The Event of Masjid Zirar
By: Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
In the Arabian Peninsula Madina and Najran were considered to be two extensive areas and big centres for the people of the Scriptures. Hence some Arabs belonging to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj were inclined towards Judaism and Christianity and had become followers of these religions.
During the Age of Ignorance Abu 'Amir, father of Hanzalah, the well-known martyr of the Battle of Uhud, had become very much inclined towards Christianity and had become a monk. When Islam dawned in Madina and absorbed the religious minorities, Abu 'Amir was upset and began co-operating earnestly with the hypocrites of Aws and Khazraj. The Prophet became aware of his subversive activities and wanted to arrest him, but he ran away from Madina to Makkah and then to Ta'if and after the fall of Ta'if, to Syria. From there he began guiding the spying network of the hypocrites.
In one of his letters Abu 'Amir wrote to his friends: "Construct a mosque in the village of Quba' opposite the mosque of the Muslims. Assemble there at the time of prayers and on the pretext of offering prayers, discuss and chalk out plans against Islam and the Muslims".
Like the present day enemies of Islam Abu 'Amir had also realized that in a country in which religion is fully established, the best way to destroy it, is to use the name of religion itself, and religion can be harmed more by using its own name rather than by any other factor. He knew fully well that the Prophet would not permit the hypocrites to build a centre for themselves under any circumstances, except when they gave that centre a religious tinge and erected a meeting-place for themselves with the name of a mosque.
When the Prophet intended proceeding to Tabuk the representatives of the hypocrites came to him and requested him to accord them permission to construct a mosque in their own area, on the pretext that when the nights were dark or it was raining their old men and invalids were not in a position to cover the long distance between their houses and Masjid Quba. The Prophet did not give them any reply, either in the affirmative or in the negative, and postponed final decision in the matter till after his return from the intended journeys.
The hypocrites selected a place in the absence of the Prophet and completed the construction of their rendezvous as quickly as possible, giving it the name of mosque. On the day the Prophet returned to Madina they requested him to perform the opening ceremony of this place of worship by offering a few rak'ats of prayers there. In the meantime the Archangel Jibreel came and informed the Prophet of the position and called the building Masjid Zirar as it had been constructed to create differences amongst the Muslims. The Prophet ordered Masjid Zirar to be razed to the ground, its beams to be burnt, and its rubbish thrown there for some period.
Destruction of Masjid Zirar was a serious blow to the hypocrites and thereafter their group broke up and Abdullah bin Ubayy, their sole supporter, also died after two months of the Battle of Tabuk.
Tabuk was the last Islamic campaign in which the Prophet took part. After that he did not participate in any battle.
 Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol III, page 1046.
 Verses 107 -110 of Surah al-Tawbah were revealed in connection with Masjid Zirar.
 Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 530 and Bihar, vol. XX, page 253.