The Root of Terrorism a la
20 Nov, 2005
- 'The broad mass of a nation -..will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one'---Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Raid on B. Qudah at Dhat al-Salasil by Amr b. al-As - September, 629CE
Having suffered a terrible defeat in the hands of B. Qudah at Dhat Atlah, coupled with the ignoble retreat of the Muslim army from Mu'tah, Muhammad's prestige was greatly affected. It is said that he also received intelligence that a number of tribes, including B. Qudah were now preparing to attack Medina. To salvage his reputation he now empowered Amr b. al-As, the new convert of Islam, to push for a decisive raid on the stubborn B. Qudah tribe. Amr b. al-As was very furious that some of these tribes had taken the side of the Byzantine party during the Mu'tah battle. It was time to punish them-Muhammad determined.
So with three hundred (300) men and thirty horses, Amr b. al-As set out to decimate the rebellious B. Qudah who were settled at Dhat al-Salasil. It was at a distance of ten days march from Medina. Amr b. al-As' grandmother (i.e., the mother of al-As b. Wail, the father of Amr b. al-As) was a woman from Qudah or Bali tribe and Muhammad sent Amr b. al-As to convert her and her people to Islam by force. When Amr arrived at Dhat al-Salasil he found that the enemy had heavily outnumbered the Muslims.
Because of the feeble Islamic forces at his disposal Amr b. al-As sought reinforcement from Muhammad. The messenger of Allah quickly sent Abu Bakr b. Quhafa with an additional two hundred (200) men to assist Amr b. al-As. Thus, the total number of men now numbered five hundred (500).
Another version of this raid runs like this:
Muhammad sent Amr b. al-As to the territory of Bali (Bali is a branch of Qudah tribe) and Udhrah to gain their assistance for an expedition to Syria that he had been planning for some time. Amr b. al-As' grandmother (i.e., the mother of al-As b. Wali, Amr b. al-As' father) lived in Bali. So Muhammad sent Amr b. al-As to her people to invite them to Islam and to earn their goodwill. After ten days of marching, while on his way to Bali, Amr b. al-As came across with B. Judham, another tribe at Dhat al-Salasil and he was frightened at their huge number. He sent an emergency message to Muhammad for additional men that Muhammad quickly complied with.
Muhammad sent this reinforcement, along with Abu Ubaydah b. al-Jarrah, Abu Bakr and Umar. Abu Ubaydah was made the leader, and Muhammad instructed them not to fight over the leadership when they had arrived at Dhat al-Salasil. Nonetheless, despite such instruction, when Abu Ubaydah arrived at Dhat al-Salasil a dispute arose regarding the leadership; Amr b. al-As insisted that Abu Ubaydah was only a reinforcement but the leadership still rested on Amr b. al-As. Abu Ubaydah agreed with Amr b. al-As, and Amr led the worship.
With this increased number of Muslim army, Amr b. al-As charged his enemy with much vigor and ferocity. The B. Qudah fighters went in panic and dispersed. After subduing the enemy the Muslims returned to Medina. No historian gives any detail about the booty the Muslims gained in this raid.
Raid on B. Juhayna at al-Khabat (the expedition of fish) by Abu Ubaydah ibn Jarrah - October, 629CE
In the next month, Muhammad sent Abu Ubaydah b. Jarrah along with three hundred (300) men to attack and punish the tribe of Juhaynah at al-Khabat, on the seacoast, five nights journey from Medina. This was a very difficult expedition and the Muslims suffered from intense hunger-so much so, that they had to divide the dates by number. They even ate the leaves of trees for a month. However, there was no fighting as the enemy had fled when they heard of the arrival of the Muslims.
In the end, the Muslims caught a dead-sea creature (a whale) that came ashore and ate it for half a month (or twenty days, according to Ibn Ishak). This is why this raid is also known as the 'expedition of fish.' They brought some of that stale meat to Muhammad and he ate it too.
Sahih Bukhari records that the Muslims ate the mountain like fish for eighteen days. Here is the Hadith:
Volume 3, Book 44, Number 663:
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
"Allah's Apostle sent an army towards the east coast and appointed Abu 'Ubaida bin Al-Jarrah as their chief, and the army consisted of three-hundred men including myself. We marched on till we reached a place where our food was about to finish. Abu- 'Ubaida ordered us to collect all the journey food and it was collected. My (our) journey food was dates. Abu 'Ubaida kept on giving us our daily ration in small amounts from it, till it was exhausted. The share of everyone of us used to be one date only." I said, "How could one date benefit you?" Jabir replied, "We came to know its value when even that too finished." Jabir added, "When we reached the sea-shore, we saw a huge fish which was like a small mountain. The army ate from it for eighteen days. Then Abu 'Ubaida ordered that two of its ribs be fixed and they were fixed in the ground. Then he ordered that a she-camel be ridden and it passed under the two ribs (forming an arch) without touching them."
Beheading the leader of B. Jusham at al Ghabah by Abd Allah ibn Hadrad - November, 629CE
Abd Allah b. Abi Hadrad al-Aslami, a Jihadist, went to Muhammad asking him for two hundred (200) Dirhams (about US$ 1,000) for the dowry he had to pay for his new bride, since he could not consummate his marriage as he was unable to pay this dowry. Muhammad claimed that he had no money to help Hadrad. A few days later, a group of B. Jusham, led by Qays b. Rifaah encamped at Ghabah, a nearby pastureland. It is alleged that they arrived there to gather their tribe to fight Muhammad. Muhammad called Abd Allah b. Abi Hadrad and two other Muslims and instructed them either to capture and bring Qays b. Rifaah or to bring further information about their movement.
The trio proceeded, armed with arrows and swords and riding a weak camel. When they approached the encampment in the evening, Abd Allah hid himself from the enemy camp and asked his two companions to conceal themselves somewhere else. He then told two of his Jihadi comrades that he was going on an assassination mission and if they happen to hear the cry of "Allahu Akbar" from afar then they should also shout "Allahu Akbar," rush out and attack the enemy simultaneously with him (Abd Allah b. abi Hadrad al-Aslami).
They waited until the darkness of night fell. During this time Qays b. Rifaa ventured outside his camp to look for one of their herdsmen who were late in returning to the camp. Qays came out of his camp defying his companions warning to not to venture out during the darkness of night. When he was within the attacking range, Abd Allah b. abi-Hadrad shot an arrow that hit Qays in his heart killing him instantly. Abd Allah then ran forward with his sword and cut off Qays' head and shouted "Allahu Akbar." His two companions responded immediately with "Allahu Akbar." The enemy was now in panic and terror and they took to the heel, taking away their wives and children. Abd Allah and his companions drove away their herd of camels, goats and sheep and brought them to Muhammad. Abd Allah presented Muhammad with the bloody head of Qays b. Rifaa. Muhammad was extremely pleased beholding the severed head of Qays b. Rifaa and rewarded Abd Allah with thirteen camels (worth about US$ 4,550) from the booty. With this booty Abd Allah paid his bride-money and consummated his marriage.
It is reported by al-Waqidi that the Jihadists also took four women, including one very beautiful and sexy girl. Muhammad gave her to Abu Qatadah, another Jihadist. When one of Muhammad's good friends, Mahmiyah b. al-Juz, informed him about her extreme beauty, Muhammad wanted her back from Abu Qatadah. But Abu Qatadah objected, saying: "I purchased her from the spoils." The Messenger of God said, "Give her to me." So he had no choice but to hand her over to Muhammad. Muhammad gave her as a present to Mahimiyah b. al-Jaz al-Zubaydi.
Raid on a passing caravan at Batn al-Idam by Abd Allah b. Abi Hadrad - November, 629CE
Muhammad was so pleased with the success of the terrorist, Abd Allah b. Abi Hadrad al-Aslami (see Terror 69 above), that soon after the gory and senseless beheading of Qays b. Rifaa, he despatched this extremely fanatic, fierce Jihadist, along with Abu Qatadah al-Harith b. Ribi and a group of eight terrorists to make a raid on a passing caravan at Idam, north of Medina. This raiding party arrived at Idam and waylaid for the passing caravan. A Bedouin caravan passed by and they greeted the Muslims with "Assalamu Alaikum." But the Jihadists/terrorists attacked this caravan anyway because of past enmity, killed the leader of the caravan, and made off with their camel and food. They returned to Muhammad and told him the story. Allah promptly released verse 4:94 asking the raiding party to be discriminating while committing a plunder. Historians like Ibn Sa'd describes this raid as a prelude to attack on Mecca as Muhammad wanted to divert people's attention from his 'real' intention, while covertly preparing to occupy Mecca.
Raid on B. Khudra at Suria by Abu Qatadah - December, 629CE
This was a petty expedition against the tribe of Khudra a sub-clan of B. Ghatafan that yielded a large plunder. Abu Qatadah led this raid in which he seized all the property of B. Khudra.
In this way Muhammad exacted his revenge on the tribes who dared to side with the Christians of Byzantine Empire. He became a very fearsome and powerful war monger and many smaller tribes decided to join the Muslim ranks to save themselves from Muhammad's unbound wrath; if you cannot beat them then join them-they thought. They also found a good opportunity to enrich themselves with the plunder, if they joined the Islamic Jihadists-they thought correctly.
Besides the above reasons, many tribes were also forced to pledge their allegiance to him. Among them were: Bani Dzobian, B. Fazara, with their chief, Uyana. B. Hisn, Bani Sulaym, a powerful tribe in the Hejaz was also forced to join in Islam (see Terror 60, CH. 14).
The Prophet Muhammad, truly, had now become a ferocious warlord.
Abul Kasem is an Bengali ex-Muslim and academic. He has contributed in Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out and Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside and Why We Left Islam.. He has also written extensively on Islam in various websites and is the author of five e-Books: A Complete Guide to Allah, Root of Terrorism ala Islamic Style, Sex and Sexuality in Islam, Who Authored the Quran? and Women in Islam. Mr. Kasem leaves in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at [email protected].