakir writes in his History of Damascus that the Banu Kilab, a clan of Arab clients of the Banu Qurayza, were killed alongside the Jewish tribe.

The spoils of battle, including the enslaved women and children of the tribe, were divided up among the Muslims that had participated in the siege and among the emigrees from Mecca (who had hitherto depended on the help of the Muslims native to Medina.

Muhammad took a fifth of the booty for himself, as was customary among Muslims.

As part of his share of the spoils, Muhammad selected one of the women, Rayhana, for himself and took her as part of his booty. Muhammad offered to free and marry her and according to some sources she accepted his proposal, while according to others she rejected it and remained Muhammad’s slave. She is said to have later become a Muslim.

Scholars argue that Muhammad had already decided upon this judgment before the Qurayza’s surrender, and that Sa’ad was putting his allegiance to the Muslim community above that to his tribe. One reason cited by some for such punishment is that Muhammad’s previous clemency towards defeated foes was in contradiction to Arab and Jewish laws of the time, and was seen as a sign of weakness. Others see the punishment as a response to what was perceived as an act of treason by the Qurayza since they betrayed their joint defense pact with Muhammad by giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Muslims.

In the aftermath, it is told that Muhammad came to know that the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza in Yathrib had promised to assist the attackers. He responded with besieging their quarter of the town, and either he or his general Saad bin Muadh had all male members of the tribe executed, between 600 and 900 in numbers, while all women and children were enslaved.

Implications

The failure of the siege marked the beginning of Muhammad’s undoubted political ascendancy in the city of Medina. The Meccans had exerted their utmost strength to dislodge Muhammad from Medina, and this defeat caused them to lose their trade with Syria and much of their prestige with it. Watt conjectures that the Meccans at this point began to contemplate that conversion to Islam would be the most prudent option.

Historiography

Historicity of Muhammad

The main contemporary source of the battle is the Surah 33rd of Quran. Although Quran doesn’t speak about the events, it reveals psychological and social situations of the people of Medina and different approaches toward the battle among them.[citation needed] The most trustworthy source for reconstruction of the life of the historical Muhammad is the Quran. The Qur’an in its actual form is generally considered by non-Muslim academic scholars to record the words spoken by Muhammad because the search for variants in Western academia has not yielded any differences of great significance.

Next in importance are the historical works by writers of third and fourth century of the Muslim era. These include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him (the sira and hadith literature), which provide further information on Muhammad’s life. The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq’s Life of God’s Messenger written some 120 to 130 years after Muhammad’s death. Although the original work is lost, portions of it survive in the recensions of Ibn Hisham and Al-Tabari. Another early source is the history of Muhammad’s campaigns by al-Waqidi (d. 823).

Islamic primary sources

The event is referenced in the Sunni, Hadith collection Sahih al-Bukhari, it mentions the death of Sa’d ibn Mu’ad, as follows:

“ On the day of Al-Khandaq (battle of the Trench) the medial arm vein of Sa’d bin Mu’ad was injured and the Prophet pitched a tent in the mosque to look after him. There was another tent for Banu Ghaffar in the mosque and the blood started flowing from Sa’d’s tent to the tent of Bani Ghaffar. They shouted, “O occupants of the tent! What is coming from you to us?” They found that Sa’d’ wound was bleeding profusely and Sa’d died in his tent. Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:8:452 ”

The Sahih al-Bukhari collection also mentions that after the battle, Muslims were to carry out offensive attacks against their enemies:

On the day of Al-Ahzab (i.e. clans) the Prophet said, (After this battle) we will go to attack them (i.e. the infidels) and they will not come to attack us.” [Sahih Bukhari, 5,59,435] ”

The event is also mentioned in the Sahih Muslim Hadith collection as follows:

“ ‘Abdullah b. Zubair reported on the Day of the Battle of the Trench: I and Umar b. Abu Salama were with women folk in the fort of Hassan (b. Thabit). He at one time leaned for me and I cast a glance and at anothertime I leaned for him and he would see and I recognised my father as he rode on his horse with his arms towards the tribe of Quraizah. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Urwa reported from Abdullah b. Zubair: I made a mention of that to my father, whereupon he said: My son, did you see me (on that occasion)? He said: Yes. Thereupon he said: By Allah, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) addressed me saying: I would sacrifice for thee my father and my mother. [Sahih Muslim, 31:4940]

Al-Ahzab |غزوة الأحزاب

Regarding the battle of Al-Ahzab or Al-Khandaq (the trench),

Allah, Most High, revealed the following Qur’anie verses:

O ye who believe! Remember the grace of Allah, (bestowed) on you, when there come down on you hosts (to overwhelm you): but We sent against them a hurricane and forces that ye saw not: but Allah sees (clearly) all that ye do. Behold! (9) They came on you form above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes swerved and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah! (10) In that situation were the believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking.(11)

And behold! The hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease say: Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!’ (12) Behold! A party among them said: ‘Ye men of Yathrib! Ye cannot stand (the attack)! Therefore go back!’ And a band of them ask for leave of the Prophet, saying, ‘Truly our houses are bare and exposed. ’ Though they were not exposed: they intended nothing but to run away. (13)

And if any entry had been effected to them from the sides (of the city), and they had been incited to sedition, they would certainly have brought it to pass, with none but a brief delay! (14) And yet they had already covenanted with Allah not to turn their backs, and a covenant with Allah must (surely) be answered for. (15) Say: ‘Running away will not profit you if ye running away from death of slaughter; and even if (ye do escape), no more than a brief (respite) will ye be allowed to enjoy!’ (16) Say: ‘Who is it that can screen you from Allah if it be His wish to give you punishment or to give you mercy?’ Nor will they find for themselves, besides Allah, any protector or helper. (17)

Verily Allah knows those among you who keep back (men) and those who say to their brethren, ‘Come along to US’, but come not to fight except for just a little while, covetous over you. (18) Then when fear comes, thou wilt see them looking to thee, their eyes revolving, like one whofaintsfrom death: but when thefear is past, they will smite you with sharp tongues, covetous of goods. Such men have no faith, and so Allah has made their deeds of none effect: and that is easy for Allah. (19) They think that the Confederates have not withdrawn; and if the Confederates should come (again), they would wish they were is the deserts (wandering) among the. Bedouins, and seeking news about you (from a safe distance); and if they were in your midst, they would fight but little. (20)

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah much. (21) When the believers saw the Confederate forces, they said, ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.’ And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience. (22)

Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have died and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least: (23) That Allah may reward the men of Truth for their Truth, and punish the hypocrites if that be His will, or turn to them in mercy: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (24) And Allah turned back the unbelievers for (all) their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is Full of Strength. (25)

Exalted in might. And those of the people of the Book who aided them – Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, (so that) some ye slew, and some ye made captives. (26) And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has Power over all things. (27)’’ [Surat: Al-Ahzab, 9-27]

According to most of the late and early Muslim scholars, the Battle of Al-Ahzab took place in Shawwal, 5 AH.

The Occasion of the Battle

Scholars of Siyrah relate that a number of Jews who had formed a party against the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), among whom were Sallam Ibn Al-Huqayq An-Nadri, Huyayy Ibn Akhtab An-Nadri, Kinanah Ibn Abu Al- Huqayq An-Nadri, and Haudhah Ibn Qays Al-Wa’ili, and Abu ‘Ammar Al-Wa’ili with a number of the tribe of An-Nadir and the tribe of Wa’il went to Quraish at Makkah and invited them to join them in an attack on the Messenger so that they might get rid of him altogether. Quraish said, “You, O Jews, are the first scripture people and know the nature of our dispute with Muhammad. Is our religion is the best or his?” They replied, “Certainly, your religion is better than his and you had a better claim to be in the right.”

‘’It was about them that Allah, Most High, sent down the following Qur’anic verses.’’

Hast thou not turned thy thought to those who were given a portion of the book? They believe in sorcery and Taghut and say to the unbelievers that they are better guided in the (right) way than the believers! They are (men) whom Allah has cursed: and those whom Allah hath cursed, thou wilt find, have no one to help.” [Surat: An-Nisa’, 51-52]

These words, consequently, rejoiced Quraish and they responded gladly to their invitation to fight the Messenger and they assembled and made their preparations. Then that conipany of Jews went off to Ghattafan of Qays ‘Aylan and invited them to fight the Messenger and told them that they would act with them and that Quraish had followed their lead in the matter; they too joined in with them.

Quraish marched under the leadership of Abu Sufyan Jbn Harb; and Ghatafan led by ‘ Uyaynah Ibn Hisn Ibn Hudhaifah with the tribe of Fuzarah; and Al-Harith Ibn ‘ Awf Ibn Harithah Al-Marri with the tribe of Murra; and Mis’ar Ibn Rukhlah Ibn….

Only those are believers, who believe in Allah and His Messenger: when they are with him on a matter requiring collective action, they do not depart until they have asked for his leave; these who ask for the leave are those who believe in Allah and His Messenger, so when they ask for thy leave, for some business of their, give leave to those of them whom thou wilt, and ask Allah for their forgiveness; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Deem not the summons of the Messenger among yourselves like the summons of one of you to another: Allah doth know those of you who slip away under shelter of some excuses: then let those beware who withstand his (the Messenger) order, lest some trial befall them or a grievous chastisement be inflicted on them. Be quite sure that to Allah doth belong whatever in the heavens and on earth. Well dot He know what ye are intent upon: and the day Nuwayrah Ibn Tarif Ibn Suhmah Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn Hilal Ibn Khalawah Ibn Ashja’ Ibn Rayth Ibn Ghatafan with those of his people from Ashja’ who followed him.

Muslims Make Their Preparations

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard of the intention of his enemies he drew a trench about Madinah. Digging a trench, according to Ibn Hisham, was the suggestion of Salman, the Persian. The Messenger of Allah” (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) joined the Muslims in digging the trench encouraging the Muslims with the Hope of reward in heaven.

True Muslims worked very hard With the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) while the disaffected held back from hem and began to hide their real object by working slackly and by stealing away to their families without the Messenger’s permission or knowledge.

In this connection, Allah, Most High, revealed the following Qur’anic verses.

‘’They will be brought back to Him, He will tell them the truth of what they did: for Allah doth know all things.’’ (An-Nur: 62-64)

The Muslims worked at the trench until they had finished it, and they made a jingle about one of the Muslim called Ju’ayl whom the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) named ‘Amr.

In his Sahih, Al-Bukliari narrated the following ahadith’.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out towards the Khandaq (i.e., trench) and saw the Muhajirun and the Ansar digging the trench in the cold morning. ‘fhey had no slaves to do that (work) for them. When the ?rophet saw their hardship and hunger, he said,

“O Allah! The real life is the life of the Hereafter, so please forgive the Ansar and the Muhajirun.”

They said in reply to him, “We are those who have given the pledge of allegiance to Muhammad for to observe Jihad as long as we live.”

Also, Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Muhajirun and the Ansar were digging the trench around Madinah and were carrying the earth on their backs while saying, “We are those who have given the pledge of allegiance to Muhammad for Islam as long as we live.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said in reply to their saying,

“O Allah! There Is no goodness except the goodness of the Hereafter; so please grant Your Blessing to the Ansar and the Muhajirun.”

The people used to bring a handful of barley, and a meal used to be prepared thereof by cooking it with a cooking material (i.e., oil, fat and butter having a change in color and smell) and it used to be presented to the people (i.e., workers) who were hungry, and it used to stick to their throats and had a nasty smell.

Sahl Ibn Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that we were with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the trench, and some were digging the trench while we were carrying the earth on our shoulders. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“O Allah! There is no life except the life of the Hereafter, so please forgive the Muhajirun and the Ansar.”

Al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was carrying earth on the day of Al-Khandaq until his abdomen was fully covered with dust, and he was saying:

“By Allah, without Allah we would not have been guided, neither would we have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So (O Allah), please send Sakina (i.e., calmness) upon us, and make our feet firm if we meet the enemy as the enemy have rebelled against us, and if they intended affliction (i.e., want to frighten us and fight against us), then we would not (flee but withstand them).”

The Prophet used to raise his voice saying,

“Abaina! Abaina! (i. e., we would not, we would not).”

In another narration, Al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said that when it was the day of Al-Ahzab (i.e., the clans) and Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) dug the trench, I saw him carrying earth out of the trench until dust made the skin of his abdomen out of my sight and he was a hairy man. I heard him reciting the poetic verses composed by Ibn Rawahah while he was carrying the earth,

“O Allah! Without You we would not have been guided, nor would we have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So, (O Allah), please send Sakina (i.e..calmness) upon us and make our feet firm if we meet the enemy, as they have rebelled against us. And if they intend affliction (i.e., want to frighten us, and fight against us), then we would not (flee but withstand them).

The Prophet would then prolong his voiee at the last words.

Marvelous Scenes

Ibn Ishaq said, “I have heard some stories about the digging of the trench in which there is an example of Allah’s justifying His Messenger and confirming his prophetic office, things which the Muslims saw with their eyes.”

In this context, Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, “We were digging (the trench) on the day of Al-Khandaq (i.e., trench) and we ame across a big solid rock. We went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, ‘Here is a rock appearing across the trench.’

He said, ‘I am coming down.’ Then he got up, and a stone was tied to his belly for we had not eaten anything for three days. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took the spade and struck the big solid rock and it became like sand.

I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Allow me to go home.’ (When the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, allowed me) I said to my wife, ‘I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a state that I cannot treat lightly. Have you got something (for him to eat?)’ She replied, ‘I have barley and a she-goat.’ So, I slaughtered the she-kid and she ground the barley; then we put the meat in the earthenware cooking pot.

Then I came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when the dough had become soft and fermented and (the meat in) the pot over the stone trivet had nearly been well- cooked, and said, ‘I have got a little food prepared, so get up -O Allah’s Messenger, you and one or two men along with you (for the food).’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked, ‘How much is that food?’ I told him about it.

He said, ‘It is abundant and good. Tell your wife not to remove the earthenware pot from the fire and not to take out any bread from the oven until I reach there.’ Then he said (to all his Companions), ‘Get up.’ So, the Muhajirun and the Ansar got up. When I came to my wife, I said, ‘Allah’s peace be upon you!

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came along with the Muhajirun and the Ansar and those who were present with them. She said, ‘Did the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) ask you (how much food you had)?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Enter and do not throng.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) started cutting the bread (into pieces) and put the cooked meat over it.

He covered the earthenware pot and the oven whenever he took something out of them. He would give the food to his Companions and take the meat out of the pot. He went on cutting the bread and scooping the meat (for his Companions) until they all ate their fill, and even then, some food remained. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said (to my wife), ‘Eat and present to others as the people are struck with hunger.

In another narration Jabir Ibn’Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “When the treneh was dug, I saw the Prophet (peaee and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the state of severe hunger. So I returned to my wife and said, ‘Have you got anything (to eat), for I have seen Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a state of severe hunger.’

She brought out for me, a bag containing one Sa’ of barley, and we had a domestic she-animal (i.e., a kid) which I slaughtered then, and my wife ground the barley and she finished at the time I finished my job (i.e., slaughtering the kid). Then I cut the meat into pieces and put it in an earthenware (cooking) pot, and returned to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

My wife said, ‘Do not disgrace me in front of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and those who are with him.’ So I went to him and said to him secretly, ‘O Allah’s Messenger!

I have slaughtered a she-animal (i.e.,kid) of ours, and we have ground a Sa’ of barley which was with us. So please come, you and another person along with you.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) raised his voice and said, ‘O people of trench! Jabir has prepared a meal so let us go.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me, ‘Don’t put down your earthenware meat pot (from the fireplace) or bake your dough until I come.’ So, I came (to my house) and Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) too, come, proceeding before the people.

When I came to my wife, she said, ‘May Allah do so-and-so to you.’ I said, ‘I have told the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) of what you said.’ Then she brought out to him (i.e., the Prophet) the dough, and he spat in it and invoked for Allah’s Blessings in it. Then he proceeded towards our earthenware meat-pot and spat in it and invoked for Allah’s Blessings in it.

Then he said (to my wife), ‘Call a lady-baker to bake along with you and keep on taking out scoops from your earthenware meat-pot, and do not put it down from its fireplace.’ They were one-thousand (who took their meals), and by Allah they all ate, and when they left the food and went away, our earthenware pot was still bubbling (full of meat) as if it had not decreased, and our dough was still being baked as if nothing had been taken from it.”

According to Ibn Ishaq, a danghter of Bashir Ibn Sa’d, sister of An-Nu’man Ibn Bashir, said, “My mother ‘Arah, daughter of Rawahah, called me and gave me a handful of dates which she put in my garment and told me to take them to my father and my uncle ‘Abdullah Ibn Rawahah for their food. As I went off looking for them I passed the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who called me and asked me what I had.

When I told him that I was taking the dates to my father and my uncle he told me to give them to him. So I poured them into his hands but they did not fill them then he called for a garment which was laid out for him and threw the dates upon it so that they were scattered on it. Then he told the men to summon the diggers to lunch, and when they came they began to eat and the dates went on increasing until they turned away from them and they were still falling from the ends of the garment.”

Ibn Ishaq, moreover, narrated on the authority of Salman Al-Farsi that the latter said, “I was working with a pick in the trench where a rock gave me much trouble. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who was near at hand saw me hacking and saw how difficult the place was. He dropped down into the trench and took the pick from my hand and gave such a below that lighting showed beneath the pick. This happened a second and a third time. I said, ‘O you, dearer than father or mother what is the meaning of this light beneath your piek as you strike?’

‘’He said, Did you really see that, Salman? The first means that Allah opened up to me the Yemen; the second Syria and the west; and the third the east.’’

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say when countries were conquered in the time of ‘Umar and ‘Utham and after, “Conquer where you will; by Allah, you have not conquered and to the Day of Judgment you will not conquer a city but Allah has given its keys beforehand to Muhammad (peace and blessings ofAllah be upon him).”

In this context, we read in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari the following narrations:

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘’I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with awe (cast into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping last night, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me until they were put in my hand.”

Abu Hurairah added, “Allah’s Messenger left (this world) and now you people are carrying those treasures from place to place.”

Also, Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger said,

“When Khosrau is ruined, there will be no Khosrau after him; and when Caesar is ruined, there will be no Caesar after him. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, you will spend their treasures in Allah’s Cause.”

The Camp of Quraish

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) finished the trench, Quraish came and encamped where the torrent-beds of Ruma meet between Al-Jurut and Zughabah with ten thousand of their black mercenaries and their followers from the tribe of Kinanah and the people of Tuhamah. Ghatafan too came with their followers from Najd and halted at Dhanab Naqma towards the direction of Uhud.

On the other side, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Muslims came out with three thousand men having Sala’ at their backs. He pitched his camp there with the trench between him and his enemy, and gave orders that the women and children were to be taken up into the forts.

According to Ibn Hisham, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) appointed Ibn Umm Maktum as the ruler of Madinah in that period.

Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the latter said, “As regards the following Qur’anic verse,

’Behold! They came on you from above you and from below you, and behold the eyes swerved and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah.!’’ (Al-Ahzab: 10)

That happened on the Day of Al-Khandaq (i.e, trench).”

The Jewish tribe of Bani Quraizah, who had stood by the agreement, was pressed by a Jewish emissary from the enemy to break their promise. Eventually, they agreed to do so and when the news of this reached the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions they were greatly troubled.

Sa’d Ibn Mu’ adh, the leader of the tribe of Aws, was sent by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with two other men to find out if this were true. When they arrived in the part of Madinah where the Jews lived, they found that things were even worse than they had previously thought.

Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh, whose tribe was closely allied with Banu Quraizah, tried to persuade their leader not to break the treaty with the Muslims, but he refused to listen. This meant that the Muslims could not relax their guard for one moment, for they were now threatened not only by the enemy beyond the trench, but by Banu Quraizah, within the walls of the city.

The situation, according to Ibn Ishaq, became serious and fear was everywhere. The enemy came at them from above and below until the believers imagined vain things and disaffection was rife among the disaffected to the point that Mu’attib Ibn Qushair, brother of Banu ‘Amr Ibn ‘Awf, said, “Muhammad used to promise us that we should eat the treasures of Khosrau and Caesar and today not one of us can feel safe in going to the privy!”

It reached such a point that Aws Ibn Qaizi said, ” ’O Messenger of Allah! Our houses are exposed to the enemy. This he said before a large gathering of his people. So let us go out and return to our home, for it is outside Madinah.”

In this context, the Glorious Qur’an says,

‘’And behold! The hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease say: ‘Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!’ Behold! ٨ party among them said: ‘Ye men of Yathrib! Ye cannot stand (the attack)! Therefore go back! ‘And a band of them ask for leave of the Prophet, saying, ‘Truly our houses are bare and exposed. ’ Though they were not exposed: they intended nothing but to run away.’’ [Al-Ahzab: 12-13]

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the polytheists remained twenty days and more, nearly a month, without fighting except for some shooting with arrows, and the siege. When condition pressed hard upon the people, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wanted to offer Ghatafan a third of the dates of Madinah on condition that they would go back and leave him and Iris men, so peace was made between them so far as the writing of a document.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) consulted both Sa’d Ibn ‘Abadah and Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh, the leaders of Al-Aws and Al-Ghazraj, regarding giving the unbelievers one-third of the fruits of Madinah in return of making peace with them. They said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, is it a mere plan of you, or a Divine order that we should abide by?” He said, “It is my plan to protect you against the allied forces of Arabs.” Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, we were pagans and those never expected to take anything from the fruits of Madinah.

Then, Allah has honored us with Islam, guided us to Him, and granted us dignity by believing in Him and following You. How could we give them our money! We are in no need of doing so. By Allah, we will give them nothing but swords, i.e., fighting, until Allah judges between us and them.” The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Do according to this?”

In the meantime, some horsemen of Quraish, among whom were ‘Amr Ibn ‘Abd Wudd and ‘Ikrimah Ibn Abu Jahl, donned their armor and went forth on horseback to the stations of the tribe of Kinanah, saying, “Prepare for fighting and then you will know who are true knights today.” They galloped forward until they stopped at the trench. When they saw it, they exclaimed, “This is a device that the Arabs have never employed.”

Then they made for a narrow part of the trench and beat their horses so that they dashed trough it and carried them into the swampy ground between the trench and Sal’. ‘Ali with some Muslims came out to hold the gap through which they had forced a passage against (the rest of) them and the horsemen galloped to meet them.

‘Amr Ibn Wudd came out wearing a distinguishing mark to show his rank, and when he and his contingent stopped challenged anyone to fight him. ‘Ali accepted the challenge and said to him, “‘Amr, you swore by Allah that if any man of Quraish offered you two alternatives you would accept one of them?” “Yes, I did,” he said. ‘Ali replied, “Then I invite you to Allah and His Messenger and to Islam.”

He said that he had no use for them. ‘Ali went on, “Then I call you to single combat.” He replied, “O son of my brother, I do not want to kill you.” ‘Ali said, “But I want to kill you.” This so enraged ‘Amr that he got off his horse and hamstrung it and beat its face; then he advanced on ‘Ali, and they fought, the one circling round the other. ‘Ali killed him and their cavalry fled, bursting headlong on flight across the trench.

The situation was so difficult that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions had been prevented from offering the ‘Asr Prayer in its due time.

Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that the latter said, “On the day of Al-Khandaq, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘(Let) Allah fill their (i.e., the infidels’) houses and graves with fire just as they have prevented us from offering the Middle Prayer (i.e., ‘Asr Prayer) until the sun had set.

Al-Bukari, moreover, narrated that Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah‘ (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab come on the day of Al- Khandaq after the sun had set and he was abusing the infidels of Quraish saying, “O Allah’s Messenger! I was unable to offer the Asr Prayer until the sun was about to set.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “By Allah, I have not offered this (i.e., ‘Asr) Prayer.

“Jabir added, “So we came down along with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to Buthan where he performed ablution for the Prayer and then we performed the ablution for it. Then he offered the ‘ Asr Prayer after the sun had set, and after it he offered the Maghrib Prayer.”

The Prophet’s Du’a’ against Quraish and Its Allies

In this context, we read the following narrations in Sahih Al-Bukhari:

‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) invoked evil upon the clans saying, “Allah, the Revealer of the Holy Book (I.e., the Qur’an), the Quick Taker of the accounts! Please defeat the clans. ‘O Allah! Defeat them and shake them.” Also, ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that whenever Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) returned from a Ghazwah (battle), Hajj or ‘ Umrah, Ire used to start (saying), “Allahu-Akbar (Allah is the Greatest),” thrice and then he would say,

“None has the right to be worshiped except Allah alone Who has no partners.

To Him belongs the Kingdom, all praises are for Him, and He is Able to do all things (i.e.,Omnipotent). We are returning with repentance (to Allah) worshiping, prostrating, and praising our Lord. Allah has fulfilled His Promise, made His slave victorious, and He (Alone) defeated the clans (of infidels).”

Hudhaifah’s Dangerous Mission

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wanted to know what Quraish was doing by night. Hudhaifah was ordered by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to do so.

It has been narrated by Ibrahim on the authority of his father who said, “We were sitting in the company of Hudhaifah. A man said, ‘If I had been alive at the time of the Messenge of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), I should have fought by his side and should have striven hard for his causes.’ Hudhaifah said, ‘You might have done that (but you should not make a flourish of your enthusiasm). I was with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the night of the battle of Al-Ahzab and we were gripped by a violent wind and severe cold. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

‘Hark, the man who (goes reconnoitering and) brings me the news the enemy shall   be ranked with me on the Day Judgment by Allah, Most High.’

We all kept quiet and none of us responded to him. (Again) he said,

‘Hark, a man who (goes reconnoitering and) brings me the news of the enemy shall be ranked with me on the Day of Judgment by Allah, Most High.’

We kept quiet and none of us responded to him. He again said,

‘Hark, a man who (goes reconnoitering and) brings me the news of the enemy shall be ranked with me on the Day of Judgment by Allah, Most High.’

Then, he said,

‘Stand up, Hudhaifah, bring me the news of the enemy!’

When he called me by name, I had no alternative but to stand up. He said,

‘Go and bring me information about the enemy, and do nothing that may provoke them against me. ’

When I left him, I felt warm as if I were walking in a heated bath, until I reached them. When I saw Abu Sufyan warming his back against the fire, I put an arrow in the middle of the bow, intending to shoot at him, but I recalled the words of tire Messenger of Allah (pbuh), ‘Do not provoke them against me.’ Had I shot at him, I should have hit him. But I returned and (felt warm as if) I were walking in a heated bath (hammam).

Presenting myself to him, I gave him information about the enemy. When I had done so, I began to feel cold, so the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) wrapped me in a blanket that he had surplus his own requirements and with which he used to cover himself while saying his prayers. So I continued to sleep until it was morning. When it was morning, he said, ٠Rise, Oh heavy sleeper!’”

The Coming of Allah’s Help

Allah, Most High, sent bitter cold wind against the polytheists in the winter nights which upset their cooking-pots and overthrew their tents.

In this connection, Allah, Most High, revealed, the following Qura’nic verses:

‘’O you believe! Remember the grace of Allah, (bestowed) on you, when there come down on you hosts (to overwhelm you): but We sent against them hurricane and forces that ye saw not: but Allah sees (clearly) all that ye do… And Allah turned back the unbelievers for (all) their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might.” [Al-Ahzab: 9-25]

Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Sulaiman Ibn Surd who said, “When the clans were driven away, I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying,

’From now onwards we will go to attack them (i.e., the polytheists) and they will not come to attack us, but we will go to them.”’

At Al-Khandaq the following Muslims were martyred:

  1. Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh,
  2. Anas Ibn Aws,
  3. ‘Abdullah Ibn Sahl,
  4. At-Tufail Ibn Nu’man,
  5. Tha’labah Ibn Ghanamah and
  6. Ka’b Ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with them all).