Invasion of Hamra al-Asad

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Invasion of Hamra Al-Assad
Part of the Muslim-Quraish Wars
Date March 24, 625 , 3 AH
Location Hamra al-Asad
Result Muslim victory (Muhammad prevents final attack)
  • Muhammad sets 500 camp fires alight
  • Muhammad sends spies (later killed)
  • Quraish Soldiers beheaded[1][2]
Belligerents
Muslims of Medina Quraish of Mecca
Commanders and leaders
Muhammad Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
Strength
700-1000 infantry,

2-4 cavalry

(survivors from uhud)
3,000 infantry,

200 cavalry

(survivors from uhud)
Casualties and losses
2 spies killed [1][2] 3 beheaded
3 captured [3][4]

The Invasion Hamra al-Asad,[5] also known as the Battle of Hamra al-Assad (Arabic: غزوة حمراء الأسد‎), was a Ghazawat, a battle in which the Islamic prophet Muhammad took part. It occurred in 625 AD (3 AH) after the Battle of Uhud, when the Quraysh were returning to Mecca.

In this battle the Meccans wanted to finally exterminate the Muslims after weakening them in Uhud, by preventing their return to Mecca and finishing them off at Medina.[3] Muhammad successfully prevented this by spreading false information using a spy and by lighting 500 camp fires to make it look as if his force was very big.[6][7] As a result, the Meccans cancelled their attack and decided not to return to Medina. Later, Muhammad was able to get the upper hand over them.[3]

Background[edit]

After the Meccan victory in the Battle of Uhud, Muhammad wanted to boost the morale of his followers and of his fighters, and planned many attacks against the Meccans at Hamra al-Asad.[3]

Call for Jihad[edit]

On Sunday the 8th of Shawaal, AH3 (March 24, 625), the day after the battle at Uhud, when the Muslims woke up they heard that Muhammad had called on them to join him in the pursuit of the returning Quraysh army. He gave a general order of mobilization, with the condition that only those who had participated in the Uhud battle were eligible to participate in the new operation. One Muslim, who missed out the Uhud battle because his father did not let him fight in the Jihad at Uhud, was allowed to join the Muslim army. The son of a martyred soldier sought Muhammad’s permission to join in this expedition and was also allowed to take part.[3] Besides them, several wounded fighters also joined the march.

Gathering intelligence[edit]

A little before Muhammad set out in the pursuit of the departing Meccan army, he sent three spies, all belonging to Banu Aslam, to track the departing Meccan army. Two of them met the Meccan army at Hamra al-Asad, about eight miles from Medina. Abu Sufyan had already learned about Muhammad’s venture to pursue the Meccans. The two spies heard the discussion among the Quraysh: whether they should go back and finish off the Muslims once and for all or to continue their journey to Mecca. Abu Sufyan was in favor of inflicting a deciding blow to the Muslims, but on the counsel of Safwan ibn Umayyah, he decided against it and, instead, proceeded towards Mecca.

This happened a day before the Meccans arrived at Hamra al-Asad. Prior to their departure from Hamra al-Asad, the Quraysh spotted the two Muslim spies, and caught and killed them, leaving their corpses on the road. Nothing is known about the whereabouts of the third Muslim spy. [3][4]

Camping at Hamra al-Asad[edit]

The Muslim fighters, under the leadership of Muhammad, went to Hamra al-Asad and found the two dead bodies of the spies. Once Muhammad learned that the Quraysh were not there to attack him further, he decided to spend three nights – or five, according to ibn Sa’d – until Wednesday, (March 25–27, 625) before returning to Medina.[8]

To deceive the enemy, while at Hamra al-Asad he ordered five hundred camp fires, which could be seen from a great distance away, to be lit on the adjoining heights, to make it appear as if Muhammad was chasing the Meccans and that his military force was very strong.[8] Muhammad executed his battles so that there were as few Muslim casualties as possible, and used deception to his advantage.[6]

While at Hamra al-Asad, Muhammad made an agreement with Mabad al-Khuzaah at Tihamah, in which Mabad pledged not to conceal anything from him. Mabad was then sent to Mecca to spread false information.[8] In Mecca, Mabad met with Abu Sufyan and spread disinformation that Muhammad had gathered a great force to fight Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan and his companions were planning a massive and decisive attack on Medina to finish off the Muslims once and for all. Hearing Mabad’s talk of the great military strength of Muhammad, Abu Sufyan retreated from his plan of an immediate attack on the Muslims. In this fashion Muhammad successfully managed to prevent the massive onslaught the Meccans were planning.[6][9]

Capturing and beheading Quraysh soldiers[edit]

After staying at Hamra al-Asad for three days, Muhammad returned to Medina. He captured Abu Azzah al-Jumahi as prisoner. Abu Azzah had previously been one of the prisoners of Badr. Abu Azzah Amr bin Abd Allah al-Jumahi had been treated kindly by Muhammad after the Battle of Badr, being a poor man with daughters, he had no means to pay ransom, he was released after Battle of Badr, on the condition that he would not take up arms against Muslims again. But he had broken his promise and participated in Battle of Uhud. He pleaded for mercy again, but Muhammad ordered him to be killed. Az-Zubair executed him, and in another version, Asim ibn Thabit.[10]

He was an influential poet who used his poetry to mobilize the masses against Muhammad. During the Battle of Uhud he used his poetry again to mobilise the masses against Muhammad. He also accompanied other Arab Pagans to the Battle of Uhud. He was captured again and stated "O Muhammad let me free, I was forced to come".[11]

A Meccan spy Muawiyah bin Al Mugheerah, the cousin of Uthman ibn Affan, had been captured after Uhud. Uthman gave him shelter. He was given a grace period of three days and arranged a camel and provisions for his return journey to Mecca. Uthman departed with Muhammad for Hamra-al-Asad, and Muawiyah overstayed his grace. Though he fled by the time the army returned, Muhammad ordered his pursuit and execution. The orders were carried out.[1][2]

Islamic primary sources[edit]

Quran[edit]

According to the Muslim scholar Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri there are Quran verses related to this incident.[10] The first is:

The Muslim Mufassir Ibn Kathirs commentary on this verse in his book Tafsir ibn Kathir is as follows:

The other verses about this incident are [Quran 3:173] and [Quran 3:174].[10]

Hadith[edit]

The Sunni Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir mentions in his book Tafsir ibn Kathir that this event is also mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari, it is mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:59:404 [13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Safiur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, p. 183
  2. ^ a b c Ibn Hisham 2/60-129; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/91-108; Fath Al-Bari 7/345-377; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.242-275
  3. ^ a b c d e f Al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman (2002), Sealed Nectar, Dar us Salam, p. 340 
  4. ^ a b Abū Khalīl, Shawqī (2003), Hamra al assad, Dar us Salam, p. 273, ISBN 9960-897-54-0 
  5. ^ Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, p. 181. (online)
  6. ^ a b c Habriel, Richard A (2005), Muhammad,Islams first Great general, Blackwell, p. 124, ISBN 978-0-8061-3860-2 
  7. ^ Abū Khalīl, Shawqī (2003), Hamra al assad, Dar us Salam, p. 272, ISBN 9960-897-54-0 
  8. ^ a b c Al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman (2002), Sealed Nectar, Dar us Salam, p. 341 
  9. ^ Al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman (2002), Sealed Nectar, Dar us Salam, p. 342 
  10. ^ a b c d Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, pp. 181-183. (online)
  11. ^ Sayed Khatab, Gary D. Bouma, Democracy In Islam, p. 184, Routledge, 2007, ISBN 1134093845
  12. ^ Tafsir ibn Kathir on Quran 3:172, Qtafsir. (archive)
  13. ^ Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman, Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 4 (Part 4): Al-I-Imran 93 to An-Nisaa 23 2nd Edition, p. 89, MSA Publication Limited, 2009, ISBN 186179682X