24th Rajab - Battle of Khyber

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24th Rajab - Battle of Khyber

Post by Admin on Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:54 pm


24th of Rajab marks
the anniversary of the victory of Islam against the Jews in the battle
of Khyber. This battle was fought in the 7th Hijrah.


Khyber was a locality at a distance of about 96 Kms from Madina. It
of eight (or ten) popular and very strong forts where the Jews lived
and also gave refuge to the enemies of Islam. They had become an active
center of conspiracies against Islam. In the 7th Hijrah, our Holy
Prophet Mohammad(sawaw) got information about the conspiracy being
hatched by the Jews against Muslims in connivance with other hostile
elements of Islam. He(sawaw) decided to take on the challenge.

Preparation for War

In a consultative meeting, it was decided by the Muslims to take on the
outside Madina. A force of 1,400 muslim fighters (History of Muslims
of the World by K.A.Hameed) set out of Madina to protect themselves and
their homeland against a Jewish force of more than 14,000 fighters
(Allama Tabrisi). Before the start of the battle, the Prophet
Mohammad(sawaw) took ill. Imam Ali(a.s.) was also not able to
participate in this battle in the beginning due to a illness in his

The battle starts

The battle started with the siege of the forts at Khyber. The siege
continued for a period of about one month. Some individual battles were
by a general assault from both sides for three continuous days but a
decisive result could not be achieved. This was mainly due to the fact
that the Prophet Mohammad(sawaw) was not commanding the military moves
himself as well as because Imam Ali(a.s.) was not taking part in the
The so called “Mujahideen-e-Islam” who always complained
of not being given sufficient chance to show their skills were in
charge and no victory was in sight.

In Tarikh Abul Fada (Vol1
page 187) it is stated that “Due to the illness of Prophet
Mohammad(sawaw), Hazrat Abu Bakr took the banner and went to fight but
returned unsuccessful and then Hazrat Umar took the banner and fought
even harder but he as well returned unsuccessfully. Thereafter, Prophet
Mohammad(sawaw) was informed of this situation”. It is quite clear
that the Prophet(sawaw) never awarded the banner to any of the two,
they took it by themselves and went to fight and returned unsuccessful.

five days of general battle, Prophet Mohammad(sawaw) declared that
“Tomorrow I will award the Standard of the Islamic forces to a man who
loves Allah(swt) and his Prophet(sawaw) and Allah(swt) and his
Prophet(sawaw) love him. He is the one who attacks forcefully and does
not run away from the battlefield and he will not return until
Allah(swt) grants victory on his hand”. Every Sahabi was waiting and
wishing to be awarded this honor.

The next day Prophet
Mohammad(sawaw) called for Imam Ali(a.s.). People said that Ali(a.s.)
was suffering from a disease in his eyes but the Prophet(sawaw)
insisted on him being called and when he arrived, the Prophet(sawaw)
applied his saliva on the eyes of Imam Ali(a.s.) which cured him
instantly and then he prayed to Allah(swt) and awarded him the standard
of Islam.

Advances of Imam Ali(a.s.)

Ali(a.s.) led the Islamic forces to the strongest fort of Khyber named
QAMOOS and when they came near, the battle was started by the Jews. One
of their strongest man, Haris, attacked and martyred two Muslims after
which Imam Ali(a.s.) took on Haris and killed him instantly. He was
followed by the strongest man among the Jews - Marhab. Marhab faced the
same fate. His body was equally divided into two parts by the zulfiqar
of Imam Ali(a.s.).

After this, general battle started. The Muslim forces fought with a lot of courage under the leadership of Imam Ali(a.s.).

realizing that they were losing the battle, the Jews started running
towards the fort and closed the huge iron gate of the fort from inside.
This was the gate which used to be opened and closed by 40 strong men.
Imam Ali(a.s.) alone lifted and broke the gate in one strong jolt. He
then used the same gate to make a bridge on a trench so that the
Islamic forces could enter the fort and conquer it. The remaining
frightful Jews cried of mercy and Imam Ali(a.s.) ordered to stop the
battle and declare peace for them who had surrendered. One after the
other, the muslim fighters under the leadership of Imam Ali(a.s.)
conquered various forts of this stronghold and completed the grand
victory of Islamic forces over the Jews.

Brother Mohsin Naquvi Adds:

mother had had a dream in her youth and when Marhab was only a baby. In
her dream she had seen that a lion had killed her. Because of that
dream, she used to say to her son (when he had grown up and had become
a renowned fighter in Arabia): Son, never fight a man whose name
resembles the meaning of 'lion.'

In all previous sorties the
Prophet of Islam would appoint a commander and then send some soldiers
under the command of that commander to attack the fort. When the
Prophet (pbuh) asked Ali to take charge and attack, Imam Ali(a.s.) did
not bother about the soldiers. He took the banner in one hand, the
sword in the other hand and marched uphill on the double. The only
companion who went with him was Abu Rafay (other Muslim soldiers
followed later), the personal attendant of the
Prophet on whose authority the whole story is told. Abu Rafay narrates:

we arrived at the top of the hill, we were out of breath, because Ali
had been marching on the double uphill. He established the banner in
the rocks and looked upto the fort. When we arrived at the gate of the
fort, there was an old Jewish guard watching us approach from one of
the turrets. He looked at Imam Ali(a.s.) and shouted - Who are YOU?
Notice the emphasis on YOU. Imam Ali(a.s.) replied by reciting the
following verse:

anal lazi sammatni ummi hydara
zarghaamu aajaamin, laithun, qaswara

I am the one who was named HYDER by his mother, I am the lion of the
valley, I am the great lion, the lion who attacks his prey by chasing

The old man turned to his people inside the fort and said: YOU ARE DESTROYED!!!

Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlavi writes: Apparently, the old man had read
some FAZA'EL of Imam Ali(a.s.) in his books and he recognized him for
those. That is why he said what he said to his own people.

is indeed true that Imam Ali(a.s.) was named HYDER by his mother in his
infancy. What is curious is that Imam Ali(a.s.) uses three more words
meaning 'lion' of different qualities. Here is an explanation: But
before that, let us read some Urdu poetry, which in its simplicity and
recording of fact is an all-time classic.


Imam comes to this world with a covenant with Allah that he would
protect and preserve the law of Allah. If in that process the Imam
needs to raise his sword he will do that with that intention and full
committment to welcome martyrdom or win over the enemy. The main
purpose of an Imam's life is to guide people and lead people. His main
purpose in life is not killing people. But, if it comes to that, the
Imam will not relent.

That is why Imam Ali(a.s.) comes to the
battlefield reciting those famous verses in which he uses three
different words for the word lion. That was the indication that the
Imam will first try HIDAYAT and then if all else fails he will not back
away from using the sword. He wanted Marhab to remember his mother's
dream. And if he had any sense he would go back and not confront Imam
Ali(a.s.). As we saw, the old Jewish guard did recognize Imam Ali(a.s.)
for his FAZA'EL. But Allah had destined something else for Marhab.

feel good about Imam Ali(a.s.) killing Marhab and Haris and pulling the
gate of Khyber from its hinges. But those things really did not make
Ali great. What made Imam Ali(a.s.) great was his devotion to Islam and
his full commitment to the commands of the Prophet. After the famous
hadeeth of Khyber when Imam Ali(a.s.) was ready to leave, he asked a
question of the Prophet as to how long he should fight. The Prophet
replied: Either until you are victorious or they accept Islam. He
added: And remember ALi, if a single non-Muslim accepts Islam on your
invitation, it is better for you than having a herd of one hundred red
That is why, after all the victory, Imam Ali(a.s.) did not
bother to collect even the personal armour of his slain enemies, let
alone looting wealth from the fort, which other Muslims did do after
him, and it was quite legitimate in the circumstances. Reports tell us
that he came down the hill of Khyber after victory totally
empty-handed.... That is what made Ali great.

As Imam Ali(a.s.)
was coming down the hill, the Prophet of Islam waited to greet him.
Suddenly from one side, J'afar bin Abi Talib appeared who was now
returning from Abyssinnia (Habsha) after twelve years' stay there. The
Prophet was doubly pleased. He put his one arm round Imam Ali(a.s.)'s
shoulder, the other round J'afar's shoulder. He would look at Ali and
then at J'afar and would say:I don't know what makes me happier today,
my brother Ali conquering the fort of Khyber or my brother J'afar
returning from Habsha after twelve years. It was definitely one
of the happiest moments in the life of te Prophet of Islam.

hadeeth of Khyber is also the true manisfestation of Imam Ali(a.s.)'s
personality. The Prophet had said: Tomorrow mrning shall I give this
banner to a MAN, who attacks repeatedly, and does not retreat. He
loves Allah and his Rasool and Allah and His Rasool love him. Allah
will give victory(FATAH) on his hands.

There is not a single
Companion for whom the Prophet of islam had fulfilled the prophecy of
Allah's love like that. It was reserved for Imam Ali(a.s.), and him
alone. The Prophet had ascribed in so many words Imam Ali(a.s.)'s
non-compromising attitude to his mission, and Imam Ali(a.s.)'s future
life became a living proof to that.

Then the Prophet had used
the word FATAH in his statement. This word is used in three different
meaning is Arabic. The miracle of the Prophet's speech is that all
three meanings came true in this story.

Fatah means: 1. To open, 2. To conquer, and, 3. To begin

Ali(a.s.) was victorious, he opened the closed gate of Khyber, and, the
conquest of Khyber turned out to be the beginning of a long-lasting
prosperity on the Muslim community.

Note: 24th of Rajab is the
19th of August in North America and Thailand where as it is the 19th of
August in Pakistan. For other areas, kindly contact your local



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