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: 9

"So is there none among you who has the courage of a man? And what of your Islam? And your Prophet?" At this blasphemous taunt, Ali left his position in the front rank of the Muslims, approached the Holy Prophet and sought permission to engage the challenger and silence his insolent tongue once and for all. The Prophet replied, "Sit down. This is Amr!" Ali returned to his position.

There was another burst of scornful laughter, more taunts, another challenge. Again Ali went up to the Prophet. Again the Prophet declined permission. More laughter, more taunts. Again the challenge from Amr, and this time more insulting than before. "Where is your paradise?" He shouted, "Of which you say that those who lose in battle will enter it? Can you not send a man to fight me?"

When for the third time Ali moved towards the Prophet, the latter saw in Ali's eyes a look which he knew well; and he knew that Ali could no longer be restrained. He looked at Ali fondly, for Ali was dearer to him than any other man. He took off his turban and wound it around Ali's head. He next took off his sword and girded it at Ali's waist. And he prayed: "O Lord! Help him!" 1

This sword which the Prophet now gave to Ali had once belonged to an infidel by the name of Munabba bin Hajaj. This man had been killed at the Battle of Badr, and the sword had come to the Muslims as part of the spoils of war. The Prophet had taken the sword for himself. Now in Ali's hand this was to become the most famous sword in Islam, killing more men in fair combat than any sword in history. This was the Zulfiqar.

Ali hastily collected a small group of Muslims and strode out towards the unbelievers. The group stopped at some distance from the Giant, and Ali stepped forward and got to within duelling distance of the challenger. The Giant knew Ali well. He had been a friend of Ali's father, Abu Talib. He now smiled indulgently at Ali as a man might smile at a boy.

"O Amr!" called Ali. "It is believed that if any man of the Quraish offers you two proposals, you always accept at least one of them."

"True."

"Then I have two proposals to offer you. The first is: accept Allah and His Messenger and Islam."

"I have no need of them."

"Then dismount from your horse and fight me."

"Why, O son of my brother? I have no desire to kill you."

"But I", replied Ali, "Have a great desire to kill you!" 2

The Giant's face flushed with anger. With a cry of rage he sprang off his horse, displaying a degree of agility surprising in so huge a monster. He hamstrung his horse, drew his sword and rushed at Ali. The fight was on.

Amr struck at Ali many times, but Ali remained unharmed. He would parry the blow with his sword or shield or nimbly step aside to let the Giant's sword whistle past him harmlessly. At last the Giant stood back, panting and baffled. He wondered how this could be. Never before had any man survived so long in personal combat against him. And now this boy was looking at him as if he was playing a game!

Then things happened so fast that no one could quite follow the sequence-neither the Muslims nor the Quraish nor the Giant himself. Ali dropped his sword and shield to the ground; his body shot through the air like a missile and his hands grasped the Giant's throat; with a wrestler's kick he knocked the Giant off balance, and the Giant came crashing to the ground-all in a matter of seconds. Now the Giant lay on his back with Ali sitting astride his chest. The two armies gasped and murmured, then held their breath.

1. Ibn Sad: p. 572.
2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 225.