The Battle of Tabuk
غزوة تبوك

According to the scholars of Syrah, this battle took place in Rajab, in the 9th year of Hijra.

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Occasion of the Battle

When Allah, Most High, ordered the believers to prohibit the disbelievers form entering or coming near the sacred Mosque. On that, Quraish thought that this would reduce their profits from trade. Therefore, Allah, Most High, compensated them and ordered them to fight the people of the Book until they embrace Islam or pay the Jizyah.

Allah says,

Surah At-Towbah 28-29

‘’ ‘O ye who believe! Truly the pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise. Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 28-29]

Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) decided to fight the Romans in order to call them to Islam. Allah, Most High, says.

009 Surah At-Tawbah 123

O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find harshness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 123]

Moreover, Allah, Most High, urges the believers to go forth to fight in the Cause of Allah, saying,

009 Surah At-Tawbah 41-42

‘’ Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and you persons, in the cause of Allah. That is best for you, if ye (but) knew. If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long (and weighed) on them. They would indeed swear by Allah, ‘If we only could, we should certainly have come out with you: ‘They would destroy their own souls: for Allah doth know that they are certainly lying.’’[Surah: At-Tawbah, 41-42]

009 Surah At-Tawbah 122

‘’ It is not for the believers to go forth together if a contingent from every expedition go forth to devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return; that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 122]

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered his Companions to prepare to fight the Romans at a time when men hard pressed; the heat was oppressive and there was a drought; fruit was ripe and the men wanted to stay in the shade with their fruit and disliked traveling in that season.

Unlike his previous experiences, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) informed his Companions by the people whom he were going to fight because the journey was long, the season difficult, and the enemy in great strength, so that the men could make suitable preparations.

One day when he was making his arrangements, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to a man called Jadd of the tribe of Qays Ibn Salamah:

“Would you like to fight the tribe of Al-Asfar, Jadd..?”

He replied, “Will you allow me to stay behind and not tempt me, for everyone knows that I am strongly addicted to women and I am afraid that if I see the Roman women I shall not be able to control my self.”

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave him permission to remain behind and turned away from him. It was about him, Allah revealed the following Qur’anic verse.

009 Surah At-Tawbah 49

‘’Among them is (many) a man who says, ‘Grant me exemption and draw me not into trial. ’ Have they not fallen into trial already..? And indeed Hell surrounds the unbelievers.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 49]

The hypoerites said one to another, “Don’t go forth in heat.” Therefore, Allah, Most High, revealed in their eonnection.

009 Surah At-Tawbah 81-82

‘’They said, ‘Go not forth in heat.’ Say, ‘The fire of Hell is fiercer in heat, if only they could understand. Let them laugh a little: Much will they weep: a recompense for the (evil) that they do..? [Surah: At-Tawbah. 81-82}

Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) urged his wealthy Companions to spend in the Way of Allah. According to Ibn Hish, ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) spend 1000 Dinars in the cause of Allah on the day of Tabuk when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“O Allah, may you be pleased with ‘ Uthman for I am pleased with him.”

The Weepers

In the Glorious Qur’an, Allah, Most High, refers to this group of Muslims, saying,

‘’When Surah comes down, enjoining them to believe in Allah and to strive and fight along with His Messenger, those with wealth and influence among them ask thee for exemption, and say, ‘leave us (behind) we would be with those who sit (at home).

‘’They prefer to be with (the women), who remain behind (at home): Their hearts are sealed and so they understand not. But the Messenger and those who believe with him strive and fight with their wealth and their persons, for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper. Allah hath prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein: that is supreme triumph. And (here were, among (he desert Arabs (also), men who made excuses and came to claim exemption: and those who were false to Allah and His Messenger (merely) sat behind: soon will a grievous chastisement seize the unbelievers among  them.

There is no blame on those who are infirm, or ill, or who find no resources to spend (on the Cause), if they are sincere (in duty) to Allah and His Messenger: no ground (of complaint) can there be against such as do right: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Nor (is there blame) on those who came to thee to be provided with mounts.

And when thou saidst, I can find no mounts for you,’ they turned back, their eyes streaming with tears of grief that they had no resources therewith to provide the expenses. The ground (of complaint) is only against such as claim exemption while they are rich. They prefer to stay with the (women) who remain behind: Allah hath sealed their hearts: so they know not.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 86-93]

According to Ibn Ishaq, the weepers were seven men from the Ansar and other tribe. Yamin Ibn ‘Umayr Ibn Ka’b met Abu Laylah and ‘Abdullah Ibn Mughaffal as thay were weeping, and when he asked what they were crying for they told him that they had applied to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for a mount, but that he had none to give them and they had nothing.

Thereupon he gave them a watering camel, and they saddled it and provided them with some dates and so they went off with the Messeger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

In this context, Al-Bukhari narrated that Abu Musa said, “We, a group of Al-Ash’ariyun people went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him to give us something to ride, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) refused. Then we asked him for the second time to give us something to ride, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took an oath that he would not give us anything to ride.

After a while, some camels of booty were brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he ordered that five camels be given to us. When we took those camels we said, ‘We have made the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forget his oath, and we will not be successful after that.’ So, I went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, ‘O Allah’ Messenger! You took an oath that you would not give us anything to ride, but you have given us.

He said: ‘Yes, for if I take an oath and later I see a better solution than that, I act on the later (and gave the expiation of that oaths.

Some Bedouins came to apologize for not going, but Allah will not accept their excuse.

The Muslim Army Goes forth

When the Messenger of Allah’s road was clear he determined to set off. Now there was a number of Muslims who were slow to make up their minds so that they lagged behind without any doubt or misgivings. They were Ka’ b Ibn Malik, Murara Ibn Ar-Rabi’, and Hilal Ibn Umayyah. Their story, however, will be mentioned later in details.

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had set out, he pitched his camp by Thaniyatul-wada’. ‘Abdullah Ibn Ubbai Ibn Salul pitched his camp separately below him in the direction of Dhubab. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went on, Ibn Salul separated from him and stayed behind with the hypocrites and doubters.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) order ‘Ali to remain in Madinah in order to look after his family. Al-Bukhari narrated that Sa’d said, “Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set out for Tabuk, appointing ‘Ali as his deputy (in Madinah). ‘Ali said, ،Do you want to leave me with the children and women?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses..? But there will be no prophet after me.’”

Abu Khaithamah, according to Ibn Ishaq, returned to his family on a hot day some days after the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had set out. He found two wives of his in huts in his garden. Each had sprinkled her hut and cooled it with water and got ready food for him. When he arrived, he stood at the door of the hut and looked at his wives and what they had done for him and said,

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is out in the sun and the wind and the heat and Abu Khaithmah is in a cool shade, food prepared for him, resting in his property with a fair woman. This is not just. By Allah, I will not enter either of your huts, but join the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so get ready some food for me.”

They did so and he went to his camel and saddled it and went out in search of the Messenger until he overtook him in Tabuk.

‘Umayr Ibn Walto Al-Juhni had overtaken Abu Khaithamah on the road as he came to find the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and they joined forces; when they approached the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as he was stopping in Tabuk, the army called attention to a man riding on the way and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “It would be Abu Khaithmah,” and so it was. Having dismounted.

he came and saluted toe Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said, “Woe to you, Abu Khaithamah!” Then he told the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) what happened, and he spoke well and blessed him.

Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) continued his journey and men began to drop behind. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was told that so-and-so had dropped behind he said,

Let him be; for if there is any good in him Allah will decree him to join you, if not, Allah had red you of him!

Finally, it was reported that Abu Dharr had dropped behind and his camel had delayed him. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said toe same words. Abu Dharr waited on his camel and when it walked slowly with him he took his gear and loaded it on his back and went off walking in the track of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stopped at one of his halting-places when a man called his attention to someone walking on the way alone. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that he hoped it was Abu Dharr, and when the people had looked carefully they said that it was he. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

Allah have mercy on Abu Dharr. He walks alone and he will die alone and be raised alone.”

The Prophet Commands His Companions not to Drink the Water of Al-Hijr

According to Ibn Ishaq, when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed Al-Hijr he stopped, and men got water from its well. When they went, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

Do not drink any of its water nor use it for ablutions. If you have used any of it for dough, then feed it to the camels and eat not of it. Let none of you go out at night alone but take a companion.”

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari narrated that Ibn ” Umar said, “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by Al-Hijr, he said,

Do not enter the dwelling places of those people who were unjust to themselves unless you enter in a weeping state lest the same calamity as of theirs should be fall you.

Then he covered his head and made his speed fast until he crossed the valley.”

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reaehed Tabuk, Yuhanna Ibn Ru’ba governor of Ayla came and made a treaty with him and paid him the Jizyah. The people of Jarba’ and Adhrah aslo came and paid the Jizyah.

Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Goes forth to Ukaydir at Duma

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent Khalid Ibn Al-Walid to Ukaydir at Duma. Ukaydir Ibn ‘Abdul-Malik was a man of kinda who was ruler of Duma; he was a Christian. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told Khalid that he would find him hunting wild cows.

When Khalid went forth, he found Ukaydir and his brother hunting wild cows as the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told him. Khalid and his companions seized Ukaydir and killed his brother.

Ukaydir was wearing a gown of brocade covered with gold. Khalid stripped him of this and sent it to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Then Khlid brought Ukaydir to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who spared his life and made peace with him on condition that he paid the Jizyah.

The Return to Madinah

According to Ibn Ishaq, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stayed some ten nights, not more. Then he returned to Madinah.

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the latter said, “Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) returned from the Ghazwa of Tabuk, and when he approached Madinah, he said, There are some people in Madinah who were with you all the time, you did not travel any portion of the journey nor crossed any valley, but they were with you. ’

They   (i.e., the people) said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Even though they were at Madinah?’ He said,

‘Yes, because they were stopped by a genuine excuse.’”

Abu Humaid also narrated that, “We returned in the company of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from the Ghazwah of Tabuk, and when we looked upon Madinah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘This is Taba (i.e., Madinah), and this is Uhud, a mountain that loves us and is loved by us.’”

As-Sa’ib Ibn Yazid said, “I remember that I went out with the boys to (the place called) Thaniyat-ul- Wada’ to receive Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).”

The Three Repentant Muslims

As we have said before, the three Muslims who were slow to make up their minds that they lagged behind at Tabuk without any doubt or misgivings are: Ka’b Ibn Malik, Marara Ibn Ar-Rabi’ and Hilal Ibn Umayyah.

According to Al-Bukhari, ‘Abdullah Ibn Ka’b Ibn Malik, who, from among Kab’s sons, was the guide of Ka’b when he became blind, said, “I heard Ka’b Ibn Malik narrating the story of (the Ghazwah of) Tabuk in which he failed to take part. Ka’b said, I did not remain behind Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in any Ghazwah that he fought except the Ghazwah of Tabuk, and I failed to take part in the Ghazwah of Badr, but Allah did not admonish anyone who had not participated in it.

For in fact, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had gone out in search of the caravan of Quraish, but Allah made them (i.e., the Muslims) and their enemy meet without any appointment. I witnessed the night of Al-‘Aqabah (pledge) with Allah’s Messenger when we pledged for Islam, and I would not exehange it for the Badr battle although the Badr battle is more popular amongst the people than it (i.e., Al-‘Aqabah pledge).

As for my news (in this battle of Tabuk), I had never been stronger or wealthier than I was when I remained behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in that Ghazwah.

By Allah, never had I two she-camels before, but I had then at the time of this Ghazwah. Whenever Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wanted to make a Ghazwah, he used to hide his intention by apparently referring to different Ghazwah until it was the time of that Ghazwah (of Tabuk) which Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fought in severe heat, facing a long journey, desert, and the great number of enemy.

So, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) announced to the Muslims clearly (their destination) so that they might get prepared for their Ghazwah. So he informed them clearly of the destination he was going to. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was accompanied by a large number of Muslims who could not be listed in a book namely, a register.’

Ka’b added, ‘Any man who intended to be absent would think that the matter would remain hidden unless Allah revealed it through Divine Revelation. So Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fought that Ghazwah at the time when the fruits had ripened and the shade looked pleasant. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions prepared for the battle and I started to go out in order to get myself ready along with them, but 1 returned without doing anything. I would say to myself, I ean do that.’

So I kept on delaying it every now and then until the people got ready and Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Muslims along with him departed, and I had not prepared anything for my departure, and I said, ‘I will prepare myself (for departure) one or two days after him, and then join them.’ In the morning following their departure, I went out to get myself ready but returned having done nothing. Then again in the next morning, I wem out to get ready but returned without doing anything.

Such was the ease with me until they hurried away and I missed the battle. Even then I intended to depart to take them over. I wish I had done so! But it was not in my luck. So, after the departure of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), whenever I went out and walked amongst the people (i.e, the remaining persons), it grieved me that I could see none around me, but one accused of hypocrisy or one of those weak men whom Allah had excused.

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not remember me until he reached Tabuk. So while he was sitting amongst the people in Tabuk, he said, ‘What did Ka’b do..?’ A man from Banu Salamah said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! He has been stopped by his two Burdas (i.e., garments) and his looking at his own flanks with pride.’ Then Mu’adh Ibn Jabal said, ‘What a bad thing you have said! By Allah! O Allah’s Messenger! We know nothing about him but good.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kept silent.’

Ka’b Ibn Malik added, ‘When I heard that he (i.e., the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was on his way back to Madinah. I got dipped in my concern, and began to think of false excuses, saying to myself, ‘How can I avoid his anger tomorrow?’ And I took the advice of wise member of my family in this matter.

When it was said that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had come near, all the evil false excuses abandoned from my mind and I knew well that I could never come out of this problem by forging a false statement. Then I decided firmly to speak the truth.

So Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) arrived in the morning, and whenever he returned from a journey, he used to visit the Mosque first of all and offer a two Rak’at Prayer therein and then sit for the people. So when he had done all that (this time), those who had failed to join the battle (of Tabuk) came and started offering (false) excuses and taking oaths before him.

They were something over eighty men; Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) accepted the excuses they had expressed, took their pledge of allegiance asked for Allah’s Forgiveness for them, and left the secrets of their hearts for Allah to judge. Then I came to him, and when I greeted him, he smiled a smile of an angry person and then said, ‘Come on.’

So I came walking until I sat before him. He said to me, ‘What stopped you from joining us. Had you not purchased an animal for carrying you..?’ I answered, “Yes, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! But by Allah, if I were sitting before any person from among the people of the world other than you, I would have avoided his anger with an excuse.

By Allah, I have been bestowed with the power of speaking fluently and eloquently, but by Allah, I know well that if today I tell you a lie to seek your favor, Allah would surely make you angry with me in the near future, but if I tell you the truth, though you will get angry because of it, I hope for Allah’s Forgiveness.

Really, by Allah, there was no excuse for me. By Allah, I had never been stronger or wealthier than I was when I remained behind you.’ Then Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

As regards this man, he has surely told the truth. So get up until Allah decides your case.

I got up, and many men of Banu Salamah followed me and said to me, ‘By Allah, we never witnessed you doing any sin before this. Surely, you failed to offer excuse to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the others who did not join him, have offered. The prayer of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to Allah to forgive you would have been sufficient for you.’

By Allah, they continued blaming me so much that I intended to return (to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and accuse myself of having told a lie, but I said to them, ‘Is there anybody else who has met the same fate as I have?’ They replied, ‘Yes, there are two men who have said the same thing as you have, and to both of them was given the same order as given to you.’ I said, ‘Who are they?’ They replied, Murara Ibn Ar- Rabi’ Al-‘Amri and Hilal Ibn Umayyah Al-Waqifi.’

By that they mentioned to me two pious men who had attended the Ghazwah (Battle) of Badr, and in whom there was an example for me. So I did not change my mind when they mentioned them to me. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade ah the Muslims to talk to us, the three aforesaid persons out of all those who had remained behind in that Ghazwah. So we kept away from the people and they changed their attitude towards us until the very land (where I lived) appeared strange to me as if I did not know it.

We remained in that condition for fifty nights. As regards my two fellows, they remained in their houses and kept on weeping, but I was the youngest of them and the firmest of them, so I used to go out and witness the Prayers along with the Muslims and roam about in the markets, but none would talk to me, and I would come to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and greet him while he was sitting in his gathering after the Prayer, and I would wonder whether the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did move his lips in return to my greetings or not.

Then I would offer my Prayer near to him and look at him stealthily. When I was busy with my Prayer, he would turn his face towards me, but when I turned my face to him, he would turn his face away from me. When this harsh attitude of the people lasted long, I walked until I scaled the wall of the garden of Abu Qatada who was my cousin and dearest person to me, and I offered my greetings to him.

By Allah, he did not return my greetings. I said, ‘O Abu Qatada..! I beseech you by Allah! Do you know that I love Allah and His Messenger..?’ He kept quiet. I asked him again, beseeching him by Allah, but he remained silent. Then I asked him again in the Name of Allah. He said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know it better.’ Thereupon my eyes flowed with tears and I returned and jumped over the wall.’

Ka’b added, ‘Whiie I was walking in the market of Madinah, suddenly I saw a Nabati (i.e., a Christian farmer) from the Nabatis of Sham who came to sell his grains in Madinah, saying, ‘Who will lead me to Ka’b Ibn Malik..?’ The people began to point (me) out for him until he came to me and handed me a letter from the king of Ghassan in which the following was written:

‘To proceed, I have been informed that your friend (i.e., the Prophet) has treated you harshly. Anyhow, Allah does not let you live at a place where you feel inferior and your right is lost. So join us, and we will console you.’

When I read it, I said to myself, ‘This is also a sort of a test.’ Then I took the letter to the oven and made a fire therein by burning it. When forty out of the fifty nights elapsed, behold! There came to me the messenger of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, ‘Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) orders you to keep away from your wife,’ I said, ‘Should I divorce her; or else! What should I do?’ He said, ‘No, only keep aloof from her and do not cohabit her.’

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent the same message to my two fellows. Then I said to my wife. ‘Go to your parents and remain with them until Allah gives His Verdict in this matter.’

Ka’b added, ‘The wife of Hilal Ibn Umayyah came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Hilal Ibn Umayyah is a helpless old man who has no servant to attend on him. Do you dislike that I should serve him?’ He said, ‘No (you can serve him) but he should not come near you.’ She said, ‘By Allah, he has no desire for anything. By, Allah, he has never ceased weeping until his case began until this day of his.’

On that, some of my family members said to me, ‘Will you also ask Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to permit your wife (to serve you) as he has permitted the wife of Hilal Ibn Umayyah to serve him?’ I said, ‘By Allah, I will not ask the permission of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) regarding her, for I do not know what Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would say if I asked him to permit her (to serve me) while I am a young man.’

‘Then,’ Ka’b continued, ‘I remained in that state for ten more nights after that until the period of fifty nights was completed starting from the time when Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prohibited the people form talking to us.

When I had offered the Fajr Prayer on the 50th morning on the roof of one of our houses and while I was sitting in the condition which Allah described in (the Qur’an), i.e., my very soul seemed narrow to me for all its spaciousness, there I heard the voice of one who had ascended the mountain of Sala’ calling with his loudest voice, ‘O Ka’b Ibn Malik! Be happy (by receiving good tidings).’

I fell down in prostration before Allah, realizing that relief has come. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had announced the acceptance of our repentance by Allah when he had offered the Fajr Prayer. The people then went out to congratulate us. Some bringers of good tidings went out to my two fellows, and a horseman came to me in haste, and a man of Banu Aslam came running and ascended the mountain and his voiee was swifter than the horse.

When he (i.e., the man) whose voiee I had heard, came to me conveying the good tidings, I took off my garments and dressed him with them; and by Allah, I owned no other garments than them on that day. Then I borrowed two garments and wore them and went to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The people started receiving me in batches, congratulating me on Allah’s Acceptance of my repentance, saying, ‘We congratulate you on Allah’s Acceptance of your repentance.’ Ka’b further said, ‘When I entered the Mosque, I saw Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sitting with the people around him. Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaidullah swiftly came to me, shook hands with me and congratulated me. By Allah, none of the Muhajirun (i.e., Emigrants) got up for me except him (i.e., Talhah), and I will never forget this for Talhah-’

Ka’b added, ‘When I greeted Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), his face being bright with joy, and he said,

Be happy with the best day that you have got ever since your mother delivered you.’

Ka’b added, ‘I said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). ‘Is this forgiveness from you or from Allah?’ He said, ‘No, it is from Allah.’ Whenever Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) became happy, his face would shine as if it were a piece of moon, and we all knew that characteristic of him. When I sat before him, I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Because of the acceptance of my repentance I will give up all my wealth as alms for the Sake of Allah and His Messenger.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘Keep some of your wealth, as it will be better for you.’

I said, ‘So I will keep my share from Khaibar with me,’ and added, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Allah has saved me for telling the truth; so it is a part of my repentance not to tell but the truth as long as I am alive. By Allah, I do not know anyone of the Muslims whom Allah has helped for telling the truth more than me. Since I have mentioned that truth to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until today, I have never intended to tell a lie. I hope that Allah will also save me (from telling lies) the rest of my life. So Allah revealed to His Messenger the following Qur’anic verse,

‘’Allah turned with favor to the Prophet, the Muhajirun, and the Ansar, who followed him in a time of distress, after that the hearts of a part of them had nearly swerved (from duty); but He turned to them (also); for He is unto them Most Kind, Most Merciful. (He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind: (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful, o ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 17]

By Allah, Allah has never bestowed upon me, apart from His guiding me to Islam, a greater blessing than the fact that I did not tell a lie to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which would have caused me to perish as those who have told a lie perished, for Allah described those who told lies with the worst description He ever attributed to anybody else.

Allah said,

‘’They (i.e., the hypocrites) will swear to you by Allah when ye return to them, that ye may leave them alone. So leave them alone: for they are an abomination, and Hell is their dwelling-place, a fitting recompense for the (evil) that they did. They will swear unto you, that ye may be pleased with them. But if ye are pleased with them, Allah is not pleased with those who disobey.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 95-96]

Ka’b added, ‘We, the three persons, differed altogether from those whose excuses Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) accepted when they swore to him. He took their pledge of allegiance and asked Allah to forgive them, but Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) left our case pending until Allah gave His Judgment about it.

As for that Allah said.

‘’(He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind: (they felt guilty) to such degree that constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah (and no refuge) but to himself. Then He turned to them that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.’’ [Surah: At-Tawbah, 118]

What Allah said (in this verse) does not indicate our failure to take part in the Ghazwah, but it refers to the deferment of making a decision by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about our case in contrast to the case of those who had taken an oath before him and he excused them by ”’.accepting their exeuses

The Classes of Those Who Remained behind at Tahuk

However, those who stayed behind at Tabuk may be classified into the following four:

  1. Those whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered to remain behind such as ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Ibn Umm Maktum: By doing this, they obeyed the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and therefore, Allah, Most High, will reward them.
  2. The weepers who had no means to travel and fight as well as the disabled persons: Those are blameless
  3. The sinful Muslims who stayed behind without doubt or misgivings: Some of them repented and Allah, Most High, accepted their repentance.