The Expedition of Sons of Murra

(8th year of the Migration, the month of Safar)

Four hundred of the soldiers in the army that besieged the Muslims during the Battle of Khandaq and that was led by Abu Sufyan b. Harb belonged to Sons of Murra.[1]Besides, they had martyred 28 out of 30 mujahids of the team led by Bashir b. Sa’d that the Messenger of God had sent to punish them.[2]

The Messenger of God wanted to teach this tribe, which was an enemy of Islam, a lesson. Therefore, he sent two hundred mujahids led by Ghalib b. Abdullah against Sons of Murra.

Ghalib b. Abdullah and the mujahids with him approached Sons of Murrah. He addresses the mujahids there saying, “Do not disobey me! The Messenger of God (pbuh) said, ‘A person who disobeys a commander appointed by me is regarded to have disobeyed me.’ Accordingly, if you disobey me, you will be regarded to have disobeyed the Prophet.”[3]

Upon the order of their commander, the mujahids attacked Sons of Murra very early in the morning uttering takbirs. The mujahids killed many of them and captured their wives and children; they captured many camels, cattle and sheep as booty.[4]

Usama Kills a Person Thinking that he was a Polytheist

Hazrat Usama b. Zayd followed a person called Mirdas b. Nahik and killed him thinking that he was a polytheist. He told  Ghalib b. Abdullah, his commander, about it.

“I followed someone. Just as I was going to hit him with my sword, he said ‘La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah)’.”

Ghalib b. Abdullah asked, “Did you put your sword into its sheath then?”

Usama said, “No, I killed him.”

All of the mujahids said, “By God, you did something that we were not ordered; you killed someone who said, ‘La ilaha illallah’.”

Usama felt very sorry for what he had done.

Then, Ghalib b. Abdullah returned to Madinah with the mujahids.

“Did You Split Open his Heart?”

When they arrived in Madinah, Usama told the Prophet about the incident.

The Messenger of God got very furious and said, “O Usama! You killed someone though he said, ‘La ilaha illallah’?”

Usama alleged an excuse: “O Messenger of God! He said, ‘La ilaha illallah’ because he was afraid of the sword.”

The Messenger of God got more furious when he heard Usama’s excuse and said to him, “Why did you not split open his heart and see whether he was telling the truth or not?”[5]

Usama, whom the Messenger of God loved a lot and generally rode on the same camel with, said,

“The Messenger of God (pbuh) repeated that sentence so much that I said to myself, ‘I wish I were a new Muslim that day and had not killed him.’”[6]

It is necessary to state here that this sentence of Usama was an exaggerated expression of the agony he felt not the reality. When Usama killed the man without paying attention to his utterance of kalima at-tawhid, he probably acted upon the apparent meaning of the verse: “But their (unbelievers’) professing the Faith when they (actually) saw Our Punishment was not going to profit them.”[7]Therefore, the Prophet only rebuked them; he did not order him to pay ransom.  

 “…Say not to anyone who offers you a salutation: ‘Thou art none of a Believer!’”[8]The verse above was sent down upon this incident.[9]


[1]Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 66.

[2]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 119.

[3]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 126.

[4]Ibn Sa’d, ibid, Vol. 2, p. 126; Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, Vol. 3, p. 197.

[5]Ibn Hisham, Sirah, Vol. 4, p. 271; Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 96.

[6]Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 271; Muslim, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 96.

[7]Ghafir, 85.

[8]An-Nisa, 94.

[9]az-Zabidi, Tajrid as-Sarih, Trns by Kâmil Miras, Vol. 10, p. 293.

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