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The Battle of Khaybar


category: History & Biographies


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The magnificent victory won by the Muslims at Khaybar was of far-reaching importance to them, especially against the tribes, which have yet to accept Islam. They were aware of the wealth and prowess of the Jews of Khaybar, their impregnable strongholds and valor of the well-known warriors like Marhab and Harith Abi Zaynab. They considered its capture to be virtually impossible but their estimate of the nascent power of Madeenah had proved to be futile enough. For they now realized that the Muslims’ strength is implicitly irresistible.

Discussing the effect of the victory gained at Khaybar on the subsequent history of Islam, Dr. Israel Welphenson says:

“There is not the least doubt that the conquest of Khaybar occupies an important place in the history of the subsequent conquests of Islam. All the Arab tribes were anxiously watching for the outcome of the saber rattling between the Ansaar and the Jews. The enemies of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) spread over many cities and the desert had pinned down their hopes upon this battle.” (Al-Yahud Fi Balad il-'Arab, p. 162)


Having finished with Khaybar, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) directed his attention to Fadak(27), which was the principal town, fertile and populous, in the northern part of Hijaz, with strong fortifications. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 38) The Jews of Fadak sent an offer of peace to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), on the condition that they should be allowed to keep half of their produce. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) who used to spend the income from Fadak on the welfare of the Muslims accepted the terms. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 38)

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) then moved on with the army to the Wadi’l Qura(28), a colony founded by the Jews during the pre-Islamic period. Lying midway between Khaybar and Taima, it had become a flourishing town with the settlement of a number of Arab tribes in it. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) invited the Arabs of Wadi Al-Qura to accept Islam. He told them that if they acceded to Islam, their life and property would be safe and they would have a goodly return from the Lord.

The Jews decided to fight, but the heroic assault led by Zubayr b. al-‘Awwam made them surrender the very next day. A great deal of property fell into the hands of the Muslims. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) distributed the spoils among his troops but left the groves of date-palm to the Jews.

When the Jews of Taima(29) learnt about the fall of Khaybar, Fadak and Wadil-Qura and the terms on which they had made peace with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), they hastened to send him an offer of peace. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) accepted their proposal and allowed them to retain the possession of their land and property. Thereafter the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) returned to Madeenah. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 405)


The Ansaar of Madeenah had shared their possessions with the emigrants when they had come from Makkah. Now, well-provided with the spoils of Khaybar, the Muhajirun returned the property shared earlier by their Ansaar brethren. Umm Sulaym, the mother of Anas b. Malik, had presented a few date-palm trees to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), who had given them out to his freed slave-woman Umm Ayman. After the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) got the groves of Fadak, he returned the date-palm trees of Umm Sulaym and compensated Umm Ayman with ten trees of Fadak for every date-palm given earlier to her. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 406)

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) sent forth a number of raiding parties under eminent companions against some of the contumacious desert tribes. Some of these detachments had to put up a fight against them while others returned without any contest. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 409-410)


The following year, in 7 A.H., the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and his followers took the road to Makkah for performing the lesser pilgrimage missed by them earlier. The Quraysh thought it best to lock their house and retire to the heights of Jabl Qa’yqa’an overlooking the valley.(30) The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) stayed for three days in the holy city and made the circuit of the holy house. Referring to the joyous event, the Qur’an says:

“Allah hath fulfilled the vision(31) for his Messenger in very truth. Ye shall indeed enter the Inviolable Place of Worship, if Allah will, secure, (having your hair) shaven and cut, not fearing. But He knoweth that which ye know not, and hath given you a near victory beforehand.” [Qur'an 48:27]


Islam had changed the hearts and elevated the mentality of the Arabs. The custom which prevailed in the pre-Islamic days of burying female infants alive, so as to save the honor of the family, was not only given up but the daughters came to be so dearly loved that the people vied with one another in lavishing their affection to them. All Muslims, men and women, were equal, none-possessing any privilege over another; only he was superior who was better in morals and piety. When the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) left Makkah after performing the ‘Umra, the little daughter of Hamza known as Umama, followed him calling “Uncle, Uncle.” Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) took her and asked Fatima to look after the girl. Now Zayd and J’afar also claimed the guardianship of the child. ‘Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) laid claim overr her since accordingly, she was the daughter of his uncle. J’afar on the other hand reasoned out that she was the daughter of his uncle and her maternal aunt was his wife. Zayd, too, wanted to have the child for all the Muslims were brothers and he could very well look after the daughter of a deceased brother. The matter was brought to the attention of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) who decided that the maternal aunt being in the position of the mother of the girl should be given priority and thus the girl was finally entrusted to J’afar. To appease ‘Ali, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) consoled him, “You are mine and I am yours.” He then reassured J’afar by saying, “You resemble me in your looks and conduct.” Zayd was also comforted with words, “You are my brother and client.” (Al-Bukhaari)

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