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As we said the battle of Tabuk is so many lessons but there is no battle.

We wil
l continue discussing the stories that occured during this time.
Realise we haven't actually left Madinah yet. We have discussed things that happ
ened in Madinah. Today, let us depart from Madinah and we'll spend a few more le
ssons going back and forth. The prophet PBUH left behind Muhamamd ibn Maslama as
the person in charge of the affairs of Madinah. Whenever the prophet PBUH left,
he would appoint someone in charge. And he told Ali ibn Abi Talib "you must sta
y behind and you will take charge of my family". So Ali will manage the mother o
f the believers, the ahlul bayt etc. After all this journey will take more than
a month. When the prophet PBUH said this, the munafiqun began mocking Ali RA, th
at he is a burden, not worthy of fighting. Of course Ali RA is well known for hi
s bravery, courage and fighting prowess. He is a young man so this type of mocki
ng really affected him. And so he put on his armour, took his sword in his hand,
and he caught up with the army of the prophet PBUH. And he said "Ya RasulAllah
are you leaving me with the women and children while the munafiqun are mocking m
e that I am not qualified to fight?" So he begged the prophet PBUH to let him go
. SubhanAllah this is the real imaan: the true believers wanted to go, the munaf
iqun stayed behind and yet they had the audacity to accuse those who didn't go o
f cowardice. So the prophet PBUH consoled Ali RA and said "are you not content t
o be with me like Haroon was with Musa?" This is a famous hadith used by especia
lly the shia groups.
So the prophet PBUH said "Are you not happy that our relationship is like that o
f Haroon and Musa, except that there is no prophet after me (so don't take it li
terally)". And the prophet PBUH said "they are liars, for I have only left you t
o be in charge of my family". This is one of the evidences the shia use to say A
li RA should have been the khalifa after the prophet PBUH. And, in response, we
affirm every single blessing for Ali including this one. But we must also take i
nto account all the other evidences. This narration alone does not suggest that
Ali was indicated to become the next khalifa. Rather, even in this incident, Ali
RA was not left in charge of the city. It was Muhammad ibn Maslama. And Ali RA
was chosen because he is within the ahlul bayt. Who will take care of the family
of the prophet PBUH? Of course someone in the family! And Ali RA was married to
the daughter of the prophet PBUH. This is what the prophet PBUH said: he left
Ali to be in charge of his family. Even the context of the narration does not in
dicate the relationship is a political one; rather it indicates the closeness of
the prophet PBUH with Ali RA. Just like Musa AS and Haroon AS were brothers, th
at's how close the prophet PBUH is with Ali RA. And that is definately a blessin
g we affirm to Ali ibn Abi Talib. Moreoever there are many evidences we will com
e to of the prophet PBUH as explicitly as possible indicating that Abu Bukr RA w
as supposed to be the next khalifa.
In any case, the prophet PBUH continued going until he reached a very famous pla
ce of Madinah but few are aware. And this is the place of Thaniyatul Wada'a. And
what is this place? Thainya is a hill, and wada'a means 'goodbye'. And north of
the haram in Madinah, there was a small mount/hill that the family members of a
ny caravan going up north would walk with them to wave goodbye and give their wi
shes until they all climbed up to Thaniyatul Wada'a. Then the family would remai
n and the others would go on and the people would wave goodbye. Note the famous
poem we know did not occur at the Hijrah; when the prophet PBUH immigrated, the
majority of Madinah wasn't muslim. Plus he came from the south direction. The fa
mous poem happened when the prophet PBUH came back from Tabuk. The people went o
ut to Thaniyatul Wada'a to welcome the prophet PBUH back - of course all of Madi
nah is muslim so they are all rejoicing the return of the prophet PBUH.
Now, after the prophet PBUH passed by the Thaniyatul Wada'a, he paused and reorg
anised the troops; we already said it was the largest number ever assembled, 15,
000 to 30,000. So the prophet PBUH assigned battalions, leaders, subleaders etc.
This demonstrates the extreme competance, management skills and organisational

skills of the prophet PBUH, even though he never trained in military school. He
assigned leaders to subgroups with flags etc. Al Waaqidi goes into much detail a
bout which leader was assigned with which flag etc. As usual our prophet PBUH di
vided based upon the tribes. Again, no doubt Islam came to eliminate tribalism,
yet it is human nature that people of one region, language and ethnicity have th
e same affinity. Islam does not obliterate those ties. Thus even in battle it is
better to have the people you know around you. In our times, the issues of nati
onality etc - there is nothing wrong with feeling an affinity with people from y
our background, nation state and culture. You feel an affinity based on nothing
but nationality and there is nothing wrong with this.
So the prophet PBUH departed out. On the journey a number of things happened, to
day we'll mention one/two. One of the things that happened is narrated by Mu'ad
ibn Jabal in the musnad Imam Ahmed. The musnad of Imam Ahmed is a very large boo
k; the largest present compilation of hadith in our times. It is published in 50
volumes, and this is volume 36, hadith number 22,122. It is a beautiful narrati
on - again the incident of Tabuk has incidents spread throughout, there is no ba
ttle like Badr or Uhud. It is narrated that Mu'ad ibn Jabal narrated "when the p
rophet PBUH went out towards Tabuk, after he had prayed Fajr with the people on
the way to Tabuk, the people went back on their camels. And when the sun began t
o rise up, the people began falling asleep on their mounts". So they are getting
sleepy. And Mu'ad said he is following the prophet PBUH, but as the people fell
asleep, their camels began splitting up and Mu'ads camel almost tripped. So Mu'
ad said "I jerked it back with the reigns and it went up and scared the camel of
the prophet PBUH. At this, the camel of the prophet PBUH ran forward. And the p
rophet PBUH was wearing his turban around his face, so he took it off and looked
behind to see who has done this. And he saw me".
So the prophet PBUH said "Ya Mu'ad!" Mu'ad said "Labayk ya RasulAllah". The prop
het PBUH said "come here". So Mu'ad said "I came close to him, until our saddles
were touching one another. And the prophet PBUH said "I didn't realise the peop
le are so seperated from us" because everyone is here and there. So Mu'ad said "
the people became sleepy and the camels went all around". And it's no big deal,
they are all wondering. Allah knows what day this is: everyone is tired on the w
ay to Tabuk. So the prophet PBUH said "I didn't realise the people are so far aw
ay" and Mu'ad makes an excuse "Ya RasulAllah they fell asleep our of being tired
". So the prophet PBUH said "and I too was sleeping" so Mu'ad said "when I saw t
hat I am so close to the prophet PBUH and there is nobody else except the two of
us, I said 'Ya RasulAllah give me permission to ask you something'". SubhanAlla
h the sahaba were waiting for this type of opportunity and look at the adhab of
Mu'ad. So much manners, that he is all alone with the prophet PBUH, and they are
on a long journey and Mu'ad is so happy that he finally has private time with t
he prophet PBUH. So he's asking permission. So Mu'ad says "Give me permission to
ask a question which has caused me to think and ponder until I've become sick".
What a beautiful hadith. So the prophet PBUH said "ask whatever you want". So M
u'ad said "Ya RasulAllah tell me what I can do to enter Jannah, something only y
ou can tell me".
So Mu'ad is saying "I have a question, thinking about which has made me sick". H
e's going crazy with the question, and what is the question? "What do I need to
do to enter Jannah?" So the prophet PBUH said an expression used to indicate goo
d fortune i.e. 'great', 'what a noble thing' or 'wow' (but it's not translateabl
e). The prophet PBUH is praising Mu'ad for the question. And the prophet PBUH sa
id "you have asked a great matter (three times)". And he said "and it is an easy
thing if Allah wants good for you (three times)". Mu'ad said the prophet PBUH w
ould always repeat the important things three times. Then Mu'ad said the prophet
PBUH said "believe in Allah and the last day, and you offer the salah, and you
worship Allah alone, and you do this until you die upon this". So Mu'ad said "re
peat this for me" so the prophet PBUH repeated. THen the prophet PBUH said "If y
ou want I will inform you about the head of this matter (most important part), t

he backbone (pillar) and the crown (jewel) of the matter". So Mu'ad said "yes of
course, may my mother and father be given in your randsom" and this is how the
sahaba addressed the prophet PBUH. So the prophet PBUH said "the head of all of
this is the shahada, the backbone is establishing the salah and giving zakat, an
d the crown jewels is jihad for the sake of Allah". And remember they are on jih
ad right now. Then the prophet PBUH said "I have been commanded to do kitaal (fi
ght) of the people until they establish salah, give zakah and testify the shahad
a, and if they do then their lives and properties are protected in the rights of
This hadith is commonly misused by the extremist groups. The fact is the prophet
PBUH said this hadith on the way to Tabuk. So the prophet PBUH is telling us WH
Y he is going to Tabuk. Therefore when the prophet PBUH says 'an-nas', this mean
s the 'people' in the context of what he is talking about. Thus the islamic stat
e is not obliged to be waging war against everyone. That is why the abbasids and
ottomans had boundaries, and were not always at war with everyone on the outsid
e. Then the prophet PBUH said "I swear by the one whose Hand is my soul, no face
becomes tired, no foot becomes dusty in any deed that will raise it higher in J
annah, after the fard salah, like jihad in the way of Allah". So face becoming t
ired and feet becoming dusty; and again this is being said in the battle of Tabu
k. So it is an encouragment for a legitimate jihad for the sake of Allah. And th
e prophet PBUH said "nothing makes the scales heavier than spending money on an
animal that is in the way of Allah or carrying people in the way of Allah".
So the prophet PBUH marched towards Tabuk; we don't have an exact date as to whe
n he arrived, but we know he stayed there for 20 days. And he prayed kasar throu
ghout all of this 20 days. This issue is narrated in many hadith. So he prayed t
wo raka'at, never the full four raka'at for the fard prayers. This of course lea
ds to a huge contraversy, especially present in early Islam, that how long can y
ou remain a traveller? THe majority of scholars in all four madhabs, they all sa
id, this hadith ONLY applies to the state of war. You cannot extrapolate from th
is '20 days'. And it is only legitimate when you do not know how many days you w
ill remain at a location. When the enemy might attack at any time. Then you may
do kasar for 20 days, or even 6 months. If you are literally on the battlefield,
and you don't know when you are going to come back, or when the enemy will atta
ck. Then there is no time limit because every day is uncertain. So the majority
opinion is that this narration is irrelevant to the traveller going to London, T
oronto etc and staying for a fixed amount. Other schools of thought say "no this
hadith shows you can be a traveller for up to 20 days". This is an opinion held
outside of the four madhab.
Ibn Tammiyah and others held the view there is no time limit for a traveller as
long as there is a legitimate reason. Majority scholars say 4 days is the time l
imit - if you know you will stay more than 4 days, or 21 salah - you cannot do
kasar salah. This is the maliki, shafi' and hanbali position. And the hanafi pos
ition says 15 days (half a month) you may remain as a traveller. The correct opi
nion in fact is that, there is no paticular number of days. Rather, if you are a
bonafide traveller in an akward circumstance, then it can prolong the time limi
t. If you are not a traveller and even if it's for two days and you are at 'home
', then again you are not a traveller (i.e. if you go to a vacation house).
In any case, the prophet PBUH arrived at Tabuk and its reported in one of the bo
oks of hadith that the prophet PBUH gave a khutbah the morning they arrived. Thi
s khutbah is reported with a weak chain, but some wordings are reported in authe
ntic chains. And the narration is very beautiful. So let us read the entire khut
bah. But note the isnaad/chain of narrators are not as preserved as the laws of
Islam. So this is one of the seerah narrations, therefore there is no harm in na
rrating it since we don't derive laws from it, but it gives us a glimpse into th
e prophet PBUHs khutbahs. Also, some of the narrations are authentic for sure. S
o this is a khutbah of the prophet PBUH, narrated by Uqbah ibn Aamir. He says wh

en the sahaba arrived at Tabuk, after they prayed the Fajr prayer, the prophet P
BUH stood up and praised Allah with what he deserves to be praised, then he said
"Oh people, to proceed". Note it is the sunnah of every khutbah to start by pra
ising Allah, and then saying 'ama'bad' to indicate the praise is over and moving
to the actual speech. So 'ama'bad' is a marker.
"The most truthful of all speech is the book of Allah, and the firmest handhold
is the speech of taqwah (khalima or any righteous word). The best of all paths i
s the path of Ibrahim (Allah says in the Quran this). And the best sunnah (way)
is the sunnah of the prophet Muhammad SAW. (Notice you already notice the khutba
h is short, sweet and to the point. Every phrase is profound. Each word and sent
ence you can give an entire lecture about). The best hadith is the zikr of Allah
. The best of all stories are those in the Quran. The best of all deeds are thos
e done with sincerity and dedication. And the worst of all deeds are innovations
. And the best guidance is the guidance of the prophets. And the best death is t
he death of a marytr. And the most blind of blindness is to be misguided after A
llah has guided you. And the best of deeds is that which benefits you in this wo
rld and the next. And the best knowledge is that which is followed. And the wors
t blindeness is the blindness of the heart. And the higher hand is better than t
he lower hand (being rich is better than poor). And that which is little and suf
fices you, is better than that which is alot and distracts you. And the worst ex
cuse is the excuse you give at the time of death. And the most evil of regrets i
s the regret on the day of Judgement (as Allah says in the Quran, 'on that day e
very man will feel, but of what use is feeling on that day?') And there are thos
e people who don't come to Juma'a at all except on rare occasions. And there are
those who don't do zikr of Allah except rarely. And the worst of all sins is a
lying tounge. And the best richness is the richness of the heart. And the best o
f all baggage is taqawah. And the pinnacle of wisdom is to fear Allah. And the b
est thing that settles in the heart is yakeen. And alcohol is the mother of all
evils. And women are the forebringers of shaytan. And the worst of all income is
the income of interest (riba). And the worst thing to eat is the property of an
orphan. And the fortunate person is he who learns from the mistakes of others."
And the hadith goes on. This phrase is in Bhukari: "to curse a believer is a sin
, and to fight him is kuffar. And to eat of his flesh is backbiting. And the san
ctity of his money is like the sanctity of his blood. And whoever asks for forgi
veness, Allah will forgive. And whoever controls his anger, Allah will reward. A
nd whoever is patient at a calamity, Allah will give him better than what was ta
ken away. And whoever wants to show off, Allah will show (punishment) through hi
m. And whoever is patient, Allah will give him more. Then the prophet PBUH concl
uded "oh Allah forgive me and my ummah (three times)". So it's a beautiful narra
tion that highlights the khutbahs of the prophet PBUH.
What else happened during the 20 days the prophet PBUH was at Tabuk? The khutbah
happened on the first day. Of the things that happened of a political nature, h
e sent Khalid ibn Waleed with around 100 sahaba on a mini expidition to one of t
he neighbouring tribes in that region of Tabuk in a small area called Jomatul Ja
ndan, up north close to the Syrian border. There was a very famous tribe, one of
the largest in Arabia (from Yemen), the tribe of Kinda. It was a christian arab
tribe, and they were one of the most prestigous tribes and they had a strong re
lationship with the emporer of Rome. And they were known for their bravery and w
arriorship, and also they were one of the few tribes whose cheifton was called a
king (malik). So the prophet PBUH Khalid and said "you will find the cheifton (
Ookaydil) away from his entourage in the midst of some cows". So the prophet PBU
H is picturing this bizzare scene; however, as he said it, it so happened. On on
e evening Ookaydil was in his palace when his herd of cows came to the door of t
he palace and began barging against it all night long. And his wife got fed up a
nd said "you have to stop this". So Ookaydil said "ok I'll take care of it" - he
then went himself with some servants to take the cows out. Lo and behold Khalid

ibn Waleed with 350 sahaba come and find the king in the middle of nowhere with
a bunch of cows and a few servants. So he is captured and brought in front of t
he prophet PBUH - he dosen't convert, but he agrees to break off his relations
hip with the Romans, pay the jizia to the prophet PBUH, and NOT attack the musli
ms. This was one of the big successes during Tabuk.
Similarly three/four other tribe leaders agreed to such conditions and hence the
entire northern barrier was sealed against the Romans. And perhaps this was the
greatest political wisdom for why Allah willed Tabuk. There is a huge army siti
ng in Tabuk; people like Ookaydil and others cannot fight it. Thus when they see
this massive army, a number of northen tribes basically decided it's in their b
est interest to break off their ties with Rome and pay the jizia to the prophet
PBUH. When they were camped to Tabuk, Ookaydil sent gifts to the army to show hi
s loyalty in alliance. And it is said he sent the prophet PBUH a shawl the likes
of which they had never seen. And there was even gold threading on it. And the
prophet PBUH wore this beautiful cloth, and the sahaba were amazed at how beauti
ful the shawl was. According to one narration the sahaba were walking around it
in awe and amazement. Again we must understand the poverty of the Arabs, especia
lly in the Hijaz area was very high. They didn't even have water other than zamz
am. The hijaz arabs were importing everything; they don't have a civilisation. E
ven the currency they were using was Roman/Persian. So they are seeing amazing '
tailor made' suits. So the prophet PBUH said "you are impressed with this? For w
alahi, the hankercheif that Sa'ad ibn Mu'ad has in Jannah is more precious than
this entire shawl you are seeing". It's also said the prophet PBUH established a
treaty with another northen tribe king, and the king sent him gifts. Many other
local tribes also made peace treaties with the prophet PBUH.
We conclude with one of the most beautiful stories of the seerah that took place
at Tabuk. This story is found in the musnad books; the books of seerah breifly
mention it, however it's found more in the books of hadith. We find it in musnad
of Imam Ahmed, hadith 15,655 (volume 24). And this is the famous incident of He
raclius testing the prophet PBUH. The hadith is narrated by a sahabi: "there was
a man from the tribe of Tanuk, so he was called the tanuqi, from Hyms (Syria).
He was a neighbour of mine, very old, having reached nearly 100 years old. So I
asked him 'please tell me the story of the letter that was sent to the prophet P
BUH from Heraclius". So this tabi', Saeed ibn Abi Rashid said he met the man, an
d in another version he said he met the man in the church of Hyms. So the tanuqi
said "yes I will tell you. The prophet PBUH came to Tabuk so he sent Dihya al K
albi to Heraclius." Note this is the second letter to the Heraclius. He already
sent one before (the story with Abu Suffyan). "When the messenger (Dihya) came t
o Heracal, he called the priests of Rome all together and he locked the door. An
d he said to them 'you have seen the status of this man and his affairs (i.e. lo
ok at how much he's conquered). And he's now sent me a letter inviting me to one
of three things:
1. Either follow his religion
2. Pay the jizia and we keep our lands
3. We fight him
And Heracal says "you know from what we've read, he will control what is under o
ur feet. So why don't we follow him and his religion now? Or if you refuse at le
ast let's have peace with him and give him the money" i.e. Heracal is saying he
is a true prophet. When the priests heard this, they all bolted and rushed to th
e door to tell the people Hercal is willing to give up Christianity. Remember it
's a religious figurehead - to this day, the king/queen is the head of the churc
h. Back then it was a God given right: as the head of a political system you are
appointed by God to defend the church. So to even suggest he will become a musl
im is too much for them to handle. So they said "are you saying you will give up
christianty, and become servants to the bedouins to hijaaz?" When Heracal saw t
hey won't give in, he said to them "this was only a test, I am testing you to se

e how firm you are". Then Heracal called one of the arabs of his entourage, and
he said "find for me a man who speaks arabic, and is a good messenger. I want to
send a book to this man". So this arab of his entourage brought the tanuqi to H
eracal. And Heracal gave the tanuqi a parchement and said "take this to that man
(The prophet PBUH) and whatever you forgot of his speech, just memorise three t
1. Check does he mention the letters that he wrote to me
2. When he reads this letter of mine, see if he will mention anything to do with
night and darkness
3. See on his back if there is something that causes you alarm (seal)"
So from this we learn there are three signs mentioned in the classical christian
books about the prophet PBUH. So the tanuqi said "I went with this message unti
l I arrived at Tabuk". And he sees the prophet PBUH at Tabuk. And the prophet PB
UH was sitting amongst all of his companions at the well. "When I saw all of the
m there, I asked 'where is your leader?'" And the sahaba said "over there". So t
he tanuqi said "I went walking towards him until I sat down and gave him the boo
k. So he put it aside, and he (the prophet PBUH) said 'where are you from?' I sa
id 'the tribe of Tanuk'. So he said 'why don't you embrace Islam, the hanifiya o
f your father Ibrahim?' So the tanuqi said 'I am an ambassador of a nation, and
my people have their religion (christianity). And I will not embrace another rel
igion as an ambassador, rather I will go back and think about this matter'." So
the prophet PBUH laughed and recited "You do not guide those whom you love, rath
er Allah guides those whom he pleases". Then the prophet PBUH said "oh you peopl
e of Tanuk, I wrote a letter to the kisra of persia, and he ripped it apart. So
Allah will rip his kingdom apart. And I wrote a letter to the najashi, and he ri
pped it apart, so Allah will rip his kingdom apart. And I wrote my letter to you
r companion (Heraclius), and he kept it safe, and so people will continue to see
his strength as long as there is good to him".
We all know the story of Kisra and he tore it up. As for the najashi, we need to
realise this is not the najashi of Abyssinia. He died, and the prophet PBUH pra
yed salah over him. Then the prophet PBUH sent another letter to his son, and hi
s son tore that letter up. And the magnificent kingdom of the Abyssinian empire
dissolved. And we still have to this day their remenants - there was a civil war
, and it's as the prophet PBUH said: Allah tore his kingdom up. So the tanuqi sa
id "this is the first of the three signs". And he said "I took out an arrow from
my quiver, and I carved out on the parchment (to not forget)". Then he said to
the prophet PBUH "who is your secretary that will read to you?" So the prophet P
BUH said "Muawiya" and so he was called and he read the letter. Inside the lette
r there was a question Heraclius is sending to the prophet PBUH. In it he said "
you pretend to invite me to a heavan that is as broad as the heavan and Earth, s
o if that is the case, where then is hell?" This is the trick question being ask
ed of the prophet PBUH.
So our prophet PBUH said "subhanAllah, where does the night go when the day come
s?" Question 2 has been answered. So the tanuqi said "this is the second" so he
scribes down on his leather parchment the second thing is done. Then the prophet
PBUH said "you are an ambassodar, and you have a right over us, and if we had s
omething to give you we would give you but right now I am in travel and I don't
have anything." So the prophet PBUH is excusing himself; indeed the ambassador d
eserves something for his travels. The prophet PBUH is conforming to the politic
al custom of the time, but he is saying "I can't give you a gift because we are
on travel". So someone stood up and said "Ya RasulAllah I'll give him a gift" an
d the sahaba gifted a yellow garment to the tanuqi. The narrator asked "who gave
you the gift?" and the tanuqi says "it was Uthman ibn Affan". So the prophet PB
UH then said "who amongst you will host this man?" - one of the ansar stood up a
nd said "me". So the tanuqi stayed with the ansari for the night. When it was ti
me for him to go back the next day, he stood up to leave and the prophet PBUH sa

id "come here oh person of tanuk" so I came rushing towards him until when I was
standing in front of him, he pulled back his garment and said 'come and look at
what your master told you to look at'". So the tanuqi said "I went behind him a
nd I saw a seal in between the two shoulder blades like a circular ball (type of
hair/small as a pigeons egg in a non typical colour). And so the tanuq had all
three signs and he went back to his home. And it indeed is a truly beautiful sto
ry of the seerah.