A Background to the Battle of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates) - II

A Background to the Battle of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates) - II
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(Continued)

 
Third: The Care Given by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) to the Internal Front
 
1- When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) learnt that the army of the confederates was coming and he intended to set out to meet them, he commanded that the Muslim women and children should be placed in the fort of the Banu Haarithah to secure them against the danger of their enemies. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did so because ensuring the protection of women and children is effective in raising the morale of the fighters. It is well-known that if a soldier rests assured about his wife and children, he will be calm and his conscience will be easy, with nothing of life affairs to distract his mind. Hence, he will devote his intellectual and physical capabilities to be creative in the field of battle; otherwise, the soldier will be put to trial, his spirits will weaken, and he will be overcome by worry, which will make him retract from fighting and of a surety, the result will probably be catastrophic.
 
2- One of the things that successfully contributed to making the internal front stronger and more consistent was that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) shared the burden of labor with his soldiers. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) took part with the Companions in the most grueling of work. He worked with his noble hands in digging the trench. It was reported on the authority of Ibn Is’haaq  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him that he said that Al-Baraa’, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When it was the Day of [the Battle of] Al-Ahzaab, and the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) entrenched [Madeenah], I saw him carrying earth from the trench such that the dust covered the skin of his abdomen - and he had much hair [on his stomach].” [Al-Bukhari]
 
The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) relentlessly and earnestly shared this work with his Companions, presenting to them a good example to follow. They, in turn, strove their utmost to complete the digging of the trench.
 
3- The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) shared with his Companions their sorrows and hopes. Moreover, he assigned to himself the most difficult of tasks. In the Battle of Al-Ahzaab, he suffered the pangs of hunger just like, if not more than, others. He tied a stone around his noble stomach out of the severe hunger he was suffering from. At the same time, he shared with them their hopes. When he found anything that would sustain him after three days of continuous hunger, he would not keep it all for himself. We shall know about this in detail later, if Allah wills, when we come to talk about the banquet of Jaabir bin ‘Abdullaah, may Allah be pleased with him.
 
4- He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was eager to raise the spirits of the soldiers and entertain them. Digging the trench entailed encountering many great difficulties. It was severely cold and stormy, and the living conditions were very hard. Moreover, there was the fear of the coming enemy who was expected to arrive at any moment and the grueling work as the Companions were digging with their bare hands and carrying earth on their backs. Undoubtedly, in such circumstances, decisiveness and firm resolution would be required.
 
Nevertheless, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not forget in these circumstances that the soldiers were ultimately like others - human beings who needed to be relieved of the trouble of labor, and be entertained and delighted in order to forget their severe pain and suffering from work. Hence, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would recite the poetic verses of ‘Abdullaah bin Rawaahah, may Allah be pleased with him, while carrying the earth in which he said, “O Allah, had it not been for You, we would not have been guided, nor would we have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So [O Allah], please send tranquility upon us and make our feet firm if we meet the enemy, as they have rebelled against us. And if they intend Fitnah [to want to frighten us and fight against us], then we would not [flee but withstand them].” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) used to prolong his voice at the last words. [Al-Bukhari]
 
It was further narrated on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “The Companions of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would say on the Day of [the Battle of] Al-Khandaq, ‘It is we who gave the pledge of allegiance to Muhammad to embrace Islam [or to strive ourselves in the Cause of Allah], as long as we survive.’” At the same time, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would say: “O Allah, the [real] goodness is that of the Hereafter. O Allah, forgive both the Ansaar [helpers] and the Muhaajiroon [emigrants].” [Muslim]
 
This type of simple entertainment helped, to a great extent, in alleviating the suffering of the Companions because of the harsh conditions under which they were living. It also stimulated them to endeavor with earnestness to achieve the task enjoined upon them before the arrival of their enemy.
 
5- Considering the conditions of the soldiers and giving leave for departure when necessary: The Companions were very polite in their dealings with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Whenever there was necessity, they would seek his permission for departure, whereupon they would go to fulfill their needs and then return once again to their labor, desirous of good and hoping for reward from Allah The Almighty. In relation to them, Allah The Almighty revealed (what means): {The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger and, when they are [meeting] with him for a matter of common interest, do not depart until they have asked his permission. Indeed, those who ask your permission, [O Muhammad] - those are the ones who believe in Allah and His Messenger. So when they ask your permission for something of their affairs, then give permission to whom you will among them and ask forgiveness for them of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 24:62]
 
The meaning here is that ‘if, O Muhammad, those who do not depart except with your leave seek your permission to fulfill some of their needs that seem necessary for them, give permission to whomever you please among them to leave to fulfill his needs, and ask the forgiveness of Allah for him’. In this way, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) had the freedom to choose to give permission to whoever he liked if it was necessary for the person to depart, provided that no harm would be caused to the group. Thus, he would give or withhold permission according to the requirements of public interest and their conditions.
 
6- Dividing the Companions into guarding squads: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) divided his Companions into squads for guarding and resisting anyone who would attempt to intrude the trench. The Muslims fulfilled their duty of guarding the trench and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). They succeeded in resisting all the attacks of the polytheists. They were on the alert at both levels of leadership and soldiers.
 
One day, they continued to guard from the last portion of the night (a short while before dawn) until the middle of the following night, during which time they missed four obligatory prayers, and they had to later make them up because of their failure to stop even for a single moment (to perform them at their due time), as they were engaged with the enemies.
 
‘Ali bin Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, with a group of the Companions succeeded to abort an attempt made by ‘Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl to break in. ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, himself was able to face the hero of the Quraysh, ‘Amr bin ‘Abd Wudd and kill him. A group of the Ansaar was guarding the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) by turns every night, the most important of whom was ‘Abbaad bin Bishr, may Allah be pleased with him. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was the supreme leader and the general of the battle: it was he who laid out and implemented the execution of the war plans. It was he who:
 
a-      Commanded that a trench should be dug, after consultation, and chose a place that was suitable for that purpose, which was plain land north of Madeenah which was the only side open to enemy attack;
b-    Distributed the tasks of digging the trench among the Companions on the basis of assigning each forty cubits to ten from among the Companions and he entrusted a particular side to every group;
c-     Put the work under his control in the sense that no one was able to leave his work without his permission;
d-     Distributed the duties of occupation of the site in a way that ensured a continuous guard over every span of the trench day and night. He, further, acted as a general supervisor for the soldiers whom he kept encouraging and raising the spirits of;
e-      Due to his political expertise and skillfulness, which sprang from his prophetic personality, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was able to hold the reins of power, and rescue the faithful believers from the critical situation to which they had been put by the arrival of the confederates to Madeenah, exposing Madeenah and its precincts to danger. All the Muslims came under his leadership and this was one of the factors of them winning the battle.

A Background to the Battle of Al-Ahzaab (the Confederates) - I

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