Ghazwat Dhatu Riqaa

An Expedition That You Probably Don’t Know About: Ghazwat Dhatu Riqaa

Ghazwat Dhatu Riqaa is considered one of the shortest expeditions. You may not believe this, but even thought it’s a short expedition, it has been the toughest on Muslims. The reason it was so tough on Muslims will be explained later in this article.

First, let’s have a look at when and why Muslims had to go through this tough yet important expedition. Most scholars believe it took place on the 4th year of Hijrah, however some scholars have a different opinion. In the 4th year of Hijrah Banu Ghatfan harassed the Muslims by murdering 70 Daees [Messengers of the prophet] who were sent to make Dawah and tell about Islam.

It’s also because the prophet [peace be upon him] got information about Banu Muharib and Banu Tha’labh gathering troops to encounter the Muslims.

The tribes of Najd had a liking in living in the wilderness so it’s hard to bring them under control or carry out campaigns against them. However, Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] still proceeded to attack them in order to show that Muslims are capable of moving the battlefield to wherever they want and to protect the Muslims’ state.

The Prophet peace be upon him headed towards Najd at the head of 400 or 700 fighters. Once the Muslim army reached the place of Ghatfan, They found no fighters at all as all of them ran away leaving behind their properties, women & children!

The Banu Ghatfan ran away out of fear and terror. So the Muslims won without even the need to fight. This is one of Allah’s soldiers; Terror!

The expedition was successful. Although the Muslims encountered some tough conditions on their way to Ghatfan.

Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari, narrated that they set out on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah [peace be upon him]. “We were six in number and had (with us) only one camel which we rode turn by turn. Our feet were injured. My feet were so badly injured that my nails came off. We, therefore, bandaged our feet with rags, so this expedition was called Dhat-ur-Riqa‘ (i.e. the expedition of rags.)” [Sahih Al-Bukhari ; Sahih Muslim]

In this expedition, Allah ordered his prophet [peace be upon him] to pray with the Muslims the “prayer of fear”;

Narrated Salih bin Khawwat: Concerning those who witnessed the Fear Prayer that was performed in the battle of Dhat-ur-Riqa’ in the company of Allah’s Messenger. One batch lined up behind him while another batch (lined up) facing the enemy. The Prophet led the batch that was with him in one rak`a. And he stayed in the standing posture while that batch completed their (two rak`at) prayer by themselves and went away, lining in the face of the enemy. While the other batch came and he (i.e. the Prophet) offered his remaining rak`a with them. And then, kept on sitting till they completed their prayer by themselves, and he then finished his prayer with Taslim along with them. [Sahih al-Bukhari]

And here’s a lesson; even at the battlefield you cannot neglect your prayer! Even at the battlefield it’s very essential to perform your prayer.

Another incident encountered the prophet when returning from the expedition;

Jabir narrated: In the course of Dhat-ur-Riqa‘ expedition, we came to a leafy tree where the Prophet [peace be upon him] sat shading himself off the burning sun. The others dispersed here and there seeking shelter from heat. The Prophet [peace be upon him] had a short nap after he had hung his sword on the tree. A polytheist, meanwhile came, seized the sword and unsheathed it.

The Prophet [peace be upon him] woke up to find his sword drawn in the man’s hand. The bedouin here asked the Prophet (unarmed then): “Who would hold me back from killing you now?” The Prophet [peace be upon him] then answered: “It is Allah.” In another version, it was reported that the Prophet [peace be upon him] took the sword when it had fallen down and the man said: “You (the Prophet) are the best one to hold a sword.”

The Prophet [peac be upon him] asked the man if he would testify to the Oneness of Allah and the Messengership of Muhammad. The Arabian answered that he would never engage in a fight against him, nor would he ally people fighting the Muslims. The Prophet [peace be upon him] set the man free and let him go to his people to say to them that he had seen the best one among all people. [Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.264; Fath Al-Bari 7/416]

This shows us how brave our beloved Prophet was [peace be upon him]. And also, shows us his strong faith and belief in Allah, his perseverance for the sake of Dawah [the message of Islam] and Allah’s protection over him. This incident is an evidence on Prophet Muhammad’s Messengership, as well. Otherwise, How would you explain the armed man not killing the bare-handed prophet!

More yet to come! A very beautiful story of two companions of the prophet;

A woman from the Arabians was taken prisoner in the context of this battle. Her husband, on hearing the news, swore he would never stop until he had shed the blood of a Muslim. Secretly at night, he approached the camp of the Muslims when he saw two sentries stationed there to alert the Muslims against any emergency. He shot the first one, Abbad bin Bishr, who was observing prayer, with an arrow but he did not stop prayer, he simply pulled it out. Then he was shot by three other arrows but would not interrupt his prayer. After he had done the closing salutations, he awakened his companion ‘Ammar bin Yasir, who remonstrated that he should have alerted him to which the latter replied that he was half way through a Chapter and did not like to interrupt it. [Za’d Al-Ma’ad 2/112; Ibn Hisham 2/203-209]

Such a heartwarming story <3

Showing us several things:

  1. How much the Sahabah (companions of the prophet) loved their prayer and reciting the Qur’an.
  2. The prophet [peace be upon him] care for his soldiers’ safety, appointing two to guard the army.
  3. Making the guarding into shifts between them so they can take rest in turns.
  4. Being so attached to the Qur’an, resulting in; not feeling the real pain of being hit by an arrow and preferring to carry on with the prayer. (P.S. it was the night prayer-Qiyamul Layl, not obligatory).

Despite that this was a short Ghazwa “expedition”, We still learnt a lot of lessons through it.

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