Topic: Minor expeditions 7-8 months between the battle of Ahzab/Khandaq and the treaty of Hudaybiyyah.
Title: Minor expeditions between Khandaq & Hudaybiyyah
This lecture was recorded on 28th August 2013
Topic: Minor expeditions 7-8 months between the battle of Ahzab/Khandaq and the treaty of Hudaybiyyah.
Title: Minor expeditions between Khandaq & Hudaybiyyah
This lecture was recorded on 28th August 2013
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We finished the battle of Khandaq/Ahzab, and we are now at the end of the 5th year of the Hijrah/beginning of the 6th year. The next major incident will be the incident of Hudaybiyyah which occurs at the end of the 6th year. Therefore we have around 7/8 months to cover in between. In these months a number of events happened, none of which were as important as Khandaq. These skirmishes and expiditons were not that important politically, but in each one of them certain things happened that are interesting for us to know. We will not discuss all minor events, but around 4/5.
We begin with the expiditon of Muhammad ibn Maslama to Al-Kurtaa. This was a minor expiditon, a sareeah, involving 30 sahabah dealing with the tribe of Banu Bakr in the month of Shawwal. The expiditon was a success, but on the way back something interesting and beautiful happened. The sahabah came across a small convey and something seemed strange about them. Most likely there were signs of them being a rich and noble group of people. And so the sahabah brought these people to the prophet PBUH, and he asked them “do you not know who your pisoner is?” They said “who?” He said “you have captured Thumama ibn Athaal”. Thumama was the cheifton of the tribe of the Banu Hanifah. And they were one of the largest tribes in Arabia. He is a very senior figure and is the cheifton of a tribe that is equal in the size of the Quraysh. And he happened to be a convoy that was not guarded so he was captured by the sahabah. And Thumama of course supported the pagans against Islam, and he publically threatened to kill the prophet PBUH whenever he could. So the prophet PBUH made a dua to Allah that “Oh Allah allow me to have control over Thumama” and of course this incident is the the dua of the prophet PBUH being answered. That literally Thumama came to him as a prisoner of war. The companions did not recognise him, but the prophet PBUH immediately recognised him through Jibreel AS. The prophet PBUH commanded the sahabah to treat him well, and he was a prisoner in the masjid of the prophet PBUH. On that evening, the prophet PBUH told his wives to send his own food to Thumama. Now the prophet PBUHs food would not have been better than what the sahabah ate, but it was a symbolic suggestion – that the messenger would have told Thumama “this is from Muhammad the messenger of Allah”.
The next day, the prophet PBUH went to Thumama and asked him “what do you have to say to me?” And Thumama said “Ya Muhammad, if you are going to kill me, you will kill someone whose blood is very heavy (meaning you will have a civil war), and if you are generous, you will be generous to someone who recognises your generosity and will repay you. And if you want money, ask for whatever you want and you have your price”. This shows this guy is not begging for life. He has dignity, he has nobility – he is in all sense a royal. He was the cheifton after all of a huge tribe in Arabia. The prophet PBUH advised Thumama to accept Islam and Thumama did not say anything. The next day, the second morning the same thing happened. The prophet PBUH said “what do you have to say for yourself?” Thumama replied in the same way. And the prophet PBUH left him to be. The third day the same thing happened and Thumama gave the same response.
The reports do not mention this but what do you think is happening while he is in the masjid? He is hearing the Quran of the prophet PBUH, watching the salah of the sahabah, the Prophet’s halaqaat and conversations with the sahaba etc – he is absorbing it all in for over 72 hours, and Thumama is just sitting at the back being ignored – but what is the wisdom of having him in the masjid? To show Thumama Islam and hopes he accept Islam. But he didn’t and at the end of the third day the prophet PBUH told the sahabah to release Thumama. So they cut him off and let him go – after this, Thumama walked out of the masjid, took a bath somewhere and within 10 minutes walked back into the masjid and became a muslim. And then he said “Ya Muhammad” – even though he’s a muslim, he is still addressing the prophet PBUH by his first name because he hasn’t yet learnt the right ettiquites. So he said “Ya Muhammad I swear by Allah there was no face in the whole world that was more despised and hated to me than your face. But now walahi it is now the most beautiful and more beloved face to me. And I swear by Allah there was no religion I hated more than Islam, but now its the most beloved to me. And I swear by Allah there was no city I hated more than Madinah but now it is the most beloved to me”. And he then explained how the sahabah captured him. It just so happened the muslims were coming back from an expiditon, and he was going to Mecca to complete umrah. And because of this he had very few guards and protection. Now that he is a muslim, Thumama asked the prophet PBUH “should I now go back and continue my umrah?” and the prophet PBUH said “yes go back”. That evening the sahabah brought him his supper and meal again, and because the prophet PBUH told the sahabah to be generous to him, they brought him large trays of the most fancy foods they have. But this time he just ate a little bit and that was it. This was a man for the last three days had been consuming all of these varities of food, but now he is just eating a little bit! The prophet PBUH said “why are you amazed? A man ate in the morning with the stomach of a disbeliever; now he is eating at night with the stomach of a muslim. Verily a disbeliever eats with seven stomachs and a musim eats with one”.
And according to Ibn Ishaaq the first person to enter Mecca with the proper talbiya was indeed Thumama. Of course the Quraysh knew the talbiya, but they added shirk to it, that “You have SOME partners oh Allah”. So the first muslim to enter Mecca loudly with talbiya was Thumama and when the Quraysh heard him with this talbiya, they asked him “have you become a sabi’?” Note whenever the Quraysh thought someone left their Jaheleya religion, they thought he had become a sabi’. So they would make fun of the early muslims by calling them sabioon. So they asked Thumama “have you become a sabi’?” And Thumama said “No I am a muslim”. At this some of the Quraysh surrounded him and unsheathed their swords, but the more senior members said “If you kill him, you will have to face the wrath of the whole tribe of the Banu Hanfiah”. So they didn’t harm him, but Thumama became so enraged at all of this “walahi not a single seed of grain will come to you from my tribe until the prophet PBUH commands me to do so”. Note Thumama was in central Arabia and grain would come to them from up north. And he had command of the highways, so he got so angry he said “I swear by Allah not a single grain of wheat will reach you until the prophet PBUH commands me”. So he did his tawaaf, went back and he fulfilled his promise. He cut off all the supplies of grain to the Quraysh, and for weeks and months their supplies dwindled. Eventually they were forced to eat a substance called ‘ilhiz’. And this is something that they resorted to at times of extreme drought because its something disgusting: it was a mixture of camels blood and camels hair. So the situation got so back they ate ‘ilhiz’ and Abu Suffyan had to swallow his pride and write a letter to the prophet PBUH and said “Ya Muhammad, you claim you are preaching to be good to your relatives, yet here you are letting us whither away”. And so the prophet PBUH wrote a letter to Thumama and allowed the wheat supplies to resume.
Now before we move on some benefits from this story:
1. Look at how amazingly the dua of the prophet PBUH was answered. And indeed by and large the duas of the prophet PBUH was answered and this shows us the mikaam and status of his nabis.
2. Allah helps the believers in many different ways: Thumama was a gift from Allah out of nowhere. And since he was a chieftain, when he converted most of his tribe also converted so that was a huge increase in the number of believers.
3. We also see gentleness gets you what harshness does not: for three days Thumama was treated with the upmost respect. He was treated with dignity, he was given better food that the rest of the people, and so when he sees this his heart opened up to Islam. And the prophet PBUH gifted him his independance within 3 days after Thumama threatened to kill the prophet PBUH publically. From this we learn it is allowed for non muslims to enter the masjid. And in the seerah there are so many incidences of non muslims entering the masjid and staying there. The prophet PBUH allowed the christians of Najran to not only stay in the masjid, but worship there! These are people claiming Allah has a son but he still allowed it. This shows us as ibn Hajar says the permissability of non muslims entering masjids.
4. This hadith is the one of the fundamental evidences for showing if a non muslim converts to Islam, he should take a bath. And the scholars point out this was so well known that even Thumama knows he should take a bath before accepting Islam. It’s a symbolic gesture to purify oneself, and also it’s an act of ghusl to remove the state of janaaba.
5. If a non muslim embraces Islam, he should not stop his good deeds. Thumama wanted to do umrah and so the prophet PBUH allowed him to do straight after he converted.
6. We see the hypocrisy of the Quraysh in this incident, that after kicking out their families and tribesmen, now they are telling the prophet PBUH “you are teaching people to be good to relatives why aren’t you good to us?” And the prophet PBUH was kind and tender in that he responded to there request.
7. We also see an interesting point: no doubt he was strict with the Quraysh, after all he had to gone to war with them. And on the battlefield they attempted to kill each other. And yet he dosen’t want to starve their women and children. And walahi had he stopped the supply, this would have been understandable. Just a few months ago in Khandak the Quraysh completely cut off food supplies to the muslims for a whole month. But the prophet PBUH didn’t do the same – he allowed the supplies to resume.
As for Thumama, there was an infamous person from his tribe, the Banu Hanifah and that was Musaylama bin Khazab who claimed to be a prophet. And Thumama was fighting his own tribe during the battles of Riddah, therefore showing he completely embraced Islam. A number of things happened and eventually he died a shaheed.
The next incident is a small one but we should keep it in mind – and that was another assassination attempt on the life of the prophet PBUH. After the battle of Badr and battle of Uhud, Abu Suffyan is the defactor leader. Before it was Abu Talib, but he died. Then Abu Lahab, Waleed ibn Moughira etc but they all died. So by default Abu Suffyan was the most senior leader of the Quraysh. And this is why when the prophet PBUH conquered Mecca, he honoured Abu Suffyan to a high level by saying “whoever stays in the house of Abu Suffyan will be saved”. And he gave Abu Suffyan 100 camels which is literally a fortune – all of this because Abu Suffyan converted but it was not easy. He fought Islam for such a long while that fully accepting it was hard in the beginning.
So in this story Abu Suffyan put a randsom on the prophet PBUH. And a bedouin comes and wants the bounty and so he plots to kill the prophet PBUH. Abu Suffyan supplies him with a camel, food and weapons and send him away to kill the prophet PBUH. And the bedouin invented a story that he wants to accept Islam and he enters Madinah within 6 days. He enters the masjid with this false story, and when he entered the prophet PBUH said “this is a man who has treachery written on him”. SubhanAllah, as soon as he said this the sahaba tackled the man. And when they did this, a dagger drops from his belt. And so the prophet PBUH said “if you are truthful to me I shall let you go, otherwise…”. So he told the prophet PBUH everything that happened (that Abu Suffyan sent him), and upon this the prophet PBUH let him go. In the end the beduoin accepted Islam.
And what is interesting is that, despite all of this, still Abu Suffyan was honoured to the level he was honoured. This story is a perfect stepping stone to the next story which is seen as an extremely controversial story, and that is the assassination of Sallam ibn Abu al-Huqayq. We already discussed the assassination of Ka’ab ibn Al Ashraf. And the story of Sallam is similar to Ka’abs – therefore all the points that were made for Ka’abs assassination are valid here. It was not collateral damage – it was targeted killing. And in modern times no one has a right to even say anything regarding this. We don’t know the exact date, but it clearly happened after Ahzab and before Khaybar, most likely in the middle of 6H. Khaybar is going to come – and Sallam is one of the big shots of Khaybar. And he was one of the main funders of Khandak. He was a wealthy ‘billionaire’, and he was the one who financed the tribe of Gatafaan. Recall the bulk of the people of Ahzab were hired mercanaries – that is why when Allah sent His punishment they were the first to run away. They weren’t there out of genuine desire – they just wanted the money. And who gave them the money? Number one on the list was Sallam. So the prophet PBUH decided to kill him for this, and indeed a message had to be sent.
So a number of people of the Khazraj themselves came up with the idea of assassinating Sallam. This was a very dangerous expidition – they will have to go to Khaybar themselves which was three days away, and Khaybar was heavily fortified. And we already mentioned the jews had thick fortified walls that muslims really did not know how to conquer. And we will see when the battle of Khaybar took place the prophet PBUH camped outside for a month not knowing what to do. It’s just very difficult – even during the Banu Nadheer and Banu Qaynuqa seiges he camped outside. The architecture and thickness of walls were superior structures. So this expiditon would be a small group that manages to pinpoint Sallam and take him out. Why did the Khazraj volunteer? They felt that the Aws had beaten them by taking care of Ka’ab ibn Ashraf. So they felt the score was ‘0-1’. So they wanted to do something that shows the Khazraj was on a same/higher level of the Aws. So the prophet PBUH gave them permission to do this, but he said “do not kill any women or children”. In those days there was no such things as ‘civilians’ – every adult male was apart of the army. Therefore there was no ‘non fighting man’ – every man of age was a military man back then. When he is telling them “don’t kill women and children” he is basically saying “don’t kill civilians” i.e. those who have nothing to do with the war.
So five people volunteered and their leader was Abdullah ibn Ateeq. And he was chosen because he could speak the language of the people of Khaybar very fluently. And this is obviously a neccesity for this type of expidition. And they immediately made there way to Khaybar. And they camped outside thinking of a way to get in, and Abdullah ibn Ateeq said “I have an idea”. And so as it was in the past, they would always shut the doors of the cities at Magrib time. So he waited and waited until it was just before Magrib time. And he made his way close enough to the guard so the guard could see him, and he pretended he is urinating. The guard is about to shut the door and sees someone is urinating in the distance, he dosen’t assume anything of it and so the guard shouted out “I am going to close the door hurry up!” And so Abdullah managed to get inside the city. When nightfall came, he reopened the gate and let the other sahaba in. So all five are in the fortress, and they find their way to the house of Sallam. Allah knows how they did this – but we assume the richest person has the central and largest house. So they made their way into the house, and they got rid of him. His wife saw them so she shouted out and tried to set off the alarm, one of the sahaba was about to kill her, but he remembered what the prophet PBUH said: “no women or no children”. The room of Sallam was protected such that his room was connected to the lower floor via a ladder. So you have to climb the ladder to get in. And ibn Ateeq its said had feeble eyes, so when they were racing outsides, he sprained/broke his foot. So the other sahaba carried him outside and had to rush back to Madinah. SubhanAllah you can imagine the situation. Allah knows how they did it, and they escaped without a single casuality. When they came back to the prophet PBUH, he rubbed his hand on the foot, and by the permission of Allah it becomes perfectly healed.
In a nutshell, frankly those were different times and different norms. There was a war going on and this was something expected and understood. It was a part of the territory back then – we just talked about Abu Suffyan trying to kill the prophet PBUH. Its a two way street. No one is saying any muslim can start doing this to anyone. But can a khalifah use such a tactic in our times? Well we don’t even have a khalifah right now. The main scholars say the shariah is a spectrum that allow for some changes. If there are customs in place, the shariah allows us to adapt to those customs and protocols. As we speak there are drone talking place everywhere – for anyone to criticise something that happened 1400 years ago the best response it look at what your own people are doing now. This issue is not problematic at all. It is what it is, no civilian died and it was a specific kill.
The next incident is the gazwa of the Banu Lihyan. And recall the gazwa means the prophet PBUH is with the party. And this was among those tribes who tricked the sahaba to come to them and massacared them. It was one of the tribes that betrayed the trust of the prophet PBUH, and killed many muslims. And they were the one who killed Khubayb (the one who prayed two raka’at before he died). The problem with them was that they were in the hijaaz. So going to them is problematic because you are close to Mecca. The prophet PBUH took 300 sahabah and initially did not tell anyone where they were going. So he left Madinah heading north, but as was his tactic and he didn’t a single person – he doubled back, and then the people realised they are going towards Mecca. And when they came close the prophet PBUH told them they will attack the Banu Lihyan. However the Banu Lihyan had their spies and saw the army coming, and thus they all fled. When they entered the cities it was empty, and the prophet PBUH remained there for two/three days to show who is the victor and frighten them. There was no actual battle/war – so why are we talking about it? Most likely in this gazwa Allah legislated Salaatul Qouhf.
The story is as follows: the Banu Lihyan sent an emmicary to the Quraysh to help them. So they sent a small force under the charge of Khalid bin Waleed. And there is no actual battle that takes place, but Khalid camps in front of the muslims, and the muslims in front of him. So they can see each other. And the time for Zuhr comes, and all the muslims get up and pray in Jama’a. And one of the Quraysh said “if only they were to do this again – this is the perfect time to attack”. And so they tell Khalid its the perfect time for all of them to charge – and Khalid said “wait, they have another time coming out so we will do it Asr”. And its understood when they are praying they take their sheilds, armour and swords off etc. So the muslims will be relatively defenceless. What happens? During Zuhr and Asr, Allah sends down surah nisa verse 102:
“And when you are among them and lead them in prayer, let a group of them stand [in prayer] with you and let them carry their arms. And when they have prostrated, let them be [in position] behind you and have the other group come forward which has not [yet] prayed and let them pray with you, taking precaution and carrying their arms. Those who disbelieve wish that you would neglect your weapons and your baggage so they could come down upon you in one [single] attack. But there is no blame upon you, if you are troubled by rain or are ill, for putting down your arms, but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.”
So the prophet PBUH prays one entire salah, but the people behind him split halfway. One group guards while another prays, and then they swap halfway during the salah. How this happens and what is the fiqh? This is something heavily written about. Also according to one hadith, this was the time the prophet PBUH teaches the sahaba the dua of travel (safar).
The final story is an interesting story which is the sareeah of Zaid ibn Harithah to a place known as Al-Ees. The prophet PBUH sent Zaid (and this one of the last things he does as he will die in a few weeks), the one whom the prophet PBUH adopted, to Al-Ees with 170 people in Jumaadha of 6AH to intercept the caravan of the Quraysh as it is returning for Syria. And he sent Zaid to get this huge caravan, and lo and behold the caravan is captured in its entirety. So all of the camels, the wealth, the items come back, and the prisoners of war come back to Madinah. And the story is interesting because of one of the prisoners of war. The actual sareeah was very simply. So who was that prisoner? Abl Aas ibn Rabiya, the son in law of the prophet PBUH. The husband of Zainab bint Muhammad. Who is Abl Aas? He is a pure qurayshi from the Banu Abd-Shams; his mother is Haala and she is the older sister of Khadija. So Abl Aas is the son of Haala, so he is the cousin of Zainab. And Khadija had asked the prophet PBUH to marry Zainab to Abl Aas, her sisters son. And the report said “the prophet PBUH never refused anything for Khadija” subhanAllah. And this again shows the love of Khadija. So when she asked this, he acceped and Zainab married Abl Aas. How many daughters did the prophet PBUH have? Four. The order was: Zainab, Ruqqiyah, Umme Kulthoom and Fatimah. These are true ahlul bayt of the prophet PBUH. And most likely Fatimah was born in Islam, the other three before Islam.
So Zainabs married was decided. And Ruqqiyah and Umme Kalthoom had already been engaged to the sons of Abu Lahab. When the dawah began, Abu Lahab cancelled immediately. And the Quraysh put pressure on Abl Aas – that ask whatever you want, and name any women you want, but get rid of Zainab. So divorce her and we’ll give you any women you want in marriage. But he refused and said “no one can substitute Zainab”. So he loved her immensely and was not bribed. They remained married and when the prophet PBUH immigrated to Madinah, Zainab stayed in Mecca. And note Zainab had a daughter whose name was Umama, the one whom the prophet PBUH prayed while carrying in salah as reported in Bhukari. Zainab also had a son but died as an infant; but Umama lived a long life and she married Ali ibn Abi Talib after her aunty, Fatimah RA dies. And Umama marries Ali and they have some children aswell.
In any case, Zainab and Abl Aas were married. Abl Aas joined the Meccan side against the muslims in Badr and was taken as a prisoner of war. And his wife sent in randsom the neclace Khadijah gifted her, and this brought back so many memories to the prophet PBUH that he requested “if you think it is appropiate, let him go for the sake of Allah”. But obviously the sahaba gave him away. After this, the prophet PBUH told Abl Aas to send him Zainab, and this was the start of that long story where Zainab tried to leave Mecca and the Quraysh didn’t let her. So the prophet PBUH had a lot of respect for Abl Aas: he said “as for Abl Aas, he spoke to me and told the truth. And he promised me, and he fulfilled his promise”. So Abl Aas was a firm man. So Abl Aas returns after Badr and sends Zainab to Madinah. At least two/three years go by, and lo and behold he is captured and he is now a PoW in Madinah.
The next morning at Fajr, the prophet PBUH stands up and says “Allahuakbar” to start salah. But from the womens side a loud voice comes: “Oh muslims I am Zainab bint Muhammad, and I have given Abl Aas my protection. So you give him your protection”. So the entire congregation hears this cry from Zainab. And the prophet PBUH, after salah finishes he asked the sahaba “did you hear what I heard?” And they “Yes RasulAllah” and the prophet PBUH said “walahi I had no knowledge of what she was going to do”. Then the prophet PBUH said the famous statement: “all of the muslims are the same when it comes to protection, the least of them can offer protection to anyone, so Zainab we have given protection to whom you have given protection”. So this shows any muslim has a right to say ‘this person is under my protection’. This is a standard principle of fiqh. The people who had captured him and his property, once again the same thing happened: twice the prophet PBUH had to tell them the same thing that “you know the status of Abl Aas, so if you wish return his money and his section of the caravan to him and that is more beloved to us. But if you want to keep it that is your right and the right Allah has given you”. So the Ansar who had taken Abl Aas’ portion of the caravan give it back to him. They say to him “Oh Abl Aas, you are the son of the prophet PBUH, isn’t it time you accept Islam? We will give your money back and you can stay in Madinah.” So they added this condition of money. Abl Aas responded: “what an evil suggestion – that I should change my faith, and be trecharous because of that?” And this was not a suggestion from the prophet PBUH. In any case the Ansar gave him all of the money back. And he went back to Mecca and returned every single penny to the people who gave him something. As soon as this happened, in front of the Quraysh he converted to Islam. So he didn’t want to accept Islam in Madinah – someone might say “you did it for the money, for the life etc”. He wanted to get rid off all his obligations and then embrace Islam publically to show his sincerity. And Abl Aas’s great grandfather is Abd Shams, a giant of Quraysh. So you cannot harm a hair on Abl Aas’ head. So he has the audacity and courage to announce his shahada in front of the kab’ah, and he then returns back to Madinah as a muslim.
This story could be problematic for two reasons:
1. When he is captured as a prisoner, clearly he isn’t a muslim. And the prophet PBUH frees him basically on the presumption the two of them are still married. But he said to Zainab “this man is a mushrik (pagan) so he’s not allowed for you”. So is there a marraige at this time or not?
2. The real fiqh problem is, when he did return back to Madiah, the authentic hadith says “the prophet PBUH returned him to her without a maher (so new nikah)”.
We all know in fiqh that when the wife converts to Islam and the husband does not, the marriage contract is invalid. If the husband accepts Islam within the iddat of the wife (the correct position is one month). If however a husband embraces Islam and the wife is either jew or christian, then this marriage contract is valid. If the wife is a pagan then it becomes invalid. So technically we will advise a women if she converts and a husband does not, that shari wise “he is not your husband anymore”. According to the madhab – if he converts within the iddat period (1 month), then there is no issue. If however he dosen’t, then the marriage is null and void. And if he later on converts to Islam and wants her back but the one month period is over, the majority of scholars say a new nikah must be done.
How do the scholars reconcile this? Most scholars say a new nikah must be done regardless of this hadith. But some scholars, and Ibn Tammiyah is one of them who champions this view: he said, and the evidence of this hadith suggest this, that such a women is in a “unique situation”. He says after the iddat is over, she can remarry any new muslim. If however her husband embraces Islam, and she has not married she can take back her ex-husband if he becomes muslim. So the ex-husband becomes allowed for her without a nikah, with a contract if they both agree. So a trick question is “what women is there who can marry without a nikah?” The answer is this women. And of course the conditions are that the ex-husband must convert to Islam and the women must not remarry. Indeed when Abl Aas converts and comes back to Madinah, the prophet PBUH allowed him and Zainab to resume marriage life without a new nikah. Another fiqh point is that, if a non muslim couple converts simultaneously, by unanimous concensus of all scholars they do not need to redo their nikah in an Islamic way. If they both convert and they were married in however their society deems them to me married, then their marriage contract automatically becomes and islamic contact. As ibn Hajar say, in the lifetime of the prophet PBUH, thousands of couples converted, and never once did they ‘remarry islamically’ – it was just automatically accepted. So marriages of the non muslims when they convert are still valid. This is very clear from the seerah.
The final mini story involves fiqh of food. Its called sareeah-tul Kabat. The prophet PBUH sent another large caravan to intercept the Quraysh – we don’t have any other details but most likely it was when the caravan was going up to Syria. So he sent a large expiditon of 300 men to intervene and block the caravan, however they were not successful and the Quraysh evaded them. Because of this when the muslims tried to chase them, their supplies dwindled and they ran very low. Their leader was Abu Ubayda Amr – when their supplies became critical, Abu Ubayda commanded the army to give any food they have. So all the food was collected and he rationed a portion for each person. Until finally they had one date per person per day. Even that ran out, and Jaabir ibn Abdullah narrates that they would put the date seeds in their mouth and suck on it during the day. And they would drink water with the date seed so they get some type of taste. And they were forced to eat ‘Kabat’ which is the dried withered leaves of thorn bushes, just to survive. And eventually they made their way to the shore called Yumbo which was relatively close to Madinah. And lo and behold they found a massive whale, and the hadith describe it as being simply unbelievably large. In Bhukari its mentioned 13/14 sahabah sat in the eye socket of the whale. And they took one of the bones of the whale, and they planted it on the beach, and Abu Ubayda chose the largest camel and he sat on the camel, and he managed to right underneath the bone without lowering his head. You can see how huge the whale is. And it’s clear Allah gifted them this. They rejoiced so much they camped one whole month because of the whale – they were about to die of starvation but then Allah gave them this whale, and during the month they actually gained fat. For a whole month 300 people ate from this whale.
Finally they decide to go back, packed their bags with left over meat and then go back to Madinah. And they asked the prophet PBUH if what they did was allowed i.e. eating a dead animal. And the prophet PBUH said “do you have any meat left?” They said “bring it to me”. So the one and only time the prophet PBUH ate sea-food was this time. Why did he eat it? To show it is completely halal to eat sea-food. This also shows it does not require slaughter or even being caught. The sahaba did not catch the whale, it was dead already. In terms of fiqh, all madhabs except Hanafi say everything from the sea is permissable to eat. A whale is technically not a fish, its a mammal, but the prophet PBUH still ate from it. And he said “two dead animals are allowed for us: locusts and the whale”. He intentionally gave us the biggest creature for the sea, so clearly all the smaller ones are allowed. And Allah said in the Quran “the catch and the food of the ocean is allowed for you”. So both alive and dead are both halal. Hanafi madhab says just is not allowed.
We also point out that during this time Allah revealed the legislation of hijaab (end of 5th year/beginning of 6th year). And the prophet PBUH married Zainab bint Jahsh around this time too. This is one of the most contraversial stories in the whole seerah. Number one has to be Zainab. According to some authorities, our prophet PBUH sent 14 sareeahs and participated in two gazwas in between Khandak and Hudaybiyyah.