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We move on to the battle of Hunayn and Ta'if.

Recall we discussed Khalid's mista

ke; there is another tragedy that took place which we didn't mention, and it was
very interesting because it shows the soft spot of the prophet PBUH. Of the lit
tle incidences that took place, one of the prisoners of war executed by Khalid w
as a young man. And he begged the sahabi to take him to the women side, so the s
ahabi agreed. And there, he talked to his betrothe since he was engaged, and he
versified a beautiful love poetry for her, mentioned in ibn Ishaaq. And she in r
eturns is wailing and gives back a love poem. And as he is executed she takes hi
m and dies in his arms. Obviously again, this was not something the prophet PBUH
commanded; Khalid made itjihad and he was criticised and the compensation was p
aid. When the prophet PBUH heard this story, he became enraged even more. And he
said "wasn't there anybody that had mercy in his heart to stop Khalid from doin
g this?" And it's amazing that the prophet PBUH had a soft spot and mercy for ro
mantacism. For the romantic poetry that was versified between the two. Walahi it
's very interesting this happened in the incident of Khalid.
Getting back to Mecca, recall the prophet PBUH camped there for 19 days. And new
s came that a large army was gathering outside of Mecca. Who is now going to att
ack? The only city within attacking distance, which is Ta'if. And if you recall,
the tribe name of Ta'if is Takeef - and their idol is al Lat. So the Takeef and
Quraysh have been competing for centuries. But now that Quraysh has been defeat
ed, Takeef wants to fight. Why? One reason is that Takeef assumed the prophet PB
UH would attack them next after Mecca. This seems wrong, for why would the proph
et PBUH attack the citidel of Ta'if? Rather, what seems to be the case is that t
he tribe of Takeef understood "if we don't take Mecca back, idoletry will go". A
lso they wanted to regain control of the kab'ah. So they had two intentions:
1) They want to protect paganism. They realise with Mecca conquered there is no
stopping monotheism from spreading.
2) The Quraysh have been vanquished, so they wanted to become the new custodians
of the ka'bah.
So the tribe of Takeef began sending out delegations to every single pagan tribe
in Arabia. Never had the Arabs united like this, and we this constantly. First
in Uhud, then in Ahzab, and now in the battle of Hunayn coming up. Each time the
numbers grow. And the battle of Hunayn was the largest gathering of pagan Arabs
in the history of Arabia. Since the Arabs were a civilisation, they have been d
isunited in disjointed groups/tribes. Never had anything united them other than
tribalism. For the first time there is a religious war taking place: monotheism
v paganism. With the Quraysh gone, the Takeef become the best chance to keep pag
anism alive over monotheism. So Takeef send out as many emmisaries as they could
; eventually over 20,000 pagans gathered together under the banner of Takeef. Of
course there were many tribes gathered - Takeef was the largest. The second lar
gest was Hawaazin. There are plenty more. To be simplistic, the Takeef comprised
of the people lived in the city of Ta'if, the Hawaazin were the bedouins who li
ved around Ta'if. They together formed around 10,000.
The prophet PBUH obviously heard rumours this was happening. So he sent a relati
vely new convert, Abdullah ibn Abi Hadrat to intermix with the people, pretend h
e's walking along with them and gather informaton. He comes back and informs tha
t "never have I seen this many people" and he tells the muslims of their armour,
weapons etc. Now as we mentioned before, the people of Ta'if had a natural adva
ntage that they lived on a plateau. And they were naturally protected; they were
better fed, they had access to rainwater and vegetation, they had armour, fortr
esses etc. So Abdullah ibn Abi Hadrat informs the prophet PBUH about what is hap
pening. What does the prophet PBUH do? As always he calls he senior companions,
Abu Bukr, Umar etc. And he says "what shall we do?" The senior companions are sh
ocked and taken aback. They just conquered Mecca, it's a happy time, and suddene
ly there is war. So there was confusion, silence and sudden concern.

Umar RA said "perhaps Abdullah is wrong". And Abdullah became enraged: he said "
perhaps if you think I am wrong, don't forget you thought someone better than me
was wrong too". So he prodded back at Umar RA saying "you were once a kafir and
you once thought the prophet PBUH was wrong". So Umar RA became enraged and he
complained to the prophet PBUH - and the prophet PBUH responded "indeed Umar you
were misguided and Allah guided you to Islam". And this small incident shows th
e humanity of the sahaba. They were not perfect. You will never find any society
that dosen't have differences and minor arguments. In Allahs wisdom He demonstr
ated the most perfect society that had these differences, but at the end of the
day the sahaba were united and obediant to Allah. It also shows us, it dosen't m
ake you a bad muslim to fall into a minor issue - if you say something in anger
etc. Both of them are not really sinful, but obviously it's not the right ettiqu
ite. So in this we learn the humanity of the sahaba, and also the wisdom of the
prophet PBUH. He just calmed the situation down and he didn't take sides.
So the prophet PBUH realised there would be war, so he asked help from the new c
onverts. There were around 2000 men in Mecca in addition to the 10,000 who came
from Madinah. Therefore, some of the big names participated in the battle of Hun
ayn, some who weren't even muslim. There is a contraversy as to whether non musl
ims can fight in the side of muslims: this incident suggests yes. In any case, o
f those who fought was Safwan ibn Ummayah, the son of Ummayah ibn Khalaf. Right
now he isn't a muslim, rather he's asked the prophet PBUH for protection for 2 m
onths. So the prophet PBUH goes to Safwan, and Safwan has lots of weapons and ar
mour. So Safwan said "are you taking it from me, or are you asking me as a loan?
" The prophet PBUH said "I'm asking you for a loan I guarantee I will pay back".
This also shows the fiqh principle: when you borrow something you are responsib
le for it. Islamic law requires you pay back any damages. He also went to Abu Su
ffyan ibn Al Harb and borrowed armour from him; and also from Hakim ibn Al Hizaa
m. All of this was borrowed and it was all paid back.
The prophet PBUH left Mecca on the 6th Shawwal. As we said the prophet PBUH stay
ed in Mecca for 19 days as reported in Bhukari - other scholars and source say 1
0, some say 2 weeks etc but we will stick with 19. For those who said less than
19, they say he left Mecca on the 28th Ramadan, but we'll stick with Bhukari so
he left on the 6th Shawwal, and he arrived in Hunayn on the 10th. There were aro
und 12,000 people - 10,000 sahaba, and 2000 from Mecca most of whom are muslims.
Why Hunayn? The people of Ta'if had already camped in that region. The people o
f Ta'if numbered around 20,000 and their chiefton was newly elected by the name
of Malik ibn Awf A-Nasri. So this is his first major battle - an interesting thi
ng happens, and it's the clash of the young and the old. It's mentioned one of t
he oldest most senior noblemen of Ta'if, Juraid ibn Aseema, was brought to the b
attle to get his blessings. He is an old guard, he's fought in so many battles,
so the army wanted the blessings and wisdom of his presence. Note he was blind.
So when he was brought to the battlefield, he says "I can sense there are women
and children, and there are animals here - who has commanded all of them to come
to the battle?" He is told the new cheifton, Malik ibn Awf. So he says "bring M
alik ibn Awf to me".
And he tells Malik "Why can I hear the babies crying, and the goats bleeting, wh
y have you brought the entire civilisaton of Takeef here?" So Malik says "I've b
rought them because I want ever man to have his family and property behind him,
so he fights the best fight possible". But Juraid severely rebuked him and told
him it was a foolish move "your women, children and goats won't help you win the
war - a man who will lose is not going to win merely because his family is behi
nd him". He then asked for paticular subtribes that were known for warfare and i
ntellegance: but all of those subtribes he named they didn't show up. So they kn
ow what Malik did was unwise. So Juraid advised Malik to go back rather than fig
ht, and he said "if you won't listen, at least take the precious eggs of Takeef
and bring them back to the fortress for their presence won't help. If you win yo

u will go back and enjoy their company; if you lose at least they will be safe b
ack home". This is a very sensible suggestion; and the people of Takeef thought
"this is wise we should listen to him". But Malik mocks Juraid and says "you've
lost the plot you don't understand go back home". When he saw the people were st
ill not fully sure, he said to his people "walahi if you don't listen to me, in
front of you I will kill myself". So with this the people of Takeef kept their f
amilies and flock on the battlefield. And truly this is the age old problem betw
een youthful zeal vs old age wisdom. Every society faces this issue.
In any case, the muslims exited Mecca and note never up until this time the musl
im army numbered 12,000. It's a massive amount - they had 20,000 of course but t
he muslims had so much weaponary, artilary and never had they had the number of
horses and camels. So one of them remarked "how can we be destroyed when we are
12,000?" The news reached the prophet PBUH that there is a muslim boasting, so t
he prophet PBUH immediately responded back, that "do not say this, for verily th
ere was a prophet from amongst the prophets, who looked at his army and he felt
arrogant and proud. And as he looked, Allah sent a disease and calamity and righ
t then and there the army was destroyed without meeting the enemy in the battlef
ield". And of course the prophet PBUH is trying to show us the problem of arroga
nce. Never assume you are the best or undefeatable. Look at how the prophet PBUH
entered Mecca - his face is bowed down all the way to the camel's back. So the
prophet PBUH is worried about arrogance, and Allah talks about this: "on the day
of Hunayn". And subhan'Allah Hunayn is mentioned explicitly: only three battles
are mentioned by name in the Quran, Badr, Ahzab and Hunayn. So Allah says "on t
he day of Huyayn, when your quantity decieved you (i.e. you felt arrogant), all
of your quantity was not able to help you. And the Earth felt very narrow and co
nstrained for you". We will discuss what the verse means later.
One of the reasons some muslims were feeling arrogant was because they were bran
d new muslim who had just accepted Islam. This is shown in a long, interesting h
adith that happens right now. It's the famous hadith of Abu Waaqid al Laythee. H
e's a brand new convert, and he's just converted one week ago. And Abu Waqid nar
rated this hadith, and it's called "the hadith of the hanging tree". Abu Waqid s
ays "when were on our way to Hunayn, we passed by a tree called 'Dhatu Anwaat'"
which means 'that which you hangs things on'. And he says "this tree was magnifi
cent and lavish and green, so the Quraysh would make a festival around this tree
, and every year they would go to it, sacrifice animals, and they would hang the
ir weapons on this tree for good luck to help them in battle". So the muslims pa
ssed by this tree, and Abu Waaqid al Laythee says O Messenger of Allah! Why don't
you make for us a Dhatu Anwaat, just as they have a Dhatu Anwaat? So our prophet
PBUH said "SubhanAllah. I swear by the One whose hands is in my soul, you have
said exactly like the children of Israel said to Moses when they said..." We all
know the story when Allah saved the children of Isreal from the red sea, they c
ome across a nation that is worshipping an idol. And they say to Musa "Make for
us an idol like they have" and Musa AS becomes angry with them. Of course this i
s in the Quran, so the prophet PBUH says "you are asking me exactly what the Ban
i Isreal said to Musa AS". And the prophet PBUH quotes the Quran, and quotes wha
t Musa AS said, that "you are an ignorant people". And he says "Walahi this is t
he custom you will follow the people before you".
This is famous incident of Dhatu Anwaat and it has many theological benefits.
1) The issue of good luck charms: wearing something that is blessed or holy or w
earing something that will bring about good. Obviously this is wrong, and only A
llah has the power to help. That is the whole point of 'La illaha ilallah'. To a
scribe power to other than Allah, is to ascribe to another God besides Allah. If
you say "I have a good luck charm", you are ascribing to another entity the pow
er to help, preserve or protect or give you good luck - but only Allah has this
power. So in Islam, we don't believe in any such superstitious rituals or pagani
stic customs i.e. black cats crossing, Friday 13th etc. And also taweez with wei

rd symbols, and the custom of five fingers (found in Sufi, Shia groups). And the
other common thing is a turqoise eye which is meant to protect you from Ayn. Pe
ople actually believe that will protect them from the evil eye - but this is a t
ype of shirk. It's in essence a type of idol. You are giving your hope, servitud
e and tawaqul in that thing, besides Allah. If something happens to that thing y
ou get worried "who will protect us now". Therefore this hadith demonstrates cle
arly believing evil omens are no joke - they are shirk. The prophet PBUH swore b
y Allah Abu Waaqidi said what the children of Israel said - but of course they d
idn't say the same explicit things. Abu Waaqidi wanted a good luck charm, and th
e Bani Israel said literally "we want an idol". So the words are different, but
the essence and meaning is the same so the prophet PBUH is swearing by Allah the
y are the same.
Point of note: the Quran cannot be equated with a taweez or a thing. Why? Becaus
e the Quran is the uncreated speech of Allah. It's an attribute of Allah. It's n
ot seperate from Allah. We can seek protection through the Quran; so when we are
scared we recite the Quran and expect it to benefit us. When we are in trouble
we recite the Quran. Therefore to have a physical verse of the Quran in your hou
se, it can never be shirk. But some scholars have said it is not befitting the d
ignity of the Quran to be used as a talisman physically; it should be said only
verbally. It's not shirk and can never be, but the issue is showing respect to t
he Quran. If you for example have the Quran in the glove compartment in the car,
it cannot be shirk, but is it dignified to throw the Quran in the glove compart
ment? Not really. The Quran is a noble book - so some scholars have said it's no
t befitting to treat it in this regard. Similarly, if someone writes ayat-al-kur
si and folds it into a small pouch and makes it in a taweez - the question isn't
"is it haraam/shirk?". Rather the question is "is it befitting to have the Qura
n dangling from your neck?". What will you do when you have to go to the bathroo
m. What will you do when you are commiting sins? Is it befitting? What will you
do if you have relations with your spouse? So the question is - is it showing di
gnity to the Quran? So we should be careful because the Quran we must treat as a
holy book. And we put it high on the shelf and we show respect to it. If you pu
t it on the wall for baraqah, we say the same thing - it's not wrong as long as
you are showing proper respect.
2) Another we learn is at times of amazement we should say an Islamic phrase - b
eing vulgar is not of the ettiquites of Islam. It should be avoided. When the pr
ophet PBUH heard something astonishing to him, when he heard essentially "let's
do shirk", did he utter a curse word? No he said "subhanAllah". So these phrases
should be incooporated in our vocabulary. Here we have the prophet PBUH teachin
g us the best of manners.
3) Also Abu Waaqid al Laythee asked for blatant shirk, but was he a mushrik? No.
Our prophet PBUH pronounced a verdict on his saying, but not on him. This is a
very important distinction the average muslim does not make. A person commiting
kufr dosen't become a kaafir. A person commiting bid'a dosen't become a murtad.
There are conditions that must be met, and it is the job of the scholars to deci
de, not the layman. You cannot start pronouncing kaafir etc. A muslim can commit
an action of kufr but not be a kufr. Abu Waaqid is literally asking for shirk a
s defined by the prophet PBUH, but he was not pronounced a mushrik. Why? Ignoran
ce - he dosen't understand Islam right now. He thinks "ok I've left paganism, I
can't worship that tree, maybe Islam can give me another special tree". So the p
rophet PBUH gives him the excuse of ignorance. And this is especially true in ou
r days and age. Muslims are so ignorant that they'll do the most bizzare things
wrongly in the name of Islam. And many of us need to teach them with wisdom, not
pronounce verdicts on them.
4) The final point our prophet PBUH predicted that we will follow the ways of th
e people before us. And this shows us, what is prohibited is to abandon our theo
logy and rituals and take them from others. What is allowed however is to take s

cience and culture from others. The prophet PBUH forbade to take their ways of w
orship and rituals just like the Bani Israel did.
So the muslims reached the camps of Hunayn at night. They prayed salaatul Isha a
nd one of the companions agreed to guard the camps overnight. The prophet PBUH g
ave him the good news of Jannah, and another group came back reporting the large
quantity of camels and sheep of the enemy. And they said that all their propert
y, women and animals are there too. This worried some of the muslims because whe
n you have all the property, animals etc there, it shows immense confidence - an
d this is what the young cheifton wanted. But the prophet PBUH smiled and said "
tomorrow this will be the ganeema we will take insha'Allah". This shows us the o
ptimism of the prophet PBUH. It's apart of Islam to always be optimistic - to th
ink the best of what will happen. And whenever you say something about the futur
e, you must say insha'Allah.
What happened? This was of course Taqif territory. And the enemy knew it inside
out. And what they had done was that, they planted devious and intellegant tacti
cs. They selected a valley that the people of Mecca would have to cross to get t
o the other side, and they stationed at the end of that valley a small contingen
t from Hawaazim that was fully battle prepared. So the muslims thought "this is
where we must attack". However, the tribes of Taqif and Hawaazim stationed group
s of archers in the moutains on top to the left and right. And they stationed mu
ltiple groups of archers throughtout the entire length of the mountains. The tac
tic was the muslims be lured into the valley, and once they are inside, the cont
ingent of Hawaazim will pretend to be defeated, causing more muslims to rush in,
but when all the muslims are in between the mountains either side, the real att
ack will be launched which is two fold:
1) Archers from the top - hundreds of archers showering arrow after arrow onto t
he entire muslim army and they cannot do anything
2) The actual army of 20,000 would charge forward into the valley to kill the mu
And this was exactly what happened as they planned it down to the dot. The musli
ms rushed forward, the initial Hawaazim contingent pretended to be defeated, thi
s made the muslims happier so they rushed all forward and then when the bulk of
the muslim army is between this pass - the signal is given, there was a loud noi
se and instantly volleys of arrows start coming in from everywhere. And the main
Hawaazim and Taqif army charged in and the muslims panicked. And this is exactl
y what Allah mentions in the Quran "the Earth became narrow for you despite its
vastness, and all of you turned and fled. Then Allah blessed you, and you came b
ack". So they turned and fled en masse. Hundreds of muslims just running for the
ir lives with no care for anyone else. This was compounded by many things:
1) Most of these were brand new muslims. Some of them were not even muslim.
2) The attack was such a suprise they had no idea it was coming.
3) The problem of arrows is something we cannot fully imagine. Arrows just come
out of nowhere. By the time you see it, it's too late to deflect it. When you ha
ve people firing from the top, it's almost impossible to deflect.
4) Because of the sheer quantity of the muslims, 12,000, the bulk of them did no
t the proper helmets and armour to defend themselves.
And the prophet PBUH was almost left unguarded; of course he was still on his mu
le but it's as if everyone was fleeing around him. And the prophet PBUH stood up
on his mount and began to call out "come to me, I am the messenger of Allah, th
e son of Abdullah". With him was Abu Bukr, Umar and Ali and some of the Quraysh.

And the prophet PBUH was with Abbass. And he was known to be a man with a loud
voice. So he said to Abbass "call out to the people of Ridwan (Hudaybiyya)". And
they were the first on the list showing their level of imaan. They he said "cal
l out to the Ansar" and he mentioned tribe after tribe. And it's as if, as each
tribe was mentioned, they awoke from their slumber and realised "what are we doi
ng fleeing like this". So they all began going back to the prophet PBUH. And the
y responded by saying "here we respond to your call". And the prophet PBUH himse
lf kept on raising his voice and said "I am the prophet of Allah, there is no li
e about this, I am the son (grandson) of Abdul Muttalib".
This is very interesting: he combines between Islam and tribalism. This clearly
shows the prophet PBUH is invoking both Islamic loyalties and tribal loyalties.
Why? Because the people around him are new muslims from the Quraysh and they wil
l most likely respond to the prophet PBUH being the grandson of Abdul Muttalib t
han him being the messenger of Allah. And this shows us that nationalism can be
used for good purposes if used properly. The prophet PBUH is invoking "who am I?
My grandfather is Abdul Muttalib". We all know in Islam it dosen't matter, but
invoking it for a legitimate cause is fine. After all who is Abdul Muttalib? The
greatest Arab to ever live in Jaheleya. The most beloved and prestigious - ever
y single Arab knows and loves him for all that he did. And who is the prophet PB
UH? The son of the most beloved son of Abdul Muttalib. And the prophet PBUH was
the most beloved grandson to Abdul Muttalib, so now he brings back that lineage,
and there is nothing wrong with this.
And of those who remained along with the immediate sahaba Umar and Uthman etc wa
s his first cousin, Abu Suffyan ibn al Harith ibn Abdul Muttalib. And it's narra
ted the prophet PBUH looked around and there was a man in armour holding on to t
he saddle of the mule. And he said "who is this?" And Abu Suffyan said "Ya Rasul
Alah I am the son of your mother (i.e. grandmother)". And as we mentioned he beg
ged the prophet PBUH to forgive him and he said he was sorry, and this now prove
s his imaan. Contrastingly, we see the weakness of some of the people who have n
ewly embraced Islam. Of those was Safwan ibn Ummayah, and also his brother. When
the muslims began to flee, the brother of Safwan said "good, today the magic sp
ell will be broken". Of course they accused the prophet PBUH of being a magician
- to which Safwan replied "shut up, for by Allah I would rather be ruled by a Q
urayshi than a Hawaazim". Meaning what? Pure tribalism. Nothing to do Islam or h
im being the prophet PBUH. Now we see why the prophet PBUH is saying "I am the s
on of Abdul Muttalib". And even the other main Abu Suffyan expresses some satisf
action at what is happening. This clearly demonstrates not all of the new conver
ts had fully converted.
And we learn of an interesting phrase here that Safwan said to his brother "may
God destroy all of your teeth" i.e. "may you never speak again". But the very co
mmon opposite expression in our days is a play on this, which is "may you always
speak eloquently". Another phrase from this incident which is common in the Ara
bic language; the first people to every say it was the prophet PBUH and people u
se it to this day. That phrase is "now the real fight begins" i.e. when the figh
t is reaching to the main serious good bit. The prophet PBUH is the first Arab t
o ever say this expression. When did he say it? When the sahaba came around him
and fought back. He said "now the battle will begin". From that time up until no
w it's a common saying the Arabs use. When the sahaba became coming back, this r
oused up the army, and the prophet PBUH stood up again and took a symbolic handf
ul of dust and said "may you all be vanquished". And of course this blinded them
, and the entire group of archers could not fire after this. And the prophet PBU
H began praying and making dua, and that was when the battle changed.