The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 8: The Battle of Hunain

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

 

Page: 4

This time it was Malik who was surprised. Having been certain that victory was his, he now found that his own army was under attack. The hand-to-hand fighting became more desperate, and this is just what the Muslims wanted, for in this sort of violent fighting their superiority in swordsmanship put the odds in their favour. In close-quarter battle the Muslims had no equal. Gradually the Hawazin were pressed back and as the Prophet saw their men fall before the onslaught of the Muslims, he affirmed

"In truth, I am the Prophet,
I the son of Abdul Muttalib."

He then turned to those who stood next to him and remarked, "Now the oven heats up!" 1
Malik decided that he was getting the worst of the fighting and put his withdrawal plan in action. The Thaqeef were already in position a short distance behind the Hawazin. Leaving the Thaqeef to act as a rearguard, he pulled the Hawazin back to safety. The Muslims moved forward and made contact with the Thaqeef, who now began to receive heavy punishment from the Believers. Soon after this contact, the Thaqeef turned and took to their heels, followed by other tribal contingents, some of which had taken no part in the fighting. In the mean time Malik had got the Hawazin safely to the pass, and here he deployed them to fight a defensive battle while waiting for stragglers to catch up. As long as he held this pass, the families and the flocks of the Hawazin were safe.

The Muslims had not only recovered from the shock of the ambush but had counter-attacked, regained their position and driven the enemy from the battlefield. This was a tactical victory, but more was to come.

While the Muslims were stripping the Thaqeef dead of their weapons and clothing, an interesting incident involving two Muslims took place. One was an Ansar from Madinah and the other a man by the name of Mugheerah bin Shu'ba, who belonged to the tribe of Thaqeef. Among the Thaqeef dead was a Christian slave who had died beside his master. As the Ansar stripped this slave, he noticed that the dead man was not circumcised. Amazed at this discovery, for circumcision was a universal practice among the Arabs, he called aloud to those who stood around him: "O Arabs! Did you know that the Thaqeef are not circumcised?" Mugheerah, who stood next to the Ansar, was horrified to hear this, as the spread of such a report would mean disgrace for the Thaqeef. He knew the dead slave and could understand how the misunderstanding had arisen. "Don't say that!" he hissed at the Ansar. "This man was a Christian slave."

"No, he was not", insisted the Ansar. "I am sure that he is one of the Thaqeef." And he remained unconvinced until Mugheerah had undressed several bodies of the Thaqeef and pointed out familiar signs! 2

The Muslim army having fully re-assembled, except for a few who had fled, the Prophet decided to press his advantage. He organised a strong cavalry group and sent it forward to clear the valley before the Hawazin had time to recover and reorganise. This group was formed of several contingents, including the Bani Sulaim, over whom Khalid had regained control. Khalid had missed the Muslim counter-attack. He had lain where he fell in the flight of the Bani Sulaim until the counter-attack was over. Then the Holy Prophet came to him and blew upon his wounds, whereupon Khalid arose, feeling strengthened and fit for battle again. 3 He quickly got the Bani Sulaim together.

The entire group was placed under command of Zubair bin Al Awwam, who now advanced along the valley and contacted Malik at the pass. After a short, brisk engagement, Malik was driven off the pass. The whole valley was now in Muslim hands. The Prophet left Zubair's mounted group at the pass, to hold it as a firm base and guard it against a possible return of the Hawazin, and sent another group under Abu Amir to Autas. This was the camp of the Hawazin, who on being driven off the pass had taken up positions around the camp to defend their families and flocks. On the arrival of the Muslims, a fierce clash took place at Autas. Abu Amir killed nine men in personal combat and was killed by his tenth adversary, whereupon the command of the Muslim group was taken over by his cousin, Abu Musa, who continued the attack on Autas until the Hawazin broke and fled. The camp of the Hawazin fell into Muslim hands, and here this Muslim group was joined by the cavalry group of Zubair, with Khalid in the lead.

1. Ibn Sad: p. 665.
2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 450.
3. Isfahani: Vol. 15, p. 11.