The Battle of Khaibar
غزوة خيبر

The Battles of Prophet (peace be upon him)
Arabic:
غزوات الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم

Decorative Lines

The Battle of Khaybar
غزوة خيبر

The Battle of Khaybar was fought in the year 629 between Muslims and the Jews living in the oasis of Khaybar, located 150 kilometers (93 mi) from Medina in the north-western part of the Arabian peninsula, in modern-day Saudi Arabia. According to Muslim sources, the Muslims attacked Jews who had barricaded themselves in a fort.

On the reasons for the attack, Scottish historian William Montgomery Watt notes the presence in Khaybar of the Banu Nadir, who were inciting hostilities among with neighboring Arab tribes against the Islamic community in Medina. Italian orientalist Laura Veccia Vaglieri, while giving full credence to Watt’s view, claims other motives might have included the prestige the engagement would confer upon Muhammad among his followers, as well the booty which could be used to supplement future campaigns.

The Jews of Khaybar finally surrendered and were allowed to live in the oasis on the condition that they would give one-half of their produce to the Muslims. Jews continued to live in the oasis for several more years until they were expelled by caliph Umar.

The imposition of tribute upon the conquered Jews served as a precedent for provisions in the Islamic law requiring the exaction of tribute known as jizya from non-Muslims under Muslim rule, and confiscation of land belonging to non-Muslims into the collective property of the Muslim community.]

In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim state’s protection from outside aggression, and to be exempted from military service and the Zakat, which is obligatory upon Muslim citizens.

Part of Campaigns of Muhammad

  • Date: 629
  • Location: Khaybar
  • Result: Muslim victory

Belligerents

  • Muslim army: Jews of Khaybar oasis

Commanders and leaders

Muhammad, Ali ibn Abi Talib:

  • al-Harith ibn Abu Zaynab
  • Marhab Bin Abu Zaynab

Strength

1,600

  • Khaybar 10,000
  • Banu Ghatafan 4,000

Casualties and losses

  • Less than 20 killed
  • 50 wounded
  • 93 killed

Khaybar in the 7th century

Jewish community of Khaybar

In the 7th century, Khaybar was inhabited by Jews. The inhabitants had stored in a redoubt at Khaybar a siege-engine, swords, lances, shields and other weaponry. In the past some scholars attempted to explain the presence of the weapons, suggesting that they were used for settling quarrels among the families of the community.

Vaglieri suggests that it is more logical to assume that the weapons were stored in a depôt for future sale. Similarly the Jews kept 20 bales of cloth and 500 cloaks for sale, and other luxury goods. These commercial activities as a cause of hostility, Vaglieri argues, are similar to the economic causes behind persecutions in many other countries throughout history.

The oasis was divided into three regions: al-Natat, al-Shikk, and al-Katiba, probably separated by natural divisions, such as the desert, lava drifts, and swamps. Each of these regions contained several fortresses or redoubts including homes, storehouses and stables. Each fortress was occupied by a separate family and surrounded by cultivated fields and palm-groves. In order to improve their defensive capabilities, the fortresses were raised up on hills or basalt rocks.

Banu Nadir

After they were sent into exile in 625, the Banu Nadir had settled in Khaybar. In 627, the Nadir chief Huyayy ibn Akhtab together with his son joined the Meccans and Bedouins besieging Medina during the Battle of the Trench. In addition, the Nadir paid Arabian tribes to go to war against the Muslims. Bribing Banu Ghatafan with half of their harvest, Banu Nadir secured 2,000 men and 300 horsemen from the tribe to attack Muhammad, and similarly persuaded the Bani Asad.

They attempted to get the Banu Sulaym attack the Muslims, but the tribe gave them only 700 men, since some of its leaders were sympathetic towards Islam. The Bani Amir refused to join them all together, as they had a pact with Muhammad. Once the battle started, Huyayy ibn Akhtab persuaded the Banu Qurayza to go against their covenant with Muhammad and turn against him during the battle.

After the defeat of the confederates in the battle, and Qurayza’s subsequent surrender, Huyayy (who was at that time in the Qurayza strongholds of Medina) was killed alongside the men of the Qurayza. After Huyayy’s death, Abu al-Rafi ibn Abi al-Huqayq took charge of the Banu Nadir at Khaybar. Al-Huqayq soon approached neighboring tribes to raise an army against Muhammad. After learning this, the Muslims, aided by an Arab with a Jewish dialect, assassinated him.

Al-Huqayq was succeeded by Usayr ibn Zarim. It has been recorded by one source that Usayr also approached the Ghatafan and rumors spread that he intended to attack the “capital of Muhammad”. The latter sent Abdullah bin Rawaha with a number of his companions, among whom were Abdullah bin Unays, an ally of Banu Salima, a clan hostile to the Jews.

When they came to Usayr, they told him that if he would come to Muhammad, Muhammad would give him an appointment and honour him. They kept on at him until he went with them with a number of Jews. Abdullah bin Unays mounted him on his beast until he was in al-Qarqara, about six miles from Khaybar. Usayr suddenly changed his mind about going with them. Abdullah perceived Usayr’s bad intention as the latter was preparing to draw his sword.

So Abdullah rushed at him and struck him with his sword cutting off his leg. Usayr hit Abdullah with a stick of shauhat wood which he had in his hand and wounded his head. All Muhammad’s emissaries fell upon the thirty Jewish companions and killed them except one man who escaped on his feet. Abdullah bin Unays is the assassin who volunteered and got permission to kill Banu Nadir’s Sallam ibn Abu al-Huqayq at a previous night mission in Khaybar.

Many scholars have considered the above machinations of the Nadir as a reason for the battle. According to Montgomery Watt, their intriguing and use of their wealth to incite tribes against Muhammad left him no choice but to attack. Vaglieri concurs that one reason for attack was that the Jews of Khaybar were responsible for the Confederates that attacked Muslims during the Battle of the Trench.

Shibli Numani also sees Khaybar’s actions during the Battle of the Trench, and draws particular attention to Banu Nadir’s leader Huyayy ibn Akhtab, who had gone to the Banu Qurayza during the battle to instigate them to attack Muhammad. David Margoliouth however held a different view, arguing that “the people of Khaibar, all that distance from Medinah, had certainly done him and his followers no wrong: for their leaving unavenged the murder of one of their number by his emissary was no act of aggression.

Ali, when told to lead the forces against them, had to enquire for what he was fighting: and was told that he must compel them to adopt the formulæ of Islam, Khaibar was attacked because there was booty to be acquired there, and the plea for attacking it was that its inhabitants were not Moslems”.

Treaty of Hudaybiyya

In 628, when the Muslims attempted to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage), After much negotiations, the Muslims entered a peace treaty with the Quraysh, ending the Muslim-Quraysh wars. Some of his followers, however, were discontent at the terms Muhammad had agreed to.

Scholars agree that Muhammad’s need to raise his prestige amongst his followers, which had been eroded by the Treaty, was one reason for the battle.

Vaglieri also argues that the conquest of Khaybar would satisfy those Muslims who had hoped to conquer Mecca, as well as bring in army and money. Stillman adds that Muhammad needed the victory to show the Bedouins, who were not strongly tied to the rest of the Muslim community, that the alliance with him would pay off. In addition, the treaty also gave Muhammad the assurance of not being attacked in the rear by the Meccans during the expedition.

Political situation

As war with Muhammad seemed imminent, the Jews of Khaybar entered into an alliance with the Jews of Fadak oasis. They also successfully persuaded the Bedouin Ghatafan tribe to join their side in the war in exchange for half their produce. However, in comparison to the power of the North, Muhammad’s army did not seem to pose enough of a threat for the Khaybar to sufficiently prepare themselves for the upcoming battle.

Along with the knowledge that Muhammad’s army was small, and in need of resources, the lack of central authority at Khaybar prevented any unified defensive preparations, and quarrels between different families left the Jews disorganized. The Banu Fazara, related to the Ghatafan, also offered their assistance to Khaybar, after their unsuccessful negotiations with the Muslims.

Failure of Banu Ghatafan

During the battle, the Muslims were able to prevent Khaybar’s Ghatafan allies (consisting of 4,000 men) from providing them with reinforcements. One reason given is that the Muslims were able to buy off the Bedouin allies of the Jews. Watt, however, also suggests that rumors of a Muslim attack on Ghatafan strongholds might also have played a role. According to Tabari, Muhammad’s first stop in his conquest for Khaybar was in the valley of al-Raji, which was directly between the Ghatafan people and the Khaybar.

In hearing the news of the Muslim army’s position, the Ghatafan organized and rode out to honor their alliance with the Khaybar. After a day of travel, the Ghatafan thought they heard their enemy behind them and turned around in order to protect their families and possessions, thus opening the path for Muhammad’s army. Another story says that a mysterious voice warned the Ghatafan of danger and convinced them to return to their homes.

Course of the Battle

The Muslims set out for Khaybar in May 628, Muharram 7 AH. According to different sources, the strength of Muslims army varied from 1,400 to 1,800 men and between 100 and 200 horses. Some Muslim women (including Umm Salama) also joined the army, in order to take care of the wounded. Compared to the Khaybarian fighting strength of 10,000, the Muslim contingent was small, but this gave Muslims advantages.

It allowed Muslims to swiftly and quietly march to Khaybar (in only three days), catching the city by surprise. It also made Khaybar overconfident in themselves. As a result, the Jews failed to mount a centrally organized defense, leaving each family to defend its own fortified redoubt. This underestimation of the Muslims allowed Muhammad to conquer each fortress one by one with relative ease, claiming food, weapons, and land as he went.

One Muslim reported:”We met the workers of Khaybar coming out in the morning with their spades and baskets. When they saw the apostle and the army they cried, ‘Muhammad with his force,’ and turned tail and fled. The apostle said, ‘Allah Akbar! Khaybar is destroyed. When we arrive in a people’s square it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.'”

The Jews, after a rather bloody skirmish in front of one of the fortresses, avoided combat in the open country. Most of the fighting consisted of shooting arrows at a great distance. On at least one occasion the Muslims were able to storm the fortresses. The besieged Jews managed to organize, under the cover of darkness, the transfer of people and treasures from one fortress to another as needed to make their resistance more effective.

Neither the Jews nor the Muslims were prepared for an extended siege, and both suffered from a lack of provisions. The Jews, initially overconfident in their strength, failed to prepare even enough water supplies for a short siege. Early in the campaign, the Muslims’ hunger caused them to slaughter and cook several asses which they had taken during their conquest. Muhammad, who had determined that the eating of horse, mule, and ass meat was forbidden, made the exception that one can eat forbidden foods so long as scarcity leaves no other option.

Fall of al-Qamus fort

After the forts at an-Natat and those at ash-Shiqq were captured, there remained the last and the heavily guarded fortress called al-Qamus, the siege of which lasted between thirteen and nineteen days.

Several attempts by Muslims to capture this citadel in some single combats failed. The first attempt was made by Abu Bakr who took the banner and fought, but was unable to succeed. Umar, then charged ahead and fought more vigorously than Abu Bakr, but still failed. That night Muhammad proclaimed, “By God, tomorrow I shall give it [the banner] to a man who loves God and His Messenger, whom God and His Messenger love. Allah will bestow victory upon him.”

That morning, the Quraysh were wondering who should have the honor to carry the banner, but Muhammad called out for Ali ibn Abi Țalib. All this time, Ali, son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad, was ill and could not participate in the failed attempts. Ali came to Muhammad, who cured him of his ophthalmia, an inhibitive inflammation of the eyes, by applying his saliva in them.

Ali, with new vigor, set out to meet the enemy, bearing the banner of Muhammad. When Ali reached the Citadel of Qamus, he was met at the gate by Marhab, a Jewish chieftain who was well experienced in battle. Marhab called out: “Khaybar knows well that I am Marhab, whose weapon is sharp, a warrior tested. Sometimes I thrust with spear; sometimes I strike with sword, when lions advance in burning rage”.

The two soldiers struck at each other, and after the second blow, Ali cleaved through Marhab’s helmet, splitting his skull and landing his sword in his opponent’s teeth. After his victory in single combat, the battle commenced, allowing Ali to move closer to taking the citadel. During the battle, Ali lost his shield. In need of a substitute, he picked up a door from the wall and used it to defend himself.

When the time came to breach the fortress, he threw the door down as a bridge to allow his army to pass into the citadel and conquer the final threshold. The door was said to be so heavy that it took eight men to replace it on its hinges. “The Apostle revived their (his followers) faith by the example of Ali, on whom he bestowed the surname of the Lion of God” (Asadullah).

The Jews speedily met with Muhammad to discuss the terms of surrender. The people of al-Waṭi and al-Sulālim surrendered to the Muslims on the condition that they be “treated leniently” and the Muslims refrain from shedding their blood. Muhammad agreed to these conditions and did not take any of the property of these two forts.

Aftermath

Muhammad met with Ibn Abi al-Huqaiq, al-Katibah and al-Watih to discuss the terms of surrender. As part of the agreement, the Jews of Khaybar were to evacuate the area, and surrender their wealth. The Muslims, would cease warfare, and not hurt any of the Jews. After the agreement some Jews approached Muhammad, with a request to continue to cultivate their fine orchards, and remain in the oasis. In return, they would give one-half of their produce to the Muslims.

According to Ibn Hisham’s version of the pact with Khaybar, it was concluded on the condition that the Muslims “may expel you [Jews of Khaybar] if and when we wish to expel you.” Norman Stillman believes that this is probably a later interpolation intended to justify the expulsion of Jews in 642. The agreement with the Jews of Khaybar served as an important precedent for Islamic Law in determining the status of dhimmis, (non-Muslims under Muslim rule).

After hearing about this battle, the people of Fadak, allied with Khaybar during the battle, sent Muḥayyisa b. Masūd to Muhammad. Fadak offered to be “treated leniently” in return for surrender. A treaty similar to that of Khaybar was drawn with Fadak as well.

Among the captives was Safiyya bint Huyayy, daughter of the killed Banu Nadir chief Huyayy ibn Akhtab and widow of Kenana ibn al-Rabi, the treasurer of Banu Nadir. The companions informed Muhammad of Safiyya’s good family status, and requested him to accept her as his wife so as to preserve her prestige and status. Muhammad acceded to the request, and freed and married her. Thus, Safiyya became one of the Mother of the Believers.

According to popular account, Kenana ibn al-Rabi, when asked about the treasure he brought with him at the time of leaving Medina, denied having any such treasure. He was told that in case the treasure could be found hidden, he would face death-penalty for his false promise. Kenana acceded to this.

A Jew told Muhammad that he had seen Al-Rabi near a certain ruin every morning. When the ruin was excavated, it was found to contain some of the treasure. Kenana died as a result.

Shibli Nomani rejects this account, and argues that Kenana was killed because he earlier murdered Mahmoud ibn Maslamah, brother of Muhammad ibn Maslamah. According to Muslim biographers, a Jewish woman Zeynab bint Al-Harith attempted to poison Muhammad to avenge her slain relatives.

She poisoned a piece of lamb that she cooked for Muhammad and his companion, putting especially much poison into the shoulder; Muhammad’s favorite part of lamb. The attempt on Muhammad’s life failed because he reportedly spat out the meat, feeling that it was poisoned, while his companion ate the meat and died.

The victory in Khaybar greatly raised the status of Muhammad among his followers and local Bedouin tribes, who, seeing his power, swore allegiance to Muhammad and converted to Islam. The captured booty and weapons strengthened his army, and he captured Mecca just 18 months after Khaybar.

The battle in classic Islamic literature

According to mainstream Sunni opinion, the battle is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, in which Muhammad is reported to have said “Tomorrow I will give the flag to a man with whose leadership Allah will grant (the Muslim) victory.” Afterwards, he gave the flag to Ali. According to a Shia tradition, Muhammad called for Ali, who killed a Jewish chieftain with a sword-stroke, which split in two the helmet, the head and the body of the victim.

Having lost his shield, Ali is said to have lifted both of the doors of the fortress from its hinges, climbed into the moat and held them up to make a bridge whereby the attackers gained access to the redoubt. The door was so heavy that forty men were required to put it back in place. This story is the basis for the Shia view of Ali as the prototype of heroes.

On one occasion, Muslim soldiers, without Muhammad’s opinion and permission, killed and cooked a score of donkeys, which had escaped from a farm. The incident led Muhammad to forbid to Muslims the meat of horses, mules, and donkeys, unless consumption was forced by necessity. The Jews surrendered when, after a month and a half of the siege, all but two fortresses were captured by the Muslims.

Islamic primary sources

Muslim Scholars suggest that capturing Khaibar had been a Divine promise implied in the Quran verse below:

“Allâh has promised you abundant spoils that you will capture, and He has hastened for you this.” [Quran 48:20]           ”

The event is mentioned in many Sunni Hadith collections. The Muslim scholar Saifur Rahman al Mubarakpuri mentions that the hadith below regarding Amir’s accidental suicide is related to Khaibar:

It has been reported on the authority of Salama b. Akwa’ who said: On the day of the Battle of Khaibar my brother fought a fierce fight by the side of the Messenger of Allah. His sword rebounded and killed him.

The Companions of the Messenger of Allah talked about his death and doubted (whether it was martyrdom). (They said): (He is) a man killed by his own weapon, and expressed doubt about his affair. Salama said: When the Messenger of Allah returned from Khaibar, I said: Messenger of Allah, permit me that I may recite to you some rajaz verses. The Messenger of Allah permitted him. ‘Umar b. Khattab said: I know what you will recite. I recited:

By God, if God had guided us not,

We would hive neither been guided aright nor practised charity,

Nor offered prayers.

The Messenger of Allah said: What you have said is true, ‘I (continued):

And descend on us peace and tranquillity

And keep us steadfast if we encounter (with our enemies)

And the polytheists have rebelled against us.

When I finished my rajaz, the Messenger of Allah said:

Who composed these verses?

I said: They were composed by my brother.

The Messenger of Allah said: May God show mercy to him..!

I said: By God, some people are reluctant to invoke God’s mercy on him (because) they say he is a man who died by his own sword.

(Hearing this) the Messenger of Allah said: He died as God’s devotee and warrior.

Ibn Shihab has said: I asked one of the sons of Salama (b. Akwa’) about (the death of ‘Amir).

He related to me a similar tradition except that he said: When I said some people were reluctant invoke God’s blessings on him, the Messenger of Allah said: They lied. (‘Amir) died as God’s devotee and warrior (in the cause of Allah). For him there is a double reward, and he pointed out this by putting his two fingers together. Sahih Muslim, 19:4450

Allah’s Apostle offered the Fajr prayer when it was still dark, then he rode and said, ‘Allah Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. When we approach near to a nation, the most unfortunate is the morning of those who have been warned.” The people came out into the streets saying, “Muhammad and his army.” Allah’s Apostle vanquished them by force and their warriors were killed; the children and women were taken as captives. Safiya was taken by Dihya Al-Kalbi and later she belonged to Allah’s Apostle go who married her and her Mahr was her manumission. Sahih al-Bukhari, 2:14:68

The Battle of Khaibar غزوة خيبر

According to ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Laylah, the following Qur’anic verse, refers to Khaibar.

Surah Al-Fath, 18

48:18.| Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave the pledge to you under the tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakinah upon them, and He rewarded them with a speedy victory. [Surah: Al-Fath. 18]

Some scholars of Siyrah say that the battle of Khaibar tool؛ place in the 6th year of Hijra but according to the majority of scholars it took place in the 7* year of Hijra.

Ibn Ishaq said when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) marched from Madinah to Khaibar He went by way of Isr, and a mosque was built for him there; then by way of Al-Sahbih. Then he went forward with the army until he hatted in a valley called Al-Raji’, halting between the men of Khaibar and Ghatafan so as to prevent the latter reinforcing Khaibar, for they were on their side against the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

When Ghatafan heard about the Messenger’s attack on Khaibar they gathered together and marched out to help the Jews against him; but after a day’s journey, hearing a rumor about their property and families, they thought that they had been attacked during their absence, so they went back on their tracks and left the way to Khaibar open to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari narrated the following narrations that shed light on the battle of Khaibar:

Suwaid Ibn An-Nu’man narrated, “I went out in the company of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the year of Khaibar, and when we reached As-Sahba’ which is the lower part of Khaibar, the Prophet offered the “Asr Prayer and then asked the people to collect the journey food. Nothing was brought but Sawiq, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered to be moistened with water, and then he ate it and we also ate it. Then he got up to offer the Maghrib Prayer. He washed his mouth, and we too washed our mouths, and then he offered toe Prayer without repeating his ablution.”

Salama Ibn Al-Akwa’ said, “We went out to Khaibar in the company of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). While we were proceeding at night, a man from the group said to ‘Ami:,

‘O ‘Amir! Won’t you let us hear your poetry..?’

‘Amir was a poet, so he got down and started reciting for the people poetry that kept pace with the camels’ footsteps, saying:

“O Allah! Without you we would not have been guided On the right path. Neither would we have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So please forgive us, what we have committed (i.e., our defects); let all of us be sacrificed for Your Cause and send Sakinah (i.e., calmness) upon us to make our feet firm when we meet our enemy, and if they will call us towards an unjust thing, we will refuse. The infidels have made a hue and cry to ask others’ help against us.’

The Prophet on that, asked, ‘Who is that (camel) driver (reciting poetry)?’ The people said, ‘He is ‘Amir Ibn Al-Akwa’.’

Then the Prophet said,

‘‘May Allah bestow His Mercy on him.’’

A man amongst the people said, ‘0 Allah’s Prophet! Has (martyrdom) been granted to him? Would that you let us enjoy his eompany longer.’ Then we reached and besieged Khaibar until we were afflicted with severe hunger.

Then Allah helped the Muslims conquer it (i.e., Khaibar). In the evening of the day of the conquest of the city, the Muslims made huge fires. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘What are these fires..? For cooking what, are you making the file..?’ The people replied, ‘(For cooking) meat.’ He asked, ‘What kind of meat?’ They (i.e., people) said, ‘The meat of donkeys.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘Throw away the meat and break the pots!

Some man said,

‘O Allah’s Messenger! Shall we throw away the meat and wash the pots instead?’

He said, ‘(Yes, you can do) that too. ’

So when the army files were arranged in rows (for the clash), ‘Amir’s sword was short and he aimed at the leg of a Jew to strike it, but the sharp blade of the sword returned to him and injured his own knee, and that caused him to die. When they returned from the battle, Allah’s Messenger saw me (in a sad mood). He took my hand and said, ‘What is bothering you?’ I replied, ‘Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you! The people say that the deeds of ‘Amir are lost.’ The Prophet said,

‘Whoever says this, is mistaken, for ‘Amir has got a double reward. ’

The Prophet raised two fingers and added,

‘He (i.e., ‘Amir) was a persevering struggler in the Cause of Allah and there are few Arabs who achieved the like of (good deeds) Amir had done.

Anas narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reached Khaibar at night and it was his habit that whenever he reached the enemy at night, he did not attack them until it was morning. When it was morning, the Jews came out with their spades and baskets, and when they saw him (i.e., the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), they said, “Muhammad! By Allah, Muhammad and his army..!”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.”

Anas Ibn Malik also said, “We reached Khaibar early in the morning and the inhabitants of Khaibar came out carrying their spades, and when they saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) they said,

‘Muhammad! By Allah, Muhammad and his army!’

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‘‘Allahu-Akbar Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight) then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.’’

We then got the meat of donkeys (and intended to eat it), bm س anou^emem was made by the announcer of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), ‘Allah and His Messenger forbid you to eat the meat of donkeys as it is an impure thing.’”

Moreover, Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) offered the Fajr Prayer near Khaibar when it was still dark and then said,

“Allahu-Akbar (Allah is the Greatest)! Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.”

Then the inhabitants of Khaibar came out running on the roads. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives. Safiyah was amongst the captives. She first came in the share of Dahya Alkalbi but later on she belonged to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made her manumission as her Mahr (dowry).

Salama Ibn Al-Akwa’ narrated, “‘Ali remained behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) during the Ghazwah of Khaibar as he was suffering from eye trouble. He then said, ‘(How can) I remain behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),’ and followed him.

So when he slept on the night of the coyest of Khaibar, the Prophet said,

‘’I will give the flag tomorrow, or tomorrow the flag will be taken by a man who is loved by Allah and His Messenger, and (Khaibar) will be conquered through him (with Allah ’s help).’’

While every one of us was hopeful to have the flag, it was said, ‘Here is ‘Ali’, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave him the flag and Khaibar was conquered through him (with Allah’s Help).”

Sahl Ibn Sa’d said that on the day of Khaibar Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

”Tomorrow I will give this flag to a man through whose hands Allah will give us victory. He loves Allah and His Messenger, and he is loved by Allah and His Messenger.”

The people remained that night, wondering as to whom would be given it. In the morning, the people went to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and everyone of them was hopeful to receive it (i.e., the flag). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Where is ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib?” It was said, “He is suffering from eye trouble ‘O Allah’s Messenger.” He said, “Send for him.” ‘Ali was brought and Allah’s Messenger spat in his eye and invoked good  upon him.

So ‘Ali was cured as if he never had any trouble. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave him the flag. ‘Ali said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I will fight with them until they become like us.” Allah’s Messenger said,

“Proceed and do not hurry. When you enter their territory, call them to embrace Islam and inform them of Allah’s Rights which they should observe, for by Allah, even if a single man is led on the right path (of lslam) by Allah through you, then that will be better for you than the red camels.”

Yazid Ibn Abi ‘Ubaid said I saw the trace of a wound in Salama’s leg. I said to him, “O Abu Muslim! What is this wound?” He said, “This was inflicted on me on the day of Khaibar and the people said, ‘Salama has been wounded.’ Then I went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he puffed his saliva in it (i.e. the wound) thrice, and since then I have not had any pain in it until this hour.”

Sahl (may Allah be pleased with him) said that during one of his Ghazawat, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encountered the pagans, and the two armies fought, and then each of them returned to their army camps. Amongst the (army of the) Muslims there was a man who would follow every pagan separated from the army and strike him with his sword. It was said, “O Allah’s Messenger! None has fought so satisfactorily as so- and-so (namely, that brave Muslim).

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “He is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire.” The people said, “Who amongst us will be of the dwellers of Paradise if this (man) is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire?” Then a man from amongst the people said, “I will follow him and accompany him in his fast and slow movements.”

The (brave) man got wounded, and wanting to die at once, he put the handle of his sword on the ground and its tip in between his breasts, and then threw himself over it, committing suicide. Then the man (who had watched the deceased) returned to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “I testify that you are Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “What is this?” The man told him the whole story.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“A man may do what may seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of Paradise, but he is of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire and a man may do what may seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire, but he is from the dwellers of Paradise.”

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that we witnessed (the battle of) Khaibar. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said about one of those who were with him and who claimed to be a Muslim, “This (man) is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire.” When the battle started, that fellow fought so violently and bravely that he received plenty of wounds.

Some of the people were about to doubt (the Prophet’s statement), but the man, feeling the pain of his wounds, put his hand into his quiver and took out of it, some arrows with which he slaughtered himself (i.e., committed suicide). Then some men amongst the Muslims eame hurriedly and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Allah has made your statement true so-and-so has committed suicide.

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“O so-and-so! Get up and make an announcement that none but a believer will enter Paradise and that Allah may support the religion with an unchaste (evil) wicked man.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as Ibn Ishaq narrated, seized the property piece by piece and conquered the forts one by one as he came to them. The first to fall was of Na’im; then Al-Qamus the fort of Banu Al-Huqayq. The Messenger took captives from them among whom was Safiyah, daughter of Huyayy Ibn Aktab who had been the wife of Kinana Ibn Al-Rabi’ Ibn Al-Huqayq, and two cousins of hers. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) chose Safiyah for himself.

According to Ibn Ishaq, the tribe of Sahm of Aslam came to the Messenger and complained that they had fought and got nothing and found nothing with tire Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which he could give them. He said;

“O God, you know their condition and that they have no strength, and I have nothing to give them, so conquerfor them the wealthiest of the enemy’s forts with the richest food.”

The following day, Allah conquered the fort of Al-Sa’b Ibn Mu’adh which contained the richest food in Khaibar.

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had conquered some of their forts and got possession of some of their property he came to their two forts Al-Watih and Al-Sulaim, the last to be taken, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) besieged them for some ten nights.

The Prophet Marries Safiyah bint Huyayy

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) offered the Fajr Prayer near Khaibar when it was Still dark and then said,

“Allahu-Akbar (Allah is. the Greatest)! Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.”

Then the inhabitants of Khaibar came out running on the roads. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives. Safiyah was amongst the captives. She first came in the share of Dahya Alkalbi but later on she belonged to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made her manumission as her Mahr.

Anas Ibn Malik also said, “We arrived at Khaibar, and when Allah helped His Messenger to open the fort, the beauty of Safiyah bint Huyayy Ibn Akhtah whose husband had been killed while she was a bride, was mentioned to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) selected her for himself, and set out with her, and when we reached a place called Sidd-as-Sahba’,

Safiyah became clean from her menses then Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) married her. Hais (i.e., an ‘Arabian dish) was prepared on a small leather mat. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me, ‘I invite the people around you.’ So that was the marriage banquet of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Safiyah.

Then we proceeded towards Madinah, and I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), making for her a kind of cushion with his cloak behind him (on his camel). He then sat beside his camel and put his knee for Safiyah to put her foot on, in order to ride (on the camel).”

Anas Ibn Malik said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stayed with Safiyah bint Huyayy for three days on the way of Khaibar where he consummated his marriage with her. Safiyah was amongst those who were ordered to use a veil.”

In another narration, Anas said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stayed for three rights between Khaibar and Madinah and was married to Safiyah. I invited the Muslim to his marriage banquet and there was neither meat nor bread in that banquet but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered Bilal to spread the leather mats on which dates, dried yogurt and butter were put.

The Muslims said amongst themselves, “Will she (i.e., Safiyah) be one of the mothers of the believers, i.e., one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), or ]ust (a lady captive) of what his right-hand possesses.”

Some of them said, “If the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) makes her observe the veil, then she will be one of the mothers of the believers (i.e., one of the Prophet’s wives), and if he does not make her observe the veil, then she will be his lady slave.” So when he departed, he made a place for her behind him (on his mount) and made her observe the veil.”

The Conquest of Khaibar’s Forts

According to Ibn Ishaq, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) besieged the people of Khaibar in their two forts Al-Watih and Al-Sulaim until they could hold out no longer they asked him to let them go, and spare their lives, and he did so. Now, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had taken possession of all their property – Al-Shaqq, Nata, and Ak-Katibah and all their forts – except what appertained to these two.

When the people of Fadak heard of what had happened, they sent to the Messenger asking him to let them go and spare their lives and they would leave him their property, and he did so. The one who acted as intermediary was Muhqyisa Ibn Mas’ud, brother of Banu Harithah. When the people of Khaibar surrounded on these conditions they asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to employ them on the property with half share in the produce, saying, “We know more about it than you and we are better farmers.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) agreed to this arrangement on the condition that:

  • “If we wish to expel you we will expel you.”

He made a similar arrangement with the men of Fadak.

The Division of the Booty

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari reported the following narrations that explain how the ?rophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) divided the booty in Khaibar.

Jubair Ibn Mut’ im said that ‘ Uthman Ibn ‘ Affan and I went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “You had given Banu Al-Muttalib from the fifth of Khaibar’s booty and left us in spite of the fact that we and Banu Al-Muttalib are similarly related to you.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib only are one and the same.”

So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not give anything to Banu ‘Abd Shams and Banu Nawfal.

Ibn ‘ Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that on the day of Khaibar, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) divided (the war booty of Khaibar) with the ratio of two shares for the horse and one-share for the foot soldier.

Nafi’ explained this, saying, “If a man had a horse, he was given three shares and if he had no horse, then he was given one share.”

‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, were I not afraid that the other Muslims might be left in poverty, I would divide (the land of) whatever village I may conquer (among the fighters), as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) divided the land of Khaibar. But I prefer to leave it as a (source of) a common treasury for them to distribute its revenue amongst themselves.”

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that Allah’s Messenger appointed a man as the ruler of Khaibar who later brought some Janib (i.e., dates of good quality) to the Prophet.

On that, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said (to him), “Are all the dates of Khaibar like this?” He said, “No, by Allah, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! But we  take one ،Sa’ of these (dates of good quality) for two or three Sas of other dates (of inferior quality).”

On that, Allah’s Messenger said:

“Do not do so, but first sell the inferior quality dates for money and then with that money, buy Janib.”

Abu Sa’ id and Abu Hurairah said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made the brother of Banu ‘ Adi from the Ansar as the ruler of Khaibar.”

The Coming of Ja’far Ibn Ab؛ Talib and Some Men from Yemen to Khaibar.

Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) that the later said, “The news of the migration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) – from Makkah to Medinah – reached us while we were in Yemen. So we set out as emigrants towards him.

We were (three) I am and my two brothers. I was the youngest of them, and one of the two was Abu Burda, and the other, Abu Ruhm, and our total number was either 53 or 52 men from my people. We got on a boat and our boat took us to Negus in Ethiopia.

There we met Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib and stayed with him. Then we all came (to Madinah) and met the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) at the time of toe conquest of Khaibar.

Some of the people used to say to us, namely the people of the ship, ‘We have migtated before you.’

Asma’ bint ‘Umais, who was one of those who had come with us, came as a visitor to Hafsah, the wife the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). She had migrated along with those other Muslims who migrated to Negus. ‘Umar came to Hafsah while Asma’ bint ‘Umais was with her.

‘Umar, on seeing Asma’, said, ‘Who is this..? She said, ‘Asma’ bint ‘Umais.’ ‘Umar said, ‘Is she the Ethiopian? Is she the sea-faring lady?’ Asma’ replied, ‘Yes.’ ‘Umar said, ‘We have migrated before you (people of the boat), so we have got more right than you over Allah’s Messenger.’

On that Asma’ became angry and said, ‘No, by Allah, while you were with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who was feeding the hungry ones amongst you, and advised the ignorant ones amongst you, we were in the far-off hated land of Ethiopia, and all that was for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

By Allah, I will neither eat any food nor drink anything until I inform Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) of all that you have said. There we were harmed and frightened. I will mention this to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and will not tell a lie or curtail your saying or add something to it.’

So, when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came, she said, ‘O Allah’s Prophet! ‘Umar has said such-and-such.’ He said (to Asma’), ‘What did you say to him?’ Asma’ said, ‘I told him sueh-and-sueh.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘He (i.e., ‘Umar) has not gotten more right than your people over me, as he and his companions have (the reward of) only one migration, and you, the people of the boat, have (the reward of) two migrations.’

Asma’, later on, said, ‘I saw Abu Musa and the other people of the boat coming to me in successive groups, asking me about this narration, and to them nothing in the world was more cheerful and greater than what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had said about them.'”

Abu Burda narrated that Asma’ said, “I saw Abu Musa requesting me to repeat this narration again and again.”

Abu Burda also narrated that Abu Musa said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘’I recognize the voice of the group of Al-Ash’ariyun, when they recite the Qur’an, when the) I enter their homes at night, and I recognize their houses by (listening) to their voices when they are reciting the Qur’an at night although I have not seen their houses when they came to them during the daytime. Amongst them is Hakim who, on meeting the cavalry or the enemy, used to say to them (i.e., the enemy). ‘My companions order you to wait for them.'”

Abu Musa reported, “We came upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) after he had conquered Khaibar. He then gave us a share (from the booty), but apart from us he did not give to anybody else who did not attend the Conquest.”

A Poisoned Sheep Gifted to the Messenger.

At Khaibar, the Jews cooked a sheep containing poison and presented it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari narrated Abu Hurairah’s saying:

‘’When Khaibar was conquered, a (cooked) sheep containing poison was given as a present to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).’’

[T. ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in his ailment in which he died, used to say, ‘O ‘Aishah! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison.’”]