Towards the Battle of the Trench

The Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir were originally sworn allies of the Muslims in Madina but they secretly intrigued with the Makkan pagans and the Madinan hypocrites. They even tried treacherously to take the life of the Prophet while he was on a visit to them, breaking both the laws of hospitality and their own sworn alliance. God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, asked them to leave the strategic position which they occupied, about three miles south of Madina. They agreed to this but when 'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, the chief of the hypocrites, assured them that his party would help them in case of war, the Banu Nadir demurred.

The Muslim army then besieged them in their fortresses and, seeing that neither the Makkan polytheists nor the hypocrites in Madina stirred a finger to help them, the Banu Nadir had to leave the city. They were dismayed but their lives were spared, and they were given ten days in which to remove themselves, their families, and such goods as they could carry. Most of them joined their brethren in Syria and the others in Khaybar.

While returning from the Battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan had challenged the Muslims to another encounter at Badr the following year. (1) But when the appointed time arrived, Abu Sufyan's courage failed him to fight against God's Messenger. As a face-saving device he sent an agent, Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud, who was then an unbeliever, to Madina who spread the rumour that the Quraysh were making tremendous war preparations and that they were gathering a huge army which no other power in the whole of Arabia would resist. However, when the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, reached Badr with an army of fifteen hundred fighters, they found there no one to fight with them. They stayed at Badr for eight days awaiting the threatened encounter, and when no sign of the Quraysh army appeared, they returned to Madina. This campaign was called Badr al-Sughra (Badr the Minor).

In the fifth year after the Hijra, God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was informed that the desert tribes of Anmar and Tha'laba had decided to attack Madina. Accompanied by 400 fighters, he reached Zat al-Riqa' and hearing that the enemy tribes had fled, returned to Madina. (2)

After this campaign, God's Messenger marched upon Banu Mustaliq, a pagan tribe of Arabia. Banu Mustaliq had made preparations of war against the Muslims. With an army of 700 warriors, God's Messenger attacked them and defeated them. (3) On the way back to Madina, the intrigues of the hypocrites to bring about dissension between the Emigrants and Helpers were brought to naught. The verses sent down revealed all their secrets and how polluted their inner world was (al-Munafiqun, 63. 1-11).

1. I. Hisham, 3.94; I. Sa'd, 2.59.
2. I. Hisham, 3.213.
3. I. Kathir, al-Bidayah, 4.178–9.
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