Seerah
Seerah - Life of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)
 

25 - The Banu Mustaliq Campaign

The Banu Mustaliq, a clan of the Banu Khuda'a, lived in the Qudayd region located on the coast between Makka and Madina, in a place called Usfan, near the important commercial port of Rabigh. While the Khuda'a tribe, generally speaking, adopted a positive stance towards Islam and Prophet Muhammad, the Banu Mustaliq clan sided with the Quraysh, who were at war with the Muslims, and demonstrated their hostility at every opportunity. During the time in which the Quraysh were making preparations for the Battle of the Trench by mobilizing at their allies, chief of the Banu Mustaliq Harith ibn Abu Dirar had set up his military headquarters at the watering place called Muraysi’ and, inciting the neighboring tribes, had begun gathering troops to attack Madina. Prophet Muhammad sent Burayda bin Husayb al-Aslami to the regions for the purpose of gathering intelligence. Burayda saw firsthand the truth in the news about the preparations of the Mustaliq tribe and returned having acquired accurate information. The Prophet set out on an expedition with a force of 700 men, thirty on horseback, on 2 Sha'ban (27 December 626). Upon seeing his approach with a great force, some of the tribes abandoned enemy lines and deserted the battle field. When the Muslim army reached the Muraysi’ watering place, they invited the tribes to accept Islam. Their responding with arrows which they fired at the Muslims triggered the battle which ended with the assured victory of the Muslims. Among the polytheists, ten were killed, while the remaining 600 or 700 were taken prisoner. A large amount of loot was acquired, including 2000 camels and 5000 sheep. Muslims suffered no losses in this campaign other than Hisham ibn Subaba al-Kalbi, who was mistaken for an enemy soldier. After the battle, the Prophet distributed the war spoils among the Muslims. He sent Abu Naml al-Ta’i to Madina to convey the good news of victory and himself returned to Madina on 1 Ramadan (24 January, 627). It has been suggested that the Banu Mustaliq Campaign, also known as the Muraysi’ Campaign due to the site where it eventuated, may have taken place after the Battle of the Trench.

Among the captives taken from the Banu Mustaliq was Juwayriya bint Harith, daughter of the defeated Banu Mustaliq clan's chief Harith ibn Abu Dirar. Upon her acceptance of Islam, Prophet Muhammad released her and proposed marriage to her. This marriage eased the hostilities that ensued due to the battle. Seeing that the Banu Mustaliq had now become the Prophet’s relations through marriage, the Muslims released all the captives they held. Such was the effect of this attitude of the Muslims on the Banu Mustaliq that virtually all of them immediately became Muslim; coming to the presence of Prophet Muhammad, tribal chief Harith ibn Abu Dirar also accepted Islam.

Many hyprocrites, such as 'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul also participated in this battle. On the return from the campaign, tension arose between the Emigrants and the Helpers around a well and was on the verge of escalation with the intervention of the hypocrites. Aware of the situation, and notwithstanding the time of day, Prophet Muhammad immediately ordered his men to march nonstop until noon the following day. Exhausted after such a long and arduous trek, the soldiers did not have the strength even to speak when reaching their resting place, and fell asleep immediately. In this way, the tension that had arisen only a day before completely dissipated. It is narrated that the Qur’anic chapter entitled “The Hypocrites” was revealed due to these events. The hypocrites did not stop when they reached Madina and led the dissension that erupted with the slander against the Prophet’s wife, ‘A’isha, which became known as the ‘Ifq Incident’.

 

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