Jihad of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
By: Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabataba'i
The Battle of Badr
The first battle between the Muslims and the unbelievers of Makkah took place at Badr (a valley between Makkah and Madinah) in the second year of the Hijrah. In this battle, the number of fully equipped unbelievers was about one thousand. The Muslims were about one-third of them and lacked all necessary war equipment, but divine dispensation afforded the Muslims a bright victory and defeated the unbelievers in the worst possible way.
Suffering heavy casualties and many captives and losing their entire stock of equipment in this battle, the mushrikin (polytheists) ran away to Makkah. It is said that in this battle, seventy unbelievers were killed, out of which almost half of them were killed by the sword of 'Ali (as). Also seventy people from the unbelievers were taken as captives.
The Battle of Uhud
In the third year of Hijrah, the unbelievers of Makkah, led by Abu Sufyan again rushed towards Madinah with three thousand men (and according to one narration with five thousand men). They confronted the Muslims at Uhud outside Madinah. In this battle, the Holy Prophet (S) arrayed seven hundred Muslims to face the enemy. In the beginning of the battle, the Muslims had the upper hand again, but after a few hours due to the mistake of some Muslims, the army of Islam was defeated. At this time, the unbelievers attacked from all sides and the Muslims suddenly found themselves surrounded on all sides by the swords of unbelievers.
In this battle, the Muslims sustained heavy losses. Hamzah, the uncle of the Holy Prophet (S), along with seventy other disciples of the Holy Prophet (S) who were mostly Ansar were martyred. The forehead of the Holy Prophet (S) was wounded and one of his front teeth broke.
One of the unbelievers who inflicted a blow on the Holy Prophet's (S) shoulder shouted: "I killed Muhammad". Hearing this, the army of Islam dispersed. Only 'Ali (as), along with a few men, remained steadfastly near the Holy Prophet (S). All these were killed but 'Ali (as) resisted the enemy until the end of the battle and defended the Holy Prophet (S).
On the last day, those who had fled away from the army of Islam gathered around the Holy Prophet (S) once more and prepared for battle. But the army of Abu Sufyan, however, considered only that much success as enough, stopped fighting, and set out for Madinah.
After travelling a few kilometers, the army of the unbelievers seriously regretted why they had not pursued the battle to final victory and why they had not taken Muslims' women and children as captives, and plundered their properties.
They even got busy with consultation to attack Madinah once again, but received the information that the information that the army of Islam was following them to continue the battle. Having received this information, the unbelievers became intimidated, gave up the idea of returning to Madinah, and hastily set out for Makkah.
Surely what they had heard was true, because the Holy Prophet (S), by the order of Allah, had mobilized an army from the injured who were led by 'Ali (as) to follow the enemy.
Although the Muslims sustained heavy casualties in this battle, in fact, it finished to the advantage of Islam and Muslims. The Muslims drew a more important conclusion out of this battle and experienced the inauspicious consequence of violating the order of the Holy Prophet (S). Having given up the battle, both the confronting sides promised to fight another battle in Badr next year at the same time. The Holy Prophet (S), with a group of his disciples, went to Badr on time, but the unbelievers refrained from coming.
After this battle, the Muslims became very well prepared and made advancement on all sides in the peninsula except in the region of Makkah and Ta'if.
The Battle of Khandaq
This was the third battle declared by the Arab unbelievers against the Holy Prophet (S). It was also the last battle under the leadership of the people of Makkah. It was a very severe battle in which the unbelievers had fully equipped themselves with their forces and powers. In the history, this battle is known as the "Battle of Ahzab" and "Khandaq".
After the battle of Uhud, the leaders of Makkah, led by Abu Sufyan, decided to inflict the final blow upon the Holy Prophet (S) to put off the light of Islam for good. To this end, they instigated the Arab tribes and asked for their cooperation and assistance.
In spite of the non-aggression treaty signed by the Jews and Muslims, the Jewish people also had secretly involved themselves with the plot and violated the treaty and signed a cooperation agreement with the unbelievers.
Thus, in the fifth year of Hijrah, a fully mobilized army comprising of Quraysh, various Arab tribes, and Jewish people rushed to Madinah totally equipped.
Having come to know of the intention of the enemy beforehand, the Holy Prophet (S) consulted his disciples over the matter. After a long discussion, they dug a trench all around the city of Madinah according to the proposal of Salman al-Farisi who was an intimate Companion of the Holy Prophet (S). They then got fortified within the city. After reaching Madinah, the army of the enemy found no way to enter the city. They inevitably besieged the city and started the battle in that position. The siege and battle continued for sometime.
It was in this battle only that ' Amr ibn 'Abdwudd, a most renowned equestrian and a most famous brave man of Arabia, was killed by the powerful hands of 'Ali (as). Finally, as a result of wind, cold, the fatigue of the Arab idolaters from the extended duration of the siege, and the difference and separation between the Jews and Arabs, the siege got broken without any result; thus the army of the unbelievers dispersed from around Madinah.
Battle with the Jews, the Battle of Khaybar
After the Battle of Khandaq, originally provoked by the Jews who cooperated with the Arab unbelievers and who had openly breached their treaty with Muslims, the Holy Prophet (S) proceeded to punish the Jewish tribes in Madinah by the order of Allah. He fought several battles, all of which ended in the victory and triumph of Muslims. The most important of these battles was the Battle of Khaybar. The Jews of Khaybar had several fortifications in hand and a considerable number of belligerents with adequate equipment at their disposal.
In this battle, 'Ali (as) killed Marhab of Khaybar, the well-known hero of the Jews, and dispersed the Jewish army. Afterwards, he rushed to the Fort of Khaybar, unhinged its door, and entered the fort along with the army of Islam. He then hoisted the banner of victory on its top. With these very battles which ended in the fifth year of Hijrah, the problem of the Jews of Hijaz came to an end.
Inviting the Rulers and Kings to Islam
The Holy Prophet (S) settled in Madinah. Gradually, a great number of the Muslims of Makkah, who were under the torture by the unbelievers, relinquished their homes and belongings and migrated to Madinah. Ansar also kept their promise and received them wholeheartedly.
The Holy Prophet (S) constructed Masjid al-Nabi at Madinah. Other mosques were also built. Missionaries of Islam were sent to the outskirts and treaties were signed with Jewish tribes of Madinah and its suburbs and also with some Arab tribes. Thus Islam began to flourish with its enormous luminosity.
In the 6th year of the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet (S) sent letters to the rulers and kings such as the King of Iran, Qaysar (Caesar) of Rome, Khedive of Egypt, and Al-Najashi (Negus) of Ethiopia and invited them to embrace Islam.
After some time, the unbelievers of Makkah breached the treaty and, as a result of this, the Holy Prophet (S) decided to conquer Makkah. In the 8th year of the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet (S) rushed to Makkah with ten thousand soldiers and conquered Makkah without any fighting and bloodshed. He also toppled and broke many idols placed in Ka'bah.
People of Makkah accepted Islam. The Holy Prophet (S) summoned all the leaders of Makkah, who had in the last 20 years shown their animosity and behaved inhumanely with him and his followers, and pardoned them all with utmost magnanimity and without showing the slightest harshness and moroseness.
The Battle of Hunayn
After the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet (S) proceeded to clear out the suburbs of the city and fought numerous battles with the Arab idol-worshippers, one of which was the Battle of Hunayn.
The Battle of Hunayn was one of the most important battles of the Holy Prophet (S). It took place in the valley of Hunayn against the tribe of Hawazin. The army of Islam, with twelve thousand soldiers, arrayed in front of the army of Hawazin which was equipped with a few thousand men. A heavy battle took place between them.
In the beginning of the battle, Hawazin severely defeated the Muslims, so much so that everybody ran away, except Ali (as) who was carrying the banner of Islam and a few others, who fought in front of the Holy Prophet (S). But after a few hours, initially the Ansar and then other Muslims returned to their bases and defeated the enemy after a very heavy fighting. In this battle, five thousand enemies were taken as captives by the Muslims, but all of them were released by the Muslims at the request of the Holy Prophet (S). The Holy Prophet (S) bought the share of the dissatisfied Muslims by paying them money and releasing their captives.
The Battle of Tabuk
In the 9th year of Hijrah, the Holy Prophet (S) dispatched an army to Tabuk (located at the borders of Hijaz and Damascus) to fight a battle with Rome, because the rumors had spread that the Qaysar of Rome was preparing an army comprised of Romans and Arabs in that area. The Battle of Mu'tah was previously fought there with Rome, leading to the martyrdom of the commanders of the army of Islam such as Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, Zayd ibn Harithah, and 'Abdullah ibn Rawahah.
The Holy Prophet (S), with an army of thirty thousand soldiers, proceeded towards Tabuk, but the people gathering there had dispersed before the arrival of the army of Islam. The Holy Prophet (S) stayed in Tabuk for three days, cleared out that territory, and then returned to Madinah.
Within ten years of his stay in Madinah, the Holy Prophet (S) fought almost eighty major and minor battles other than those previously mentioned. The Holy Prophet (S) personally participated in almost one-fourth of the number of these battles.
In the battles in which he participated, unlike other commanders who remained in shelters and only issued the orders for attacks and killing, the Holy Prophet (S) himself took part in the battlefield along with other soldiers, but no occasion arose for him to embark upon killing anyone.