Title: Recap & Battle of Dhat Al Salasil
Study the biography of the single greatest human being that ever walked the surface of this earth, whom Allah sent as a Mercy to Mankind.
This lecture was recorded on 5th February 2014
Title: Recap & Battle of Dhat Al Salasil
Study the biography of the single greatest human being that ever walked the surface of this earth, whom Allah sent as a Mercy to Mankind.
This lecture was recorded on 5th February 2014
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Let us the recap the seerah thus far. We are now in the 8th year of the Hijrah and the prophet PBUH is 61 years old. Masha’Allah we’ve covered the entire seerah up until now. And the prophet PBUH is nearing the pinnacle of his career, and that is the conquest of Mecca. In Mecca for 40 years he lived amongst his people. They respected and loved him more than anyone. And every single indication was there that he would be their next leader, or at the least amongst the elite and nobleman. But when the prophet PBUH began preaching Islam, equality, oneness of Allah – they became his worst enemy. They rejected him, smeared him and fabricated against him lies they knew were lies. They accused him of being mad, crazy, a magician, a poet etc. It’s very interesting they never accused him of being power hungrey or insincere. Because they could never accuse him of wanting power – and even in this we notice how sincere the prophet PBUH was. No one said “you want this for money or power” – they made ridiculous accusations, he “has gone crazy” was the main one, but they never accused him of wanting power. And indeed being ‘crazy’ is the only thing they could say. So because they could not harm him personally, because the prophet PBUH is the grandson of Abdul Muttalib and he has noble blood in him which HAS to be protected. So nobody could harm a hair on his head physically since he is the son of Abdullah and the grandson of Abdul Muttalid, the leaders of the Banu Hashim. So they took out their anger on the weak. They killed Sumaya and Yasir; persecuted Bilal, and eventually they boycotted him and his tribe. They didn’t even sell food and water – how can you live like this? Out of anger and disgust the prophet PBUH and his tribe left Mecca and self imposed exile on themselves. This led to many sahaba immigrating to Absyinnia. And their hatred continued to increase until finally they harmed our prophet PBUH: throwing an animal carcuss onto him, choking him in public etc.
And after the death of Abu Talib, Abu Lahab went even lower. Initially the prophet PBUH would be followed by Abu Lahab and anytime he would give a lecture to the hujjaj who came, Abu Lahab would call out from behind and say “don’t listen to him he is my nephew and I can vouch he has gone crazy”. Imagine how hurt the prophet PBUH would have been. Until finally Abu Lahab got so irritated and withdrew his protection of the prophet PBUH. And he disowned the prophet PBUH from his own tribe. And this was unparalleled. So the prophet PBUH went to Ta’if; he was rejected there and no one could offer him support until finally Mut’im ibn Adi gave him temporary support. Finally after 13 years of preaching the Quraysh decided to do the unthinkable and assassinate the prophet PBUH. And this was unheard of in the Arab tribes that they would kill one of their own. It went against EVERY law the arabs held sacred; especially in the haram and by the Quraysh, and from the Banu Hashim. And they all agreed to kill him together. This was when the hijrah occured and he left the land of his people, birth, great great great grandfather Ibrahim AS, and he spoke to Mecca “you are the most beloved of all cities to me, and were it not for the fact my people have expelled me from you I would never have left you”.
And even in Madinah the Quraysh did not leave him alone. The first and biggest battle which is truly the biggest victory after the conquest of Mecca is the battle of Badr. Allah truly demonstrated the truth from the falsehood. Each and every senior leader from Quraysh were destroyed and killed; or taken prisoner of war. Truly this was a HUGE victory. The Quraysh never ever fully recovered from Badr. Their nobleman: Utbah ibn Rabbiah, Abu Jahal himself, Ummayah ibn Khalaf. All these major figures died. In Uhud the Quraysh realised even if they sent their entire city to Madinah it would not eliminate Islam. They sent every single man from every house from the Qurayshi tribes but still the muslims were not defeated. In Khandak, they gathered together the entire Arabia to fight against the muslisms, but STILL Allah protected Madinah. In Khandak something happened for the first time ever, and that is different tribes unified together on the basis of hatred for Islam. Pagans united with other pagans; forgot all of their past wars, merely to fight against Islam. And they sent an army the likes of which the muslims could never defeat but Allah protected them. Finally after being so demoralised they were forced to acknowledge the political power and dominance of the muslims. They had to sign a treaty with them, and to save face they tried to put on the harshest of terms, but ultimately the treaty flipped against them in the long term. The main condition of peace worked against the Quraysh – it shows the superority of the muslims. In that time frame, so much good happened on the political front, moral front etc for the muslims, that for the Quraysh it’s the beginning of the end.
When the muslims secured the peace from Quraysh, they turned to others and eliminated ALL other threats. The most significant in central Arabia was Khaybar. The largest unified power that had weapons and money. They didn’t have quantity, but they had fortresses, money etc. So it was the most well fortified encampment, and it was the wealthiest power which could oppose the muslims. So after Hudaybiyya immediately the prophet PBUH sets his eyes on Khaybar. And again it’s as if MECCA is the prize and everything is happening to get there. And even symbolically, as soon as the Hijrah occurs, the qiblah was changed to Mecca. There’s a clear symobolism that “turn your face to masjid al haram” showing the muslims will eventually get Mecca back. So the prophet PBUH realised he needed to eliminate all other threats, so he set his eyes on Khaybar. And after eliminating Khaybar, not only was the threat gone, the muslims acquired more wealth than EVER before. And they acquired all the weapons of Khaybar which are difficult to obtain. Further, they got constant income without having to life a finger. As ibn Umar said “we never ate to our fill until after Khaybar”. So with Khaybar comes financial security and stability. And with the loss of Khaybar it’s the final demoralisation for the Quraysh. They’ve tried all of Arabia but there is no one left. Imagine being in Mecca at the time: houses are empty, the noble men of Quraysh are gone, more than half the people living are in Madinah, 2/3 of the city is empty.
And so after Khaybar we discussed the battle of Mu’tah – it was not a victory in the military sense. However it was a victory in another sense – it was a sense of moral boost to the muslims that they took on the mightiest superpower in the world, the Romans. This was the only time the muslims fought the Romans in the life of the prophet PBUH. They didn’t win, but they definately did not lose. Over 95% of the army came back untouched. Yes there were some major losses, but 99% of the army came back alive. There is a message being sent that “we will even take the Romans on”. This is why the prophet PBUH said Mu’tah was a ‘fath’ (victory). SubhanAllah think about it – the Romans had the better everything. Better weapons, better horses, better generals etc. The arabs could never think of taking them on. But the muslims did and they came back unscathed. So the moral amongst the Quraysh is literally nothing now – that they see even the Romans cannot finish the muslims off. And this was a huge PR lesson for the Quraysh. And this is why when people criticised the returners from Mu’tah and said “you are deserters” our prophet PBUH said “NO they are not ‘furaar’ they are ‘quraar'”. And of the first fights they did after Mu’tah was the conquest of Mecca. And thus one of the main points of Mu’tah was the PR victory for the muslims that truly the muslims are now taking on a superpower and they are coming out fine.
In addition to all of this, the muslims have won on the moral front and quantity front during the last two years. As we said more people embraced Islam in these two years than the beginning of the dawah. 18 years vs 2 years. SubhanAllah. This clearly shows again the spreading of Islam was NOT done through the sword. Rather it is done through peace and interacting with the people. So it’s as if every single episode of the seerah is leading up to the climax and there’s no doubt the conquest of MEcca is THE climax of the seerah. Everything after is just footnotes. Yes we have the battle of Hunayn and Tabuk etc but that is just finishing off. The ulimate climax is the return of the prophet PBUH to Mecca, coming back to the very city that expelled him. And indeed once Mecca is in the hands of the muslims, and they already have central Arabia and northen Arabia, then the rest must fall. What is left? The small principalities. They aren’t centres or leaders – they are rather following the centre which is Mecca. So the conquest of Mecca truly is the climax of the seerah of the prophet PBUH and the rest of the incidents that occured after are just small footnotes.
Before we begin the conquest of Mecca which occured in Ramadan in 8H, we will discuss a few incidents that took place between Mu’tah and the conquest. And note when we mention the smaller battles, it’s not about the politics of which tribe was conqeured etc. Rather we discuss them to gain small but important theological benefits, of fiqh benefits etc. So we begin with the most significant of these minor battles, the gazwa of Dhat Al Salasil. Note the ‘battle of Dhat Al Salasil’ refers to two different battles: one for the seerah (NOW) and one during the reign of Umar RA. So we musn’t get confused: they are both called Dhat Al Salasil but for different reasons. This one is called ‘gazwa’ or ‘sareeah’ and for Umar RA it’s just called the ‘battle of Dhat Al Salasil’. Note the battle during the time of Umar was a battle that led to the downfall of the Sassanid empire. Khalid ibn Waleed on one side and Yusjadur on the other side. And that was the end of the Sassanid empire – so it’s very important. But for now we will discuss the Dhat Al Salasil during the prophet PBUHs time. This gazwa is called ‘Dhat Al Salasil’ because the incident took place near a pond that was called Dhat Al Salasil. The other battle during Umar RA reign, is called Dhat Al Salasil because the prisoners were all tied up in chains (and Salasil means chains). And the muslims had SO many prisoners the whole battle was called the battle of Salasil i.e. Dhat Al Salasil. In any case, if we hear Dhat Al Salasil usually it’s about the famous BATTLE during Umar RA reign led by Khalid ibn Waleed; we are discussing the small incident that occured during the prophet PBUH time.
What is the sareeah we are interested in? It took place a few weeks after Mu’tah so around Jummadal Thani of the 8th year of the Hijrah. It was against one of the relatively large tribes up north, and that was the tribe of Kuda’a. Now this tribe was not as big as the tribe of Gasaan – the christian Arabs up north (allies of the Romans) whom the muslims fought during Mu’tah. Kuda’a was not that north; it was between Madinah and Gasaan and also it wasn’t full north, it was north east in direction. So it’s not as far as Gasaan. And it turns out the tribe of Kuda’a had aided the gasaanids during Mu’tah and therefore this was a response. And the prophet PBUH called Amr ibn Al As to him. And Amr narrates the story in the first person: “the prophet PBUH called for me and commanded me to wear my garments and armour and come to him. So I did that and when I came to him he was doing wudu. He looked at me up and down and said ‘I wish to appoint you a leader of an army and Allah will protect you and give you much ganeema. And I am optimistic for you that you will get much wealth’.” So Amr said “I did not accept Islam to be wealthy: rather I accepted Islam to be a muslim and to be with you ya RasulAllah”. We see here it is as if Amr has been offended that the prophet PBUH is offering him money. Recall Amr is a brand new muslim, and he was from the nobility of the Quraysh. His father Al As is a nobleman (many verses in the Quran against him). So Amr is of noble birth, and he lived a luxurious life, and he was of the very last converts before the conquest: so the prophet PBUH tells him “I want to send you on a expidition and you’ll get lots of money”. So he feels a bit insulted so he is saying “I accepted Islam because I want to be a muslim, not for money” and of course this shows us his sincerity.
And Amr ibn Al As is the one who said “The way the prophet PBUH used to look at me, I thought I was the most beloved to him. So I asked him ‘who is the most beloved to you?” He said “Aisha”. Then Amr said “no I meant amongst men”. So the prophet PBUH said “her father”. And Amr said “I kept on asking but my name didn’t come, so I stopped asking fearing my name might never come”. SubhanAllah – the point here is that Amr being one of last converts, yet because of the nature of the prophet PBUH he felt he was beloved. And note Amr ibn Al As later on got involved in the political turmoil, and because of this other sects give him a bad image. But walahi it is a point of theology to respect the sahaba – especially someone like Amr who clearly loves Allah and His messenger. Whatever Amr did later on he was sincere in his ijtihad – Allah will forgive his wrongdoings. And especially since Amr is among those who accepted Islam before the conquest of Mecca. And he fought before the conquest so the verse in the Quran pertains exactly to him. By the testimony of the Quran people like Amr ibn Al As are at a higher level than those who became muslim after the conquest. So the prophet PBUH said a phrase that should give us comfort “Oh Amr, how beautiful is pure money for the righteous man”. This hadith shows us for the one who will use the money he earns in a good manner, there is nothing wrong to be eager for money itself. When Amr felt insulted, the prophet PBUH corrected his misunderstanding. That is, “there is nothing wrong with having money and wanting money as long as the man is righteous and the money is pure”. So he gave these two conditions. You cannot get haraam money, and the man earning must be pious. Thus from this hadith we derive having and earning money is not wrong, as long as the money is pure and you use it to please Allah. And no doubt money is one of the biggest tests: the prophet PBUH said “the test Allah has given my ummah is the test of money”. But the test can be passed with flying colours. The believer is not someone who says “I don’t want money”. Rather we should make dua “Oh Allah give us alot of halal money so I can spend it for Your sake”.
So Amr ibn Al As was given 300 men and was told to suprise attack the tribe of Kuda’a. And it’s very interesting he was given this leadership role despite being only 3 months old (as a muslim). And perhaps the prophet PBUH is wanting to test him. This is kind of demonstrated by the fact that when Amr came to the prophet PBUH, the prophet PBUH gazed at him “up and down” as the hadith says. This is a sign of assessing someone. And this is in fact the role of a true leader: even us with our children. We should test with something small, see if they pass and then give them something bigger. Here the prophet PBUH is testing Amr with not a major battle – but something relatively small (300 people). But note even if Amr was a new muslim, he was NOT a new military general. He had the upbringing of his father who was a chieftain, so he has been trained like Khalid ibn Waleed and others (they were of similar age ~ early 20s right now and grew up together), he has experiance etc. So Amr is given this leadership and he is told to go to Kuda’a. And it was in the winter this occured so Amr travelled only at night. Not during the day – why? To ensure the enemy did not hear of his coming. And at night, even though it was freezing cold, he refused to allow the army to light a fire. Throughout the entire trip, so much so they all complained. And Amr said to them “if you light a fire I will push you into it!” And when they returned back they complained to the prophet PBUH that Amr refused them to light a fire. So Amr explained: “Oh RasulAllah our quantity was limited and I didn’t want the tribe to see how small we were”. So he took harsh precautions and eventually got to the outskirts to the tribe of Kuda’a. And he realised 300 was not enough for an attack, so he sent a message to the prophet PBUH that he needs more men.
So the prophet PBUH sent reinforcements of 200 to make it 500 complete. And in this 200 reinforcement were Abu Bukr, Umar and other major companions, and in charge of this 200 was the famous companion Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, one of the elite of the sahaba. And the prophet PBUH told Abu Ubaidah “when you get to Amr make sure the two of you agree and do not disagree”. When the reinforcements arrived it was time for the salah and when the ikaamah was called, Abu Ubaidah goes forward to lead. Now, the leader of the salah was the leader of the army and muslims. This was known. In early Islam aswell it was the khalifah who ALWAYS led the salah. And who gave the khutbahs. There was the symbolism that the imam is the leader of the muslims in every possible sense. The Ummayad khalifas gave their own khutbahs – it was only later on this stopped. The point is Abu Ubaidah went forward but Amr said “No – you are reinforcements and I am the leader”. And some tension broke out – because Abu Ubaidah is senior in every sense. In terms of Islam, Quran, everything. Amr is just 3 months old. But Amr said “No I asked for reinforcements and that’s what you are – I am in charge of the army”. And some of the sahaba on the side of Abu Ubaidah said that “Abu Ubaidah is our ameer, and you might be the ameer of those 300 but he is ours”. And tension broke out and Abu Ubaidah then agreed to step down and said “Ya Amr, the prophet PBUH said to me ‘make sure the two of you agree and do not disagree’. So even if you will disobey me, I will obey you”. And therefore he let Amr lead the salah and he therefore became the leader of the army.
And note expiditions such as Dhat Al Salasil as we’re discussing now – we don’t know the tribe Kuda’a, we don’t know what happened etc. But the incidents such as the one above is what we derive benefits from and why we discuss these small expiditions. So from this incident of Amr and Abu Ubaidah we derive many things:
1. The sahaba are humans. We need to break this thought that the sahaba are superhumans. And as humans they battle the same emotions as us. And there are tensions – Abu Ubaidah feels he is more qualified, but Amr says the prophet PBUH put him in charge. And in a sense both of them are correct. But even though they are humans, they are the best of humans. So the role model we gain is to see how they resolve the conflict. And Abu Ubaidah agreed to step down – imagine this, Amr is a new muslim. He’s younger than Abu Ubaidah but at least a decade. Abu Ubaidah has been at Badr, Uhud, Khandak etc – he’s done so much. And quite literally a younger man with much less Quran, knowledge, fiqh etc is saying “no I will lead”. And Amr ibn Al As is a noble man and in his blood there is naturally royalty. He had that upbringing and he has it in him – we don’t say it in negative way but it’s the truth. So what happened? Abu Ubaidah stepped on his own ego, swallowed his pride and let him lead. With all respect to Amr, Abu Ubaidah was the senior. But because he was, he sacrificed is his own ego for the sake of unity. And walahi what a lesson for us. This is true leadership. To step down for the sake of unity. And he said “Ok even if you won’t follow me, in order to not disobey RasulAllah I will follow you”. SubhanAllah.
2. Another point is that, who is in the 200 who came as reinforcements? Abu Bukr and Umar RA! And by unanimous concensus Abu Bukr and Umar are better than Abu Ubaidah in terms of taqawah, status, seniority and right to leadership. Yet the prophet PBUH put Abu Ubaidah in charge. Thus to be in charge you don’t have to be the single most best person. The technical term is “the leadership of the one whose not as good, over the one who is better than him”. And some shia groups say “the leader has to be the best person is the world”. But we say this is incorrect and historically not right. Indeed in this case Abu Ubaidah is not the best over Abu Bukr yet he is in charge. One could also say he was put in charge due to military reasons, thus to have the most imaan is not always the best criterion to be the leader.
In any case he steps down, Amr is the leader and he coordinates an attack. When the tribe of Kuda’a saw 500 armed men attack them in complete suprise they dropped everything and fled. And the muslims did not conquer the entire tribe since it was far too large to do this, but the message was clearly sent that “don’t mess with us”. And fear was instilled in Kada’a and much ganeema was conquered in fulfillment with what the prophet PBUH said. So there were no major casualities; it was just a major financial victory for the muslims.
In the books of hadith we find an incident Amr narrates, and its embarrasing but he is not embarrased to mention it because there is much fiqh in it. He says on one of the nights he had a wet dream. And they are in the middle of the desert, it is freezing cold, and Amr said “I was worried if I did a ghusl I would kill myself”. And walahi the desert cold is so harsh; it hits the bone. And they are in the heart of the desert – there is no protection. So Amr said “I did tayammum and led Fajr with my companions”. When they returned they complained to the prophet PBUH, and one of the things they said is “Amr led us in the state of janaaba”. So the prophet PBUH called him and asked “did you do this?” Note this shows us whenever you hear information you MUST verify. From their perspective the sahaba had water to do ghusl but Amr refused to do it, and still led them in Fajr. So they complained to the prophet PBUH. So he asks Amr “Is it true?!” And so Amr said “Oh RasulAllah I heard Allah say ‘Do not kill yourselves for verily Allah is merciful to you’. And I was worried if I took a bath I would kill myself, therefore I did tayammum and did not take a bath”. So Amr says “the prophet PBUH laughed at my explination and did not say anything to rebuke me”. This took place on one of the nights of Dhat al Salasil.
This shows us many things:
1. Tayammum takes the place of ghusl – not just wudu.
2. It is allowed to perform tayammum even while water is present if there is a legitimate reason. Before this point in time, the only time the sahaba did tayammum was when they didn’t have water. This is the first time a sahaba does tayammum intentionally leaving the water. This therefore shows us it can be performed in the presence of water if there is a legitimate reason. What are they?
2i) It is freezing cold as in Amr’s case.
2ii) If you have a skin illness and the water cannot touch it.
3. It also demonstrates that the sahaba derived Islamic laws through their own reasoning (from the Quran) even when the prophet PBUH was alive. In other words they did ijtihad, even when the prophet PBUH was alive. And it’s always been how you derive Islamic laws that are not explicit.
4. The one who does tayammum is not in any way diminished in his capability of leading salah. We don’t care if one person does tayammum vs one does full wudu with water.
5. Ijtihad (deriving laws) takes into account real life situations. That is, here we have Amr faced with a verse from the Quran. “When you are junub, take a bath”. This is an explicit command. Yet Amr understands “this command has leeway depending on circumstance”. He is not a die-hard literist. He understands “this verse cannot be applicable to me right now because I will die; there is another verse which allows me to reinterpret this verse according to my situation”.
And indeed there has always been a tension between those who are ultra literalists – “the Quran says X, end of story” against some sahaba who said “ok that is the text, but sometimes we need to see when we can apply it”. Of course in our times this tension exists at a much more extreme level, and that is on the other side there are ‘progessives’ and try to reinterpret every single verse in the Quran to their liking. The point is we must be faithful to the Quran but no doubt our religion takes into account our personal circumstances. Here is Amr: he knows the commandment of Allah, but yet he understands this commandment cannot apply at this instance. So what was the effect of this battle? It conquered nothern Arabia from a PR perspective. Northern Arabia was never a threat after this. Northern Arabia by and large has become safe, and in fact a number of tribes accepted Islam and there is an alliance formed.
One final incident occured in one of the smaller battles before the conquest of Mecca, in which Allah revealed a verse in the Quran regarding it. And that is, in a small expiditon, the prophet PBUH sent a small group of sahaba to attack one of the tribes that was threatening the muslims, and they passed by Amr ibn Ad Batdh. And he was a secret muslim; so when he saw them, he became happy and said “asalaam u alaikum”. In the contingent of the prophet PBUH, there was a man who had a personal problem with this Amr from the days of Jaheleya. And his name was Muhalim ibn Juthaama. So Muhalim refused to accept his salaam and said “you are not a muslim”. And he single handedly attacked him and killed him, and took his belongings as war booty. He said “he’s just saying this, he’s not a real muslim”. And when the news reached the prophet PBUH, Allah revealed Surah Nisa verse 94:
“O you who have believed, when you go forth [to fight] in the cause of Allah , investigate; and do not say to one who gives you [a greeting of] peace “You are not a believer,” aspiring for the goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You [yourselves] were like that before; then Allah conferred His favor upon you, so investigate. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.”
SubhanAllah. So Allah exposed the intention of Muhalim. He didn’t do it for imaan. He did it because he had a vendetta and he wanted his belongings. And after this murder, there was a huge dispute between the tribe of Muhalim and the tribe of Amr. Eventually both accept Islam, and after the battle of Hunayn, the cheiftons of both come to the prophet PBUH and demand that this murder be resolved. And the both of them are angry, and the prophet PBUH has to calm the both of them down. And the prophet PBUH agreed to pay 100 camels on his own behalf because at the end of the day he is the leader, he sent Muhalim so he takes responsibility. So he gave 100 camels, and the tribe of Muhalim said to the prophet PBUH “why don’t you ask Allah to forgive Muhalim?” And the prophet PBUH refused because of Muhalim’s character.
And it’s said after a few days Muhalim died, his tribe buried him but the next morning they found him on top of the ground with his face down. So they buried him again but the next morning the same thing happened. They did it again but the same thing again. Then the tribe put him between a valley, left his body there and threw stones on his body to cover it up. So he’s not actually buried. And the prophet PBUH said something very profoud: “verily, the Earth covers up people worse than him (his crime wasn’t the worst), but Allah wanted to warn you through him by showing you the sanctity of life between you”. This is a beautiful point. SubhanaAllah. The sanctity of human life is so strong that you are just saying “you aren’t a muslim”. And this is one of the few times the prophet PBUH did not ask Allah to forgive him.