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Fleeing the Battlefield (Hadith No. 2511)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 116 :
Narrated by Abu Ishaq
Somebody asked Al-Bara bin ‘Azib (radiallaahu `anhu), “Did you flee deserting Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) during the battle of Hunain?” Al-Bara (radiallaahu `anhu) replied, “But Allah’s Apostle did not flee. The people of the Tribe of Hawazin were good archers. When we met them, we attacked them, and they fled. When the Muslims started collecting the war booty, the pagans faced us with arrows, but Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) did not flee. No doubt, I saw him on his white mule and Abu Sufyan (radiallaahu `anhu) was holding its reins and the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was saying, ‘I am the Prophet in truth: I am the son of ‘Abdul Muttalib.’ “

Allah says about fleeing the battlefield:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا زَحْفًا فَلَا تُوَلُّوهُمُ الْأَدْبَارَ
وَمَن يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ إِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفًا لِّقِتَالٍ أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزًا إِلَىٰ فِئَةٍ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ

“O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing [for battle], do not turn to them your backs [in flight]. And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allah , and his refuge is Hell – and wretched is the destination.” [Al-Anfaal: 15-16]

COWARD

Ibn Kathir comments:

Allah said, while warning against fleeing from the battlefield and threatening those who do it with the Fire,

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ زَحْفاً﴾

(O you who believe! When you meet those who disbelieve, in a battlefield,) when you get near the enemy and march towards them,

﴿فَلاَ تُوَلُّوهُمُ الأَدْبَارَ﴾

(never turn your backs to them.) do not run away from battle and leave your fellow Muslims behind,

﴿وَمَن يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ إِلاَّ مُتَحَرِّفاً لِّقِتَالٍ﴾

(And whoever turns his back to them on such a day — unless it be a stratagem of war…)

The Ayah says, whoever flees from the enemy by way of planning to pretend that he is afraid of the enemy, so that they follow him and he takes the chance and returns to kill the enemy, then there is no sin on him. This is the explanation of Sa`id bin Jubayr and As-Suddi. Ad-Dahhak also commented, “Whoever went ahead of his fellow Muslims to investigate the strength of the enemy and make use of it,

﴿أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزاً إِلَى فِئَةٍ﴾

(or to retreat to a troop (of his own)), meaning he leaves from here to another troop of Muslims to assist them or be assisted by them. So that is allowed for him, or even during the battle if he flees from his brigade to the commander. Or going to the grand Imam, would also fall under this permission.”

`Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said about Abu `Ubayd when he was fighting on the bridge in the land of the Persians, because of the many Zoroastrian soldiers, “If he retreated to me then I would be as a troop for him.”

This is how it was reported by Muhammad bin Sirin from `Umar. In the report of Abu `Uthman An-Nahdi from `Umar, he said: When Abu `Ubayd was fighting, `Umar said, “O people! We are your troop.” Mujahid said that `Umar said, “We are the troop of every Muslim.” Abdul-Malik bin `Umayr reported from `Umar, “O people! Don’t be confused over this Ayah, it was only about the day of Badr, and we are a troop for every Muslim.” Ibn Abi Hatim ﴿recorded﴾ that Nafi` questioned Ibn `Umar, “We are people who are not stationary when fighting our enemy, and we may not know where our troop is, be it that of our Imam or our army.”

So he replied, “The troop is Allah’s Messenger .” I said but Allah said,

﴿إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ زَحْفاًالنَّارِ﴾

(when you meet those who disbelieve in the battlefield) to the end of the Ayah . So he said; “This Ayah was about Badr, not before it nor after it.”

Ad-Dahhak commented that Allah’s statement,

﴿أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزاً إِلَى فِئَةٍ﴾

(or to retreat to a troop), refers to “Those who retreat to the Messenger of Allah and his Companions (when the Messenger was alive), and those who retreat in the present time to his commander or companions.” However, if one flees for any other reason than those mentioned here, then it is prohibited and considered a major sin. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«اِجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَات»

(“Shun the seven great destructive sins.”)

The people inquired, “O Allah’s Messenger! What are they” He said,

«الشِّرْكُ بِاللهِ وَالسِّحْرُ وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْغَافِلَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَات»

((They are:) Joining others in worship with Allah, magic taking life which Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law), consuming Riba, consuming an orphan’s wealth, fleeing the battlefield at the time of fighting, and false accusation to chaste women, who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.)

This is why Allah said here,

﴿فَقَدْ بَآءَ﴾

(he indeed has drawn upon himself…), and returned with,

﴿بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ﴾

(wrath from Allah. And his abode…), destination, and dwelling place on the Day of Return,

﴿جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ﴾

(is Hell, and worst indeed is that destination!)

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How Not to Beg (Hadith No. 2469)

Bismillah.

Hadith no. 2468 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 74 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was the best, the bravest and the most generous of all the people. Once when the people of Medina got frightened, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) rode a horse and went ahead of them and said, “We found this horse very fast.”

Today’s Hadith:

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 75 :
Narrated by Muhammad bin Jubair
Jubair bin Mut’im (radiallaahu `anhu) told me that while he was in the company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) with the people returning from Hunain, some people (bedouins) caught hold of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and started begging of him so much so that he had to stand under a (kind of thorny tree (i.e. Samurah) and his cloak was snatched away. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) stopped and said, “Give me my cloak. If I had as many camels as these thorny trees, I would have distributed them amongst you and you will not find me a miser or a liar or a coward.”

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Battle of Hunayn (Hadith No. 1999)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 38, Number 503 :
Narrated by Marwan bin Al-Hakam and Al-Miswar bin Makhrama (radiallaahu `anhumaa)
When the delegates of the tribe of Hawazin, after embracing Islam, came to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), he got up. They appealed to him to return their properties and their captives. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to them, “The most beloved statement to me is the true one. So, you have the option of restoring your properties or your captives, for I have delayed distributing them.” The narrator added, Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) had been waiting for them for more than ten days on his return from Taif. When they realized that Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) would return to them only one of two things, they said, “We choose our captives.” So, Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) got up in the gathering of the Muslims, praised Allah as He deserved, and said, “Then after! These brethren of yours have come to you with repentance and I see it proper to return their captives to them. So, whoever amongst you likes to do that as a favor, then he can do it, and whoever of you wants to stick to his share till we pay him from the very first booty which Allah will give us then he can do so.” The people replied, “We agree to give up our shares willingly as a favor for Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam).” Then Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “We don’t know who amongst you has agreed and who hasn’t. Go back and your chiefs may tell us your opinion.” So, all of them returned and their chiefs discussed the matter with them and then they (i.e. their chiefs) came to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) to tell him that they (i.e. the people) had given up their shares gladly and willingly.

Battle of Hunayn, as described by Ibn Kathir in the tafseer of ayah 25 of Surah at-Tawbah:

The battle of Hunayn occurred after the victory of Makkah, in the month of Shawwal of the eighth year of Hijrah. After the Prophet conquered Makkah and things settled, most of its people embraced Islam and he set them free. News came to the Messenger of Allah that the tribe of Hawazin were gathering their forces to fight him, under the command of Malik bin `Awf An-Nadri, as well as, the entire tribe of Thaqif, the tribes of Banu Jusham, Banu Sa`d bin Bakr, a few people of Awza` from Banu Hilal and some people from Bani `Amr bin `Amir and `Awf bin `Amir. They brought their women, children, sheep and camels along, in addition to their armed forces and adequate supplies. The Messenger of Allah marched to meet them with the army that he brought to conquer Makkah, ten thousand from the Muhajirin, the Ansar and various Arab tribes. Along with them came the Tulaqa’ numbering two thousand men. The Messenger took them along to meet the enemy. The two armies met in Humayn, a valley between Makkah and At-Ta’if. The battle started in the early part of the morning, when the Huwazin forces, who were lying in ambush, descended on the valley when the Muslims entered. Muslims were suddenly struck by the ambush, the arrows descended on them and the swords struck them. The Huwazin commander ordered them to descend and attack the Muslims as one block, and when they did that, the Muslims retreated in haste, just as Allah described them. The Messenger of Allah remained firm in his position while riding his mule, Ash-Shahba’. He was leading his mule towards the enemy, while his uncle Al-`Abbas was holding its right-hand rope and ﴿his cousin﴾ Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith bin `Abdul-Muttalib was holding the left rope. They tried to hold the mule back so it would not run faster toward the enemy. Meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah was declaring his name aloud and saying,

«إِلَيَّ عِبَادَ اللهِ إِلَيَ أَنَا رَسُولُ الله»

(O servants of Allah! Come back to me! I am the Messenger of Allah! He repeated these words,

«أَنَا النَّبِيُّ لَاكَذِبْ. أَنَا ابْنُ عَبْدِالْمُطَّلِب»

(I am the Prophet, not lying! I am the son of Abdul-Muttalib!) There remained between a hundred and eighty Companions with the Prophet . These included Abu Bakr, `Umar, Al-`Abbas, `Ali, Al-Fadl bin `Abbas, Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith, Ayman the son of Umm Ayman and Usamah bin Zayd. There were many other Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. The Prophet commanded his uncle Al-`Abbas, whose voice was rather loud, to call at the top of his voice, “O Companions of the Samurah ﴿tree﴾” referring to the Muhajirin and Ansar who gave their pledge under the tree during the pledge of Ridwan, not to run away and retreat. He also called, “O Companions of Surat Al-Baqarah.” Upon hearing that, those heralded started saying, “Here we are! Here we are!” Muslims started returning in the direction of the Messenger of Allah . If the camel of one of them did not obey him (as the people were rushing to the other direction in flight) he would wear his shield and descend from his camel and rush to the side of the Messenger of Allah on foot. When a large crowd gathered around the Messenger of Allah , he commanded them to fight in sincerity and took a handful of sand and threw it in the faces of the disbelievers, after supplicating to Allah,

«أللّهُمَّ أَنْجِزْ لِي مَا وَعَدْتَنِي»

(O Allah! Fulfill Your promise to me!) Then he threw that handful of sand which entered the eyes and mouth of all the disbelievers, thus distracting them from fighting, and they retreated in defeat. The Muslims pursued the enemy, killing and capturing them. The rest of the Muslim army (returning to battle gradually) rejoined their positions and found many captured disbelieving soldiers kept tied before the Messenger of Allah . In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Shu`bah said that Abu Ishaq said that Al-Bara’ bin `Azib said to a man who asked him, “O Abu `Amarah! Did you run away during Hunayn and leave the Messenger of Allah ” Al-Bara’ said, “But the Messenger of Allah did not run away. Hawazin was a tribe proficient with their arrows. When we met them we attacked their forces and they ran away in defeat. The Muslims started to worry about collecting the spoils of war and the Hawazin started shooting arrows at us, then the Muslims fled. I saw the Messenger of Allah proclaiming, — while Abu Sufyan was holding the bridle of his white mule,

«أَنَا النَّبِيُّ لَاكَذِبْ أَنَا ابْنُ عَبْدِالْمُطَّلِب»

(I am the Prophet, not lying, I am the son of `Abdul- Muttalib!) This shows the great courage on behalf of the Prophet in the midst of confusion, when his army ran away and left him behind. Yet, the Messenger remained on his mule, which is a slow animal, not suitable for fast battle moves or even escape. Yet, the Messenger of Allah was encouraging his mule to move forward towards the enemy announcing who he was, so that those among them who did not know who he was came to know him. May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the Messenger until the Day of Resurrection. This indicates the tremendous trust in Allah and reliance upon Him, as well as, sure knowledge that He will give him victory, complete what He has sent him for and give prominence to his religion above all other religions. Allah said,

﴿ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ﴾

(Then Allah did send down His Sakinah on His Messenger), He sent down tranquillity and reassurance to His Messenger,

﴿وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴾

(and on the believers), who remained with him,

﴿وَأَنزَلَ جُنُوداً لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا﴾

(and sent down forces which you saw not, ) this refers to angels. Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir ﴿At-Tabari﴾ said that Al-Qasim narrated to them, that Al-Hasan bin `Arafah said that Al-Mu`tamir bin Sulayman said from `Awf bin Abi Jamilah Al-`Arabi who said that he heard `Abdur-Rahman, the freed slave of Ibn Barthan saying, “A man who participated in Hunayn with the idolators narrated to me, `When we met the Messenger of Allah and his Companions on the day of Hunayn, they did not remain in battle more than the time it takes to milk a sheep! When we defeated them, we pursued them until we ended at the rider of the white mule, the Messenger of Allah . At that time, men with white handsome faces intercepted us and said: `Disgraced be the faces! Go back. So we ran away, but they followed us. That was the end for us.”’ Allah said,

﴿ثُمَّ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ مِن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ عَلَى مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾

(Then after that Allah will accept the repentance of whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Allah forgave the rest of Huwazin when they embraced Islam and went to the Prophet , before he arrived at Makkah in the Ji`ranah area. This occurred twenty days after the battle of Hunayn. The Messenger gave them the choice between taking those who were prisoner or the war spoils they lost, and they chose the former. The Prophet released six thousand prisoners to them, but divided the war spoils between the victors, such as some of the Tulaqa’, so that their hearts would be inclined towards Islam. He gave each of them a hundred camels, and the same to Malik bin `Awf An-Nasri whom he appointed chief of his people (Huwazin) as he was before. Malik bin `Awf said a poem in which he praised the Messenger of Allah for his generosity and extraordinary courage.

Detailed story:

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