Although militarily it did not assume its full dimension, this expedition had certain implications that brought about a state of unrest within the Islamic State, and resulted in disgrace for the hypocrites. Additionally, it led to the consolidation of legislation which attached an impression of nobility, dignity, and purity of souls to the Islamic community.
News reached the Prophet on the 2nd of Sha’ban that the chief of Bani AlMustaliq, Al-Harith bin Dirar had mobilized his men, along with some Arabs, to attack Madinah. Buraidah bin Al-Haseeb Al-Aslami (May Allah be Pleased with him) was immediately dispatched to verify the reports. He had some words with Abi Dirar, who confirmed his intention of war. He later sent a spy to explore the positions of the Muslims, who was captured and killed. The Prophet summoned his men and ordered them to prepare for war. Before leaving, Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was put in charge of the affairs of Madinah. On hearing the advent of the Muslims, the disbelievers became frightened and the Arabs accompanying them defected and ran for their lives. Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him) was entrusted with the banner of the Emigrants, and that of the Helpers went to Sa`d bin `Ubadah (May Allah be Pleased with him).
The two armies were stationed at a well called Muraisi`. Exchange of arrows continued for an hour, and the Muslims rushed and engaged the enemy in a battle that ended in a complete victory for the Muslims. Some men were killed, women and children of the disbelievers were taken as captives, and a wealth of booty fell to the lot of the Muslims. Only one Muslim was killed, which was done by mistake by a Helper.
Among the captives was Juwairiyah (May Allah be Pleased with him), the daughter of Al-Harith, chief of the disbelievers. The Prophet married her, and the Muslims freed a hundred of the enemy prisoners, who had embraced Islam; they were then called the Prophet’s in-laws.
The Treacherous Role of the Hypocrites Prior to the Invasion of Bani AlMustaliq
`Abdullah bin Ubai, was a terrible hypocrite who was full of enmity toward Islam and the Muslims, because he believed that the Prophet had taken from him leadership over Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, two clans that already believed in the Prophethood of Muhammad and his masterhood over them.
`Abdullah’s enmity appeared before he entered Islam. Following the battle of Badr, he made pretensions of being a Muslim, but deep inside his heart he remained a terrible enemy of Allah, His Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and all the believers. His sole intention had always been to sow the seeds of dissension in the Muslim community, and undermine the cause of the new heavenly religion. His treacherous behavior could be witnessed everywhere but was strikingly evident in his wicked attempts at creating a state of confusion and disorder amongst the Muslims at the battle of Uhud. His hypocrisy and deceit assumed serious and ugly dimensions when he used to stand up among the Muslims shortly before the Prophet’s Friday speech, and mockingly say to them: “This is the Messenger of Allah, who has honored you with Allah, so you have got to support, obey, and listen to him,’’ and then he would sit down.
He did the same following the battle of Uhud on Friday. He was so rude and arrogant that his words expressed clearly the deeply-rooted enmity, so some of the Muslims took him by his cloak and silenced him. He immediately left, uttering rude and mocking words. A Helper met him at the Masjid gate and ordered him to return and beg the Messenger for Allah’s forgiveness, but he replied that he did not want his forgiveness. He, previously held secret contacts with Bani Nadeer, encouraging them to make an alliance with him and promising support for them; all of this in his ceaseless efforts in a long process of conspiracy and intrigue hatched against the Muslims. Allah’s sent words in regard to his treacherous acts and attempts during the Trench Battle which testified clearly to his hypocrisy:
“And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubts) said: `Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!’’’ [33:12]
up to His Saying:
``They think that Al-Ahzab (the Confederates) have not yet withdrawn, and if Al-Ahzab (the Confederates) should come (again), they would wish they were in the deserts (wandering) among the Bedouins, seeking news about you (from a far place); and if they (happen) to be among you, they would not fight but little.’’ [33:20]
All Islamic enemies, from the Jews, hypocrites, and polytheists acknowledged that Islam had the upper hand, which was not because of its material superiority, multitudes of troops or equipment, but due to the noble values, refined ethics, and high attributes of the Muslim community and those attached to it. The enemies of Islam were already aware of that light which was derived wholly from the person of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who always stood as an excellent example for men to imitate and follow.
The enemies of Islam, after going through fruitless warfare against the new religion for five years, came to fully realize that eliminating Islam would not be possible on a battlefield, so they adopted other tactics. They, being reputed gossipmongers, decided to launch a widespread propaganda campaign aiming at slandering the person of the Prophet in a most sensitive area of Arabian life, namely ethics and traditions. Following the battle of the Confederates, the Prophet married Zainab bint Jahsh(May Allah be Pleased with her) after her marriage to Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him), his adopted son, had ended. They seized on this opportunity and began to circulate rumor against the Prophet, relying on an Arab tradition which prohibit the contracting of a marriage with the divorced wife of an adopted son. They considered his marriage to be a terrible sin. They also based their nasty propaganda on the fact that Zainab (May Allah be Pleased with her) was his fifth wife whereas the number was strictly limited to a maximum of four in the Noble Qur’an, hence the validity of this marriage was in doubt, according to them.
These rumors had a negative impact on the morale of some weak-hearted Muslims until the decisive Verses were revealed, acquitting the Prophet and invalidating all those ill designs and hateful schemes:
``O Prophet (Muhammad)! Keep your duty to Allah, and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites (i.e., do not follow their advices). Verily! Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.’’ [33:1]
The Wicked Role of the Hypocrites During the Invasion of Bani Al-Mustaliq
During this expedition, the hypocrites managed to create chaos among the Muslims, coupled with serious and ugly slander against the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah said about them:
``Had they marched out with you, they would have added to you nothing except disorder, and they would have hurried about in your midst (spreading corruption) and sowing sedition among you...’’ [9:47]
The following are the details of the events:
1. The Hypocrites said, “If we return to Madinah then the more honorable will expel therefrom the meaner.’’
After the conclusion of the expedition, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was staying at Al-Muraisi’, and the people were getting water from a well. There was a man named Jahjah AlGhifari helping `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be Pleased with him). He and Sinan bin Wabr Al-Juhani were crowding each other for the water and began to quarrel. So al-Juhani yelled, “O Helpers,’’ while Jahjah yelled, “O Emigrants,’’ so Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
``Do you use the slogans of pre-Islamic ignorance while I am yet among you? Leave it, for indeed it is detestable.’’
This was conveyed to `Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn Salul while he was with some of his people and he became angry. Among the people was a boy named Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be Pleased with him). He narrated that `Abdullah bin `Ubai said, “Have they done that? We are the greater number in our city…if we return to Madinah then the more honorable will expel therefrom the meaner.’’ Then he turned to those present and said, “This is your own doing! You put them up in your city, divided your wealth with them and by Allah, if you were to withhold your hand from them then they would go to a land other than yours.’’
Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be Pleased with him) told his uncle about that, who in turn told Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the presence of `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him).
`Umar said, “Order `Abbad bin Bishr to kill him.’’ So he said: “Why O `Umar? The people will say that Muhammad is killing his followers?’’
So he ordered them to move out during a time when people would not normally move out. So they began moving out and Usaid bin Hudair caught up with him and said, “You are moving out at such a bad time?’’ He replied “Has what your companion said not reached you?’’ He was referring to `Abdullah bin Ubai. So he said, “What did he say?’’ He replied, “He claims that if he returns to Madinah then the more honorable will expel the meaner from it.’’ So he said, “But you can expel him from it if you wish, O Messenger of Allah! He is, by Allah, the humiliated while you are the mighty one.’’ He said that he would gain the upper hand once the people saw the real side of `Abdullah bin Ubai. He marched with the people that day until the evening and that night until the morning sun appeared. Then they halted and slept which distracted them from what had happened. As for Ibn Ubai, when he was informed that Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be Pleased with him) had conveyed to Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), what he said, he went to the Prophet and swore by Allah that he had not said what he had, and that he had not spoken about it at all. Some who were there among the Helpers suggested that maybe the boy was mistaken in what he narrated and he had actually not remembered what the man said. So he agreed. Zaid said: “I became more upset than I had ever been. [Later] I just sat in my house.’’ Then Allah revealed:
``When the hypocrites come to you...’’ (63:1)
up to His Saying:
``...they are the ones who say: `Spend not on those who are with Allah’s Messenger, until they desert him...’’’
``Indeed the more honorable will expel therefrom the meaner.’’ [63:8]
So Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent for me, recited it to me, and said:
“Allah has confirmed your statement.’’
Meanwhile the son of this hypocrite `Abdullah bin `Abdullah bin Ubai, was a righteous man among the Companions. He was innocent of his father’s behavior. So he waited at the gates of Madinah with his sword unsheathed. When Ibn Ubai came he told him, “By Allah! You may not enter here until the Messenger of Allah gives you permission, for he is the mighty one and you are the humiliated one.’’ When the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came, he permitted him so he moved out of the way. `Abdullah bin `Abdullah had told him, “O Messenger of Allah!
Order me if you want to kill him, by Allah, I will bring you his head.’’
The Incident of the Slander
This extremely painful incident took place on the Prophet’s return from the expedition against Bani Mustaliq. The Muslim army halted for the night at a place which was a short distance from Madinah. In this expedition, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was accompanied by his noble wife, `Aishah (May Allah be Pleased with her). As it so happened, `Aishah (May Allah be Pleased with her) went some distance from the camp to attend to the call of nature. When she returned, she discovered that she had dropped her necklace somewhere. The necklace itself was of no great value, but as it had been loaned to her, `Aishah (May Allah be Pleased with her) went out again to search for it. On her return, to her great grief and sorrow, the army had already marched away with the camel she was riding; her attendants had thought that she was in the howdah (litter) as she was very thin, being very young and light in weight. In her helplessness, she sat down and cried until sleep overpowered her. Safwan bin Mu’attal (May Allah be Pleased with him), an Emigrant, who was coming in the rear recognized her as he had seen her before the Verse enjoining the veil was revealed, and brought her on his camel to Madinah, himself walking behind the animal. The hypocrites of Madinah, led by `Abdullah bin `Ubai Ibn Salul, sought to make an incident out of this and spread a wicked scandal against `Aishah (May Allah be Pleased with her) and unfortunately, some of the Muslims also became involved in it.
In Madinah, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) held counsel with his some of his Companions (May Allah be Pleased with all of them), who pronounced different opinions ranging from divorce to retention. The incident almost roused a fight between two rival factions, Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, but the Prophet’s intervention silenced both parties on the spot. `Aishah (May Allah be Pleased with her), unaware of the rumors being circulated about her, fell ill and was confined to bed for a month. On recovering, she heard of the slander and took permission to go and see her parents to seek authentic news. She then burst into tears and stayed for two days and one sleepless night ceaselessly weeping to such an extent that she felt her liver was about to rip open.
The Prophet visited her in that situation, and after testifying to the Oneness of Allah, he told her, “If you are innocent, Allah will acquit you, otherwise, you have to beg for His forgiveness and pardon.’’ She stopped weeping and asked her parents to speak on her behalf, but they had nothing to say, so she herself took the initiative and said “If I were to tell you that I am innocent, and Allah knows that I am surely innocent, you will not believe me; and if I were to admit something of which Allah knows that I am innocent, you will believe me; so there is nothing for me and you except the words of the father of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph):
`So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose Help can be sought against that which you assert.’’’ [12:18]
She then turned away and laid down for some rest. At that decisive moment the revelation came acquitting `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) of all the slanderous talk fabricated in this concern. `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) was of course wholeheartedly joyful and praised Allah with gratitude. Allah’s Words in this regard went as follows:
``Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet) are a group among you.’’ [24:11]
The principal people who were involved in this slander were: Mistah bin Athathah, Hassan bin Thabit, and Hamnah bint Jahsh, were flogged with eighty stripes.
As for the man who took the initiated this, `Abdullah bin Ubai, he was not flogged, either because the physical punishment of this world would have been a substitute for the chastisement that would be in store for him in the Hereafter, which he did not deserve, or for the same public interest for which he was not killed previously. However, he became the object of criticism and humiliation after his real intentions were exposed to the public.
A month later, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be Pleased with him) engaged in the following conversation: “Do you not see `Umar that if I had him (Abdullah bin Ubai) killed, a large number of nobles would have furiously hastened to fight for him. However, now if I ask them to kill him, they will do so out of their own free will.’’
‘Umar replied: “I swear by Allah that the judgment of the Prophet is much more sound than mine.’’
Delegations and Expeditions Following the Invasion of Bani Al-Mustaliq
- A military expedition led by `Abdur-Rahman bin `Auf (May Allah bePleased with him) was dispatched to the lands of Bani Kalb in DumatulJandal in Sha’ban, 6 A.H. Before setting out, the Prophet summoned `Abdur-Rahman (May Allah be Pleased with him), and placed a turban on his head with his own hands, invoking Allah’s blessings and giving him orders to act excellently during the war. He told him to marry the king’s daughter if they obeyed him. `Abdur-Rahman (May Allah be Pleased with him) stayed among those people for three days, invited them to Islam and they responded positively. He then married the king’s daughter Tamadur bint Al-Asbagh, and it is she who is Umm Abu Salamah, the mother of `Abdur-Rahman’s son Abu Salamah.
- In the same month and year, `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleasedwith him) was dispatched at the head of a platoon to the inhabitants of Bani Sa`d bin Bakr in a place called Fadak. The Prophet learned that they were supporting the Jews by providing them with a force. The Muslim fighters would march during the day and conceal their camp at night. On their way, they captured an envoy of the enemy who admitted being sent to Khaibar, to offer its people support in return for their dates. He also informed them about their encampment. `Ali and his companions raided it, captured five hundred camels and two thousand goats, but Banu Sa`d, with their chieftain Wabr bin `Aleem had fled.
- An expedition led by Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (May Allah be Pleased withhim) or Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was dispatched to Wadi Al-Qura in Ramadan, 6 A.H., after the Fazarah tribe had made an assassination attempt on the Prophet’s life. Salamah bin Al-Akwa’ said, “I went with him until we offered the Fajr prayer after which he ordered us to begin the attack. We began at the enemy’s watering and Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him) was fighting while I saw a group of women and children. I was afraid that they would escape to the mountain so I shot my arrow between them and the mountain. When they saw the arrow they stopped. There was a woman among them who was wearing a leather garment named Umm Qirfah. Her daughter was one of the prettiest Arab girls. So, I took them to Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him), and he gave me her daughter. Allah’s Messenger asked about the daughter of Umm Qirfah, and she was sent to Makkah in exchange for some Muslim captives.’’ Umm Qirfah was behind the attempts on the Prophet’s life, but her plan back fired, and the thirty horsemen were all killed.
- The expedition of Kurz bin Jabir Al-Fihri at `Urainah occurred in Shawwal of the 6th A.H. This was because a group from the `Ukl and `Urainah tribes declared their Islam, and stayed in Madinah but found its climate disagreeable. So, they were asked to erect their tents in the pastures nearby, which they did and they became healthy. They then attacked the Prophet’s shepherd and killed him, turned apostates from Islam and drove off the camels. The Prophet sent a group of twenty Muslims led by Kurz bin Jabir Al-Fihri (May Allah be Pleased with him) on their track. They were brought and handed over to him. He had their hands and feet cut off, their eyes forced out in recompense for their behavior, and then they were thrown on the stony ground until they died.
Biographers also reported that `Amr bin Umaiyah Ad-Damri and Salamah bin Abi Salamah (May Allah be Pleased with all of them) were sent to assassinate Abu Sufyan, the chief of Quraish, who had sent a Bedouin to assassinate the Prophet. The two-man mission failed, but they killed three polytheists on the way. It is noteworthy that all the foregone invasions did not imply real bitter fighting, but were clashes or punitive military movements carried out to deter enemies who still had not surrendered [to Islam]. Deep consideration on the development of the war circumstances reveal the continuous collapse of the morale among the enemies of Islam, who had come to understand that they were no longer in a position to stop the Islamic call or weaken its active drive. This state of affairs reached its climax with the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyah when the two confronting parties, believers and disbelievers, entered into a truce agreement that pointed markedly to the ever-growing power of Islam, and unequivocally recorded the continuation of this heavenly religion in Arabia.