Invasion of Banu Mustaliq

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Invasion of Banū al-Muṣṭaliq
Date December 627AD in 8th month, 6AH
Location Al-Muraysī'
Result *Successful operation, 200 camels, 5000 sheep and household goods captured as booty
  • 200 families taken as captive[1]
Commanders and leaders
Muḥammad, Abū Bakr, Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah Haritha b. Abi Dirar
Strength
Unknown (Large numbert of Muḥammad's fighters) Unknown
Casualties and losses
1 killed 10 killed 200 families taken captive [1][2]

The Invasion of Banū al-Muṣṭaliq[1] took place in December, 627 AD, 8th (Sha'bān) month of 6 AH of the Islamic calendar.[3][4]

The operation was successful, and 200 families were taken as captives, 200 camels and 5000 sheep and goats, as well as a huge quantity of household goods, were captured as booty. The household goods were sold in an auction to the highest bidders.[2]

According to the Sealed Nectar, and ḥadīth collection Sunan Abū Dawūd, only one Muslim was killed by mistake by a Helper. Juwayriya bint al-Harith, daughter of the Banū al-Muṣṭaliq chief was one of the captives, and agreed to marry Muḥammad in exchange for releasing 100 prisoners who converted to Islam, as compensation.[1][5][6]

Background[edit]

According to William Muir, Banū al-Muṣṭaliq was a branch of the Khuzā'ah (Jewish) tribe, who were friendly to Muḥammad and his cause. However, two months after Muḥammad returned from the Expedition of Dhū Qarad, he began to hear rumours that the Banū al-Muṣṭaliq were preparing to attack him, so he sent a spy, Buraydah ibn Al-Ḥasīb Al-Aslamī,[7] to confirm this.[6] The Banū al-Muṣṭaliq also believed that Muḥammad was preparing to attack them. So they in turn sent a spy reconnoiter to explore the positions of the Muslims, but he was captured and killed by them. Muḥammad summoned his men and ordered them to prepare for war. Before leaving, Zayd ibn Ḥārithah was put in charge of Madinah.[1]

Invasion and surprise attack[edit]

On hearing the advent of the Muslims, the tribe was terrified, and the Arabs that accompanied them defected and fled for their lives. Abu Bakr was entrusted as the commander of the Muhajir's (Emigrants), and Sa‘d bin ‘Ubādah was the commander of the Anṣar (Helpers). The two armies were stationed at a well called Al-Muraysī', near the sea, a short distance from Mecca. They fought with bows and arrows for an hour, and then the Muslims advanced so rapidly, they surrounded the al-Muṣṭaliq and took the entire tribe as prisoners, with their families, herds and flock. The battle ended in full victory for the Muslims.[2][8]

'Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib killed a few wounded Banū al-Muṣṭaliq; among whom were Mālik and his son.[6]

Two hundred families were taken as captives, two hundred camels, five thousand sheep, goats, as well as a huge quantity of household goods which were captured as booty. The household goods were sold in an auction to the highest bidder.[2]

Only one Muslim was killed by mistake by a Helper. Juwayrīyah bint al-Ḥārith, daughter of the Banū al-Muṣṭaliq chief was one of the captives, and agreed to marry Muḥammad in exchange for releasing 100 prisoners who converted to Islam, as compensation (according to the Muslim scholar Saifur Rahman al Mubarakpuri).[5]

Altercation between the fighters on return to Medina[edit]

The Army remained at the well of Al-Muraysī' for several days, during which an altercation ensued between the Muhājir and Anṣār. One of the Muhājirs, named Jahja attacked an Ansārī, and the two groups immediately clashed, but the quarrel was broken up by Muḥammad.[1]

'Abdullāh ibn ‘Ubayy, who was referred to as the head of the Hypocrites (al-Munāfiqūn) by Muslim historians, was furious for the challenge which the Muslims showed towards the hostile plans and vicious intrigues woven behind closed doors, and swore "the most honourable will expel the meanest out of Madinah," and added: "They (the Muslims) have outnumbered and shared us our land. If you fatten your dog, it will eat you." When that talk was reported to the Muḥammad, 'Umar,asked for permission to have Ibn ‘Ubayy killed. Muhammad naturally turned down his proposal on the grounds that it was not becoming for a Prophet to be accused of killing his people.[1]

'Abdullāh ibn Ubayy's son, who was also called 'Abdullāh, was angry at his father for the disrespect he showed. When the army reached Madinah, he drew his sword against his father and barred his father’s entry into the town until he had confessed and declared that he himself was the meanest of the citizens of Madinah and that Muḥammad was the most honourable of them. The son was ready to cut of his fathers head and bring it to Muḥammad, if he so wished.[1]

He said, according to the Muslim Historian al-Ṭabarī:

“Messenger of God, I have been told that you want to kill ‘Abdullāh ibn Ubayy because of what has been reported to you concerning him. If you are going to do it, command me to do it and I will bring you his head. By God, al-Khazraj know that there has never been among them a man more dutiful to his father than I. I am afraid that you may order someone else to do it and he may kill him; and then my soul will not allow me to look on the slayer of 'Abdullāh ibn Ubayy walking among the people: I would kill him, killing a believer to avenge an unbeliever, and thereby enter the Fire [of hell].”

[Tabari, Volume 8, Victory of Islam , p. 55][6] [6]

According to the Sealed Nectar, Muḥammad did not punish Abdullāh ibn Ubayy in the public interest. 'Umar ibn Al-Khattāb asked Muḥammad why he did not accept his offer to kill him, to which he replied:[1]

"Don’t you see ‘Umar if I had had him ('Abdullāh ibn Ubayy) killed, a large number of dignitaries would have furiously hastened to fight for him. Now, on the contrary, if I ask them to kill him, they will do so out of their own free will." ‘Umar replied "I swear by Allah that the Prophet’s judgement is much more sound than mine."

[Ibn Hishām 2/293, referenced in The Sealed Nectar]'[1]

Islamic primary sources[edit]

Hadith literature[edit]

The event if mentioned in many collections of ḥadīth.

I wrote a letter to Nāfi' and Nāfi' wrote in reply to my letter that the Prophet had suddenly attacked Banū al-Muṣṭaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwayrīyah on that day. Nāfi' said that Ibn 'Umar had told him the above narration and that Ibn 'Umar was in that army.Sahih al-Bukhari, 76:1:422

Ibn 'Awn reported: I wrote to Nāfi' inquiring from him whether it was necessary to extend (to the disbelievers) an invitation to accept (Islam) before fighting them. He wrote (in reply) to me that it was necessary in the early days of Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) made a raid upon Banū al-Muṣṭaliq while they were unaware and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others. On that very day, he captured Juwayrīyah bint al-Ḥārith. Nāfi' said that this tradition was related to him by 'Abdullāh ibn 'Umar who (himself) was among the raiding troops. Sahih Muslim, 19:4292

Many other ḥadīths mention a surprise attack, according to the historian Sir William Muir.[2]

Biographical literature[edit]

The event is mentioned in Ibn Hishām's biography of Muḥammad;, the Muslim jurist Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyah also mentioned the event in his biography of Muḥammad called Zād al-Ma'ād.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, pp. 386–387  (online)
  2. ^ a b c d e William Muir (2003), The life of Mahomet, Kessinger Publishing, p. 310, ISBN 978-0-7661-7741-3  (original)
  3. ^ Abū Khalīl, Shawqī (2003). Atlas of the Quran. Dar-us-Salam. p. 242. ISBN 978-9960-897-54-7. 
  4. ^ Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic). Islamic Book Trust. Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here
  5. ^ a b Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 29, Number 3920
  6. ^ a b c d e Sir William Muir (1861), The life of Mahomet and history of Islam to the era of the Hegira: with introductory chapters on the original sources for the biography of Mahomet and on the pre-Islamite history of Arabia, Volume 3, Smith, Elder & Co, p. 243  (see also, abridged version republished in 2009
  7. ^ The Sealed Nectar.
  8. ^ Watt, W. Montgomery (1956). Muhammad at Medina. Oxford University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-19-577307-1.  (free online)