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Seerah episode 18: The Sacrilegious War June 11, 2014

Filed under: Seerah — visitor74 @ 10:22 pm

—  In his younger years, Muhammad had a few profound experiences that helped shaped his worldview during his Prophethood

  • Some narrations say he was 15 & other narrations say he was 20 at the time of the incident that we are going to talk about.
  • Reconciliation between these two narrations is that in the beginning of this experience, Muhammad was 14/15 and it continued until he was 20 years old

— This experience in question was the Harb ul-Fijar, “The Sacrilegious War”, which took place in Hijaaz

  • Fijar means something that is inappropriate, or is in violation of ethics or religion

— There was a man of Quraysh named Barrad from Banu Kinana who got into a conflict with a man named Urwat ul-Rahal, who was from the  tribe of Hawaazen (from the city of Ta’if)

  • The two major cities of Muhammad’s time was Makkah and Ta’if (Madinah is still called Yathrib and it is not major city yet)
    • Quraysh was the major tribe of Makkah
    • Taqeef & Hawaazen were 2 major tribes of Ta’if
      • These two tribes were known for their excellent archery & war strategies, where they’d create files formation & sequence during battles. So they were very good at it.
      • Quraysh known for bravery & swordfighting

— The Prophet’s first outside-of-Makkah preaching was in Ta’if

— The conflict between Barrad & Urwat ul-Rahal

  • Barrad (from the Quraysh tribe) had some clients for business
    • Urwaa (from the Hawaazen tribe)  approached those same clients, trying to offer them a better deal & create some competition
    • Barrad became offended & upset that Urwaa stole his customers
  • While traveling somewhere, Barrad coincedentially ends up meeting Urwaa. They exchange some words & went on their own way.
    • They see each other again when they camp out at the same rest stop
  • Barrad sees that Urwaa is off his guard & not paying attention. Barrad is still fuming this entire time because he lost his business to Urwaa
    • Seizing his opportunity, Barrad goes to attack Urwaa. They end up in a physical confrontation, and Barrad kills Urwaa
    • This murder took place during one of the 4 sacred months – Dhu al Qi’dah
  • This was problematic for 2 reasons:
    • Barrad killed a man unjustly
    • He kills him during a sacred month, which is why it’s called the Sacrilegious War

— When people of Hawaazen get the news that a member of Quraysh killed one of their own, they are infuriariated, so they  gather an army & march to Makkah, demanding retribution

  • Barrad goes back to Quraysh in Makkah. Some Makkans are upset because Barrad created a problem where there was none, but what’s done is done. Now, this is all about defending their honor
    • Instead of paying blood money or holding trial for Barrad, the Quraysh tribe members say to themselves, “Who do the Hawaazen think they are? Don’t they know who we are? We’re Quraysh, keepers of Al Haram, etc.”
    • Now Quraysh form their own army & march to fight Hawaazen.

— The tribes of Quraysh from Makkah & Hawaazen from Ta’if have a bit of stalemate. Some negotiation takes place. Neither tribe wants to engage in full-scale war since there’s so much at stake

  • Ta’if is the vacation spot, with nice weather & scenery. Even to this day, it has a better weather. The Hawaazen weren’t interested in having their city trashed
  • Makkah is the business center & the city of pilgrimage. The Quraysh didn’t want to get their city trashed

— For 5 years, there was a standoff (like the Cold War) – no actual battle or warfare taking place between Quraysh & Hawazen

  • There were actually only 5 days of battle in those 5 years
    • They even have names for the days of fighting: Yaum Shamta & Yaum Alabla – took place in Ukaad where festivities used to take place just outside of Makkah
    • Yaum Usharb – fiercest day of battle
  • It was throughout the late teen years of Muhammad

— During those 5 years, there was a lot of nationalistic pride between tribes

  • Tribes would engage in festivities (drinking/partying/rowdiness) that would badmouth other tribe
  • Muhammad would avoid those types of social events – he noticed the negatives of such behavior

— During one of those 5 days of battle, Muhammad’s uncles were going to battle

  • Muhammad was old enough to fight in battles, but he had no interest in it.
    • From the age of 13 or 14, boys were considered old enough & expected to take part in warfare, as a sign of manhood & loyalty to your tribe
  • His uncles said, “What are you saying? Come fight with us! What will people say? People will not like that the grandson of our leader Abdul Mutallib is refusing to go to battle in honor of Quraysh. What a disgrace to our family.”
    • They basically forced Muhammad to come to come to battle

— Muhammad was able to avoid the first 2 days of fighting, but had to participate on Yaum Usharb (3rd day of fighting)

  • Out in the battlefield, Muhammad pleaded with his uncles
    • He saw that from early on, this war was unjust & that it is Quraysh who was in the wrongdoing. One of his tribe members was in the wrongdoing, and instead of handing him over or pay blood money, they’re fighting a ridiculous war
  • Muhammad had never unjustly raised a sword or arms against anyone

— Muhammad instead engaged in Atanabbul – from the word nabal (“arrowheads”)

  • Responsibility of atanabbul was that as the arrows would fall in the field (since Hawaazen were just launching arrows from all sides), some people from Quraysh would gather up all the arrows & stack them up for the Quraysh
    • Muhammad was forced to be in the battlefield, so as a last resort he took to picking up the fallen arrows until the day ended. He had no interest in bloodshed

— On the night before the battles later in his life, Muhammad would make dua for forgiveness & guidance. Even during battle he would be doing dhikr, asking for protection

— During those 5 years, the leader of the Quraysh was a man named Harbin Umayya, who was killed during one of the 5 days of fighting

  • Eventually the Quraysh & Hawaazen sat down & discussed their status. “Why are we fighting? Do we even remember why? Let’s settle this matter with a treaty.”
  • “We’ve killed some of your people, and you’ve killed ours. We don’t want any blood money or retribution. We’ll leave this behind.”
    • The Quryash also offered blood money for death of Urwaa of Hawaazen
  • Hawaazen & Quraysh end up forgiving each other

 

Link to the next episode

http://www.qalaminstitute.org/2012/04/seerah-life-of-the-prophet-the-sacrilegious-war/

 

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