The Prophet’s Battles, Armies and Expeditions : Imam ibn al-Qayyim

From “Zâd al-Ma’âd fî Hadyi Khayri-l ‘Ibâd”

All of the Prophet’s Ghazwat, Bu’uth and Saraya [1] occurred after the Hijrah, within a span of ten years. There were either twenty-seven Ghazwat, or twenty-five, or twenty-nine. The Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam had to fight in nine battles, Badr, ‘Uhud, al-Khandaqh, Quraidhah, al-Mustaliqh, Khaybar, al-Fath’ (Conquering of Makkah), ‘Hunayn and Tâ’if. It was said that the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam also fought against Banî an-Nadhîr (a Jewish tribe) and at al-Ghabah and Wadi al-Qura, which was a suburb of Khaybar.

As for the Saraya of the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the armies he sent, they numbered close to sixty. There were seven major battles: Badr, ‘Uhud, al-Khandaqh, Khaybar, al-Fath’, ‘Hunayn and Tabuk. [2] Several parts of the Qur’ân mentioned these major Ghazwat. For instance, Sûrah al-Anfâl (chapter 8) was revealed about Ghazwat Badr, while the last part of Sûrah ali-‘Imrân (chapter 3) was about Ghazwat ‘Uhud, from Allâh’s statement,

“And (remember) when you [Muhammad sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam] left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle” [3:121],

until just before the end of the Sûrah. The beginning of Sûrah al-Ahzâb (chapter 33) was revealed about the battles of al-Khandaqh, Quraydhah and Khaybar. Sûrah al-‘Hashr (59) was revealed about Banî an-Nadhîr, al-Fath’ (48) about al-‘Hudaibiyyah and the battle of Khaybar. The conquering of Makkah was mentioned indirectly in Sûrah al-Fath’ and directly in Sûrah an-Nasr (110). He sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was wounded during the battle of ‘Uhud. [3] The angels fought alongside the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam during the battles of Badr [4] and ‘Hunayn. They also descended during the battle of al-Khandaqh [5], where they shook the Mushriks [surrounding Madînah] and defeated them. During that battle, the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam threw a handful of sand at the faces of the Mushriks (Polytheists) and they fled [without a fight]. [6]

The Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam won decisively in two battles, Badr and ‘Hunain. He used al-Manjaniq (mongonel, or catapult) during on battle, at-Tâ’if, and took cover behind a trench during Ghazwat al-Khandaqh, also known as Ghazwat al-Ahzâb. Salmân al-Farsî radiallâhu ‘anhu suggested that the trench be dug in that battle.


[1] ‘Ghazwat‘, pl. for ‘Ghazwah‘, means battles. The battles that the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam led himself were called, ‘Ghazwat‘, whereas the armies and expeditions he sent while remaining behind are called, ‘Bu’uth‘, pl. for, ‘Ba’th‘, and ‘Saraya‘, pl. for, ‘Sariyyah‘.

[2] All of which are mentioned in detail later on in, Zâd al-Ma’âd.

[3] Al-Bukhârî (3767) narrated that Sahl bin as-Sa’idi was asked about how the wound of the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was treated, and he replied, “‘Alî used to bring water in his shield and Fâtimah (the Prophet’s daughter and ‘Alî’s wife) used to wash the blood off his face. Then straw mat was burnt and the wound was filled with it.”

[4] Al-Bukhârî (3694) narrated that ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Abbâs radiallâhu ‘anhu said that the Prophet sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said on the day of Badr, “Here is Jibrîl, holding the head of his horse and wearing war armours.” Allâh sent the angels to strengthen their hearts of the believers and to aid them.

[5] Shaykh ‘Irfân said, “Allâh said in Sûrah al-Ahzâb (33:9), ‘O you who believe! Remember Allâh’s Favour to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not [angels during the battle of Al-Ahzâb (the Confederates, Ghazwat al-Khandaq (in 5 AH)]. And Allâh is Ever All-Seer of what you do.’

[6] Al-Bukhârî (2716) and Muslim (3277) narrated that Allâh’s Apostle sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked for Allâh’s wrath upon the Ahzâb, saying: “O, Allâh, Revealer of the Holy Book, and the One swift at reckoning! O, Allâh, Defeat the confederates. O, Allâh, Defeat them and shake them.”