Download PDF: [S] The Battle of the Trench
The Battle of Ahzaab took place in the 4th or 5th Hijrah and another name of this battle is the “Battle of Khandaq” or the “Battle of the Trench.”
It is said that then the Jewish tribe of Bani Nudair had been expelled from their area due to their constant enmity against Islam and the Muslims, they then approached the disbelievers in Mecca and urged them to go to war against the Muslims by promising them a lot of wealth and weapons. They also promised the Meccans that they will also support them. When this happened, Abu Sufyan then gathered a very large army compromising of many tribes from around Arabia to attack Madina Shareef.
When this was brought to the attention of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, in consultation with the blessed companions, especially Hadrat Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him, they decided to build a trench around Madina Shareef. In the building of this trench, the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also assisted. When the trench was built, thousands of enemies of Islam by then had already arrived and surrounded the Muslims. This picture has been painted for us in the Qur’an in Surah Al Ahzab 33, verse 10:
اِذْ جَآءُوۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ فَوْقِکُمْ وَ مِنْ اَسْفَلَ مِنۡکُمْ وَ اِذْ زَاغَتِ الْاَبْصٰرُ وَ بَلَغَتِ الْقُلُوۡبُ الْحَنَاجِرَ وَ تَظُنُّوۡنَ بِاللہِ الظُّنُوۡنَا ﴿۱۰﴾
“When the infidel’s came upon you from above you, and from below you and when eyes
drew back in amazement and your hearts reached your throats and you began to think
diverse thoughts about Allah (of hopes and despairs).”
The cowardice of the hypocrites and the bravery of the Muslims
When the hypocrites, who were also with the Muslims, saw the huge army in front of them, out of cowardice they began to slowly slither away into their homes and some actually asked permission to be excused. However, the Muslims stood like rocks and mountains and completely unshakeable in the face of this massive army which was facing them. The bravery of the Muslims have also been described in Surah Al Ahzab, verse 22:
وَلَمَّا رَاَ الْمُؤْمِنُوۡنَ الْاَحْزَابَ ۙ قَالُوۡا ہٰذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللہُ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ وَ صَدَقَ اللہُ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ ۫ وَمَا زَادَہُمْ اِلَّاۤ اِیۡمَانًا وَّ تَسْلِیۡمًا ﴿ؕ۲۲﴾
“And when the Muslims saw the confederates of the infidels said, ‘this is what Allah and His Messenger promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth and it did not increase them in anything but faith and submission to the pleasure of Allah.”
When the disbelievers saw this trench they were also extremely surprised because they had never see something like this before in Arabia. They then stood outside the trench and hurled arrows. Some even tried to enter this trench but were beaten back by the Muslims.
Although the dedicated Muslims were not afraid of the disbelievers, they were also a little concerned about what was happening around them. Suddenly, Divine Help came to the Muslims in the form of a powerful wind which came from the East. Not only the temperate suddenly dropped, but the wind was so strong that the camps and tents of the enemies of Islam were blown in all directions. There was complete pandemonium and confusion among the disbelievers. A large group of Angels also appeared and created even more panic and terror in the hearts of the Kuffaar. Besides running in panic, they could think of no other option.
Abu Sufyan then informed them that because the weather had changed, the rations had been depleted and because the Jews had abandoned them, there was no other option but to retreat. They also left a large amount of goods behind as they began to run in panic. After nearly twenty or twenty four days, the siege of Madina Shareef came to an end. (Madaarijun Nubuwah, 2/172/ Zarqani, 2/112,118)
Allah Almighty describes His favour to the Muslims in the following manner in Surah Ahzab, 33 verse 9:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اذْکُرُوۡا نِعْمَۃَ اللہِ عَلَیۡکُمْ اِذْ جَآءَتْکُمْ جُنُوۡدٌ فَاَرْسَلْنَا عَلَیۡہِمْ رِیۡحًا وَّ جُنُوۡدًا لَّمْ تَرَوْہَا ؕ وَ کَانَ اللہُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوۡنَ بَصِیۡرًا ۚ﴿۹﴾
“O believers! Remember Allah’s favour upon you, when some hosts came against you, then We sent on them a strong wind and an army, which you did not see. And Allah sees your doings.”
This also teaches the Muslims a very important lesson which is that if they are faced by overwhelming odds, they should never lose hope in Almighty. And as long as they remain firm and steadfast, they would be blessed with Divine Help. Of course, the condition is that they should have sincerity and remain firm and also patient.
We see that in all the major battles, whether it be Badr, Uhud, Ahzaab, etc., even though the Muslims were outnumbered by the disbelievers, in these extreme testing times, the Divine Help of the Almighty did indeed come to the Muslims. When this Divine Help came, the entire result of this battle was changed and in spite of their superior numbers, the disbelievers had no choice but to leave and run from the battlefield.