Envoys Inviting to Islam.
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger
Description: After the Treaty of Hudaibiyah the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent messages neighboring sovereign inviting them to Islam: Abbysinia, Egypt, Persia, Rome, Bahrain,Yamamah, Damascus, Oman. The Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also led a campaign against Khaibar that became a hornets’ nest of his enemies.
After Treaty of Hudaibiyah, in late 6th Hijrah the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took steps to send messages beyond Arabia calling them to Islam by dispatching several envoys to the neighboring sovereigns. Among them the envoy to the king of Persia, Chosroes Parvis, was received with disdain. He was haughtily amazed at the boldness of the Makkan fugitive in addressing him on terms of equality. He was so enraged that he tore up into pieces the Prophet's letter of invitation to Islam and dismissed the envoy from his presence with great contempt. When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) received information on this treatment, he calmly observed: "Thus will the Empire of Chosroes be torn to pieces."
The envoy to Heraclitus, the Emperor of the Romans, was received much more politely and reverentially. He treated the envoy with great respect and sent the Prophet a gracious reply to his message. Another envoy was sent to an Arab price of the Ghassanite tribe, a Christian feudatory of Heraclius. This prince, instead of receiving the envoy with any respect, cruelly murdered him. This act caused great consternation among the Muslims, who considered it as an outrage of the obligations.
‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhu) narrated as follows: Abu Sufian Ibn Harb informed me that Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a caravan from Quraish. They were merchants doing business in Sham [Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan] at the time when Allah's Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had a truce with Makkans idolators. Abu Sufian and his companions went to Heraclius at Ilya [Jerusalem].
Heraclius called them in the court and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for a translator to translate his question, and said : "Who among you is closely related to that man who claims to be a Prophet?" Abu Sufian replied: "I am the nearest relative to him." Heraclius said: "Bring Abu Sufian close to me and make his companions stand behind him." Abu Sufian added: "Heraclius told his translator to tell my companions that he wanted to put some questions to me regarding the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and if I told a lie they should contradict me. By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my companions labeling me a liar, I would have not have spoken the truth about the Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)."
Abu Sufian's narration continues: "The first question he asked me about him was; what is his family status among you?" "I replied: "He belongs to a good noble family amongst us." Heraclius further asked: "Has anybody among you ever claimed the same [to be a Prophet] before him?" I replied: "No." He said: "Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?" I replied: "No."
Heraclius asked: "Do the nobles or the poor follow him?" I replied: "It is the poor who follow him." He said: "Are his followers increasing or decreasing?" I replied: "They are increasing."
He then asked: "Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?" I replied: "No."
Heraclius said: "Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim [to be a Prophet]?" I replied: "No." Hereaclius said: "Does he break his promises?" I replied: "No. We are at truce with him but we do not know what he will do in it." I could not find opportunity to say anything against him except that.
Heraclius asked: "Have you ever had a war with him?" I replied: "Yes." Then he said: "What was the outcome of the battles?" I replied: "Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we."
Heraclius said: "What does he order you to do?" I said: "He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to keep good relations with our kith and kin."
Heraclius asked the translator to convey to me the following: "I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family. In fact, all the Messengers come from noble families among their respective peoples. I questioned you whether anybody else among you claimed such a thing; your reply was in the negative. If the answer had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following the previous man's statement. Then I asked you whether anyone of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his ancestral kingdom.
I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said and your reply was in the negative. So I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah. I then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And, in fact, all the Messengers have been followed by this veryclass of people. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing, and, in fact, this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects.
I further asked you whether there was anybody, who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and discarded his religion. You reply was in the negative, and, in fact this is [the sign of] true faith, when its delight enters the hearts and mixes with them completely. I asked you whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative, and likewise the Messengers never betray.
Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and forbade you to worship idols, and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste. If what you have said is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet and I knew it [from the scriptures] that he was going to appear but I did not know that he would be from you, and if I could reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet."
Heraclius then asked for the letter addressed by Allah's Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) which had been delivered by Dihya to the Governor of Busra, who forwarded it to Heraclius to read. The contents of the letter were as follows:
"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, and the Merciful. [This letter is] from Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him who follows the right path. Furthermore, I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam, you will be committing a sin by misguiding your subjects. And I recite to you Allah's Statement: Say [O Muhammad]: 'O People of the Scripture [Jews & Christians]: Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.' Then, if they turn away, say: 'Bear witness that we are Muslims.' "
Abu Sufian then added: When Heraclius had finished his speech and had read the letter; there was a great hue and cry in the Royal Court. So we turned out of the court. I told my companions that the question of Ibn-Abi-Kabsha [the Prophet Muhammad] had become so prominent that even the King of Bani Al-Asfar [Byzantine] was afraid of him. Then I started to become sure that he [the Prophet] would be the conqueror in the near future till I embraced Islam [Allah guided me to it].
Another narrator added that Ibn An-Natur was the Governor of Ilya [Jerusalem] and Heraclius was the head of the Christians of Sham. Ibn An-Natur narrated that once while Heraclius was visiting Ilya [Jerusalem], he got up in the morning with a sad mood. Some of his priests asked him why he as in that mood. Hreaclius was a foreteller and an astrologer. He replied: "At night when I looked at the stars, I saw that the leader of those who practice circumcision had appeared [become the conqueror]. Who are they who practice circumcision?" The people replied: "Except the Jews, nobody practices circumcision, so you should not be afraid of them [Jews]. Just Issue orders to kill very Jew present in the country.'
While they were discussing it, a messenger sent by the king of Ghassan to convey the news of Allah's Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to Heraclius was brought in. Having heard the news, Heraclius ordered the people to go and see whether the messenger of Ghassan was circumcised. The people, after seeing him, told Heraclius that he was circumcised. Heraclius then asked him about the Arabs. The messenger replied: "Arabs also practice circumcision."
After hearing that Heraclius remarked that sovereignty of the Arabs had been appeared. Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in knowledge. Heraclius then left for Homs [a town in Syria] and stayed there till he received the reply of his letter from his friend, who agreed with him in his opinion about the emergence of the Prophet and the fact that he was a Prophet. On that, Heraclius invited all the heads of the Byzantines to assemble in his palace at Homs. When they assembled, he ordered that all the doors of his palace be closed. Then he came out and said: "O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain and then give a pledge of allegiance to this Prophet [embrace Islam]."
On hearing the views of Heraclius, the people ran towards the gates of the palace like onagers but found the doors closed. Heraclius realized their hatred towards Islam and when he lost the hope of their embracing Islam, he ordered that they should be brought back in audience.
When they returned Heraclius said: "What was already said was just to test the strength of your conviction and I have seen it." The people prostrated before him and became pleased with him, and this was the end of Heraclius's story. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
The Campaign of Khaibar
In the 7th year or the Hijrah the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), led a campaign against Khaibar, the stronghold of the Jewish tribes in Khaibar, North Arabia, which had become a hornets’ nest of his enemies. The Jews of Khaibar lived in a strongly fortified territory at a distance of four days' journey from Medinah. They showed implacable hatred towards the Muslims. United by alliance with the tribe of Ghatfan, as well as with other cognate tribes, the Jews of Khaibar made serious attempts of coalition against the Muslims. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his adherents were informed of this movement and immediate measures were taken in order to repress any new attack upon Medinah. An expedition of 1400 men was soon prepared to march against Khaibar.
It was at Khyber that a Jewish woman prepared poisoned meat for the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), of which he only tasted a morsel. Hardly had the morsel touched his lips than he became aware that it was poisoned. Without swallowing it, he warned his companions of the poison, but one Muslim, who had already swallowed a mouthful, died later. The woman who had cooked the meat was put to death.
The allies of the Jews left them to face the war with the Muslims all alone. The Jews firmly resisted the attacks of the Muslims, but eventually all their fortress had to be surrendered, one after the other to their enemies. They sought for forgiveness, which was accorded to them on certain conditions. Their lands and immovable property were secured to them, together with the free practice of their religion. After subduing Khaibar, the Muslims returned to Medinah in safety.
Pilgrimage to Makkah
Before the end of the year, it being the 7th year of the Hijrah the Prophet’s vision was fulfilled, he visited Makkah: the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his adherents availed themselves of their armistice with the Quraish to visit the Holy Ka’bah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), left Madinah under the charge of Abu Ruhm Al-Ghifari, left fo Makkah accompanied by two hundred Muslims, went to to perform 'Umrah or Lesser Pilgrimage. In accordance with the terms of the truce the idolaters evacuated the city, and from the surrounding heights watched the procedure of the Muslims which lasted the three days.
The Orientalist, Sir William Muir, in his book, Life of Mohammed Vol. III comments on the incident as follows: It was surely a strange sight, which at this time presented itself at the vale of Mecca, a sight unique in the history of the world. The ancient city is for three days evacuated by all its inhabitants, high and low, every house deserted, and as they retire, the exiled converts, many years banished from their birth-place, approach in a great body accompanied by their allies, revisit the empty homes of their childhood and within the short allotted space, and fulfil the rites of pilgrimage. The outside inhabitants, climbing the heights around take refuge under tents or other shelter among the hills and glens; and clustering on the overhanging peak of Abu Qubeis, thence watch the movements of the visitors beneath, as with the Prophet SAW at their head, they make the circumbulation of the Ka'abah hand rapid procession between Saffa and Marwah, and anxiously scan every figure, if perchance they may recognize among the worshippers some long lost friend or relative. It was a scene rendered only by the throes, which gave birth to Islam.
In accordance with the terms of the treaty, the Muslims left Makkah at the end of three day's visit. This peaceful visit was followed by important conversions among the Quraish. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, known as the Sword of Allah, who, before this, had been a bitter enemy of Islam and who commanded the Quraish cavalry at Uhud; and Amr Ibn Al' As, another important character and warrior, adopted the new faith of Islam.
Campaign against Ghassanite.
When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his followers returned to Medinah, they arranged in expedition to exact retribution from the Ghassanite prince who had killed the Muslim envoy. A force of three thousand men, under the Prophet's adopted son Zaid bin Harithah, was sent to take reparation from the offending tribe.
Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent envoys sent to the rulers and emperors of neighboring countries to convey the message of Islam and call on them to submit themselves to Allāh. Al-Harith ibn Umayr (radiyallāhu’anhu) was the one sent to Shurahbil ibn ‘Amr of the Arab tribe of Ghassan, who was the ruler of Busra in the south of present-day Syria. Busra was a governorate of the Byzantine Empire. It enjoyed a form of political autonomy, since that area was inhabited by immigrant Arabs who belonged to the tribe of Ghassan.
Far from the varying degrees of hospitality the rulers and emperors showed to the prophet’s envoys, with some of them replying cordially, others sending the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) some presents and others, such as Negus of Abyssinia and the ruler of Yemen, were soon to become Muslims. Shurahbil ibn ‘Amr exceeded all limits of diplomatic standards and values. He gave orders for Al-Harith ibn Umayr (radiyallāhu’anhu) to be tied up and then beheaded, whereas the tradition that messengers and ambassadors must be treated well, regardless of the nature of the message they carried, was an age old one.
When the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to know of this, he felt that the treatment of his envoy represented an insult and a challenge which called for a firm reply. As Islam was still consolidating its position in Arabia itself, the steady progress of the Muslim state was an important factor to ensure that it was held in awe by all neighboring powers.
The people in Arabia were convinced that Islam could not be overcome by any other force. The Muslims enjoyed God’s support, and that support was enough to defeat all their enemies. This general feeling was responsible for the conversion of a large number of people in Arabia who embraced Islam either because they feared it or because they wanted to be part of its success. If Islam was seen to be weakening in front of larger forces, the position of many of those who were prepared to join the ranks of the Muslims would be violently shaken. The implications would then be very serious indeed.
Hence, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was keen that the position of the new Muslim state should be safeguarded. No one could be allowed to level an insult against Islam or the Muslim state and manage to get away with it. People inside and outside Arabia must feel that Islam was a force to be reckoned with. So, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) decided to send an expedition to teach the aggressor a lesson and to show the world at large that no ambassador of the Muslim state could be killed and forgotten. His killers must be brought to justice and must be made to pay a heavy price for their aggression.
Peace In First Place
The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) called on his companions to join the army he was sending to Busra. The response was, as usual, highly favorable. A force of 3,000 soldiers was thus raised. When they were ready to march, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) named three of his companions as commanders who should succeed one another in case any of them was killed. Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) himself was heavily engaged in Madinah and could not take the command of the army himself. Zayd ibn Harithah (radiyallāhu’anhu), who had been the first man ever to become a Muslim, was appointed as the first leader. The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told the army that if Zayd ibn Harithah (radiyallāhu’anhu)were to be killed, the commander would be Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu). In case he also was killed, ‘Abdullāh ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu) was to assume the command of the army.
The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered the army to travel until they reached the district where Al-Harith ibn Umayr (radiyallāhu’anhu) was killed, and to call on the people of that area to accept Islam. If they did, the Muslims were to leave them alone. If they did not, then they should fight them, praying God to help them. Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also ordered them not to break any promises they gave and not to kill a child, a woman, an old man or a monk praying in seclusion. They were not to cut down any trees or destroy any buildings. The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went out with the army to the outskirts of Madinah, where he bade the commanders and soldiers farewell. The Muslim army tried to conceal its purpose in order to be able to take the enemy by surprise. The news of its march, however, was soon known to its enemies, who started to get ready.
Shurahbil ibn Amr mobilized all the Arab tribes under his control. These tribes were able to provide a very large force indeed. Most historians set the figure of their forces in this encounter at 100,000. Moreover, Heracules, the Byzantine Emperor, sent his local governor a further force of 100,000 Byzantine soldiers. Thus, an army of 200,000 was preparing to meet the Muslim army of 3,000 soldiers only.
Nevertheless, the disparity between the two forces was so marked that the Muslims felt that they needed to stop and think about what they were about to face. When they reached Ma’an, in the south of present-day Jordan, they received intelligence of the size of the forces preparing to meet them. They stopped at Ma’an for two nights in consultation on what their next step should be. Some of them suggested that they should write to the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informing him of the situation and of the forces of their enemies, and await his orders. He might either send some support or give them further instructions. ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah(radiyallāhu’anhu), the third commander named by the Prophet(sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), felt that the matter did not warrant that sort of delay. Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) encouraged the Muslims not to hesitate before confronting their enemy:
The cause of your hesitation now is the very prize which you have set out to achieve: namely, martyrdom. We have never fought any enemy on the basis of our numerical strength, or our better equipment, or our superior number of horses. We fight them only with this religion with which God has blessed us. Let us march on. I attended the Battle of Badr when we had only two horses. At the Battle of Uhud, there was only one horseman in our ranks. March on, brothers. We stand to win one of two great prizes: either we will achieve victory – and this is what God and His messenger have promised us, and it is a promise which never fails – or we will achieve martyrdom, in which case we join our brethren who went before us into Heaven.
These words were very touching to the Muslim army. This was no vain discourse. What Abdullah ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu) said was something in which they all believed. To a Muslim, any fight for the cause of Islam can end either in an honorable victory or in martyrdom. It is a case of either a victory for the community or a victory for the individual. Hence, they marched on. Two more nights and they reached the area to which they were sent. They found out that the enemy forces were encamped in a village called Masharif. As enemy forces started to draw near them, they, therefore, moved to a village called Mu’tah, where they took their positions.
Although the decision reached by the Muslim army may seem unwise, considering the enormous disparity between their forces and those of their enemies, the Muslims always had their own criteria when they considered any serious matter. That particular army, which included many soldiers who took part in earlier battles the Muslims fought against their enemies, was generally aware that numerical inferiority could be compensated for by superior spiritual strength. The speech of Abdullah ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu)rekindled the enthusiasm of the Muslim soldiers to the extent that they were eager to face their enemy.
When the Muslim army took its position at the village of Mu’tah, the Byzantine forces marched towards them in great numbers, seeking to overwhelm the Muslims by sheer numerical strength. The Muslims deployed their forces, adopting the tactics of concentrated pressure at the centre while preventing the outside flanks of their enemy from trying to encircle them. The Muslim commander of the right flank was Qutbah ibn Qatadah (radiyallāhu’anhu); his counterpart on the left flank was Ubadah ibn Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu). These two commanders and their units fought very hard to protect the central units from being overwhelmed.
Till The Last Breath
The battle was now being fought in earnest as Zayd ibn Harithah (radiyallāhu’anhu), the first Muslim commander, carried the Muslim flag and fought hard. Apparently the Byzantine forces concentrated their efforts on trying to kill the Muslim commander, so they pressed hard where Zayd ibn Harithah (radiyallāhu’anhu) was fighting and were soon able to kill him. The banner was taken over by Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu), who again was the target for a concentrated enemy attack. Ja’far was a great fighter who struck the enemy soldiers right, left and centre.
Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu), could not, however, withstand the continuous pressure against him and he felt that he could fight better if he were to dismount. He continued to fight on foot, still carrying the flag in his right hand. As he fought on, he was hit several times. Then an enemy soldier was able to chop off his right hand, but Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu)automatically carried the flag with his left hand. Again, he was hit hard, and his left hand was chopped off. Nevertheless, he would not drop the flag. Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu), held it tightly with the upper parts of his arms and faced the enemy. His position was no longer tenable and he was soon killed. It is reported that when he was about to be buried, they counted on his body something like ninety wounds.
The flag was taken over by Abdullah ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu), who had demonstrated, ever since he joined the army that he dearly wished to be killed in battle. The fighting was so hard that the Muslim soldiers did not have any food because they were preoccupied with the battle.
A cousin of Abdullah ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu),, however, gave him a piece of meat and said: “Eat this and strengthen yourself. You have nearly exhausted your energy today.” When he had his first bite Abdullah ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu), heard the noise of fighting from one side and said to himself: “And I am still in this world?” He dropped the piece of meat and fought hard until he was killed.
A Veteran’s Strategy
It was nearly evening when ‘Abdullāh ibn Rawahah (radiyallāhu’anhu), was killed and before the Muslims, according to the Prophet’s instructions, were to choose their own commander should all three commanders appointed by him be killed. Their choice was Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu), who had joined the Muslim ranks only a few months earlier.
It was Khalid’s first battle with the Muslims. Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu) was a gifted military commander. He realized that total victory could not be achieved by the Muslims in such a greatly ill-balanced confrontation. His immediate thoughts were to engage the enemy for the rest of the day in such a way as to avoid heavy casualties among the Muslims.
When darkness fell and the two armies were separated for the night, Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu) still had a great deal to do. Taking stock of the situation, he realized that the best that the Muslims could achieve in that confrontation was to try to maximize the losses of their enemies while minimizing their own and avoiding an outright defeat. Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu) redeployed his forces completely, moving his right flank to the left and his left flank to the right. He also exchanged the positions of the front and rear forces. This total redeployment was completed during the night. Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu) then ordered a detachment of his forces to raise as much dust as possible behind the army and to cause a great deal of noise.
At daybreak, fighting was resumed. The Byzantine forces were surprised to see new faces all round. They thought that the Muslims must have received fresh help. They were somewhat scared to go into battle in earnest. The Muslims were able to take the initiative and fought hard, killing a large number of enemy soldiers.
Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu), however, did not intend the battle to go on indefinitely. As his forces were fighting hard, he was, at the same time, drawing back very slowly and skillfully. The Byzantine commanders thought that he was trying to drag them slowly into the desert. They felt that if they were to be dragged that far, they would lay themselves open to greater risks. Hence, they thought it was wiser to resist the temptation. They stood their ground. Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu), on the other hand, was able to disengage his forces in that way, without incurring any great losses.
Not Victorious, Yet Victory
Historians agree that this withdrawal was a great success as it was indeed, in that very confrontation, much more difficult than achieving victory, had the forces of the two sides been equally balanced. A lesser commander would not have been able to withdraw safely.
Moreover, the Muslims managed to inflict heavy losses on their enemies. The Muslims lost only 12 martyrs in this battle. Among these were the three commanders of the army named by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) . This was because the Byzantine army concentrated its attack on those commanders because, in those days, killing the commander ensured winning the battle.
The discipline of the Muslims, however, brought new factors into the equation and the Muslims lost three commanders without their morale being affected in any way. In order to describe the ferocity of that battle, one need only remember how Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu) fought until he was killed. Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu) said about that battle: “Nine swords were broken in my hand at the Battle of Mu’tah.” That was a large number of swords for the Muslim commander to use.
The great achievement of that battle was that it gave the Byzantines and their Arab agents an idea of what fighting the Muslims meant and what they can do. At no time afterwards did the Byzantine forces look forward to meeting the Muslim forces. Every time a battle was looming on the horizon, and there were many battles to come between the two sides, the Byzantines approached it with fear in their hearts. Moreover, this battle inspired great respect for the Muslims among the Arabian tribes in the north, such as those of Sulaym, Ashja’, ‘Abs and Dhubyan, who started to join the Muslim ranks.
Back in Madinah, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informed the Muslims of the events of the battle: “Zayd took the banner until he was killed. It was then taken over by Ja’ far until he was killed. Then Ibn Rawahah carried the flag until he was killed.” The Prophet’s eyes were tearful as he said this. “It was taken over,” he continued, “by a man who is one of God’s swords, and he fought until God granted them success.” This is a testimony by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that what Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radiyallāhu’anhu) and the Muslims did in that battle was a great success. No other testimony or opinion is needed in addition to this one.
Nevertheless, when the army arrived back in Madinah, children met them with jeers and denunciation. They said to them: “You deserters. You desert a battle being fought for God’s cause?” The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), however, set things right when he said to them: “These are no deserters. They will live to fight another day.” The children’s attitude gives an impression of what sort of society the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) built in Madinah, and in Arabia at large.
A few days later, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was speaking about the commanders who were killed at the Battle of Mu’tah. Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to his companions: “They would not wish to be with us now.” This is most certainly the case. No martyr would like to return to his home after enjoying God’s blessings which come with his martyrdom.
The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also visited the family of his cousin, Ja’far bin Abu Talib, the second commander. Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to them: “Do not cry for my brother’s death any more. Let me see his children.” The three boys were brought to him and he called in a barber to cut their hair. Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to them:
“Muhammad, son of Ja’far, resembles our uncle, Abu Talib. ‘Abdullāh has a likeness to me in shape and manners.” Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then took ‘Abdullāh by the hand and waved his hand, praying in these words: “My Lord, look after Ja’far’s family. Bless every transaction ‘Abdullāh makes.”
Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) repeated that three times. ‘Abdullāh bin Ja’far was to grow up as one of the most generous people that ever lived. Their mother spoke about their being orphans and the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to her: “Do you fear that they will live in poverty when I am their patron in this world and in the world to come?” This is just an example of the sort of care the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took of his companions, especially those who fought hard for the cause of Islam.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.