10 Facts about the Battle of Khyber

The battle of Khyber is the ghazwa where Ali رضي الله عنه uprooted the heavy-weight door of the Khyber fort with bare hands. After this battle, Muslims emerged as a noticeable power in the Arabian Peninsula.

  • Ghazwa means a battle fought by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself.

The betrayal in Madina

In the Battle of Khandaq, the Jews helped Muslims to dig the trench. However, when the Quraish attacked them from the North, two Jewish tribes, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza, attacked Muslims from the North. After Muslims won the battle, the two tribes had no option but to seek refuge in Khyber. 

Jewish settlement in Khyber

Jews had established a significant settlement in Khyber, around 175 kilometers from Madina. They had built 6,7 forts there; the most important was the Khyber fort. The Khyber was a significant market, an oasis blessed with dates.

Khyber Fort Door

Treaty of Hudabiya

The Jews wanted to take revenge on Muslims by invading Madina by allying with the Quraish. However, the Quraish had already entered the treaty of Hudabiyah with the Muslims.

The treaty of Hudabiyah forbids the Quraish from allying with Jews to attack Madina.

Masjid Hudaibiya - the place where the treaty of Hudaibiya was agreed.
Masjid Hudaibiya – the place where the treaty of Hudaibiya was agreed.

Battle of Khyber Date

After the treaty of Hudabiyah, the Muslims started preparing to hold a battle against the Jews of Khyber.

The battle occurred in 📍 Khyber 🗓️ in Muharram and Safar Hijri 7, corresponding to March/April 629 AD. It was the fourth battle of Islam after the battle of Khandaq.

The Muslim army approached Khyber, which shocked Jews. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked them to surrender, but they were very proud of their mighty forts and said that Muslims should prepare themselves for losing the battle.

Jews locked themselves in Fort Qamus

Jews locked themselves inside the forts. Muslims attacked the forts one by one and conquered them. Slowly, Muslims were able to take over other small forts except Fort Qamus, which seemed unconquerable at that time.

For 21 days, Muslims attacked Fort Qamus many times under the leadership of one Sahabi or another, but with no success. Finally, one day, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ told Sahaba that the fort would be conquered the next morning.

Burning the Palm Trees

In the battle of Khyber, when Muslims were not able to conquer the fort, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ ordered to burn the palm trees and gardens owned by Banu Nadir in an attempt to lure Jews from their strongholds.

In this way, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ set an example that in a state of war, Muslims can do anything to disrupt the economy of the enemy.

Ali led the army.

In the morning, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ approached Ali Ibn Talib رضي الله عنه made him wear the armor with his own hands, and ordered him to lead the army.

When Muslims approached Fort Qamus, one of the most reputed warriors of Jews named Marhab came out. He challenged Ali رضي الله عنه to a fight. As soon as the war started, Marhab was killed by Ali in a few moments!

Seeing the loss of a great warrior, another mighty Jewish warrior Rabih bin Abu Aqiq, came out to fight against Ali رضي الله عنه. He was killed with a single stroke of his sword. Soon, another Jewish warrior, Yasir was put to death by Hazrat Ali.

Khyber door weight

The door/gate of the Khyber fort was so magnificent and heavy that at least 40 people used to open and close it. Considering that an average person could lift 75 kg weight at that time, the Khyber door was at least weighing 3,000 kg.

Ali uprooted the door of Khyber fort.

Within no time, their three great warriors had been knocked out. They started to hide inside the fort, yet Ali رضي الله عنه skillfully attacked the gate before it was closed.

The gate was uprooted by Ali رضي الله عنه, which allowed the Muslim army to enter the fort. When the Jews saw that they held no chance against the Muslims, they surrendered. The Muslims now conquered the fort, which was considered unconquerable.

Battle of Khyber

Jews lived under Muslims command.

The Jewish law stated that in such a case, all male Jews could be killed. Yet the Jews asked for a favor and offered that they would give half the produce of their land to Muslims. The Muslims agreed, and Jews remained under the dominance of Muslims.

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