No one can stop us, or can they?

If you were asked, what two battles are named specifically by Allah in the Quran I am sure you will all be able to name Badr. As for the second, most will say Uhud, others Khandaq, some Khaybar the more seerah orientated Tabuk…but only some will link the verse from surah Tawbah:

لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ ۙ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُم مُّدْبِرِينَ

Surah Tawbah v25

This is translated as: “Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields and on the day of Hunain, when your great numbers made you vain, but they availed you nothing and the earth became strait to you notwithstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating.”

So, it’s an interesting fact – Badr and Hunayn are mentioned by Allah in the Quran – but what is the relevance for a khutbah?

I was teaching madressah on Monday and the subject in the book was the Battle of Hunayn. I’ve read seerah, I’ve taught seerah and yet I couldn’t remember the details of this particular battle.

It made me reflect on two things.

  1. We need to read more seerah.  We need to have an in-depth knowledge of the life of the Prophet (SAW). Once we’ve finished reading it, we need to read it again.
  2. It is a further miracle of the Quran and proof that this is revealed revelation from Allah which is happening “live”.  This battle takes place in the 8th year of hijrah i.e. towards the end of the life of the Prophet (SAW) and this verse is revealed after the battle.  It is mind-blowing if you reflect.

As for the relevance, again it is two-fold.

  1. The battle itself takes place in Shawwal and whilst we normally associate Shawwal with the six days of fasting – actually it is good to know and reflect upon this great battle which is mentioned by name in the Quran.
  2. It is an opportunity to learn some important lessons and the juxtaposition between these two great battles.

The background to this battle.

Hunayn takes place straight after the Opening of Makkah to Islam (fathul makkah).  The Prophet (SAW) enters Makkah with the utmost humility, with his head lowered and literally touching the neck of his horse.

With the Quraysh now subdued in totality the last remaining tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif were the final standard bearers of polytheism in the Arabian peninsula.  They saw an opportunity to take the fight to the Muslims and their old-competition the Quraysh, a 2 in 1 so to speak.

The Prophet (SAW) had sent a man by the name of Abdullah ibn Abi Hadrad to infiltrate the polytheists.  He was to live amongst them and gather information about them for the Muslims and he informed the Prophet (SAW) that the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif had amassed a huge army.

In preparation, the Prophet (SAW) set out to equip his army and one notable story is that word spread that Safwan ibn Umayyah, who was still a polytheist himself, but now aligned to the Muslims due to Fathul Makkah, had 100 coats of mail plus swords and shields.  He (SAW) requested them from Safwan who asked, “do you take them by force oh Muhammad?”.  In reality the Prophet (SAW) could have forcibly acquired them but he said, “on the contrary, we are only going to borrow them and we promise to return them” even to the point that if any were damaged or lost that Safwan would be recompensed.

The young leader of the opposing army, Malik, despite warnings from elders, ordered the army to bring along their women, children and all their belongings.  The Hawazin being nomadic tribes could do so and the idea was to encourage the army to fight to win and not retreat.

It is worth mentioning now that at Badr the Muslims had 313, at Uhud 1000 at Khaybar 1700, 1400 came for umrah which ended with the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.

Now the Muslims had an army of 10,000 plus 2000 new converts from Quraysh i.e. an army of 12,000 and this led to many of them believing victory was guaranteed.  Hence, Allah reminded the Muslims with the verse at the beginning.

Look at the juxtaposition, at Badr they had 313 and with Allah’s help they won a decisive victory against an army three times their number and killed many of the leaders of Quraysh. Badr was their first battle.

Now at Hunayn, they have 12,000 fighters and this is the last battle – where fighting takes place to distinguish it from Tabuk which occurred after but no fighting took place.

So, we have these two battles mentioned, these two important and decisive battles.

What takes place in the valley of Hunayn.

Malik planned to send a small detachment into the valley of Hunayn to lure the Muslims into the valley.  As the Muslims entered the valley the detachment fled luring the Muslims further into the valley and suddenly thousands of archers appeared from above and the sides and let fire with volleys of accurate and devastating arrows maiming and decimating the Muslim army.

ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَ‌ٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ

Surah Tawbah v25

The meaning of this verse is: Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Apostle and upon the believers, and sent down hosts which you did not see, and chastised those who disbelieved, and that is the reward of the unbelievers.

So after the Muslims are ambushed, they run in disarray trying to flee, trying to survive – this is a huge test for those brand new Muslims as well.

The Prophet (SAW), is not just a Prophet or the Messenger of Allah or even the beloved of Allah – he is also a commanding leader and the true Sayyid, the one people turn to in times of distress.

He called out saying

Come this way, O servants of Allah!  I am the Prophet, I deceive you not, I am the son of Abdul Muttalib!

He then told his uncle Al-Abbas, as he had a powerful voice to call to the Muslims by their affiliations. He called the companions of the Acacia – “they responded to me as readily as a mother cow does when her young call to her”

Here we are Here we are!

Then they came back and began fighting the enemy.

Then he called the muhajiroon

Here we are! Here we are!

Then he picked up small pebbles and threw them into the enemies’ faces saying,

By the Lord of Muhammad be defeated!

At that moment Allah cast terror into the hearts of the polytheists that they lost their fighting spirit and fled for their lives.

The Muslims stayed hot on their tail slaying and capturing those whom they overtook.

Malik, the leader of Hawazin fled with his men leaving a huge amount of booty estimated in today’s money to be millions of pounds.  They sought refuge in the fortress of Taif and the spoils of war, as there was such a huge amount, were taken to Ji’rana whilst the Muslims sieged the fortress of Taif.


Ibn al-Qayyim says: ‘Thus from Allah’s wisdom, is that He first made them taste the bitterness of defeat and of being overcome – despite their large numbers, strength and preparation – so that heads that were raised in the Conquest of Makkah, should be lowered. For they did not enter His city and sanctuary as Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, had done: head bowed upon his horse out of humility to his Lord, humbleness to His glory, and submission to His might.

The juxtaposition between Badr and Hunayn is stark.  A small number with huge emaan in their hearts as opposed to a huge force with faith not deeply rooted.  In Badr nothing moved them at Hunayn, when confronted by the enemy they turned and fled.

Khutbah delivered by Mohamed Suleman on Friday 12th July/22nd Shawwal at Coffee Hall Islamic Centre

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