WikiIslam:Sandbox/Muhammad's Raids and Battles
According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s first authentic biographer, Muhammad took part personally in 27 (twenty seven) raids. (Tabari counts it as twenty six because the historian omitted Muhammad’s pilgrimage to Mecca. Since it can not be considered as a raid or war, we should conclude there were only 26 raids Muhammad personally partook in.)
Before getting into details, it is necessary to know of the nature of Muhammad’s battles. Out of the 27 or so battles, only the battle of Uhd and Khandaq were exempted from being offensive. All others were purely offensive onslaughts. More important point here is Muhammad’s raids or better known as “Ghazws” These were raids carried out against helpless people to robe and plunder them.
[Note: This list does not include raids and expeditions that Muhammad ordered but in which he did not take part in person.]
1. Raid of Waddan
This was the first raid Muhammad carried out against helpless polytheists. The raid of Waddan occurred thirteen years after his alleged prophet-hood. (That being almost one year of his coming to Medina (Hijra)) According to Ibn Ishaq:
Then the apostle prepared for war in pursuance of God’s command to fight his enemies and fight those polytheists who were near at hand whom God commanded him to fight. This was thirteen years after his call. <Snip>The apostle on that day was fifty-three years of age, that being thirteen years after God called him. He stayed there for the rest of Raib’ul-awwal, Shawwal Dhul-Qada, Dhu’l Hijja (when polytheists supervised the pilgrimage) and Muharram. Then he went forth raiding on Safar at the beginning of the twelfth month from his coming to Medina until he reached Waddan which is the first raid of al-Abawa making for Quraysh and Banu Damra b. Bakr b. Abdu Manat b. Kinana. The Banu Damra there made peace with him through their leader Makashi b. Amr al-Damri. Then he returned to Medina without meeting war and remained there for the rest of Safar and the beginning of Rabi’ul-awwal.
From apologist versions:
The important issue on this raid was Muhammad’s approval of endangering or killing of women and children during the raids. This raid occurred at night while people were sleeping in their houses. Muhammad’s followers were bit reluctant to endanger women and children during the raid. (Perhaps owing to the pre-Islamic norm of not endangering women and children during Gahzws) And when they consulted Muhammad on this, he readily approved it. If we follow Sahih Bukhari hadith on this raid:
2. The Raid on Buwat
This raid occurred after the expedition of Waddan. Muhammad sent one of his followers Ubayda bin al-Harith with sixty men to Thaniyatul-Murra for an expedition. There they had to encounter a large number of Quraysh (Meccans) so no fighting took place. Ibn Ishaq mentions some polytheists joining Muslims in this mission. Not much is known of this expedition but the raid on Buwat was occurred after this. According to Ibn Ishaq:
Apologist versions on the raid of Buwat:
3. The Raid on Ushayra in the valley of Yanbu
This raid was three months after the raid on Buwat. According to Ibn Ishaq:
Dhil ‘Ushairah Invasion. It was in Jumada-al-Ula and Jumada-al-Akhirah the first or second 2 A.H., i.e. November-December 623 A.D. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) at the head of 150-200 Muslim volunteers, with 30 camels which they rode turn by turn, set out tointercept a Quraishite caravan. He reached Dhil ‘Ushairah but the camels had left some days before. These camels were the same that he went out to intercept on their return from Syria, and were the direct reason for the break out of the battle of Badr. In the process of this campaign, the Prophet contracted a non-aggression pact with Bani Madlij and their allies Bani Dhumrah.
The first fight at Badr in pursuit of Kurz b. Jabir
According to Ibn Ishaq:
In Rabi‘ Al-Awwal 2 A.H., i.e. 623 A.D. Karz bin Jabir at the head of a small group of polytheists raided the pastures of Madinah and looted some animals. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) at the head of 70 men left Madinah to fight the aggressors. Hewent in their pursuit till he reached a place called Safwan near Badr but could not catch up with them. This invasion came to be known as the preliminary Badr Invasion.
The Battle of Uhud
The battle of Uhud, fought against the Meccan pagans shortly after the great Muslim victory at Badr (ca. 624 A.D.), ended in humilliating defeat for the Muslims. Mohammed commanded, although in typical fashion avoided direct combat, and in fact was wounded by a thrown rock when he was running away. After the battle, Muhammad tried to climb a hill to get a better view:
The apostle of Allah, the perfect prophet, the model for all times, was too obese to climb a rock. "Old age" is no excuse here; several years of having slaves cater to his every whim seems to be a more likely reason. The man who preached moderation to his followers seems to have had problem with maintaining moderation himself. Also notice the detail of Muhammad putting up two coats of mail; he was afraid of getting killed. Perhaps being Allah's final Prophet didn't offer Muhammad enough security.