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We discussed the battle of Mu'tah.

Last week we reached to the place of Khalid i

bn Waleed having been appointed and the prophet PBUH explaining in real time wha
t is going on. So once again we reiterate we only two or three narrations from w
hich we try to derive the entire story. What appears to be the case is that Khal
id realises there is no way to acheieve actual victory. The only real victory wo
uld be to preserve the muslim army from destrutction. So he had a two pronged ta
ctic. The first was that he organised the army for a quick short term attack. Th
e purpose of this was to cause the Romans to stop moving forward. It was to paus
e the Romans and stop them in their tracks and onslaught. One of the things he d
id was that he strategically positioned the archers so that it stopped the Roman
s from advancing forward. One of the elders was an elderly man whose eyes were f
eeble. So he told his two companions "lift me on top of your sheilds, I will sho
ot as hard as I can and you be my eyes". And so a group of archers was a primary
method used. Attacking head on with swords was also another tactic, as Khalid i
bn Waleed himself narrates in Bhukari "On the day of Mu'tah, nine swords were br
oken in my hand and only a Yemenite sword of mine remained in my hand.". Subhan'
Allah. So from this we derive there was also a ground level attack led by Khalid
ibn Waleed. So by the time night fell, the two armies distanced themselves outs
ide the range of an arrow. They are in visual sight but not in the sight of an a
rrow, and so when night fell the muslims are safe for the time being, and they t
ook shelter behind a hill. In that evening the martyrs could be buried, Zaid, Ja
'far and Abdullah ibn Rawahah - and they were all buried in the same grave.
What happened the next day? The books don't tell us anything (from the classical
books). A later book stresses a technique/strategy Khalid used (but we don't kn
ow where the author got it from so Allah knows best). So this author writes anot
her tactic Khalid used was that he gave the impression that a group of reinforce
ments were arriving. So the Romans thought reinforcements were coming from Madin
ah, and this made them worried and paused. In this pause, Khalid ibn Waleed and
the muslims managed to escape and achieve total security. Indeed had they left i
n front of the eyes of the Romans, the Romans and Arab christians would have fol
lowed them. But by giving the illusion that reinforcements were coming, the Roma
ns paused for a few hours and this allowed the muslims to escape. How did he giv
e this illusion? One book mentions Khalid told a group of sahaba to spread out t
hin in a far far away area with sand, and use certain instruments to beat the du
st up. So from a distance there is an illusion that hundreds of horseman are com
ing. But again Allah knows best. The main point is Khalid saved the bulk of the
muslim army from what otherwise would have been complete annihilation. So much s
o only a handful sahaba, up to 20, passed away. Out of 3000! So only 1% passed a
way, and that is a great victory in and of itself. Faced against more numbers, s
uperior fighting power, superiror weapons etc it was a victory. On the way back
they passed by the same village who wounded a sahaba before and they got their r
evenge on them (again the books don't mention how).
The question arises: is Mu'tah a victory or loss? There are three opinions:
1. Mu'tah is a big victory. This is the position of Musa ibn Uqtah, Al Bayhaqee
(428), ibn Kathir (796). They all felt Mu'tah was a massive victory. Of the thin
gs they say:
i) the muslims returned successfully with only 1% casulaities
ii) they took some war booty
iii) their main evidence is what the prophet PBUH himself said. The prophet PBUH
told the people of Madinah of the deaths of Zaid, Ja'far and Abdullah as it's h
appening, and he is crying and then he said "until a sword from the sword of All
ah took it, and Allah gave them VICTORY". Clearly if the prophet PBUH himself sa
ys it is victory, then end of story it is a victory. This is therefore a theolog
ical point. The prophet PBUH said it so it's a victory.
2. Those who are more historians: Al Waqidi, ibn Sa'ad and non muslim historians

consider this to be a loss. They look at it from a military position. Why:

i) the muslims lost three very important leaders one after the other and they lo
st their flag
ii) the muslims had to retreat and the romans remained - generally speaking the
one who retreats is the loser
3. It's neither a victory or a defeat. It's in fact a draw. This is the position
of ibn Ishaaq, ibn Abdul Baar, ibn al Qiyyam - they all say Mu'tah is neutral (
similar to Uhud). Why? Because neither side attacked the other at the end of the
battle, and the two sides both returned back to their places. Further, neither
sides took prisoners of war. In terms of dead, the Romans had a little more but
it wasn't signifcant. Thus since both sides returned back home it's a tide and d
The prophet PBUH said it's a victory so theologically it's a victory. At the sam
e time, from a military perspective one can say it's a loss. Just like Hudaybiyy
a was a long term victory, short term all of the muslims were angry and saw it a
s a loss. Even the prophet PBUH said "Allah knows". So in the short term al Waaq
idia and Ibn Sa'ad have a point that the muslims had to retreat, they didn't con
quer even an inch. And of course the third opinion also has a lot of weight: nei
ther the Romans attacked the muslims, rather they let them go. Indeed its a vict
ory in the sense that the sahaba lived, but not militarily. It's a victory due t
o the fact that only 1% of the army was massacared. Also some historians try to
make every battle positive for the muslims. But rather this dosen't have to be t
he case. There is wisdom that some battles don't come out to be positive. That A
llah is showing us sometimes you have to struggle. And this is the same as Uhud.
We really don't have to demonstrate everything has to be read in a certain ligh
t. If you don't find anything negative, how can you relate to it since we oursel
ves go through negative? Here we have another wisdom and that is that, even the
sahaba are human. And sometimes they make a judgement that dosen't turn out to b
e the best choice in the short term.
So the sahaba returned back, the prophet PBUH rejoiced at their safe return but
within a few days, rumours began to spread, smear campaigns were launched agains
t the people who participated in Mu'tah. How do we know this? The prophet PBUH s
aw the wife of Salma bint Sham and the prophet PBUH said "what is the matter wit
h Salma? I haven't seen him". She said "Ya RasulAllah he has not come out of his
house. Every time he exits, people make fun of him and rebuke him and they say
'oh you who ran away, have you run away from the path of Allah?'" So Salma has r
emained in his house not leaving out of rebuke. Thus this shows us some of the s
ahaba felt a bit of positive anger, and the hypocrites felt a way of smearing, s
o the people who fought in Mu'tah were being mocked and smeared that "you are co
wards". When the prophet PBUH heard this, he said to all of the masjid "they are
not runners away, they are 'the ones who will come back and fight again'". So t
he prophet PBUH took the smear, changed one letter (in arabic), and he made a po
sitive word. And subhanAllah this shows us the wisdom of the prophet PBUH that h
e changed 'furaar' meaning 'runners away' to 'quraar' meaning 'those who come ba
ck to fight'. And this clearly shows us martydom is a goal of all muslims, but i
t's not a goal that you try to get foolishly. You don't walk into a battle and s
tand there waiting to die. This is not the way otherwide every warrior would jus
t throw his arms and say "come on kill me so I can meet Allah". Therefore these
sahaba returned back - some of the sahaba seemed overzealous and said "how dare
you turn your back and run away". But the prophet PBUH is showing no doubt marty
dom is a genuine goal of every muslim, but we don't want foolish and illegitimat
e martydom. They didn't run away out of cowards, they protected themselves and e
scaped so they can fight a proper battle later on.
Last week we mentioned the story of the women of Ja'far wailing. So the prophet
PBUH commanded food to be prepared for the women of Ja'far, and so food was prep

ared. And after three days he visited the wives and the children of Ja'far. And
he said "after today let no one cry over my brother". And subhanAllah he called
Ja'far his brother. And he called for the children of Ja'far. There was Abdullah
and Muhammad, and Abdullah was the older of the two. And he narrates this hadit
h - at the time he was around 6/7. So Abdullah is narrating that the prophet PBU
H visited him and his family after Ja'far died, and he called for the children t
o come. And Abdullah said "we looked like baby chickens" i.e. his hair was all d
isheveled. So the prophet PBUH sees this and orders a barber be called and their
hair be trimmed. And then he praises each children. He says "as for Muhammad, h
e looks just like my uncle Abu Talib". And Abu Talib is Muhammad ibn Ja'fars gra
ndfather. Then he called for Abdullah "as for Abdullah, he looks just like and a
cts like me". SubhanAllah - he is trying to console the children and make them f
eel special. And Abdullah was the eldest so the prophet PBUH held onto Abdullahs
hands, raised it up and said "Oh Allah allow Ja'fars progeny to remain" i.e. bl
ess them and give them baraqah. And "Oh Allah bless Abdullah in all his transact
ions" since he is the main man of the house. And he told them "your fathers hand
s have been substituted with two wings, and he is flying around in Jannah wherev
er he wants to go".
Their mother, Ja'fars wife, Asma bint Umais, was firstly the wife of Ja'far. The
n she will marry Abu Bukr RA, and when she marries him, the two of them have Muh
ammad ibn Abi Bukr. Then Abu Bukr passes away and she marries Ali ibn Abi Talib.
So she married Ja'far, Abu Bukr and Ali RA and from each she has children. And
of course this shows us the stigma of divorce/widow did not exist among the saha
ba. Many sahaba married one after the other. And it's mentioned when Ali was mar
ried to Asma, Muhammad ibn Ja'far and Muhammad ibn Abi Bark are two half brother
s. And so they began debating whose lineage is better. And they both say "I am t
his, I am that, my father is this". So Ali is sitting there watching them so to
tease Asma he says "Ok khalas your mother will be the judge" since she was marri
ed to both Ja'far and Abu Bukr. So he calls Asma out and says "you decide betwee
n your two sons". And he puts her on the spot and says "which of the two is bett
er?" Asma bint Umais says "As for the young men, then Ja'far is the sayyid of th
em - as for the wise, senior men, Abu Bukr is the sayyid of them". SubhanAllah l
ook at the wisdom. But then Ali says "what have you left for me?" And again it s
hows us so clearly it is ludicrous to think there were tensions between Abu Bukr
and the ahlul Bayt. Here is Ali marrying Abu Bukrs ex-wife; here is Ali joking
"which of the two is better, Abu Bukr or my own brother Ja'far?" And it's so obv
ious there was no tension amongst these great sahaba. Every incident of the seer
ah shows us even something as trivial as this, this tension is completely false
and only read in.
So Asma bint Umais comes out and begins to complain "Ya RasulAllah these are orp
hans who will take care of them?" And the prophet PBUH said "are you scared of p
overty for them? When I will be the one who will take care of them in this world
and the next". So subhanAllah the prophet PBUH himself took charge of the child
ren of Ja'far. This demonstrates the care and concern of the prophet PBUH for or
phans. We also derive interesting sunnah:
1. When a family suffers a death or tragedy, the close family/friends should tak
e charge to prepare and give food. This is proven in this hadith. The prophet PB
UH said "make food for the family of Ja'far because something has come that will
cause them to be too busy to cook".
2. It is sunnah to visit and give words of encouragement and consolation.
3. It is sunnah to visit but not for a long time i.e. it's discouraged to sit fo
r a long time. It's makrooh to turn that visit into a socialisation session. You
sit for an hour or so, and then leave and give them private time. Also it is ma
krooh for the host family to feed the visitors. It is wrong. The family who have
suffered a tragedy, they should not be hosting people who come. It is narrated

"we used to consider gathering in the house of the deceased and their preparing
food for us apart of the wailing the prophet PBUH forbid". Note 'gathering' mean
s making your visit into a socialisation. And also the host clearly should not p
repare food.
4. The prophet PBUH waited for three days - and indeed as we know for 3 days it
is allowed to mourn, after which we should stop except for the wife who remains
in her idaat. The legitimate mourning is to feel a sense of loss, greif and cryi
ng, and altering your lifestyle a little bit i.e. you are so depressed you don't
eat, you take time off work etc. This is halal to do for three days. Beyond thi
s, to beat yourself, wail out loud, cry claims of kufr "who will take care of me
?" etc. This is all haraam. So wailing i.e. raising your voice out loud and shri
eking, are haraam. And unfortunately it still happens today. And infact the prop
het PBUH "four are the things of jaheleya my ummah will never give up, the first
is 'wailing for the deceased'". So what is allowed is crying without wailing. O
ur prophet PBUH himself, when the news came he had to sit down. He is so overcom
e with grief he just sits. And he was crying. Aisha RA says "you could see the g
rief on his face". This is all permissable. As we said last week, the family of
Ja'far went beyond what's allowed - the prophet PBUH tried to stop them three ti
mes through the messenger until finally when it can't be done let it be. Until a
fter three days he himself comes and puts an end to it. This shows us that somet
imes you cannot enforce perfection in such sensitive matters. Even the extended
family of the prophet PBUH, things happen he could not control. After three days
, you have to deal with and get to terms with it - so after three days the proph
et PBUH came, shaved the boys head, told the woman to stop crying etc. And indee
d time heal all wounds. So three days is the maximum time given where the death
of someone can change our schedule. Except for the wife who remains in the house
for 4 months, 10 days and can mourn for longer which is the 'iddat' period.
How about Zaid? He of course had a son who was Usama bin Zaid. And its mentioned
after Mu'tah whenever the prophet PBUH would see Usama he would tear up and cry
. Because Usama is now 14/15 - just a young man, about to become an adult, and h
e now loses his father. And Usama resembled Zaid, so the prophet PBUH would tear
up and become griefstriken by looking at Usama out of love and the memories for
Zaid. And after a few days it's mentioned the prophet PBUH came to the masjid a
nd there was a group of sahaba huddled up, crying. So the prophet PBUH said "why
are you crying?" And they said "why should we not cry when the best of us and t
he most noble of us have left". So the prophet PBUH said "but do not cry, for th
e example of my ummah is like a garden whose owner has cut the leaves and the br
anches and prepared his houses, so that each year gives a better crop than the l
ast year". So the prophet PBUH is giving an anology, that for the garden to flou
rish in the next year, the owner must cut and clean up the garden. "And the mess
iah (Isa) will meet this ummah, and there will be a group he meets that are like
you or even better than you. And Allah will not humiliate an ummah; I am the fi
rst and Isa is the last". SubhanAllah. This hadith is a very beautiful hadith ibn Hajar says it is hasan but other scholars say it's slighly weak. The meaning
is definately beautiful; it's so true, that who are the last muslims to pass aw
ay in this ummah? It will be a group of people with Isa AS. Perhaps even the las
t to pass away is Isa AS himself. Hasan ibn Thabit and many other sahaba wrote l
ong lines of poetry for Mu'tah. The point is Mu'tah was one of the most traumati
c incidences. Look at the trauma and the grief that was inflicted upon all the s
ahaba and especially the prophet PBUH, and we see the importance and status of M
There is a side story mentioned: in the battle of Mu'tah, there was also a group
of helpers from Yemen. They joined the muslim army to help fight against the Ro
mans and christians. One of them a story is mentioned about: he only had one swo
rd in the fight. When the Romans came near, one of the muslims sacrificed an ani
mal so the man asked whether he could take the skin of the animal and the sahabi
said "take it". So he took it and made a leather armour out of the skin. And th

ere was a Roman with golden armour, and was reaking havoc in the lines of the mu
slims. So this man attacked him with only goat skin and a single sword. And mana
ged to kill this Roman, maybe general, and he took his horse, armour, weapons et
c as booty. And this is the fiqh: the one who kills a soilder gets the booty of
that person. When the battle is over, Khalid sees him and says "what is this?" T
he man said "I killed the Roman so I will get his booty". But it was so valuable
: golden armous, weapons, a beautiful horse etc that Khalid said "this is too mu
ch for one soilder! You must give some to the general treasury". But the man sai
d "this is the sunnah of the prophet PBUH". And indeed it was - it was a general
rule. And note it applies to an army that's not paid; the army is voluntary. An
d so each person gets the booty of whoever he kills, and on top of that a percen
tage out of the general fund. And remember the one with the horse gets 3x as muc
h as the one without. But Khalid insists "you won't get all of this" and takes h
is booty and just gives him a portion. The man says "I will complain to the prop
het PBUH".
The sahaba go back to Madinah, and the man goes to the prophet PBUH and tells hi
m what happened, that Khalid took his booty from him. So the prophet PBUH called
Khalid to confirm and he agreed. So the prophet PBUH said "here give it all bac
k". So Khalid gave him ALL that he earned. At this the man scoffed and mocked Kh
alid. So the prophet PBUH said "what is this? Why did you say this?" So the man
explained "I told him I would complain and your verdict is in my favour". At thi
s the prophet PBUH became angry with the arrogance of this man. That the man was
now boasting "did't I tell you, you got what you deserved". So the prophet PBUH
said "In that case oh Khalid, do not give it to him". So this man deserved his
booty, but when his arrogance got the better of him, the prophet PBUH needed to
send a message. That you cannot treat your leaders and generals in this manner.
When you are arrogant it's a worst sin. Khalid is a new muslim, he made a genuin
e mistake, he didn't know the ruling. But this man's arrogance trumped the fact
that he was right. And so in the end he didn't get anything. And this shows us t
he danger of arrogance even for the one upon the truth. We also see it's allowed
for a judge to change his ruling then and there. And the prophet PBUH said "are
n't you going to leave my leaders for me?" meaning 'have you no respect for my l
eaders that you will mock them (i.e. Khalid) in this manner?' Note, who appointe
d Khalid to be a leader? The prophet PBUH? No. The people. Yet he called Khalid
'HIS' leader; and this shows us the khalifa whom the people choose, is the khali
fa of Allah and His messenger on this Earth. This is sunni doctrine. Basically t
here's a hadith which says "the sultan is the representative of Allah on Earth"
meaning he is representing the shariah. So as sunni we believe the ruler has a s
pecial respect in matters of this dunya. Such hadith are applicable to legitimat
e Islamic ruler - NOT modern day secular presidents.
This battle is actually mentioned by the Byzantine chronicolers - the non muslim
writers. It's extremely interesting the earliest historian who writes about thi
s (St Theophanes, a monk who wrote a very large book in ancient latin called 'th
e Chronicles' translated into english). This work is the earliest work to mentio
n the prophet PBUH and even the battle of Mu'tah. And Theophanes died 828CE so v
ery early, a few hundreds years after the prophet PBUH dies. And he uses sources
we don't have - and one source is an arab source to discuss the Islamic side of
events. And no other Byzanitine chronocilor was so well equipped as St Theophan
es was. And very interestingly he mentions the battle of Mu'tah in his large boo
k. He mentions in the year 630 - and he always has the dates according to the Ro
man emporer and dates according to the civilisation of the time. So he says 'Her
aclius 22nd year', 'Abu Bakaras (Abu Bukr) 1st year'. This is a mistake from his
side - he is putting Mu'tah in the first year khilafa of Abu Bukr. Obviously he
isn't 100% accurate. And indeed his description of the prophet PBUH is full of
stereotypes, but the point is by this time they've heard of Islam, the prophet P
BUH, the sahaba etc and it's very interesting to look at things from their persp
ective. Yes it's full of inconsistencies, but he is mentioning a new religion, a
new prophet etc.

So he says in 'Heraclius 22nd year', 'Abu Bakaras (Abu Bukr) 1st year' - he says
'Moammed' i.e. Muhammad "had appointed four ameers (leaders) to fight the membe
rs of an Arab nation that were christian". Note this is another mistake, the pro
phet PBUH appointed three but agains its from his side. And he says they came to
the village 'Mukiah'. And he says "in that villiage was stationed 'Vecarious Th
eodore'". Note this 'Vecaraios' is actually the brother of Heraclius, and in Isl
amic sources we too find the brother of Heraclius fought in Mu'tah so this lines
up. "And they intended to fall upon the Arabs on the day they sacrificed their
idols". So he is saying the muslims chose a day that was a festival for these ar
abs. If this is the case, that makes a lot of sense. Our books do not mention an
ything like this. And he continues: "Vecarious, on learning this from a certain
'Qurayshite' (i.e. Qurayshi), called 'Qutaybas' who was in his pay" Meaning ther
e was a spy for the Romans and this must have been from the Arab christian commu
nity within the Quraysh. And he continues "He gathered all this information, ass
ertained the day and time they would attack, and therefore he himself attacked t
hem at a village called 'Mutas'". In our books such a village name is not mentio
ned. "And he killed three 'ameers' and the bulk of the army". The 'three ameers'
is true, but the 'bulk' is not true. The muslims only lost 1%. And he continues
: "one ameer, called Khalid, whom they called 'the SWORD OF GOD' escaped". Subha
nAllah. Theophanes is mentioning Khalid as the sword of Allah. They already know
Khalid is the one who caused the muslims to escape - why? Because 'they call hi
m the sword of God'. Meaning, the title which the prophet PBUH gave Khalid had r
eached the Roman empire! And Theofinees is writing this "they call this man the
'sword of God'".
And this is why Khalid ibn Waleed HAD to die in his bed. It is said he was visit
ed by someone and began crying. And he said to the visitor "turn me around look
at the front and back, you will not find two fingers on my body except that ther
e is a scar, mark and bruise. Yet here I am dying on my bed". Khalid has warrior
blood, and he dosen't want to die on his bed. He spent his whole life fighting,
yet he is helpless on his bed. He dosen't understand the wisdom. But all the la
ter scholars say "Khalid was the sword of Allah. And it is not allowed for ANYON
E to break the sword of Allah in a battle. Only the one who unsheathed the sword
can put it back where it belongs". SubhanAllah. He's too holy to die on the bat
tlefield. The one man who did so much, he is actually called the 'Sword of Allah
', he is not allowed to die in battle.
Final point: the primary benefit of Mu'tah opened up the northen lands. 95% of t
he battles of the seerah are southern. Mu'tah was the largest battle up north. I
t was the mother of all northen battles. Mu'tah - we agree the Romans were not d
efeated, and the christian arabs weren't defeated, but the reach of the ummah ha
s spread. And the strength of the muslims is established, and fear is put into t
he hearts of the Arab christian tribes. And we will see, when the prophet PBUH h
imself marched north, they couldn't even fight him. There's no denying Mu'tah ha
d a huge impact. If only 3000 could do so much damage and still escape, what wil
l be done when the real general and commander, the prophet PBUH himself turns up
? So when Tabuk takes place, they don't even show up! They don't even fight. So
it's the first and only major battle that takes place up north. It's also the fi
rst and only battle with the Romans in the lifetime of the prophet PBUH. Khalid
in paticular gets that experiance and he knows the tactics of the Romans, and Al
lah will use him later on to fight the Romans. Now when does Mu'tah take place?
The beginning of the 8th year of Hijrah. The conquest of Mecca is Ramadan 8H. Ha
jj atul wad'a is the 10th year. The very next incident is the conquest of Mecca.
Recall Hudaybiyya is 6th year, Mu'tah is beginning of 8th. During these two yea
rs, every single serious threat to the muslims has been eliminated. By going up
north, the message has been given "you cannot attack us". This is the LEAST thin
g. Recall the gasaanid cheifton said "I will come to Madinah, I will do this and
that". Now he won't do nothing. Once he's seen what the muslims are capable off
in their own lands they will not move. So Mu'tah was not a pure victory, but th

e message was delivered which is "don't mess with us". Therefore every serious o
ppisition has gone, the only 'threat' left is a weak, pathetic, insignificant Qu
raysh. They have nothing left and they are all defectiving over. Even Amr ibn Al
As, the statesman sees this. And therefore we will be moving on to the pinnacle
of seerah, the conquest of Mecca.