The Battle of Thaat Ar-Riqaa’ - I

The Battle of Thaat Ar-Riqaa’ - I
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First: Its date, its causes, and why it was named “Thaat Ar-Riqaa’”

 
Historians of prophetic biography and battles have differed regarding the date of this battle. Al-Bukhari  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him was of the opinion that it was after the Battle of Khaybar. Ibn Is’haaq  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him was of the opinion that it was after the Battle of Banu An-Nadheer. It was said that it took place after the Battle of Al-Khandaq in the fourth year after Hijrah (emigration). Al-Waaqidi and Ibn Sa‘d  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them said that it took place in the month of Muharram in the fifth year after Hijrah.
 
Al-Booti mentioned that it took place in the fourth year after Hijrah, a month and a half after the expulsion of the Banu An-Nadheer. He said that this opinion was adopted by the majority of the historians of prophetic biography and battles, and this seems to me to be the correct one.
 
The cause of this battle was the apparent aggression and treachery that many of the tribes of Najd adopted against the Muslims, which was manifest in the killing of the seventy Companions who had set out for the sake of Da‘wah (calling) to Allah. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) set out heading for the tribes of the Muhaarib and the Banu Tha‘labah.
 
Dr. Muhammad Faaris stated that someone had arrived at Madeenah and informed the Muslims that the Banu Muhaarib and the Tha‘labah from the Ghatafaan had gathered troops to launch a war against the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Consequently, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) headed for them in their land at the head of four hundred fighters, although it has also been mentioned that they were seven hundred fighters. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) reached their land, they were terrified and fled to the mountain tops, leaving their women, children and property behind them. When the time of prayer was due, the Muslims feared that they might be attacked while they were praying. Hence, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) led them in prayer and prayed what is known as the Prayer of Fear, and then returned to Madeenah.
 
This military expedition achieved its goals and managed to scatter the troops that were gathered by the Ghatafaan tribe to invade Madeenah. The expedition terrified these aggressive tribes and gave them a lesson that the Muslims were able not only to crush anyone who would even think of approaching Madeenah to attack it, but also to move the battle to the very land of the enemy and attack him in his own home.
 
It was called “Thaat Ar-Riqaa‘” because the Muslims would wrap their legs and feet in pieces of clothes, rags and patches (which means Riqaa‘ in Arabic). It was also said that it was named as such because the Muslims patched their flags, or because of a tree called Thaat Ar-Riqaa’, or because they camped in an area whose land had white and black patches. However, the soundest reason is the first one for it was narrated on the authority of Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “We set out in the company of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) for a battle and we were six persons having one camel, which we rode by taking turns. So, [due to excessive walking] our feet became wounded; my feet became wounded [to the extent that] my nails dropped off. We would wrap our feet with pieces of cloth, and for this reason, the battle was named Thaat Ar-Riqaa‘ as we wrapped our feet with rags.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
Second: The Fear Prayer and guarding the frontiers
 
1.     The Fear Prayer: Allah The Almighty revealed to His Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) the Fear Prayer and its rulings in this battle. It is explained in the Quran how to perform it when the Muslims are facing the enemy. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And when you are among them and lead them in prayer, let a group of them stand [in prayer] with you and let them carry their arms. And when they have prostrated, let them be [in position] behind you and have the other group come forward which has not [yet] prayed and let them pray with you, taking precaution and carrying their arms. Those who disbelieve wish that you would neglect your weapons and your baggage so they could come down upon you in one [single] attack. But there is no blame upon you, if you are troubled by rain or are ill, for putting down your arms, but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.} [Quran 4:102]
 
The Muslims performed the Fear Prayer such that a group prayed with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and a group prayed in the face of the enemy. He prayed with a group of them one Rak‘ah (unit) and he remained standing, then that group completed their prayer. Then, they left and stood in the face of the enemy. Then, the second group came and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) led them in the remaining Rak‘ah for him, and then stayed standing waiting for them to perform the Rak‘ah that they missed while he was sitting. Then, he ended the prayer and they followed him.
 
Another narration in Saheeh Muslim states that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) led a group of them in performing two Rak‘ahs and then they ended their prayer. Then, the second group came and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) led them in performing two Rak‘ahs. Accordingly, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) performed four Rak‘ahs and each group prayed two Rak‘ahs. Dr. Al-Booti said that the reconciliation between the two ways of Fear Prayer in the two Hadeeths is that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) performed it with his Companions more than once. Once, he performed it according to the first way and the other time he performed it according to the second way.
 
The prayer of Fear was performed in the area of Nakhl, which is two days away from Madeenah. The legislation of the Fear Prayer indicates the importance of prayer; even in the middle of fighting it should not be neglected or ignored in any way. Accordingly, prayer, worship and Jihaad are mixed with each other according to the prophetic methodology of nurturing the Ummah (Muslim nation), which is derived from the Book of Allah The Almighty. Hence, worship and Jihaad are inseparable.
 
2.     Guarding the frontier borders: When the Muslim army returned from the Battle of Thaat Ar-Riqaa‘, they took a woman from the polytheists captive. Her husband vowed not to return to his home until he would shed the blood of one of the Companions of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). He reached the Muslim army at night. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) entrusted the mission of guarding them at night to two men: ‘Abbaad bin Bishr and ‘Ammaar bin Yaasir, may Allah be pleased with them. The husband of the captured woman shot ‘Abbaad, may Allah be pleased with him, with an arrow while the latter was praying. ‘Abbaad, may Allah be pleased with him, pulled out the arrow and did not leave his prayer. Then, he was shot with another three arrows; however, he continued his prayer until the end and then woke up his fellow.
 
‘Ammaar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Subhaan Allah [may Allah be glorified]! Why did not you alert me?” He replied, “I was reciting a chapter of the Quran [in my prayer] and did not like to interrupt my recitation. When he kept shooting, I moved to Rukoo‘ [bowing] and then I alerted you. By Allah, had it not been for not me guarding a point that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) commanded me to guard, he would have killed me before I ended my prayer or I ended it.”
 
There are some lessons and benefits in this incident, some of which are:
 
a-     The keenness of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) to maintain the safety of the soldiers such that he appointed two of the best men among his Companions to guard the army during the night.
 
b-     Dividing the mission of guarding: It should be noted that the two appointed men divided the night into two halves: one for rest and the other for guarding, as the soldier’s body requires rest for some time.
 
c-     Being attached to the Quran and loving to recite it: His love of reciting the Quran made him not feel the pain of the arrows, which were embedded in his body causing blood to gush forth from his body.
 
d-     Feeling the responsibility of guarding: ‘Abbaad, may Allah be pleased with him, did not interrupt his prayer because of pain; rather, he interrupted his prayer out of his feeling the responsibility of guarding. This is an eloquent lesson regarding the concept of worship and Jihaad.
 
e-     A strategic location of guarding: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) chose the mouth of the valley. This choice was very successful because it was the expected place for the enemies’ attacks against the camp.
(To be continued)

The Battle of Thaat Ar-Riqaa’ - II

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