Download PDF: [S] The Battle of Hunain

As we know, Mecca Shareef was captured by the Muslims in the 8th year of migration. This news spread all over the Arabin Peninsula. It was indeed not an ordinary event.

 

When this news reached Taif, the leader of this area, Maalik bin Auf Nadari, called a meeting to discuss this with the other members of the tribe. They also concluded that as soon as the Muslims had completed with Mecca Shareef, they would attack Taif. Maalik bin Auf Nadari was well respected among his clan and had nearly forty years’ experience as a military leader.

 

In front of him, the powerful leaders of the Bani Hawazeen and Thaqeeq also sat. These were tribes noted for their military power and strength. On the road from Riyad till Taif, there were other small villages. These were the children or offspring of the Bani Hawazin. They were also extremely boastful and displayed a lot of arrogance. In fact, during this conversation, they also made fun of the people in Mecca. They made it clear that these people were not skilled soldiers, hence their defeat. They also boasted that if the Muslims had come up against them, then the Muslims would have been defeated.

 

In brief, the army of Taif prepared itself. The Commander-in-Chief of this large force was Maalik bin Auf. They also commanded that all the women and children should also accompany them to the battle as well with their livestock and other valuables. They were commanded to camp at a place near Hunain called Waadi Awtaas. There is no doubt that bringing their women, children and other valuables into battle was one of the most stupid mistakes ever made by them. The place where they camped in also a valley which was under the control of the Banu Hawaazin.

 

In fact, there was a person named Dareed bin Samma who objected to this but since he was elderly, no one paid any attention to him. In spite of this, when he asked Malik bin Auf about the fact that he could hear the sounds of women and children and livestock, Malik bin Auf replied, “I know that behind every person is his family and wealth which I decided to place behind him. In this way, they would have a greater urge to defend themselves.”

 

However, Dareed mentioned to him that he was nothing but an ordinary shepherd and wanted to know whether those who are defeated can actually have anything which would stop them from running. However, Malik bin Auf completely ignored his advice and mentioned that he had become too old and that he had also lost his common sense. He then promised that he will fight so furiously against the Muslims that there will be no example of this among the Arabs. (Seerah by Ibn Hishaam; Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah)

 

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – was already informed about the plans of these people. He started to prepare and left Mecca Shareef with twelve thousand men. He departed from Mecca Shareef on a Sunday, the 6th of Shawwal in the 8th year of migration. They were divided into ten battalions under the leadership of ten commanders. He then camped on one corner of the same valley of Hunain.

 

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – left Sayyiduna Itaab bin Usaid – may Allah be pleased with him – as the Governor of Mecca Shareef. At midday, a young man brought news of the exact numbers that were facing them. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also informed the Muslims about the prsence of women and children in this army. When Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – heard this information, he smiled and declared that tomorrow all of this would be the property of the Muslims.

 

Among the Muslims, there were two thousand who had just accepted Islam and were young. In fact, one could say that the religion of Islam was not fully established in them. Some of them had come for different reasons. Some came from pure enthusiasm, some came because others had called them and some came with the purpose of acquiring war booty.

When evening came, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – inquired about who would be in charge of night duty or who would be on guard. Sayyiduna Ibn Abi Hadrad – may Allah be pleased with him – presented himself and was accepted. However, he also asked that he was prepared to guard on one condition that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – promised him Jannah which was agreed to. He then went to one corner of a small hill and began his duties. When night appeared, Sayyiduna Aanis bin Abi Marsad Ghanawi – may Allah be pleased with him – also stood as one of the sentries.

 

When dawn broke, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – completed his Wudu and they completed the Fajr Salaah. However, those who had guarded the entire night, dozed off near the arrival of dawn. When Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – started the Fajr Salaah, at that moment, Malik bin Auf and his companions who had silently arrived near the Muslim camp site attacked without warning. (Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah; Taarikh Al Islam)

 

Hadrat Sayyiduna Salamah bin Akwa – may Allah be pleased with him – mentions that once on the plains of Hunain, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – jumped off his donkey and picking up a little sand he threw it in the direction of the enemy. He also recited, “Shaahatil Wujuh,” which signifies, ‘may their faces be disfigured’. This sand spread everywhere and there was not a person among the enemies who was not affected by this. In fact, when they felt the effects of this, they also lost all hope as well.

 

In a few minutes, the enemy were completely defeated. Seventy of them were killed. The battle ended even before the arrival of Zohar. At this moment, the prisoners were rounded up and chained. The person who was on guard was ordered to chain this prisoners. Another was commanded to round up the livestock. Another was commanded to round up the camels and the cows.

 

Ibn Katheer mentions that the total booty was so massive that it was nearly impossible to count.

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – then decided to attack the nearly one thousand men under the command of Malik bin Auf. Realizing that he had been defeated, he rushed towards Taif. He abandoned the women and children, the livestock and even the weapons in his hasty retreat. He then locked himself in the fort at Taif.

The writer of Ar Raheeq al Makhtum explains that the prisoners numbered nearly six thousand. The camels numbered twenty four thousand, the goats numbered nearly forty thousand and an untold amount of gold and silver. This was gathered by Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and kept at a place called “Ja’raniyah” under the protection of Hadrat Sayyiduna Mas’ud bin Amar Ghifaari – may Allah be pleased with him. Among the prisoners was also his foster sister, Shima binte Haarith Sa’adiyah. She introduced herself to Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. He then displayed immense respect for her and even placed his shawl on the floor so that she could sit on it. He then allowed her to return to her people.

 

Besides the firmness and steadfastness of the other eminent Ashaab, one of those who displayed immense bravery and firmness was also the famous Sahaabiyah, namely Hadrat Sayyidah Umme Sulaim – may Allah be pleased with her. This was the mother of another famous Sahabi, namely Hadrat Sayyiduna Aanis bin Malik – may Allah be pleased with him – and the wife of Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Talha – may Allah be pleased with him. She had joined the Muslim forces with her blessed husband.

 

When he noticed her, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – mentioned to Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Talha – may Allah be pleased with him – that he could notice his wife walking around carrying a large dagger. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – then asked her, “O Umme Sulaim! What will you do with the dagger?” She replied that if any Mushrik comes near her, she will open up his stomach.

 

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – smiled at the bravery of this noble female. In fact, she was so angry that she requested that these new Muslims who had become a source of their weakness should be killed. However, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied that since Allah Almighty had blessed them with victory, of what advantage would something like this be. (Sahih Muslim Shareef)

 

It is mentioned that in this battle, his paternal cousin, Abu Sufyan bin Haarith bin Abdul Mutallib had displayed immense bravery, patience and steadfastness. Even though he had only accepted Islam during the conquest of Mecca, yet he displayed immense loyalty to Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. In fact, he was the one who was holding the reins of the donkey being ridden by Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. In this rush and confusion, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – asked, “Who is this person who is holding these reins?” He replied, “It is me, your paternal cousin Abu Sufyan bin Haarith.”

 

When Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – heard these words, he was extremely happy. After the battle, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – asked, “Whoever has killed a disbeliever and he has a witness will acquire the property of that disbeliever.”

 

Hadrat Sayyiduna Au Qatadah – may Allah be pleased with him – had also killed one of the disbelievers.

 

He then stood up and asked who would bear witness to this act of his.

 

On the other side, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – repeated his question. Again, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Qatadah – may Allah be pleased with him – stood up and asked who would be his witness. However, no one stood up to bear witness.

 

On the third occasion, when this question was asked, again Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Qatadah – may Allah be pleased with him – stood up asked who would bear witness for him.

 

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – then asked him. “O Abu Qatadah! What is your story?”

 

He replied that he had killed a certain Kaafir.

 

Suddenly, someone stood up and said, “O Prophet of Allah, there is no doubt that Abu Qatadah had indeed killed a certain Kaafir. However, the property of this person is with me. Please inform Abu Qatadah to allow this to remain with me.”

 

At that moment, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr – may Allah be pleased with him – stood up and said, “No, this cannot happen. Abu Qatadah is a lion from among the lions of Allah and he has continued to fight on the side of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and therefore, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – cannot give you what belongs to him.”

 

In fact, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also agreed with the words of Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr – may Allah be pleased with him. He said, “The opinion of Abu Bakr is correct, you should hand over these items to Abu Qatadah.”

 

Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Qatadah – may Allah be pleased with him – explains, “I then took these items (which included shields, swords and armoury) and sold them. I purchased an orchard in the neighbourhood of the Bani Sulaim in Madina Shareef. After accepting Islam, these were the first items which came into my possession.” (Sahih Bukhari Shareef)

 

Explaining what happened further in the Battle of Hunain, Sayyiduna ibn Abi Hadrad – may Allah be pleased with him – states that, “When I awoke that morning, I noticed that Malik bin Auf was already approaching with his army. This was a massive battalion which had nearly a thousand men. Suddenly, they arrived on my flank. I was in such a state that I could not even inform the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Malik bin Auf then commanded that his archers release their arrows. These were also well known archers among the Arabs. They were on top of the mount and it seemed like they would overwhelm the Muslims. In fact, certain Muslims who did not have much experience in war felt extremely threatened. Some of them grabbed their horses and ran in different directions. However, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – called everyone to join in the battle. According to some historians, only about 180 people stood with him. When they attacked for a second time, the number was even less. In fact, Imam Nawawi – may Allah be pleased with him – admits that the amount of people who stood around him were only about twelve. However, in this critical and dangerous situation, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – stood absolutely firm. In fact, even when he was completely outnumbered by the disbelievers, he rushed towards them. He also pushed his donkey forward. As he pushed his donkey towards the enemy, he declared, “I am Ibnul Awaatik”. In fact, one of the valleys under the control of his close family was a valley called Aatikah. In fact, this was named after one of the bravest Arab female soldiers of her era and hence, he was saying that he is the offspring of this brave female. He then raised his sword and pushed forward saying, “I am the Prophet and there is no lie in this and I am the son of Abdul Mutallib.”

 

The reins of the donkey were held tightly by Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Sufyan – may Allah be pleased with him – and Hadrat Sayyiduna Abbas – may Allah be pleased with him . In fact, they were trying to hold the donkey back so that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – does not go further. At the same time, the voice of Hadrat Sayyiduna Abbas – may Allah be pleased with him – was so loud that it could be heard from one mountain to the next. He was commanded to call to the blessed Ashaab.

 

He then called out to those who taken Bay’ah at Ridwaan, those who were the Ansaar and the Muhaajireen. When the blessed Ashaab heard this call, they rushed towards Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and gathered around him. When only a hundred stood around him, again he rushed towards the enemy. The name of Banu  Khazaraj was called out because these were some of the bravest soldiers in Arabia. When they heard their names, they also came forward. They could never imagine that the blessed call of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – would go unanswered. Suddenly a ferocious battle ensued. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also mentioned that now the battle has finally begun. (Sahih Muslim Shareef; Dalaa’ilul Nubuwah; Imam Bahiqi)

 

During this battle, the flag of the Hawazin was in the hands of one of their leaders. However, when Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali – may Allah be pleased with him – and one of the Ansaars attacked this person and had him killed, the complete might of the Bani Hawazin was destroyed in that one moment.

 

 

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