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Here is a fascinating summary of the battle of Ghazwa Khandaq غزوة الخندق, where Muslims dug a trench to protect Madina.
- Ghazwa means a battle fought by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself.
- Khandak means trench.
- Battle of Khandaq is also called Ghazwa Ahzad or the Battle of the Confederates.
Battle of Khandaq Date
Ghazwa Khandaq took place in 📍 Madina 🗓️ in the month of Shawwal, Hijri 5, corresponding to March 31, 627 AD. It was the third battle of Islam after the battle of Uhud.
The Jews and the Quraish joined hands to attack the Muslims by gathering an army of 10 thousand soldiers 🤺.
When Prophet Muhammad ﷺ learned about the enemy’s plan, he and his Sahaba joined heads to come up with a defensive plan.
Idea of Trench
Salman al-Farsi رضي الله عنه said that only the north of Madina is to be protected as the rest of the sides are fully protected through mountains and trees providing a natural boundary.
He gave forth an idea to dig a large trench in the north so that the enemy could not raid the city. His concept was readily accepted, and the Muslims started to dig a trench, and that’s why it is called the battle of Khandaq.
The digging of the trench
In Ghazwa Khandaq, muslims took the mighty taks to dig 5.5 km long, 4.5 meters deep and 9 meters wide trench. They were able to dig the trench in only 6 days.
Prophet Muhammad Camp
In Ghazwa Ahzab, while the digging of the trench, the camp of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was pitched on top of Mount Dhubab where Alrayah mosuq is located today.
- Alrayah Masjid location.
Prophet Muhammad Camp
When the enemy approached the city, they were unable to enter it as the trench was there as a significant obstacle for them. They deployed different techniques to pass by the trench, yet failed.
They were able to capture the area between the trench and Sila’ mountain under the leadership of Amr bin ‘Abd-e-Wudd, yet Ali bin Abi Talib رضي الله عنه was able to kill Amr and regain the area. Similarly, Muslims made successive attempts to capture a failure.
Betrayal by Banu Qurayza
Banu Qurayza and the Muslims had signed a peace treaty. The Banu Qurayza had remained loyal to the pact before and had helped the Muslims in digging the trench.
However, when the battle of Khandaq started, they betrayed Muslims. Huyai, the leader of one of the Jewish tribes (Banu Nadir), went to the other Jewish tribe (Banu Qurayza) and asked for help, and they attacked Madina from the South.
Line of Defense in South
Towards the south, the women and children were housed. The Muslims weren’t prepared for the attack from South. This attack made Muslims fearful. They started to lose hope: how would they be able to face such a huge army?
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked his followers to remain hopeful and fight bravely. He sent some troops towards the south to protect the vulnerable Muslim women and children.
Muslims created mistrust between the tribes
An elderly man named Nuaym ibn Masud approached Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and disclosed that he had accepted Islam. The man was respected by the enemies and belonged to the Confederates.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked him somehow to break the trust between the Confederates and Banu Qurayza. By dividing the two, Muslims would emerge powerfully.
Nuaym رضي الله عنه went to Banu Qurayza and was filled in with the fear that if Muslims won the battle, the Confederates would escape easily, leaving the tribe to face hardships at the hands of Muslims.
Nuaym رضي الله عنه then advised that the best way to remain on the safe side is to ask the Confederates for some leaders that shall be given as a hostage to Banu Qurayza.
Nuaym رضي الله عنه went to the Confederates’ leader Abu Sufyan and alarmed him that Banu Qurayza could form an alliance with Muslims again and should not be trusted. The hostages should not be given to them as they can send those hostages to the Muslims.
This created an environment of mistrust among the two (confederates and Banu Qurayza).
Conflict between Banu Qurayza and Nadir
When Banu Qurayza demanded hostages as they feared that they would be betrayed, the Bani Nadir and Quraish simply rejected it as they feared that the hostages would be given to the Muslims.
In such an environment of mistrust, the enemy could not attack the city of Madina.
The enemy had set up its camp outside the Khandaq and tried to find a way to infiltrate the defense of Madina.
On the other hand, Muslims were getting tired and weaker day by day. On the north side, they had to fight Confederates while they were concerned that Banu Qurayza could attack them anytime from the South again.
On the 27th day after starting the operation of digging the trench, there was a massive storm which uprooted the camps of the enemy.
Muslims won Ghazwa Khandaq
The shelters of enemies, their resources, and their belongings went away with the wind. The helpless army of thousands and nothing to fight with and thereby had no choice but to leave the battlefield.
The Seven Mosques
There are 7 mosques built at the place where the battle of Khandaq took place in Madina and therefore, every tourist should visit this ziyarat. These were the places where Sahaba used to offer prayers while digging the trench.
- Al-Fath Mosque.
- Salman Al-Farisi Mosque.
- Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Mosque.
- Umar ibn Al-Khattab Mosque.
- Ali ibn Abi Talib Mosque.
- Fatimah Al-Zahra Mosque.
- The 7 Mosques Location.