Invasion of Waddan

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Invasion of Waddān or al-Abwā
Part of the Muslim-Quraish Wars
Date Ṣafar, 2 AH (624 CE)
Location Al-Abwa
  • Abu Sufyan ibn Harb escapes
  • Succeeded in winning Banu Ḍamrah as an ally
  • Non-aggression treaty with Banu Ḍamrah [1]
Muslims of Medina Quraysh of Mecca
Banu Ḍamrah ibn Bakr ibn ‘Abdu Manāt ibn Kinānah
Commanders and leaders
Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abu Ubaydah
Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
Makhshī ibn ‘Amr ad-Ḍamrī
(60 commanded by Muhammad)200+ [1] Unknown
Casualties and losses
0 killed Unknown (Injuries Only)
0 captured

Invasion of al-Abwā’ (ابواء) or Invasion of Waddān (ودان)[2] is also known as the Battle of Waddān or Battle of al-Abwā; nevertheless no actual battle, invasion nor casualty took place. It was the first military expedition led by Muḥammad himself. So it is called a ‘Ghazwah’ (غزوة). It was the fourth raid and the first Ghazwah which was preceded by the Sariyyah lead by Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ.


Al-Abwā’ is about 80 miles away from Madīnah. Waddān & al-Abwā’, 6 miles apart, were two places located near the coast of Red Sea and traversed by the Syrian trade caravans of Mecca. The territorial authority of Waddān was under Banu Ḍamrah (ضمرة). The center of al-Abwā’ was 'Karah', a vast flat land, inhabited by Banu Muzaynah.


With the escalating military threats posed by the Quraysh of Mecca, Muuhammad took the initiative of securing the protection of the Muslims by gaining as many allies as possible, especially within the vicinity and the outskirts of Madīnah. Therefore, the purpose of this expedition was solely diplomatic as well as missionary. It would be illogical and unwarranted to raid Banu Ḍamrah without any provocation (like allying with Mecca). No authentic sources state that Muhammad raided the Banu Ḍamrah's caravan and he returned their merchandise after signing the peace agreement. Besides, Banu Ḍamrah would not have entered into negotiations if they had been raided in the first place. So any account of raiding Banu Ḍamrah of Waddān is unauthenticated.


As the leader of the Muslim forces, Muḥammad began negotiations with the tribal leader Makhshī ibn ‘Amr ad-Ḍamrī and both parties signed a treaty to maintain neutrality.[3]

According to Muslim scholar Muhammad al-Zurqani, the provisions of the pact/treaty go as follows :

"This document is from Muḥammad, the messenger of Allah, concerning the Banu Ḍamrah. In which he (Muḥammad) provided them safety and security in their wealth and lives. They can expect support from the Muslims, unless they oppose the religion of Allah. They are also expected to respond positively if the prophet sought their help"[2]

The treaty meant that both parties were forbidden from raiding each other, to join hostile concentrations against each other and to support each other's enemies. William Montgomery Watt, saw this as a deliberate attempt by Muhammad to provoke the Meccan's.[4]

Some time during this expedition, Muhammad also made an agreement of neutrality with Banu Juhaynah inhabiting in a hilly terrain about 3 manzils away from Madīnah[citation needed].

Ḥamzah ibn ‘Abdu’l-Muṭṭalib was given the charge of raising the white flag on behalf of Madīnah. The custody of Madīnah was under Sa’d ibn ‘Ubayd while Muhammad was away.

The campaign lasted for 15 days until Muhammad returned to Madīnah. The Prophet remained there for the rest of Ṣafar and the beginning of Rabī‘u’l-awwal.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Haykal, Husayn (1976), The Life of Muhammad, Islamic Book Trust, p. 217, ISBN 978-983-9154-17-7 
  2. ^ a b Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 244, ISBN 978-9960-899-55-8 
  3. ^ Muḥammad ibn Sa‘d, aṭ-Ṭabaqāt, 2:8
  4. ^ Watt, W. Montgomery (1956). Muhammad at Medina. Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-19-577307-1.  (free online)
  5. ^ The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of ibn Isḥāq’s Sīrat Rasul Allāh with introduction & notes by Alfred Guillaume, Oxford University Press, 1955