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: 5

The enemy coalition had now completely disintegrated. The Hawazin and other tribes dispersed to their various settlements while the Thaqeef, led by Malik, hastened to Taif where they decided to resist till the bitter end. The Battle of Hunain was over. Muslim casualties in this battle were surprisingly few, thanks to the indifferent archery of the Hawazin. While many Muslims had been wounded, only four lost their lives. The reason for this lay in the superior skill and courage of the Muslims, which enabled their champions to take on three or four opponents at a time, killing them one by one. Seventy of the unbelievers were killed in the valley, at the pass and at Autas, and these included the sage, Duraid, who had given such sound advice but in vain. In the enemy camp at Autas, the Muslims captured 6,000 women, children and slaves and thousands of camels, goats and sheep. 1

This was the first time that the Muslims had been ambushed in a large?scale operation by their enemies. This was the second instance in history of the ambush of an entire army by an entire army (the first being the ambush of the Romans by Hannibal at Lake Trasimene in 217 B.C.). Malik had made a brilliant and flawless plan to annihilate the Muslims, but because of the poor performance of his men could not achieve the mission that he had set himself. In spite of this poor performance, however, he would have won a resounding victory had his enemy not been the Muslims. It was the determination of the Prophet not to accept defeat, and the faith of the Muslims in their leader, which turned defeat into victory for them. Unlike Malik, the Prophet was not content with a limited gain and pressed his advantage to rout the enemy and capture the entire enemy camp with all its booty.

This was the first time that Khalid had been taken by surprise. He had always known the value of surprise, but this time he had been at the receiving end of it. He saw how his otherwise brave men had panicked at the sudden appearance of the enemy at an unexpected time and an unexpected place. He made up his mind never again to be caught unawares. And he never was.

1. No one today knows the location of Autas, but it must have been in the valley proper, as a camp with 6,000 people (excluding soldiers) and thousands of camels, goats and sheep could not be established on a hillside or in some little wadi. I have placed it a little beyond Zaima, but it could have been elsewhere.