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We will begin the next segmant of the seerah.

The battle of Khandak which is als

o called Ahzab. 'Khadak' means the trench, and Ahzab means 'various groups' - ge
nerally speaking 'Ahzab' is translated as 'the confederates' meaning multiple tr
The big question: when did it occur? There isn't practical importance but the op
inions are quite serious because we have people that are very famous on both sid
es of the equation. One opinion is the 4th Shawwal, 4th Hijrah. Badr was 2nd Hij
rah, Uhud was 3rd - if it is the 4th year, that means Khandak took place one yea
r after Uhud. What is the evidence for 4th year? Ibn Umar said "On the day of Uh
ud I was 14 years old, and I stood in ranks wanting to be accepted, but the prop
het PBUH rejected me. On the day of Khandak, I was 15 therefore the prophet PBUH
let me go by." This is Bhukari so fully authentic. We all agree Uhud was 3rd ye
ar - so Khandak was 4th. Imam al Bhukari held this position of course, Az Zuhri,
Imam Nawawi, Ibn Hazam says "there is no doubt Khandak took place in the 4th ye
ar". However common knowledge is it took place in the 5th year. Why? This is the
opinion of all the scholars of seerah: ibn Qiyyam, ibn Ishaaq, ibn Hishaam ie a
ll the famous specialists of seerah say it took place Shawwal 5th year. Al Waaqi
di and Ibn Sa'ad say Dhul Qa'da 5th year. Where does their evidence come from? T
hey say piecing together the seerah - Khandak does not make sense in the 4th yea
r. Bhukari however stick with the hadith as close as possible. But the others us
e more rationality. They say in the 4th year this was the second promise of Uhud
; so how could Khandak take place? Also, Sa'ad ibn Mu'ad unanimously dies right
after Khandak and his death was 5th year. What do we do to ibn Umars narration?
Al Bayhaqee says at Uhud maybe he just turned 14, and at Khandak he was just tur
ning 16. More simply one can ask: who kept track of birthdays anyway? They weren
't precise, so one can say he was 14, and then most likely 16 - the age isn't im
portant in the hadith, the point he's trying to say is that he didn't take part
in Badr, but did in Khandak. Thus the correct opinion is 5th year Hijrah in Shaw
What started the battle? The reason was an instigation of the tribe of the Banu
Nadheer. They had been expelled when they tried to assassinate the prophet PBUH
by throwing a rock on the prophet PBUH. And the conditions of expelsion was "lea
ve your weapons, leave your property but take what your camels can take". Where
did they go? Khaybar. And its close by - not too far. So the Banu Nadheer were h
oping to get their land back. They had so much wealth - acres and acres of date
fields. So what did they do? They sent an official delegation to Mecca with all
of their seniors. The father of Saffiyah, and all of the other leaders of the tr
ibe - they went to the Quraysh and told them "let's cooperate together and simul
taneously attack the prophet PBUH". On top of this they said "we will give you a
ll the money you need" - the Quraysh of course have been severly impacted by the
prophet PBUH so this was a golden opportunity.
What was the relationship between the Quraysh and jews? The Quraysh were somewha
t fearful of the jews, and had a serious inferiority complex. The jews always ac
ted in a way they were superior and the Quraysh felt this. All the jews have a b
ook from God, they all read and write, they can build fortresses, they have arch
itecture, civilisation etc. Therefore the Quraysh felt lower than the jews, and
looked up to them. Abu Suffyan said "you are coming to us to fight against Muham
mad - no doubt anyone who fights against him is a friend of ours, but whose reli
gion is closer ours or theirs?" Here Abu Suffyan is confused: Islam is very clos
e to Judaism in terms of tawheed, laws, shariah etc yet the jews are coming to t
he Quraysh. If you compare any Islamic law to Jewish law - its 85% the same. All
of these detailed laws down to the miniscule detail its exactly the same. How?
Because it comes from the same source. There is no other explanation. And yet th
e jews said "you are the ones who are more rightly guided than Muhammad, and you
are closer to the truth". At this Allah exposed them in the Quran: surah Nisah
verse 51 and Allah quotes them directly:

Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture, who believe i
n superstition and false objects of worship and say about the disbelievers, "The
se are better guided than the believers as to the way"?
So Allah exposed their plot in the Quran. After the Quraysh agreed, the jews the
n sent a delegation to Gatafaan. And Gatafaan was the largest tribe up north. Al
lah says "when they came to you from above and below" - some say this refers lit
erally to 'North' (Gatafaan) and 'South' (Quraysh). For the Quraysh, the trade r
oute was their lifeline - as for the Gatafaan it wasn't their lifeline. So the G
atafaan needed convincing. So they were offered wealth and the jews said "we wil
l give you half of the produce of Khaybar for one year for this one battle". Tha
t is literally a fortune - and the Gatafaan were the most wild, bedouin, barbari
c tribe. They had a lack of morals etc - they were simply hired merceneries. Thu
s this was enough to convince them to come on board with the Quraysh.
When the Gatafaan and Quraysh both agreed, the Quraysh sent out delegations to t
he smaller tribes that also had been affected by the trade route, to get assista
nce from them. And every one of these tribes helped in arms, weapons, horses, wa
rriors etc. And all these tribes - their main interest was the caravan trade rou
te. For all these groups its a win win situation. For the Quraysh its something
desperately needed and it was an offer out of nowhere. They were looking for a w
ay to get back to the prophet PBUH, and Uhud was not a victory; the second Badr
they failed to go. They have seen the bravery and fearlessness of the muslims, a
nd they are scared of fighting them alone again. Out of nowhere the Banu Nadheer
come on board - not only do they give the wealth, but they give them food. Banu
Nadheer are at Khaybar so they would get huge supplies of dates which was the o
ptimal food supply in the desert. As for the Banu Nadheer, they realised they di
d not have the manpower or skill in war. Their main tactic was defence in their
fortresses. And they believed their defence mechanism was impenetrable. But inde
ed as we said Allah says in the Quran "they thought their fortresses could prote
ct them against Allah". Allah mentions about their ill "wherever they go, they a
re in humiliation. Except if they get some help from other people". So the Banu
Nadheer needed this help - and it was a win win for all to get rid of this poten
tial rising force of Islam once and for all. And there is no doubt a combining f
actor was hatred of Islam.
Abu Suffyan took charge: he is the most senior nobleman and the best military wa
rrior. So he is in put in charge of Khandak; ibn Ishaaq mentions there were 10,0
00 men. The people of Madinah were at most 2500 fighting men so they were at lea
st triple or even quadruple the quantity of Madinah. And all of these tries; Gat
afaan, Quraysh, Banu Nadheer etc all marching together is an unprecented situati
on in the history of the arabs. We also see all the arabs are uniting under two
banners: the banner of Islam, and the banner of kufr. Before this time, the aras
were a disunited tribal people. At the most two tribes temporarily joined to fi
ght a third. Never before have 10 to 15 tribes all come together. Now we have a
showdown like never before - and this shows us the speed with which things are c
Abu Suffyan told all the tribes to meet at a pre chosen place. While this was go
ing on, you simply cannot hide these numbers of armies gathering together, so ne
ws reached the prophet PBUH of what was happening. As usual, he conviened a gath
ering of all the sahabah as to what should happen. This was his sunnah at Badr,
Uhud and now too. And the books of seerah mention very few options were given, a
nd this is because there wasn't much option to give! What can you do when 10,000
people are attacking? You simply have to fight. Until finally Salman al Farasi
spoke up and gave the idea we all know - and note this was the first battle he p
articipated in. It took a few years to free him so he didn't fight at Badr or Uh
ud; at this time he was around 100+ years old. Some books even say he died at 12
0. We know he went through a long life: he was once a christian, and then met on
e monk, then another and then another until the final monk he stayed with said "

go to the land of date palms the final prophet will come with the signs (seal of
the prophet, he won't accept charity etc)." So intially Salman went to Khaybar
because Khaybar was the number one producing date palms city, much more than Mad
inah. Khaybar was far larger than Madinah - but then Allah willed he was enslave
d and sent to Madinah. Salman eventually then met the prophet PBUH and told him
the whole story; and the prophet PBUH showed him the seal etc. Salman then agree
d with his master to be freed for a huge sum: to plant 100s of date palms AND th
ey grow to the full then he can be freed. This would usually take at least 15 ye
ars but the prophet PBUH himself went and laid every single seedling himself. Wi
thin a few years they all grew and he was freed. At Badr and Uhud he was still a
slave. Now at Khandak he is a freed man - and this was his first battle. He cou
ldn't physically participate but he gave the plan. He said "back in Persia, our
tactic was to dig a trench".
For the first time we see here in Arabia an idea is imported. This shows us a cr
ucial point. That is, Islam is very open to new ideas - when it comes to technol
ogy etc innovation is positive. When it comes to religious rituals however its h
araam of course. But all other ideas and customs are perfectly fine. When it com
es to aqeedah we don't care about others - but when it comes to dunya, we benefi
t from all opinions. The salaf used to say "wisdom is the lost item of the belie
ver". Even the prophet PBUH took knowledge from other customs. He said "I was go
ing to prevent you from having a child before the first is breast fed, but then
I saw the romans do it - so go ahead and do it". This shows us psychology, histo
ry, science etc we can take. Even more, the prophet PBUH adoped cultral icons si
mply because it was the norm of the world. For example, the first time he sent a
letter to Heraculus: they told him "the other rulers do not accept a message ex
cept it has a sealed wax on it". So the prophet PBUH asked around "how is this d
one?" They told him he needs a special signature, and that is when he ordered a
ring to be made: Muhammad on the bottom line, Rasul in the middle and Allah at t
he top to give resect to the name Allah. So he used this ring every time he wrot
e a letter. This shows a very important point, that we have an attitude that "th
is is the system of the kufr we can't do it" - this is wrong! Did the prophet PB
UH say "I won't do this seal thing". Is there anything haraam in doing a seal? D
id Allah forbid it? No. There is no problem taking from the customs and knowledg
e of others.
So the prophet PBUH agreed to this and said "we should also gather all the women
and children and send them to the Banu Harithah. They were a tribe from the Ans
ar, but they had built their own fortresses - it wasn't to the standards of the
jews, but it was the best and most protected fortresses of the Ansar. The prophe
t PBUH is already thinking many steps ahead. That, all of the men will be busy m
aning and guarding Madinah - and inside Madinah, there is still the tribe of Ban
u Quraydha. And the prophet PBUH does not know where their true loyalties lie. A
s we know the other two tribes have already been expelled, and even though the B
anu Quraydha have given three seperate promises there is still the possibility t
hey might falter. In the beginning they agreed, then after Banu Qaynuqa, and the
n during the Banu Nadheer incident. And they promised by Allah they are upon the
agreement and constitution.
Now, the Banu Quraydha, the last of the three tribes, if they flip and betray th
e muslims its certain disaster. So teh prophet PBUH is automaically thinking, as
soon as he gives the commandment to build the trench, that send the women and c
hildren to "Al Fari'" the fortress of the Banu Harithah. We know when the women
and children went there, Abdullah ibn Zubair is 5 years old - he was the first c
hild to be born after Hijrah - rigth after entry into Quba and they took this as
a positie omen which is allowed. So he is around 4/5 and he remembers this inci
dent. Also Umar ibn Abu Salama (the son of the prophet PBUH's wife) i
There is a story regarding Hasan ibn Thabit and the fortress; even though this h
appens a week later we'll mention this story now. The women and children were se

nt to the fortress. And one or two elderly men, 70/80 years old were also sent.
There is only one young man sent with them, Hasan ibn Thabit. Why? Everything in
the seerah has much wisdom and benefit for us. With that caveat, the version fr
om Imam Ahmed, narrated by Abdullah ibn Zubair said: "the women and childen were
put in a fortress along with Hasan, and he was not brave (he could not hold a s
word - its said he would tremble when he did)". Allah created people differently
- generally speaking those involved in the arts are not known for their valour
and bravery, and indeed Hasan was known for his poetry. So Hasan cannot carry a
sword, and ibn Zubair said he was 'jaban' which is quite harsh. So he's the only
man in the fortress. A week later, when the Quraysh are in the city and the Gat
afaan come, the Banu Quraydha decide to flip, and the first thing they do, and w
e need to understand this to understand their punishment, the first thing they d
o is figure out how to execute all the men and women. So they send two peope to
Al Fari' to see if its proetcted or not. They send two scouts in the middle of t
he night to see if its protected - if its not, they will attack. Now, in the mid
dle of the night, Saffiyah bint Abdul Muttalib hears a noise (someone is cimbing
). And she wakes up Hasan because he's the only man, and he says to him "go out
and do something!" But Hasan said "May Allah bless you but you known I cannot do
this". So she takes a male shawl, takes a dagger, puts it in her mouth and clim
bs out the window. In pitch darkness she tries to find this man, suprises attack
him, jumps on him, slits his throat, throws the head down to the companion and
the companion shrieks thinking its well guarded. Then she says to Hasan to go ge
t his armour and weapon, but he says "I have no need of them".
Whats the purpose of us narrating this? Its our culture to cover up these type o
f stories but this narration is fully authentic. Some modern authors try to say
"Oh no its not true Hasan could not have been like this" - but it must be true d
ue to the evidence we have. This emotional argument and the fact that there is n
o poetry against him dosen't mean anything either. His criticism of the other tr
ibes is about their pedigree/lineage. Also by and large the poetry of Quraysh ag
ainst the prophet PBUH did not reach us. Hasan ibn Thabit indeed has negatives:
not only this issue, but during the incident of Aisha RA he was one of the three
sahabah to spread the rumours.
1. We have the wrong tendancy to make the sahabah superhuman. It's healthy for u
s to know that some of the sahabah actually commited sin. All of the sahabah All
ah said "We are pleased with them and they with us" - so Allah has indeed forgiv
en him.
2. Despite these issues, look at the positives of Hasan. He was the official poe
try of the prophet PBUH. When the Quraysh wrote poetry the prophet PBUH said "St
and up Hasan and defend me and Jibreel AS will be with you". So Jibreel was whis
pering to Hasan (ilhaam). And Hasan had a special mimbar for himself that he wou
ld stand and give poetry - the only sahaba who we knew had his own mimbar.
Its narrated Umar RA in his cilapha once heard Hasan saying poetry in the masjid
. So Umar got his stick and hit Hasan. Hasan got angry and said "why are you hit
ting me?" Umar said "you are saying poetry in the masjid of the prophet PBUH how
dare you!" And Hasan replied "walahi I have said poetry in this masjid when the
re was someone in it far better than you". And then he turns to Abu Harrairah an
d said "Oh Abu Hurairah I ask you by Allah didn't you hear the prophet PBUH say
'stand up and write poetry and Jibreel will help you'. So subhanAllah Hasan has
such a special role, yet he commited wrongs.
3. Every single one of us have a unique role to play: our sins, shortcomings and
weaknesses should never hold us back. Hasan ibn Thabit knows his weaknesses and
everyone does know. Thats why without anyone saying he is put with the women an
d children. But when the prophet PBUH told him "stand up and defend me" did he s
ay "Oh no I commited sins etc" or did he realise in this is his honour and forgi
veness. We can sympathise with Hasan's weaknesses because we have far more weakn

esses than him. Yet when it came for his time to shine, he stood up and fulfille
d a role none of the sahabah could do. This is the humanity of the sahabah that
makes them stars we can actually look up to. Don't let Shaitan come to you and s
ay "who are you to pray? To give dawah etc?" The true muslim recognises his sins
, but never uses those sins to stop him from doing good.
Getting back to Khandak: the prophet PBUH agreed to build the trench and he assi
gned 10 people for each portion of the trench. The exact length and location of
the trench is not very well known. Any estimation we have is just a guess - but
some modern authors who've analysed this in depth calculates the trench was arou
nd 2km long, 13ft wide and between 7-9km in depth. Why only 2km? The response is
obvious: Madinah was naturally protected by volcanic rocks on the east and west
side for miles making it almost impossible for an army to walk on them. "Hara s
harkeya, hara garbeya". Then, the rest of Madinah to the south were date palms,
plantations. And therefore an army could not have marched through them. Thus the
only stretch of land that could have allowed them to enter Madinah 10,000 stong
was the northen side. And 2km digging is a huge distance - they don't have mach
ines, equipment or even manpower. This was an unbelievable human effort to build
this trench in less than 10 days. And indeed it was temporary tactic. Immediate
ly the sahabah worked non stop. From the poorest to the richest participated, in
cluding the prophet PBUH himself. The sahabah mentioned this was one of the grea
test motivational factors for them when they saw the prophet PBUH digging in the
trenches with them. Anas ibn Malik narrates the muhajir were digging on a cold
evening. And Anas said "we had no slaves to help us. But when the prophet PBUH s
aw how tired and hungrey they were, he made a dua to Allah and said 'oh Allah ha
ve mercy of the muhajir and Ansar'". Another famous sahabi, Baraa, said "I saw t
he prophet PBUH carrying the dust for so long that his entire chest hair was cov
ered with dust (this shows he had taken off his upper clothes)". And Baraa said
"he was a man who had alot of chest hair, and he was saying poetry along with us
". And the poetry would be said in unison: "Oh Allah were it not for you we woul
d not be guided nor would we give charity and we would not pray so send your pea
ce down upon us and make our feets firm when the enemies come to us. Verily the
enemies have transgressed upon us, and when they want a fitnah (death), we refus
e, we refuse (a baynaa)".
Note some books say the trench was 12km in 10 days is basically 1km per day - th
ats literally impossible. The sahabah were blessed but they were not supermen. T
hey are digging all day, but they were low on manpower and it couldn't have been
done. Even 12km in 14 days dosen't make sense. As to the number of people, arou
nd 2000 but they were taking shifts to rest accordingly.
Also of course building a trench did isolate them from the outside - thus one of
the problems was how long would the food supplies last? When the seige lasted f
or more than a month, it severely affected their supplies. Even building the tre
nch took alot of food supplies out - building a trench was not a long term tacti
c. It was just a stalling tactic with trust in Allah and of course Allah did sav
e them.