Page 96 - Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum

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We have already spoken about Al-‘Ushairah Invasion when a caravan belonging to Quraish had
escaped an imminent military encounter with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his men. When
their return from Syria approached, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) despatched Talhah bin
‘Ubaidullâh and Sa‘id bin Zaid northward to scout around for any movements of this sort. The two
scouts stayed at Al-Hawra’ for some days until Abu Sufyan, the leader of the caravan, passed by
them. The two men hurried back to Madinah and reported to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) their
findings. Great wealth amounting to 50 thousand gold Dinars guarded by 40 men moving relatively
close to Madinah constituted a tempting target for the Muslim military, and provided a potentially
heavy economic, political and military strike that was bound to shake the entire structure of the
Makkan polytheists.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) immediately exhorted the Muslims to rush out and waylay the
caravan to make up for their property and wealth they were forced to give up in Makkah. He did not
give orders binding to everyone, but rather gave them full liberty to go out or stay back, thinking
that it would be just an errand on a small scale.
The Muslim army was made up of 300-317 men, 82-86 Emigrants, 61 from Aws and 170 from
Khazraj. They were not well-equipped nor adequately prepared. They had only two horses belonging
to Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam and Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad Al-Kindi, 70 camels, one for two or three
men to ride alternatively. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) himself, ‘Ali and Murthid bin
Abi Murthid Al-Ghanawi had only one camel. Disposition of the affairs of Madinah was entrusted to
Ibn Umm Maktum but later to Abu Lubabah bin ‘Abdul Mundhir. The general leadership was given to
Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair Al-Qurashi Al-‘Abdari, and their standard was white in colour. The little army was
divided into two battalions, the Emigrants with a standard raised by ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, and the
Helpers whose standard was in the hand of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh. Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam was
appointed to the leadership of the right flank, Al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr to lead the left flank, and the rear
of the army was at the command of Qais bin Abi Sa‘sa‘ah. The General Commander-in-Chief was the
Prophet (Peace be upon him), of course.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), at the head of his army, marched out along the main road
leading to Makkah. He then turned left towards Badr and when he reached As-Safrâ’, he despatched
two men to scout about for the camels of Quraish.
Abu Sufyan, on the other hand, was on the utmost alert. He had already been aware that the route
he was following was attended with dangers. He was also anxious to know about the movements of
Muhammad (Peace be upon him). His scouting men submitted to him reports to the effect that the
Muslims were lying in ambush for his caravan. To be on the safe side, he hired Damdam bin ‘Amr Al-
Ghifari to communicate a message asking for help from the Quraishites. The messenger rode fast
and reached Makkah in frenzy. Felling himself from his camel, he stood dramatically before Al-
Ka‘bah, cut off the nose and the ears of the camel, turned its saddle upside down, tore off his own
shirt from front and behind, and cried: “O Quraish! Your merchandise! It is with Abu Sufyan. The
caravan is being intercepted by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his companions. I cannot say
what would have happened to them. Help! Help!”
The effect of this hue and cry was instantaneous and the news stunned Quraish and they
immediately remembered their pride that was wounded when the Muslims had intercepted Al-
Hadrami caravan. They therefore swiftly mustered almost all of their forces and none stayed behind
except Abu Lahab, who delegated someone who owed him some money. They also mobilized some
Arab tribes to contribute to the war against the Prophet (Peace be upon him). All the clans of
Quraish gave their consent except Banu ‘Adi. Soon an excited throng of 1300 soldiers including 100
horsemen and 600 mailed soldiers with a large number of camels, was clamouring to proceed to
fight the Muslims. For food supplies, they used to slaughter an alternate number of camels of ten
and nine every day. They were however afraid that Banu Bakr, on account of old long deep-seated
animosity, would attack their rear. At that critical moment,
(Satan) appeared to them in the
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