Salam bin Abee Al-Huqaiq (Abu Rafi’) was a terrible Jew criminal, who had mustered the troops of the Confederates and provided them with a lot of wealth and supplies, on the one hand, and used to malign the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم), on the other. When the Muslims had settled their affai rwith Banu Quraiza; Al-Khazraj tribe, a rival of Al-Aws, asked for the Prophet’s permission to kill that criminal in order to merit a virtue equal to that of Al-Aws who had killed another criminal of the Jews, Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf. The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) gave them his permission provided that no women or children be killed.
A group of five people with ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Ateeq at their head, headed for Khaibar where ‘Abu Rafi’’s fort was situated. When they approached the place, ‘Abdullaah advised his men to stay a little behind, while he went ahead disguised himself in his cloak as if he had been relieving himself. When the people of the fort went in, the gate-keeper called him to enter thinking he was one of them. ‘Abdullaah went in and lurked inside. He then began to unbolt the doors leading to Salam’s room. There it was absolutely dark but he managed to put him to the sword, and then leave in safety. On his way back, his leg broke so he wrapped it up in a band, and hid in a secret place until morning when someone stood on the wall and announced the death of Salam bin Abee Al-Huqaiq officially. On hearing the glad news he left and went to see the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم), who listened to the whole story, and then asked ‘Abdullaah to stretch his leg, which he wiped and the fracture healed on the spot.
In another version, all the group of five participated in killing that enemy of Islaam. This incident took place in Dhul Qa’dah or Dhul Hijjah in the year five Hijri.
Shortly after the conclusion of the battle with the Confederates and Quraiza, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) began to despatch punitive expeditions to force the aggressive tribes and rebellious Arabians to come to peaceful terms with the rising state of Islaam.
A platoon of thirty believers under the leadership of Muhammad bin Maslamah was despatched on a military mission in Muharram, the sixth year Hijri, following the two previous battles. It headed for the habitation of Bani Bakr sept. The Muslims attacked that sept and dispersed them in all directions. Plenty of spoils fell to the lot of the Muslims who returned home with a terrible disbeliever, Thumamah bin Uthal Al-Hanafi, chief of Bani Hanifa, who had gone out by order of Musailama, the Liar, to assassinate the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم). The Prophet’s Companions tied him to a pole of the Prophetic Mosque. To a question posed by the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم), Thumamah used to say: “If you were to kill someone, then you would have to choose one of noble descent, if you were to be gracious, then let it be to a grateful man and if you were to ask for money, you would have to ask for it from a generous man.” He repeated that three times on three different occasions. On the third time, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) ordered that he should be released. He soon went nearby, washed and then came back to profess the new faith addressing the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم): “No face had been more awful to me than yours but now it is the closest to my heart, no religion had ever been more repugnant to me than yours, now it is the dearest in my heart. Now I want to perform the ’Umrah (lesser pilgrimage).” The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) gave him good tidings and asked him to do that. On his arrival in Makkah, the Qurayshites accused him of apostasy. He denied it and affirmed that he had embraced Islaam, then swore that they would never get a grain from Yamama, a suburban area around Makkah, unless the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) would allow it. In fact, he did it and refused to send food supplies to Makkah until the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) interceded at the Makkans’ earnest plea.
Bani Lihyan Invasion:
Bani Lihyan had acted treacherously towards ten of the Prophet’s Companions and had them hanged. Their habitation being situated deep in the heart of Hijaz on the borders of Makkah, and due to deep-seated blood-revenge between the Muslims on the one hand, and Quraysh and the Arabians on the other, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) deemed it unwise to penetrate deep and come close to the greatest enemy, Quraysh. However, when the power of the allied Confederates collapsed and they began to slacken and resign to the current unfavourable balance of power, the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) seized this rare opportunity and decided that it was time to take revenge on Bani Lihyan. He set out in Rabi’ Al-Awwal or Jumada Al-Ula in the year six Hijri at the head of two hundred Muslim fighters and made a feint of heading for Syria, then soon changed route towards Batn Gharran, the scene of his Companions’ tragedy, and invoked Allaah’s mercy on them. News of his march reached Bani Lihyan, who immediately fled to the mountain tops nearby and thus remained out of his reach. On his way back, the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) despatched a group of ten horsemen to a place called Kura’ Al-Ghamim, in the vicinity of the habitation of Quraysh in order to indirectly confirm his growing military power. All these skirmishes took fourteen days, after which he left back for home.
Expeditions And Delegations Continued:
- A platoon led by ‘Ukasha bin Al-Mihsan was despatched to a place called Al-Ghamir inhabited by Bani Asad in the year six Hijri. The enemy immediately fled leaving behind them two hundred camels which were taken to Madeenah.
- A platoon led by Muhammad bin Maslamah set out towards the habitation of Bani Tha’labah in Dhil Qassa. But a hundred men of the enemies ambushed and killed all of them except Muhammad bin Maslamah who managed to escape but badly wounded.
- In retaliation against Bani Tha’labah, Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, at the head of forty men, was despatched to Dhil Qassa. They walked that night and took the enemy by surprise in the morning. Again, they fled to the mountains except one who was injured, and later embraced Islaam. A lot of booty fell to their lot in that particular incident.
- A platoon, under the leadership of Zaid bin Haritha, was sent to Al-Jumum, the habitation of Bani Saleem, in the same year. A woman from Bani Muzaina showed them the way to the enemy’s camp. There the Muslims took some captives and gained a lot of booty. Later on, the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) granted the woman her freedom and married her to one of his followers.
- Zaid bin Haritha, in Jumada Al-Ula 6 Hijri, at the head of a hundred and seventy horsemen, set out to a place called Al-‘Ais, intercepted a caravan of Quraysh led by Abul-‘As, the Prophet’s relative and looted their camels. Abul-‘As escaped and took refuge in Zainab’s (his wife and the Prophet’s daughter) house. He begged her to ask the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) for the restitution of his wealth. The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) recommended, but without coercion, that the people do that. They immediately gave the man back all his wealth. He went back to Makkah, gave over the trusts to those entitled to them, embraced Islaam and emigrated to Madeenah where the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) reunited him with his wife, Zainab, after three and a half years of their first marriage contract. The verse relating to prohibition of marriage between women Muslims and disbelievers had not been revealed then.
- In Jumada Ath-Thania, the same year, Zaid at the head of fifteen men raided Bani Tha’labah and captured twenty of their camels but the people had fled.
- In Rajab of the same year, Zaid, at the head of twelve men, set out to a place called Wadi Al-Qura in a reconnaissance mission to explore the movements of the enemy. The people there attacked the Muslims, killed nine of them, while the rest including Zaid bin Haritha managed to escape.
- The invasion of Al-Khabt (diluted yoghurt) took place in the year eight Hijri i.e. before Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty. Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah led three hundred horsemen to observe a caravan belonging to Quraysh. Because of the inadequacy of food supplies, they began to starve so much that they had Khabt (diluted yoghurt), hence the appellation “The Army of Al-Khabt”. One of the men slaughtered nine camels at three times, three each time at different stages of the mission. Abu ‘Ubaidah, the leader of the campaign prohibited him from doing so. The sea was generous and presented them with an animal called Al-‘Anbar (sperm-whale) so rich in fat that they subsisted on it for half a month. When they came back home, they narrated the story to the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم), who commented that it was provision granted by Allaah, and asked them to share him some of its meat.
This campaign came chronologically prior to Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty because of and after which the Muslims stopped intercepting Qurayshi caravans.