The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 4: The Battle of the Ditch

 Part I: In the Time of the Prophet (SAWS)

 

Page: 1

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful example for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said, ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.’ It added only to their faith and obedience.
Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah. Of them, some have completed their vow and some wait, but they have never wavered in the least.
That Allah may reward the men of Truth for their Truth, and punish the hypocrites if He wills, or turn to them in mercy, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
And Allah turned back the Unbelievers for all their fury – no advantage did they gain, and enough is Allah for the Believers in their fight. And Allah is full of Strength, full of Might.
He took those of the People of the Book who aided them, down from their strongholds, and cast terror into their hearts:some you slew, and some you captured. He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which you had not frequented before. And Allah has Power over all things.”
[Quran 33:21-27]

For several days after his return to Makkah, the Battle of Uhud occupied the mind of Khalid. He thought time and again of how the opportunity had arisen when the archers abandoned their position, and how quickly and accurately he had grasped the possibilities of manoeuvre. Khalid was to repeat such counterstrokes in later battles of his career. But the one fact that weighed heavily on his mind, and which he found difficult to explain, was the courage and tenacity of the Muslims. It did not seem natural that a small force, so vastly outnumbered and attacked from all directions, should hold out with such rocklike determination and be prepared to fight to the end in defence of its leader and its faith. After all, the Muslims were the same stock as the Quraish and other Arabs. Perhaps there was something that the new faith did to its votaries which other faiths could not do. Perhaps there was something about the personality of Muhammad which other men lacked. Such thoughts would occupy the mind of Khalid, but so far he was not in any way inclined towards the new faith. In fact he looked forward to facing the Muslims again, but without bitterness or rancour. He thought of the next battle as a sportsman might think of his next match.

And Khalid continued to enjoy the good life with the vigour and enthusiasm which were characteristic of the man.

For the next two years there was no direct military clash between the Muslims and the Quraish. There was, however, an incident known as the Incident of Rajee-a brutal and horrible affair which further embittered relations between Makkah and Madinah.

This incident took place in July 625. Some Arabs came to the Prophet as a delegation from their tribe, expressed their desire to embrace Islam and asked him to send some men, well versed in the Quran and the ways of Islam, to explain the faith and its obligations to their tribe. The Prophet nominated six of his Companions for this task, and these men, proud of being selected to spread the true faith, set off with the delegation, entirely unaware of the trap that awaited them. When these men, with their guides, reached a place called Rajee, not far from Usfan, they were ambushed by 100 warriors from the tribe which had invited them. The Muslims drew their swords, but they never had a chance. Three of them were killed and three captured. The prisoners were led to Makkah, en route to which one of them was able to free himself from his bonds and attacked his captors, but he too was killed. The two captives who eventually got to Makkah were Khubaib bin Adi and Zaid bin Al Dasinna. Both of them had killed infidels in battle; and their captors now took them to Makkah and sold them at a high price to the relatives of the dead infidels, who bought them eagerly with the intention of killing them in revenge for those whom they had lost.

For some days no action was taken against the prisoners, as this was the holy month of Safar. As soon as the month ended, the two captives were taken to Tan'eem, a place by the north-western edge of Makkah, where the entire population of the town had gathered, including, slaves, women and children. Two wooden stakes had been dug in the ground, and to these the captives were led. They asked to be allowed to say a final prayer and the request was granted. When the prayer was over, the captives were tied to the stakes.

Each of them was now given the option of returning to the idol worship of the Quraish or death. Both the Muslims chose the option of death. Next Abu Sufyan went up to each captive and said, "Do you not wish that you were safe in your home and Muhammad were here in your place?" Each of them vehemently rejected the suggestion and said that no amount of suffering could put such an idea into his mind. Vexed and angered, Abu Sufyan turned away and remarked to his friends, "I have never seen men love their leader as the men of Muhammad love Muhammad." 1

Zaid was the first to die, and his death was quick and easy. A slave walked up to him and drove a spear through his chest. Next came the turn of Khubaib, and this was to be a show. This is what the people of Makkah had come to watch with joyful anticipation.

At a signal, 40 boys carrying spears rushed to the stake where Khubaib was tied and began to prick him with their spears. Sometimes they would move away and then come rushing at him again with raised spears as if to kill him, but would withhold the blow at the last moment and just prick lightly?sufficient to cut and pierce the skin but not to kill. Some of the boys were clumsy and cut deeper than others, and soon the body of Khubaib was covered with blood that flowed from hundreds of shallow wounds. As each spear pricked him he would wince, but not a sound escaped his lips. And the spectators were thrilled by the spectacle of Khubaib's suffering.

1. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 172