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The Battle of Tabuk

Anonymous

category: History & Biographies

source: Seerah.net

reads: 23181

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The Tabuk campaign was undertaken in the month of Rajab, 9 A.H. (71) It was the time when the date palms had ripened and their shades were very pleasant. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) undertook a long journey for the Tabuk expedition and traversed deserts and arid plains to face an enemy immensely great in numbers. As the Muslims were then passing through a period of drought, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) told the companions beforehand, unlike in previous occasions, that he intended to fight with the Byzantines so that they might make suitable preparations. (Sahihain, on the authority of K'ab b. Malik)

The hypocrites fell out on different pretexts. They either disliked strenuous wars against the powerful enemy or disliked going out in the oppressive heat. They even doubted the truth and had little interest in fighting for the sake of God, so they refrained from accompanying the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) on this occasion. God admonished such disaffected persons as is related in this Quranic verse: "Those who were left behind rejoiced at sitting still behind the Messenger of Allah, and were aversed to striving with their wealth and their lives in Allah's way. And they said: go not forth in the heat! Say: The heat of Hell is more intense of heat, if they but understood." [Qur'an 9:81]

Enthusiasm of The Muslims

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) took particular care to make preparations for the expedition. He urged upon the affluent companions to donate considerably for the campaign resulting in the lavish donations that they had thus accumulated. 'Uthman spent one thousand dinars on the force known as "The brigade of distress" or "Jaish al-'Usr" and the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) invoked God's blessings for him. A number of companions who were unable to raise money for their participation requested the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to arrange the same for them. As, however, their requests could not be met for want of funds, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) told them that their demands cannot be granted and so they went back disconsolate and disheartened. Some of them were so sorrow-stricken and depressed that God sent down the revelation exempting them from the obligation of joining the expedition: "Nor unto those (is any blame) whom, when they came to thee (asking) that thou shouldst mount them, thou didst tell: I cannot find whereon to mount you. They turned back with eyes flowing with tears, for sorrow that they could not find the means to spend." [Qur'an 9:92]

There were still others who could not make up their mind to participate in the campaign although their indecision was not because of any doubt or misgiving.

Armys Depature for Tabuk

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) proceeded to Tabuk with a strong army of 30,000 from Madeenah. In no other drive, earlier to Tabuk, had such a large number of persons carried arms. Before the departure, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) ordered the men to secure their camp at Thaniyatul-Wada'. He put Muhammad b. 'Maslama al-Ansaari in charge of Madeenah and left behind 'Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) to look after his family. When 'Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) complained to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) that the hypocrites were trying to spread false rumors about him, he replied, "Are you not content,'Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) that you are to me as Haroon (Aaron) was to Musa (Moses), except that there will be no Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) after me?"(Bukhari , Gazwah Tabuk)

When the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) encamped at al-Hjir, the land of Thamud, he told the companions that it was the country of those who were being tortured for their sins. He said, "If you enter the houses of those who did wrong to themselves, enter tearfully with the fear that you may also meet the same fate that befell them." (72) He also instructed his men, "Do not drink any of its water nor use it for ablutions. If you have used any for dough, then feed it to the camels and eat none of it."

The journey was extremely arduous, and scarcity of water added to the misery of the army. When the people complained to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) about their distress, he prayed to God and a cloud came down in torrents until every man had quenched his thirst and stored enough water to meet his needs. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. p. 522)

Demoralized Hypocrites

Some of the hypocrites kept company with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). While the Muslim army was headed for Tabuk, one of them said to another, but alluding to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), "Do you think that the executioners of the Romans will deal with you in the same way as the Arabs do? By God, we seem to see you bound with ropes tomorrow." (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 522)

Treaty of Peace with Aylahs Ruler

Yuhanna b. Ru'ba, the governor of Aylah called upon the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) at Tabuk. Yuhanna made a treaty of peace and also paid the Jizyah. So did the people of Jarba' and Adhruh, and they were all granted peace as well as guaranteed safety of their territory and their ships and caravans by land and sea. The treaties were written by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and delivered to the respective parties. Yuhanna was received by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) cordially and was given due respect. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 525-26)

Back to Madeenah

There was no commotion in Byzantium. When the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) saw that there was no movement of troops by the enemy who seemed to have abandoned the border towns, he gave orders for the return march. The objective of the expedition having been achieved, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) did not consider it necessary to advance further in the enemy's territory to carry on the hostilities. Only a Christian chief, Ukaydir b. 'Abdul Malik, who was the ruler of Dumatul Jandal (73) and enjoyed the patronage of the Byzantines, was reported to be harboring hostile designs. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) sent Khalid (radiallahu 'anhu) with five hundred troops who captured Ukaydir and brought him to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), however, spared his life on the condition that he surrendered unconditionally and agreed to pay the Jizyah. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 526)

After staying for a few nights in Tabuk, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) returned to Madeenah. (Ibn Hisham, p. 527)

Funeral of Poor Muslim

'Abdullah Dhu'l-Bijadayn died at Tabuk. He had been too eager to accept Islam but his tribesmen had prevented him from conversion. At last they turned him over with only one coarse sheet of cloth in which he repaired to call upon the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). By the time he came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) the sheet of cloth had been torn into two pieces, one of which was used by him as a loincloth and the other he had wrapped over him. Since the day he appeared before the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in that condition, he came to be known as Dhu'l-Bijadayn.

When he died at Tabuk the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) attended his burial along with Abu Bakr and 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa). By the light of a torch held by someone, a grave was dug for him and the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) himself went down into it to put him to rest. While Abu Bakr and 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa) lowered down the corpse of 'Abdullah Dhu'l-Bijadayn, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said to them, "Bring your brother nearer to me." After the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had arranged 'Abdallah for his niche, he said, "O God, I am pleased with him; be Thou pleased with him!" Abdallah b. Masud used to say thereafter, "Would that I had been the man in that grave." (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 527-8)

Trail of K'ab B. Malik (radiallahu 'anhu)

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