The Battle of Sons of Mustaliq


(The month of Shaban in the 5th Year of the Migration)

Harith b. Abi Dirar, the leader of Sons of Mustaliq clan of the Khuzaa tribe, gathered a few Arab tribes and prepared to walk against Muslims in Madinah.[1]

That news reached Madinah. The Prophet wanted to find out whether it was true or not. Therefore, the Prophet appointed Burayda b. Husayb, a Companion, to go to the land of Sons of Mustaliq and find out about the situation.  

Before leaving Madinah, Burayda asked the Prophet if he could tell lies so as not to make them suspicious and so as to protect himself. The Messenger of God allowed him to do so when it was necessary.

Burayda went to the land of Sons of Mustaliq. He acted as if he was one of them. He said, “I am together with you. I hear that you gathered against the Prophet. I want to join you with the people who follow me from my tribe. I want to cooperate with you until we eliminate all of them!”

Harith b. Abi Dirar, the leader of the Sons of Mustaliq said, “We are getting ready for it. Hurry up to join us!”

Burayda said, “I will mount my horse now and come back with a lot of people from my tribe.” Then, he left their land.[2]

Burayda went to Madinah at once and told the Messenger of God about the situation.

The Islamic Army Moves

It was the second Monday of the month of Shaban.

The Messenger of God appointed Zayd bin Haritha as his deputy and set off from Madinah with seven hundred people. Besides, Hazrat Aisha and Umm Salama, two of the wives of the Prophet joined the army, too.[3]

It was strange that the munafiqs were not as interested in any other expeditions as they were in this one. Most of them joined the Islamic army.[4]Their aim was to benefit from the booty and to cause mischief among Muslims by watching for an opportunity. 

The End of Sons of Mustaliq

While moving toward the Muraysi Water, the Islamic army captured one of the spies of the enemy. When he rejected to be a Muslim, he was killed.[5]

When Sons of Mustaliq heard about it, they were very scared; many people that they had gathered left them.

The Messenger of God reached the Muraysi Water with his army. He set up a tent made of leather. Then, he arranged his army to fight. He gave the standard of the muhajirs to Hazrat Abu Bakr and the standard of the Ansar to  Sa’d b. Ubada. He told Hazrat Umar to call out to them as,  “Say, ‘La ilaha illallah!’ and save your lives and property.”

Sons of Mustaliq did not accept the offer; besides, they started the battle by shooting arrows at the mujahids.[6]

Thereupon, the mujahids started to shoot arrows at them. Then, the Prophet ordered his army to attack them suddenly. As a result of the attack, ten people from Sons of Mustaliq were killed and the others were held captives.[7]

Only one mujahid from the Islamic army was killed by mistake by a Muslim who thought that he was an enemy soldier.[8]

There were about two hundred captives from Sons of Mustaliq. Many camels, cattle and sheep were captured as booty. The booty was brought together and distributed in due form. The captives were distributed among the mujahids.

This battle was called the Battle of Muraysi because it took place near Muraysi Water.[9]

A Plot of Munafiqs

After the Victory of Muraysi, the Prophet found it appropriate to stay and rest there for a few days. As we have mentioned before, many munafiqs had joined this expedition.[10]According to some resources, munafiqs had never shown so much interest in any other expedition. Their interest in the expedition was not without any reason. On the one hand, they wanted to have some of the bounties; on the other hand, they wanted to set Muslims, who were increasing in number and gaining strength, against one another by making use of the slightest opportunity...

During their stay there, a quarrel took place between Sinan b. Wabar al-Juhani, who was the ally of Sons of Amr from the tribe of Khazraj and Jahjah, the stableman that Hazrat Umar hired from Sons of Ghifar, because they mistook their buckets near the well. Jahjah hit Sinan’s face with slaps and fists; Sinan’s face was in blood. Sinan yelled, “O Ansar! Where are you? Help!”

Meanwhile, Jahjah shouted, “O Muhajirs! Where are you?”[11]

When Muhajirs and Ansar heard them, they rushed to the well. They drew their swords. They nearly fought. Some of the notables of Muhajirs and Ansar intervened and soothed them.  

Meanwhile, the Messenger of God arrived and said, “Is the cause of the people of Jahiliyya pursued here? Why are you screaming and yelling? What is the matter?”

When the Companions said that a muhajir had slapped a person from Ansar, the Prophet said, “Give up the customs of Jahiliyya; it is a filth and evil. A person who pursues the customs of Jahiliyya throws himself into Hell.”[12]

Thereupon, Sinan gave up seeking his right from Jahjah.

Abdullah b. Ubay Aggravates the Situation

Meanwhile, Abdullah b. Ubay b. Sa­lul, the leader of the munafiqs, came forward because it was an unmissable opportunity for him. He wanted to sow discord among Muslims. He called out, “O Ansar! Those muhajirs gained strength and fame thanks to you; now they are insulting us.”

Then, he turned to his tribe in a devilish manner and added, “You brought them to your city; you gave them goods and you went into partnership with them. You yourselves caused this contempt. When we return to Madinah, the honored and strong ones (he meant himself and his tribe) will expel the mean and weak ones (he meant the Prophet and the muhajirs) from the city.”[13]Then, he talked a lot of nonsense.

Hazrat Zayd b. Arqam, a young Companion who was present, opposed Abdullah b. Ubay and said, “I swear by God that you are the mean and cursed one in your tribe. Muhammad (pbuh) was made honorable by God.”

When the leader of the munafiqs heard it, he changed his attitude and said, “O my brother’s son! Keep quiet! I swear by God that I was joking!”[14]Thus, he showed his hypocrisy.

Zayd b. Arqam did not keep quiet. He told the Prophet whatever he heard from Abdullah b. Ubay. The color of the face of the Prophet changed. There were people like Hazrat Abu Bakr, Uthman, Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, Muhammad b. Mas­lama from Muhajirs and Ansar near the Prophet. However, he wanted to investigate the issue. He said to Zayd, “I hope you do not say so because of your hatred and enmity against Ibn Ubay.”

Zayd said, “No! I swear by God that I heard them from him.”

The Messenger of God asked again, “You may have misheard.”

Zayd swore by God for the second time that he heard those words exactly from the leader of the munafiqs.

It was heard by the people in the army that Abdullah b. Ubay uttered those words. Some of the Ansar condemned Zayd b. Arqam by saying to him, “You uttered unjust words about the leader of your tribe.”

Zayd said to them, “I swear by God that I heard them from him! If I heard those from my own father, I would never hesitate to tell the Messenger of God about it. I hope that God will send revelation to his Prophet and tell him who is lying and that the Messenger of God will confirm what I say.”

Then he prayed, “O God! Send Your Messenger Your revelation that will confirm what I say!”[15]

Meanwhile, Hazrat Umar said, “O Messenger of God! Allow me to kill that munafiq. If you do not find it appropriate for one of the muhajirs to kill him, order Sa’d b. Muadh or Muhammad b. Maslama to kill him!”[16]

The Messenger of God did not like that offer and he gave the following answer: “If I allow him to be killed, many notables of Madinah will feel scared and worried. Besides, those who do not know the inside story will start to say, ‘Muhammad is killing his friends’. Then, what will happen?”[17]

The Messenger of God ordered the mujahids to set off to Madinah though it was the hottest hour of the day. In fact, he had never set off during the hottest hour of the day before.[18]

Abdullah b. Ubay Denies What He Has Said

The Messenger of God summoned Abdullah b. Ubay and asked him,

“Did you utter the words that I heard?”

The leader of the munafiqs denied what he had said: “No! I swear by God, who sent down the Book to you that I did not utter any of those words. Zayd is definitely a liar!”

They Ask the Prophet Why They Set Off When it is Very Hot

Muslims were very surprised when the Prophet decided to set off during the hottest hour of the day.

Usayd b. Khudayr, who was one of the notables of Ansar, said, “O Messenger of God! It is not appropriate to set off at this hour. You never used to set off at this hour.”

The Messenger of God said, “Did you not hear what your man said?”

Usayd b. Khudayr said, “What man, O Messenger of God?”

The Prophet said, “Abdullah b. Ubay...”

Usayd b. Khudayr said, “What did he say?”

The Prophet said,“He said, ‘When we return to Madinah, the honored and strong ones will expel the mean and weak ones from the city’.”

Usayd b. Khudayr said, “O Messenger of God! If you want, you can expel him from Madinah! I swear by God that he is the one that is mean and weak and you are the one that is honored and strong! O Messenger of God! Treat him leniently and compassionately! I swear by God that when God sent you to us, his tribe was preparing to crown him. He thinks you removed his sultanate!”[19]

The Prophet did not want the mujahids to be kept busy with what Abdullah b. Ubay said. Therefore, they went on travelling until the next morning. The mujahids got very tired. When the sun started to affect them, they stopped. Since they were very tired, they immediately slept.

Thus, the Prophet did not let the rumor prevail in the army.

What the Strong Storm Meant

When the Messenger of God was about to leave from the place called Baqa with his army, a strong storm broke. The mujahids felt scared. They were worried that Uyayna b. Hisn, the leader of the Ghatafan tribe would attack Madinah. The treaty they had signed with him had ended.

The Messenger of God said, “Uyayna b. Hisn will not harm you. Do not feel scared. This storm is blowing due to the death of a big unbeliever!”

What the Messenger of God said was right. When they arrived in Madinah, they found out that Rufa’a b. Zayd b. Ta­but, one of the notables of the Jews who supported the munafiqs, had died.[20]He was one of the ferocious enemies of the Prophet and Islam.

The Offer of Abdullah

It was the irony of the fate... Abdullah b. Ubay was the leader of the munafiqs whereas his son Abdullah was a sincere Muslim who practiced Islam seriously and piously. When he heard what his fathers had said, he went to the presence of the Prophet.

He said, “O Messenger of God! I heard the incidence between you and my father. I heard that you wanted to kill him. If you really want to do it, order me to do it and I will bring his head to you. All of the people of Khazraj know that I love my father a lot. If you let somebody else kill him, I might be an enemy of that person and might kill that believer in return for an unbeliever and go to Hell!”

The belief of the Companions was strong; a Companion wanted to cut off the head of his father, who had insulted the Messenger of God and Muslims!

The Messenger of God consoled him with the answer he gave: “O Ab­dullah! I did not want to kill your father; I did not appoint anybody to kill him. We will treat him well as long as he lives with us!”[21]

Abdullah Confronts his Father

The Islamic army was approaching Madinah.

Abdullah dismounted his horse in the valley called Aqiq. He stood in front of his father. He made his camel sit. Then he said to his father, “I will not let you go unless you say majesty and power belong to God and His messenger!”

The leader of the munafiqs was astonished. The one that uttered those words was Abdullah, his son. Ubay, who pretended to believe in God, could not know what belief could make man do. He said to his son, “You say you will not let me go to Madinah among so many people here. Is that right?”

Abdullah said, “Yes. I will not let you go today until I teach you who is mean and who is honorable among the people here. If you do not say and accept that majesty and honor belong to God and His Messenger here, I will kill you!”

When the leader of the munafiqs saw that Abdullah was serious and determined, he had to say, “I witness that majesty and power belong to God, His messenger and believers.”

When the Messenger of God was informed about the incident, he said to Abdullah, “May God reward you due to His Messenger and believers” and ordered him to release his father.[22]

Returning to Madinah

The Messenger of God returned to Madinah with his army after twenty-eight days, when the crescent of Ramadan was seen.[23]

A Separate Chapter is Sent down about the Munafiqs

After those incidents, a separate chapter was sent down about Abdullah b. Ubay b. Salul, the leader of the munafiqs and the other munafiqs. The following was stated about the characteristics of the munafiqs in the chapter:

“When the Hypocrites come to thee, they say "We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of God." Yea, God knoweth that thou art indeed His Messenger, and God beareth witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars.

They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of God: truly evil are their deeds.

That is because they believed, then they rejected Faith: so a seal was set on their hearts: therefore they understand not.

When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of God be on them! How are they deluded (away from the Truth)!”[24]

In the verses that followed, what Abdullah b. Ubay had uttered was mentioned and the following was added:

“They are the ones who say, "Spend nothing on those who are with God's Messenger, to the end that they may disperse (and quit Madinah). But to God belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth; but the Hypocrites understand not.

They say, "If we return to Madinah, surely the more honourable (element) will expel there from the meaner." But honour belongs to God and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not.”[25]

God Confirmed What Zayd Had Said

When those verses were sent down and when it was stated that the munafiqs were liars, the Messenger of God called Zayd, held his ear and said, “Here is the young man who fulfilled his duty in the way of God through his ear!” Then, he said, “O Zayd! God confirmed what you had said!”[26]


[1]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 63.

[2]Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 2, p. 584.

[3]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 63.

[4]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 63.

[5]Waqidi, Maghazi, Vol. 1, p. 406.

[6]Ibn Kathir, Sirah, Vol. 3, p. 298.

[7]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 64.

[8]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 3, p. 302; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 64.

[9]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 302.

[10]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 63.

[11]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 303.

[12]Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 4. p. 160.

[13]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 303.

[14]Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 2, p. 597.

[15]Waqidi, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 417.

[16]Tabari, Tafsir, Vol. 28, p. 114.

[17]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 303.

[18]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 303.

[19]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 304.

[20]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 304.

[21]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 305.

[22]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2. p. 65.

[23]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 65.

[24]al-Munafiqun, 1-4.

[25]al-Munafiqun, 7-8.

[26]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 305.

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