Sariyyas are Sent Around

Despite everything, the idolaters of Mecca did bothered and harassed the Prophet and Muslims. They were pursuing their activities relentlessly, cooperating secretly with Jews and hypocrites of Medina in order to cease the light of Islam and to murder the Great Prophet.

The Honorable Messenger, who organized people of Medina, began taking actions against them. Of course, it was impossible not to take actions while enemies were resorting to all kinds of tricks and intrigues.

First of all, the Prophet wanted to apply economical warfare method. Therefore, he chose to keep the trade route leading from Quraish to Syria under control.

Another precaution they considered was making peace treaty with tribes living nearby. This would prevent them from being a part of insidious aims of Mecca idolaters and leave Quraish without assistance.

He started to send sariyyas around in the first year of the Hijrah, for this purpose. (1) These sariyyas were not sent for attacking anywhere or shedding blood. As a matter of fact, the first sariyyas (except for one) did not shed even a single drop of blood and did not plunder any tribes; as it will be seen later.

Main characteristic of these sariyyas which were sent was to keep the Quraish under financial pressure; which was a sort of warning for them. It meant to say “If you continue pursuing this violence policy, we know what to do. We have the trade route which is your vital point. Behave!”

Another important task these sariyyas carried on was to control the neighborhood around Medina to investigate and inform if there was any sort of danger and what sort of preparations the enemy was making.

The First Sariyya

Seven months after the migration to Medina, in the month of Ramadan, the Honorable Messenger sent his uncle Hazrat Hamza as the leader of cavalries consisting of thirty people in order to watch a trade caravan which was on its way from Damascus to Mecca, escorted by a trop three hundred idolaters of Quraish. (2)

There was not a single Muslim from the Ansar among the cavalries because they promised the Prophet to protect them only within Medina. For this reason, the Honorable Messenger had not sent anyone from the Ansar to military expeditions until the Battle of Badr. (3)

Hazrat Hamza, having set out from Medina, came across the Quraish caravan, which included Abu Jahl, in Sayf al-Bahra, a sub-district of Iys. While two rivalries were preparing to fight, the leader of Juhanis, who was an ally and friend of the both parties, prevented the fight by stepping in.

The Quraish kept on going towards Mecca with their caravan, while Hazrat Hamza returned to Medina with Muslims who were with him. (4)

The Prophet was pleased to hear that no fighting happened.

The Sariyya of Ubaydah bin Harith

After Hazrat Hamza returned to Medina, the Prophet sent Ubaydah bin Harith to the valley of Nabigh in the month of Shawwal. There were sixty cavalrymen from migrants with him. (5)

Arriving in the valley of Nabigh, Hazrat Ubaydah came across two hundred people from the Quraish idolaters. They shot arrows at each other. The first arrow on the Muslims side was shot by Hazrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas. This was the first arrow shot for the sake of God. (6) Both parties went away from each other, without making any other fight. (7)

In the meantime, Miqdad bin Amr and Utbah bin Ghazwan, who had converted to Islam but could not find any chance to join the Muslims, took advantage of this situation and left the idolaters and joined Mujahids. (8)

THE EXPEDITION OF ABWA

It was the last month of the first year of the Hijrah…

The Honorable Messenger assigned Sa’d bin Ubadah as his deputy and set out from Medina, with a troop of sixty migrants, for the first time. (9)

The reason why the Prophet went into this battle (10) was to encounter the idolaters of Quraish who attacked people nearby and intimidate them, and to make a treaty with Damra bin Sons of Bakr at the same time. (11)

The Honorable Messenger’s white flag was being carried by Hazrat Hamza.

The Prophet did not encounter the idolaters at this battle; however, he made a treaty with the sons of Bakr, which was the second reason why he set out.

According to the written treaty made with the chief of Damra Tribe:

a) Neither they, nor the Prophet would engage in a combat with the other side.

b) None of the parties would help the other party’s enemy, not even secretly.

c) They would have the Messenger of God’s assistance as long as they would not work against Islam, and they would respond positively when the Messenger of God called them for assistance against his enemy. (12)

The Prophet returned to Medina fifteen nights later. (13)

These peace treaties made with neighboring tribes had many advantages. Especially, the peace treaty made with tribes living on the Damascus trade route of Mecca was an implementation of the plan to demolish the Quraish financially.

As it can be seen, the Prophet made some treaties with other tribes which did not dispute with the Muslims against the enemy, provisionally though.

1. "Sariyya" is the military unit which the Prophet himself did not take part in but which was sent under the command of any of his Companions. A sariyya consists of at least five and at most 300-400 people.

2. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 245; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 2, p. 6.

3. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 6.

4. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 6

5. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, s 241; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 7.

6. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 241; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 7.

7. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 241-242; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 7.

8. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, 242.

9. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 2, p. 8.

10. A military expedition in which the Prophet himself took part is called a ghazwa.

11. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 241; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 8.

12. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 274-275, V. 2, p. 8.

13. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 8.

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