The Battle of Khandaq (Ditch), also known as the Battle of Ahzaab (Confederates)
Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 17th of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 5 AH, the Battle of Khandaq (Ditch), also known as the Battle of Ahzaab (Confederates) that a 10-strong joint force of Arab infidels and Israelites had imposed upon the Muslims by laying siege to Medina, as part of the plot to kill the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), ended in decisive victory for Islam, thanks to the valour of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS).
To defend the city against the mighty horde led by the archenemy of Islam, Abu Sufyan, the Muslims dug a ditch around the sensitive parts of Medina on the suggestion of Salman Farsi, the Prophet's Iranian companion. When the joint Arab-Israelite force arrived, it was surprised to see a ditch around Medina, and decided to besiege the city in order to break the will of the Muslims.
As days passed and no breakdown of moral occurred in Medina, the fearsome Arab pagan warlord, Amr ibn Abduwad, along with some of his accomplices, leapt his horse across the ditch at its narrowest point and challenged the terrified Muslims to personal combat. None of the companions of the Holy Prophet (SAWA) dared to rise up against this veritable giant who had a nasty reputation of physical strength, except for Imam Ali (AS).
A duel took place, and the Imam Ali (AS), despite receiving a wound on his forehead, knocked out Amr to the ground. At this moment, the fallen foe, turned out to be a coward, and spat at the Imam in a bid to avoid certain death. On this insult, Imam Ali (AS) gently withdrew to allow his emotions to cool down so that personal feelings do not mix up with pure and sincere jihad in the way of God. The Arab infidel rose to his feet and renewed the life-and-death struggle, but this time the flashing sword of Imam Ali (AS), the famous double-bladed Zol-Feqar, made short work of the opponent who fell down dead to the ground.
The Imam then scattered the companions of Amr, and this valorous feat sent shivers down the spine of the Arab-Israelite hordes, making them break ranks and flee. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) expressed the famous hadith this day, saying: "The Stroke of Ali (AS) on the Day of Khandaq is superior to the worship of the world and the Hereafter."