📅 629 AH | 8 AH
The battle of Hunayn took place soon after the conquest of Makkah, in fact the Prophet and his men had not yet returned to Madinah but a confederation of clans were consolidating their forces to attack the Muslims; known as the Hawazin.
The Hawazin were from the north of Taif and included the clans of Thaqif, Nasr, Jusham, and Sa’d ibn Bakr; the clan with whom the prophet had spent his infancy and early childhood with. Their commander-in-chief was a thirty-year-old man of Nasr named Malik who had a reputation for great valour and might.
The prophet marched out with his whole army, now increased by an additional force of two thousand Quraysh who had embraced Islam upon the conquest of Makkah.
Malik sent out three scouts to bring him information about the army now approaching from Makkah, but it was not long before they returned almost speechless, in a strangely shattered condition, for they had seen unearthly creatures galloping ahead of the Prophet’s army. They had seen white men on black and white horses and knew that they were from Heaven; they at once warned their leader to withdraw but Malik refused to listen. After dark he gave orders to the army to advance towards the valley of Hanayn, through which he knew the enemy were bound to pass. He posted large contingents of cavalry to hide upslope with orders to charge down upon the enemy on his signal.
The Prophet encamped that night not far from the other end of the valley; and, having prayed the dawn prayer with his men, he exhorted them, and gave them glad tidings of victory if they were steadfast. The sky was overcast making it almost dark as they descended into the valley bed. In half-light a group of fighters led by Khalid caught view of some stationary hosts of Hawazin. It was a formidable spectacle as the twenty-thousand strong army of Hawazin loomed into view. Malik gave his orders and the squadrons suddenly wheeled out from their positions and swept down upon Khalid and his men. The onslaught was so fierce that he could do nothing to rally them; instead they fled headlong into the rear of the Muslim army back upslope. The Prophet was further back and made a stand with a hundred men, including Abu Bakr and Umar by withdrawing a little to the right. As they fought back the Prophet ordered Abbas, who had a voice of exceptional power, to call the others by shouting out: “O Companions of the Tree!” immediately the summons was answered from all sides-Labbayk!, Here at your service”- as Helpers and Emigrants rallied to him and they all managed to momentarily check the onslaught of the enemy.
As the Hawazin were about to muster up another attack the Prophet stood up and prayed: “O God, I ask You of Your promise!” Then asked for some pebbles which he cast into the enemy ranks as he had done at Badr. The tide of the battle suddenly turned for no apparent reason- or rather, it was not apparent to the believers, but it was apparent to the enemy, as it had been previously to their scouts; and afterwards there came revelation:
God has helped you on many occasions, including the Day of Hunayn when your great numbers delighted you but did not help you in any way, and the earth seemed narrow to you for all its great breadth, and you turned your backs. Then God sent down His serenity on His Messenger and on the believers, and sent down troops you could not see, and punished those who were disbelievers. That is how the disbelievers were repaid.