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: 12

The Battle of the Ditch was over. Each side had lost four men. It was a victory for the Muslims in that they achieved their aim of defending themselves and their homes against the Allies, while the Allies failed in their attempt to crush the Muslims. In fact the Allies failed to do any damage at all. The siege had lasted 23 days and had imposed a terrible strain on both sides. It had been ended by the storm, but the storm was not the cause of the raising of the siege. It was the last straw. Strictly speaking, this operation was a siege and a confrontation rather than a battle, for the two armies never actually came to grips.

This was the first instance in Muslim history of the use of politics and diplomacy in war, and it shows the interplay of politics and arms in the achievement of the national aim. The use of armed force is one aspect of war-a violent and destructive aspect-to be used only when political measures fail to achieve the aims of the State. When a shooting war becomes inevitable, politics, with diplomacy as its principle instrument, prepares the ground for the use of armed force. It sets the stage, weakens the enemy, and reduces his strength to a state where armed force can be employed against him with the maximum prospect of success.

And this is just what the Prophet did. He used the instrument of diplomacy to split and weaken the enemy, not only in numbers but also in spirit. Most of the Muslims could not understand this, but they were learning from their leader. The Prophet's words, "War is stratagem" 1 , were to be remembered and frequently quoted in later Muslim campaigns.

1. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 229; Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 295.