Nakhla raid

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Raid on Meccan Caravans, Nakhla
Date December 623 , 2 AH
Location Nakhla[disambiguation needed]
Result Successful raid[1][2]
Muslims of Medina Quraysh of Mecca
Commanders and leaders
Abdallah Jahsh Amr al-Khadrami
8-12 4
Casualties and losses
0 1 killed (2 Captured)[3]

The Nakhla Raid was the seventh Caravan Raid and the first successful raid against the Meccans. Abdullah ibn Jahsh was the Commander .[2] [4]

It took place in Rajab 2 A.H., i.e. January 624 A.H. Muhammad despatched ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh Asadi to Nakhlah at the head of 12 Emigrants with six camels. [3][5][6][7]

Background and participants[edit]

After his return from the first Badr encounter (Battle of Safwan), Muhammad sent Abdullah ibn Jahsh in Rajab with 8 or 12 men on a fact-finding operation.

Abdullah ibn Jahsh was a maternal cousin of Muhammad. He took along with him Abu Haudhayfa, Abdullah ibn Jahsh, Ukkash ibn Mihsan, Utba b. Ghazwan, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Amir ibn Rabia, Waqid ibn Abdullah and Khalid ibn al-Bukayr.

Muhammad gave Abdullah ibn Jahsh a letter, but not to be read until he had traveled for two days and then to do what he was instructed to do in the letter without putting pressure on his companions. Abdullah proceeded for two days, then he opened the letter; it told him to proceed until he reached at Nakhla[disambiguation needed], between Mecca and Taif, lie in wait for the Quraysh and observe what they were doing.

Abdullah ibn Jahsh, sensing an opportunity for attack, told his companions that whoever chose martyrdom was free to join him and whoever did not could go back. All the companions agreed to follow him (a few biographers write that two Muslims decided not to be martyrs and chose to return to Medina). Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and Utbah ibn Ghazwan lost a camel that they were taking turns to ride. The camel strayed and went to Buhran, so they went out looking for the runaway camel to Buhran and fell behind the group.[3][8]

The attack[edit]

  • Amr ibn al-Hadrami. He was the leader of the caravan.
  • Uthman bin Abdullah ibn al-Mughirah.
  • Nawfal bin Abdullah ibn al-Mughirah, Uthman’s brother.
  • Al-Hakam ibn Kaysan, the freed slave (Mawla) of Hisham ibn al-Mughirah.[8]

At Nakhlah, the caravan passed carrying loads of raisins (dried grapes), food stuff and other commodities. Notable polytheists were also there such as ‘Amr bin Al-Hadrami, ‘Uthman and Naufal, sons of ‘Abdullah bin Al-Mugheerah and others... The Muslims held consultations among themselves with respect to fighting them taking into account Rajab which was a sacred month (during which, along with Dhul Hijja, Dhul Qa‘da and Muharram, war activities were suspended as was the custom in Arabia then).

One of Abdullah ibn Jahsh’s men, Ukkash ibn Mihsan, was shaven in head to hide the real purpose of their journey and to give the Quraysh the impression of lesser Hajj (Umra); for it was the month (Rajab) when hostilities were forbidden. When the Quraysh saw the shaven head of Ukkash, they thought that the group was on its way for pilgrimage and they felt relieved and began to set up camp. Due to the prevalence of a sacred month, either at the beginning of Rajab, or at the end of it (the opinion among the historians vary), Rajab being one of the four sacred months when there was a total ban on warfare and bloodshed in the Arabian Peninsula, Abdullah ibn Jahsh was at first hesitant to attack the caravan.

Nevertheless, after much deliberation, the group did not want this rich caravan to escape. So they decided to take a large booty.

While they (the Quraysh) were busy preparing food, the Muslims attacked.At last they agreed to engage with them in fighting. In the short battle that ensued, Waqid ibn Abdullah killed Amr ibn Hadrami by an arrow, the leader of the Quraysh caravan. Nawfal ibn Abdullah escaped. The Muslims took Uthman ibn Abdullah and al-Hakam ibn Kaysan as prisoners. Abdullah ibn Jahsh returned to Medina with the booty and with the two captured Quraysh men. The followers planned to give one-fifth of the booty to Muhammad.


The Quraysh also spread everywhere the news of the raid and the killing by the Muslims in the sacred month. Because of the timing, and because the attack was carried out without his sanction, Muhammad was furious about what had happened. He rebuked them (the Muslims) for fighting in the sacred month, saying: "I did not instruct you to fight in the sacred month"[5]

Mentioning in Quran[edit]

Muhammad initially disapproved of that act and suspended any action as regards the camels and the two captives on account of the prohibited months . The polytheists, on their part, exploited this golden opportunity to calumniate the Muslims and accuse them of violating what is Divinely inviolable. This idle talk brought about a painful headache to Muhammad’s Companions, until at last they were relieved when Muhammad revealed a verse regarding fighting in the sacred months:

"They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say, ‘Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with Allâh is to prevent mankind from following the way of Allâh, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-Al-Harâm (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing." [Quran 2:217]


According to Ibn Qayyim, he said "most of the scholars have explained the word Fitnah here as meaning Shirk"[9]

This revelation permitted the Muslims to conduct war even during the sacred months. Abdullah ibn Jahsh divided the booty, but Muhammad refused to take his share from the raid and paid blood money for the killed man. As for the two captives, ransom was demanded of them for their freedom. However, the Mohammed refused to accept the ransoms from the Quraysh until he was sure that two of his men, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and Utbah ibn Ghazwan, had not been killed. When Sa’d and Utbah returned unharmed, Muhammad released the two Quraysh prisoners on payment of their ransom of one thousand six hundred (1,600) Dirhams. It was said that soon after his release, Hakam ibn Kaysan became a Muslim.

Later, he was killed at the Expedition of Bir Maona. The other prisoner, Uthman ibn Abdullah returned to Mecca and died as an unbeliever.


The Islamic name of this first successful raid is the ‘Nakhla Raid.’ It was also the first raid on which the Muslims seized their first captive and inflicted their first casualty.

This successful raid on the Quraysh caravans gravely alarmed the Meccans, because their prosperity completely depended upon the regular and un-interrupted trade to Syria.

The trading with Abyssinia and Yemen was of lesser importance. The Nakhla attack also greatly unnerved the Meccans because of its timing, during the sacred months, and because it showed the growing strength of the new Muslim community. So they resolved to avenge the attack, however, the Quraysh restrained their hostility for the time being. A few of the new Muslims still resided at Mecca, including Mohammed's daughter, Zaynab. The Quraysh, still licking their wounds from the caravan attack, did not move to take action against the remaining Muslims at Me


This event is mentioned in Ibn Hisham's biography of Muhammad, as well as the Quran, and other historical sources.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman (2002), When the Moon Split, DarusSalam, p. 148, ISBN 9789960897288 
  2. ^ a b Haykal, Husayn (1976), The Life of Muhammad, Islamic Book Trust, p. 218, ISBN 978-983-9154-17-7 
  3. ^ a b c d Witness Pioneer, "Pre-Badr Missions and Invasions",, retrieved 2014-05-11 
  4. ^ Nakhla Raid, 2008 
  5. ^ a b Nakhla Raid Quran Verse, 2008 
  6. ^ Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010), The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic), Islamic Book Trust, ISBN 9781453537855 Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here [1]
  7. ^ Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 245, ISBN 978-9960-899-55-8 
  8. ^ a b Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 246, ISBN 978-9960-899-55-8 
  9. ^ Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Imam (2003), Mukhtaṣar zād al-maʻād, Darussalam publishers Ltd, p. 347, ISBN 978-9960-897-18-9 
  10. ^ Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 247, ISBN 978-9960-899-55-8  See footnote 1, page 247