Tag Archives: JIZYAH

Tafsir On Quran 9:29 – Byzantine’s Tabuk

This article was originally published on the following website: discover-the-truth.com


The site Religion Of Peace (TROP), the founder is Glen Roberts – this notorious Christian missionary has written an article in response to our piece on Quran 9:29 which can be see here: “Answering Jihad: ‘Fight Against Those Who Do Not Believe’ – Quran 9:29” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/28/answering-jihad-fight-against-those-who-do-not-believe-quran-929/

This missionary has been publishing anti-Muslim and Islam articles for many years pretending to be an “expert” on Islam. In reality he has no expertise in any field let alone when it comes to Islam. He is a fraud masquerading as an “expert”. The supposed article he wrote in response to ours – he made a lot of claims without evidence. Usually when a person does a rebuttal to another person, one would attach a URL link for people to read what the author is actually rebutting in order for readers to make their own conclusions. In an unusual turn Glen Roberts did not link our article for his viewers to read.

This article is in response to some of the claims he made. We will link Glen Roberts’ piece in reference section, so people can compare what we have written to his and make their own conclusions up on this matter. [1]

Glen Roberts begins by claiming that nowhere in the Quran is there any hint that the verse is referred to the Byzantine’s. He then goes on to say that the verse commanded early believers to fight people based on their belief alone as result of them following the Christian or Jewish faith. Then he makes the mistake as other missionaries do usually and writes:

“This is extremely important because the Quran is claimed by Muslims to be perfect and complete. Why would Allah neglect to mention an opposing army if it is critical to interpreting the passage? What’s worse is that instead of laying out the case for self-defense, Allah explicitly curses Jews and Christians in the next verse (9:30).”

There are a number of issues with this approach. The Christian missionary makes the same mistake as his other friends by saying the Quran is complete then there is no need for other outside Prophetic statements. The Quran is indeed complete. His misunderstanding, the verse of the Quran he refers to indirectly is in regards to Laws in the Quran. The Laws laid out in the Quran are very clear. This is how scholars have understood the verse he inferred. It has nothing to do with the verse we are speaking about. The Quran speaks about prayer and other ritualistic matters, but we don’t know how to carry them out in our day to day lives unless we approach the Hadith, the Prophetic statements on this.

Furthermore, Glen Roberts cherry picks what we can believe in and what we can’t. You do not have the authority to dictate what Muslims have believed in for 1400 years, and all of sudden claim that those outside sources of the Quran shouldn’t be relied on when it conveniently goes against your article.

The very same Quran tells us that the Prophet Muhammed (p) came to explain, elucidate and these are recorded in the Hadith:

“with manifest signs and with scriptures; and we have sent down the Reminder to thee too, that thou mayest EXPLAIN to men what has been sent down to them, and haply they may reflect.” – Quran 16:44 (Edward Henry Palmer Translation)

As for the claim to connect Surah 9:29 and verse 30 together, these two have no connections whatsoever. Let us explain: you should be aware that just because straight after 9:29 comes the cursing of a group of people who exalted Ezra that does not mean that the verses were revealed on the same occasion. For example, Surah 9:1 all the way to verse 24 was revealed in connection with the Quraysh polytheists, which was revealed over a year before surah 9:29 was revealed.

The discussion surrounding 9:29 and 9:30 refer to two completely different groups. While 9:29 was revealed on the occasion of Tabuk, that is in relation to Byzantine as one of the earliest scholar’s of Islam who met Muhammed’s companions report’s this to us. He very clearly states that this verse was revealed in relation to Tabuk, the Byzantine’s. Whereas S. 9:30 as the companions of Muhammed have said, the latter verse refers to a group of People who called Ezra the son of God in Madinah. Ibn Abbas (619 – 687 CE) the Prophet Muhammed’s companion states the following in relation to 9:30,

“Ibn Abbas states: Sallam b. Mishkam, Nu’man b. Abi awfa, shas b. Qays, and Malik al-sayf [Jews] came to the Prophet Muhammad (p) and said: ‘How can we follow you if you renounce that which came before you. You do not think that Ezra is the son of God?’ So Allah revealed to him the verse.” (Ezra (Uzayr) The ‘Son Of God’, online source, https://discover-the-truth.com/2015/01/01/ezra-uzayr-the-son-of-god/ )

Now compare the above with Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 CE) who met the companions of Prophet Muhammed, he states in his exegesis for 9:29 that the verse was revealed in connection to the Byzantine’s. The Tabuk expedition more specifically:

“Mujahid Said: ‘This was when Muhammad (p) ordered his companions for Ghazwah Tabook.’
حين أمر محمدٌ وأصحابه بغزوة تبوك (Tafsir al-Tabari, on Surah 9:29, online source, http://quran.ksu.edu.sa/tafseer/tabary/sura9-aya29.html )

Many other classical scholars have said that Surah 9:29 was revealed in connection with Tabuk. Their names are, Hud b. Muhakkam Huwwariyy (9th century) [2], al-Tabari (838 – 923 CE) [3], Baghawi (1044 – 1122 AD), Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD), Al-Zurqani (1645 – 1710 CE).

When we look at the two verses in a historical perspective readers would be aware that the two verses have no connection to each other when they were revealed. Each verse dealt with separate incident’s on two different occasions. Missionaries like Glen and others make frequent mistakes in matters of the Quran, this is as a result of them never studying Islam in basic level or in University. This is one of the reasons why scholars dedicate years to study and learn the science of revelation i.e., occasions or circumstances of revelation (Asbab al-Nuzul). The Quran is not like any other scripture. Many verses were revealed on different occasions and therefore it is important to know when and why each verse was revealed. Without extensive studies of this field one will make mistakes and make up claims that is in not line with historical understanding of the verse(s).

As for the claim:

“The most obvious problem with this argument is that verse 9:29 bluntly says to fight Jews and Christians on the basis of their religious belief. … The enemy is defined simply as those who “believe not in Allah” nor acknowledge the superiority of Islam.”

Scholar Zakaria Bashier (b. 1940), who obtained his BA and M.litt. in Philosophy from the Universities of Khartoum, Sudan and Durham, UK respectively, and his PhD on Islamic Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, USA, he has written an interesting and in-depth piece on the Arabic words used for Surah 9:29 alone. He states that the fact that they were called “Christians” and “Jews” and (1) did not believe in God (atheists), (2) they do not believe in the day of Judgement and (3) non-practicing – based on the Arabic words used he concludes that the verse cannot refer to all Christians and Jews in Arabia, because the Quran unequivocally states elsewhere that there are Christians who are believers in God and the Last Day. The scholar concludes and says based on the Arabic words used in the verse, that it refers to a specific group only, not all Christians and Jews. For a detailed analysis on the words, please see the following article by Scholar Zakaria Bashier: “Revisiting Quran 9:29 – Tabuk” https://discover-the-truth.com/2014/11/02/revisiting-quran-929-tabuk/

Roberts then makes a more outlandish and deceptive claim:

“Given that there is no textual context for self-defense in Sura 9, the next problem for apologists is that the historical record is not terribly cooperative either, even from Muslim sources. In the first place, there is no independent confirmation that there was ever a military advance at Tabuk on Muhammad’s tribe. In other words, there is not a shred of historical evidence that a Byzantine army had been assembled at that time, much less that it was attacking Muslims.”

You asserted that there is no independent outside non-Muslim sources on Tabuk and surrounding events. You may be right here. You should remember that as a Christian you don’t have one shred of independent evidence to corroborate that Jesus existed outside the New Testament. Have you got a source which says Jesus existed and did the things described in the New Testament by any contemporary person that lived at the time Jesus was alive? You don’t. You base your beliefs of Jesus on sources from within Christianity. Same goes with Islam, we base our evidence on our sources which have been accepted and authentic in Islam for over a 1000 years.

If you’re going with this line of thinking, then be consistent with your approach and accept also that there is no independent contemporary evidence that Jesus existed outside of the New Testament. Thus, you should reject your Christian beliefs because as per your logic, there is no “independent” source outside your NT. You won’t do that. So all we are asking of you is at least use the same measurement of approach to our scripture as you do to your own. Don’t be one-sided and biased.

You then moved on and claimed that there is no historical evidence, not even from Muslim sources of an impending army. Did you skip the number of early reports we cited in the article which clearly state that the Byzantine’s were trying to attack the Muslim community? Or did you wilfully make this claim up in order to deliberately mislead your readers not to see those facts presented? Is this why you didn’t provide a direct link to our article for your readers to read?

Let’s present some of the earliest sources on the Byzantine army’s attempt to attack the Muslim community. The following report from Sahih Muslim and other sources tell us that Byzantine army had already been encamped at Tabuk. The Hadith clearly mentions that the Prophet and the Muslims had to “confront a large army” of the Byzantine’s:

“…this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)

Riyad as-Salihin:

“…this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21)

Mishkat Al-Masabih:

“To Tabuk. God’s messenger undertook it in extreme heat, facing a long journey, desert country and A NUMEROUS ENEMY. He made clear to the Muslims what they were about to do in order that they might get ready the equipment for their expedition, telling them where he was going.” (Mishkat Al-Masabih – English Translation With Explanatory Notes [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Publishers, Lahore, Pakistan., 1991] by James Robson, D. Litt., D.D. (Emeritus Professor Of Arabic, The University of Manchester), volume II (Vol. 2), page 836 (Chapter V))

One of the earliest sources on the Tabuk expedition is by Ibn Sa’d (784-845 CE), in his Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir he furnishes us with much detail surrounding this event. He states that reports had reached Prophet Muhammed (p) that the Byzantine (Romans) had “concentrated large forces” and Heracluis had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is when the Muhammed (p) “summoned” his companions to Tabuk:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER of Allah, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, [Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009)], by Ibn Sa’d, volume 2, page 203-204)

This is also reported by the 9th Century historian Aḥmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 CE), in his book ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, he states in clear words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army “had assembled against him”:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, [Translated by Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, 1916], volume 1, page 92)

In the version that is narrated by Mu’jam Tabarani (873 – 918 CE), he states that Christians said it is a “appropriate time to attack the Arabs” (Muslims):

“The Battle Of Tabuk
Rajab 9 A. H.
On the authority of Imran Ibn Husayn that the Christian Arabs wrote to Hercules, the King Of Rome that Muhammad passed away and that the people were dying because of the drought that they were experiencing. It was therefore a very appropriate TIME TO ATTACK THE ARABS (MUSLIMS). Hercules immediately issued the order for preparations. A fully equipped army of 40 000 was prepared.” (Mu’jam az-Zawa’id, volume 6, page 191) (Siratul Mustafa [Translated by Maulana Mahomed Mahomedy – Madrasah Arabia Islamia and Zam Zam Publishers – Fifth Authorized Edition, 2015] by Hadrat Maulana Idris Sahib Kandehlawi, volume 3, page 96)

Muhammad al-Zurqani (1645 – 1710 CE) also reports the above accounts:

“It is related that the Prophet (p) received reports of the Byzantine military crossing on the northern frontiers of Arabia with the intend of MOUNTING AN ATTACK ON THE MUSLIMS. The Prophet was informed by some Nabataeans and others that Heraclius was stocking one year’s provisions for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of Lakhm, Judham, Amla and GHASSAN under his banner, INTENDING TO COME UPON HIM and that his advance columns had already reached Balqa.” (A Commentary On Al-Mawahib, by Muhammad al-Zurqani,  volume 3, page 63 – 64)

It should be noted also that the Pro-Byzantine Ghassasnide (Ghassan) tribe which Ibn Sa’d and Zurqani already mentioned [4], few months before Tabuk expedition were attempting to attack the Muslim community. But the Muslims did not initiate any fighting. The Muslims only took action when the reports were confirmed as shown in the above accounts in relation to Tabuk expedition.

These are the sources that mention that Pro-Byzantine Ghassan tribe intended to attack. Sahih al-Bukhari reports:

“… I left her (and went home). At that time I had a friend from the Ansar who used to bring news (from the Prophet) in case of my absence, and I used to bring him the news if he was absent. In those days we were afraid of one of the kings of GHASSANID TRIBE. We heard that he INTENDED TO MOVE AND ATTACK US, so fear filled our hearts because of that. (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door, and said, “Open Open!’ I said, ‘Has the king of Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘No, but something worse; God’s Messenger has isolated himself from his wives.’ …” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 435. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/45900 )

Sahih Muslim:

“I had a friend from the Ansar. When I had been absent (from the company of the Prophet) he used to bring me the news and when he had been absent I used to bring him the news, and at that time we dreaded a KING OF GHASSAN. It was mentioned to us that he INTENDED TO ATTACK US, AND OUR MINDS WERE HAUNTED BY HIM. My friend, the Ansari, came to me, and he knocked at the door and said: Open it, open it. I said: Has the Ghassanid come? He said: (The matter is) more serious than that. The Messenger of Allah has separated himself from his wives. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 9, Hadith 3508. Eng Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/18/41 )

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

“‘My house was in Al-Awali among those of Banu Umayya, and I had a neighbour among the Ansar, and he and I would take turns visiting the Messenger of God.’ He said: ‘One day I would visit him and bring the news of the Revelation, and one day he would visit him and bring the same. We heard that GHASSAN WERE PREPARING THEIR HORSES TO ATTACK US. He said: ‘One day he came to me in the evening and knocked on my door, so I went out to him. He said: “A horrible thing has happened.” I said: “Ghassan has come?” He said: “Worse than that. The Messenger of God has divorced his wives.’ … “(Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3318. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/urn/680290)

Roberts also claims that the expedition was set out based on “rumours” and not factual evidence, then why did the Muslims few months before Tabuk expedition not set out against the pro-Byzantine the Ghassan tribe when the Muslims heard that they were advancing against them but the Muslims did not do anything but stayed, as shown in the above Hadith reports? For more information on the Ghassan incident see the following article please: “Byzantine’s, Tabuk Expedition And The Rumor Claim” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/11/27/byzantines-tabuk-expedition-and-the-rumor-claim/

The fact of the matter is the Muslims only advanced months later when there was clear evidence of Byzantne’s impending army. Readers should also be aware that a year before this event the Ghasanide’s assassinated an envoy, a Messenger of Muhammed which led to the battle of Mut’ah: “The Battle Of Mu’tah (Mutah)” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/21/the-battle-of-mutah-mutah/

So far, based on the earliest sources of Islam, we get a clear picture that the Byzantine’s did indeed concentrate large forces in order to overthrow and murder innocent Muslims.

Then author moves away this time claiming that what we used are “weak” sources:

“Even the more questionable sources do not say that there was a real army at Tabuk, just a possible rumor that one was being put together. [Apologists such as “Discover the Truth” routinely interchange reliable and weaker sources to make it appear that Muslims at Medina were in imminent danger at the time.”

Roberts, you claimed that we used weak sources, could you show us what exactly is weak? It should be noted to our respected readers that the critic did not present a single evidence to back his outlandish assertion that we used “weak sources”. A simple Google search would inform readers that Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari, Riyad as-Salihin and other sources we quoted are some of the most authentic sources of Islam.

Glen Roberts then claims that we quoted events that occurred “after Tabuk”:

“They also alter the wording from the original verse and introduce events that occurred after Tabuk as if they preceded it].”

Here he infers on some of the earliest reports from classical scholars who say that Abu Amir along with Byzantine leader prepared to assassinate Prophet Muhammed and murder Muslims. He deceptively claims that this event occurred after Tabuk. The event you misrepresented and inferred to did not happen after Tabuk. In fact the very sources you claim to have read clearly state that this happened just before the Prophet set out to Tabuk expedition. The sources mention that the Byzantine leader along with Abu Amir attempted to murder the Prophet. The very sources you deliberately misrepresented and not show your readers mention this fact.

The 14th-century respected scholar Abu l-Fidaʾ Ismail Ibn Umar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 CE), mentions that Abu Amir got the backing of Heraclius to launch an attack on the Muslim community, notice he states “Before Tabuk”:

“Masjid Ad-Dirar and Masjid At-Taqwa
The reason behind revealing these honorable Ayat is that before the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, there was a man from Al-Khazraj called “Abu `Amir Ar-Rahib (the Monk).” This man embraced Christianity before Islam and read the Scriptures. During the time of Jahiliyyah, Abu Amir was known for being a worshipper and being a notable person among Al-Khazraj. When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Al-Madinah after the Hijrah, the Muslims gathered around him and the word of Islam was triumphant on the day of Badr, causing Abu `Amir, the cursed one, to choke on his own saliva and announce his enmity to Islam. He fled from Al-Madinah to the idolators of Quraysh in Makkah to support them in the WAR AGAINST THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH. The Quraysh united their forces and the bedouins who joined them for the battle of Uhud, during which Allah tested the Muslims, but the good end is always for the pious and righteous people. The rebellious Abu Amir dug many holes in the ground between the two camps, into one of which the Messenger fell, injuring his face and breaking one of his right lower teeth. He also sustained a head injury. Before the fighting started, Abu Amir approached his people among the Ansar and tried to convince them to support and agree with him. When they recognized him, they said, “May Allah never burden an eye by seeing you, O Fasiq one, O enemy of Allah!” They cursed him and he went back declaring, “By Allah! Evil has touched my people after I left.” The Messenger of Allah called Abu Amir to Allah and recited the Qur’an to him before his flight to Makkah, but he refused to embrace Islam and REBELLED. The Messenger invoked Allah that Abu Amir die as an outcast in an alien land, and his invocation came true. After the battle of Uhud was finished, ABU AMIR realized that the Messenger’s call was still rising and gaining momentum, so HE WENT TO HERACLIUS, THE EMPEROR OF ROME, ASKING FOR HIS AID AGAINST THE PROPHET. HERACLIUS GAVE HIM PROMISES AND ABU AMIR REMAINED WITH HIM. He also wrote to several of his people in Al-Madinah, who embraced hypocrisy, promising and insinuating to them THAT HE WILL LEAD AN ARMY TO FIGHT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH TO DEFEAT HIM AND HIS CALL. He ordered them to establish a stronghold where he could send his emissaries and to serve as an outpost when he joins them later on. These hypocrites built a Masjid next to the Masjid in Quba’, and they finished building it BEFORE the Messenger went to TABUK. They went to the Messenger inviting him to pray in their Masjid so that it would be a proof that the Messenger approved of their Masjid.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, last accessed 27th February 2017, http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1590&Itemid=64 )

 

The plan of assassinating Prophet Muhammed (p) was in preparation long before the Prophet (p) set out to Tabuk. Another classical source, Ibn Juzzay mentions that this group wanted to lure the Prophet (p) into the mosque (Masjid al-Dirar) as a way for them to kill him. He also states that this event happened before Tabuk expedition. So preparation was made to murder the Prophet at Taif battle, this occurred many months before the Tabuk incident.

Tafsir Ibn Juzayy (1321 – 1357 AD) writes:

“… (to create division between the muminun) They meant to separate the believers from the Mosque of Quba’. (and in readiness for those who previously made war on Allah and His Messenger ) i.e. waiting for the one WHO FIGHTS ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER. He was Abu ‘Amir ar-Rahib who the Messenger of Allah called a fasiq. He was one of the people of Madina. When the Messenger of Allah came to Madina, he FOUGHT with rejection and hyprocrisy, and then left for Makka and FORMED THE PARTIES OF THE IDOLATERS. When Makka was conquered, he went to Ta’if. When the people of TA’IF became Muslim, he went to SYRIA AND SOUGHT THE HELP OF CAESAR. He died there. The people of the Mosque of Harm said, “When Abu ‘Amir came to Madina, he prayed in this mosque.” “Before” indicates what he did with the Parties.” (Tafsir Ibn Juzayy, last accessed 27th February 2017, online source, https://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba4.html )

For details surrounding the Ta’if incident, what led to it please see the following article: “The Siege Of Ta’if (Taif)” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/23/the-siege-of-taif-taif/

So it is quite clear from the above early sources that the Byzantine leader long with Abu Amir were attempting to assassinate Prophet Muhammed before the Tabuk expedition was undertaken.

Glen Roberts then goes on to assert:

“Ibn Kathir is one of Islam’s most respected historians, which even the apologists admit. He worked at a time when Islamic scholars were far less concerned about spin than fact. His research determined that the expedition to Tabuk was about loot and tribute to compensate for the loss of pilgrimage revenue.”

In fact he is either blatantly lying, deliberately misleading people or does not understand the verse and just interprets it how he feels like as a way of attacking Islam. The verse 9:28 was revealed in connection with Hunayn incident which took place long before the expedition of Tabuk. No doubt they were going to get compensated, but this has no connection in relation to the said incident under discussion. Surah 9:28 did not trigger off the Muslims to fight for mere money. What started the war as we have seen from early sources is the aggression and hostility from the Byzantine’s.

Roberts then goes on to conclude on Ibn Kathir’s quotation:

“The Muslims were not under attack when verses 9:29 and 9:123 were narrated.”

They did attempt to attack the Muslim community. Ibn Kathir himself showed that the Byzantine leader along with Abu Amir attempted to murder the Prophet before Tabuk expedition. Besides this, Ibn Sa’d and Kitab Futuh al Buldan and others who lived long before Ibn Kathir also confirm the account that the Byzantine’s assembled an army to attack the Muslim community.

It is interesting, on one hand he chooses to disparage and attack our classical scholars and earliest sources we quoted on this incident but when it suits him he quotes Ibn Kathir. You can’t have it both ways. Ibn Kathir himself says very clearly that the Byzantine’s were attempting to Murder Prophet Muhammed before the Tabuk expedition was undertaken, as the above reports cited clearly showed.

He continues:

“’Discover the Truth’ adds a few other embellishments to the story, such as claiming that the opposing army had fled (supported by neither Muslim nor independent accounts)”

The Muslim sources show that an army was there. This is confirmed in Sahih Muslim, Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Futuh al-Buldan and Al-Zurqani as shown earlier. How does that negate the fact that they fled? They left the area they wanted to engage in fighting. When the confirmed reports show that they were there but when Muslims arrived, they went away, how does that not support our position that they fled? You are clearly clinging to straws here.

Glen Roberts continues:

“and also that “no harm was inflicted on any Christian or Jews” once Muhammad arrived at Tabuk. This is what is called a bald-faced lie. Here is the actual account of what Muhammad did…”

Our statement that no Christian or Jew was attacked was in relation to those who did not engage in fighting. The very source you quote actually hints to us that there was a fight from both sides hence one person got killed:

“When they came out, the cavalry of the Prophet ENGAGED them, capturing Ukaydir and killing his brother.” (Ibn Kathir volume 4, page 21)

Readers should be aware Khalid was sent to get the leader Ukaydir Ibn Abd al-Malik to the Prophet. Unfortunately the leader did not want to come and instead, it seems he engaged in war against Khalid. In which it resulted in a death of one person. Khalid was not sent to fight but rather to bring the leader Ukaydir to the Prophet and sort things out in words. If the critic claims that he was sent out to kill, then he needs to answer as to why others weren’t killed? Why was only one person harmed, but the rest were brought to the Prophet (p) and set free? Sunan Abi Dawud reports:

“Narrated Anas ibn Malik ; Uthman ibn Abu Sulayman: The Prophet sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to Ukaydir of Dumah. He was seized and they brought him to him (i.e. the Prophet). He SPARED HIS LIFE AND MADE PEACE WITH HIM on condition that he should pay jizyah (poll-tax). (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 19, Hadith 3031. Eng. Tran., Hasan Al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/abudawud/20/110 )

He concludes on this incident by saying:

“So there’s that. A Christian family going about their business is ruthlessly attacked and robbed on Muhammad’s order. At least one member is killed and the others save their lives. …”

Glen Roberts makes it out as if these people are a normal, law abiding family who have done nothing wrong other than look after their animals. This picture that is portrayed here is typical among missionaries to make the perpetrators that have done wrong as victims whilst Muhammed (p) defending himself and the community as the bad ones. Let’s explain why this picture is not in harmony with the historical sources we have available.

Some might ask what reason was there for Prophet Muhammed to send out Khalid to get Ukaydir Ibn Abd al-Malik? The leader of that region along with his people were on the side and pledged allegiance to the Byzantine’s. Hence, when the expedition of Tabuk was undertaken, these people were on the side of the Byzantine’s. They knew that the Byzantine’s were going to engage in warfare against the Muslim community but still pledged allegiance and supported them. Scholar Shaykh Allamah Shibli Nomani (1857 – 1914 CE) explains:

“Dumat al-Jandal (also pronounced as Daumat al-Jandal), which is five stages from Damascus, there was an Arab chief, UKAIDIR BY NAME, WHO OWED ALLEGIANCE TO THE ROMAN EMPEROR. Khalid Ibn Walid was despatched with four hundred and twenty men to subdue him. Khalid made captive, and later on released him on condition that he would personally appear before the Prophet (p) to settle terms. Accordingly, he arrived accompanied by his brother and was promised protection.” (Sirat -un- Nabi [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam] by Shaykh Allamah Shibli Nomani, volume 2, page 238)

The people of that area and their leader of Dumat al-Jandal who was Ukaydir, before the Tabuk expedition took place they engaged in hostility and attempted to attack the Muslim community in Madinah as a number of sources confirm this. Kitab al-tabaqat al-Kabir – Ibn sa’d (784 – 845 CE):

“Then (occurred) the Ghazwah of the Apostle of Allah, to Dumat al-Jandal … They (narrators) said: (The news) reached the Apostle of Allah, that a large number of men had assembled at DUMAT AL-JANDAL and that they treated cruelly the camel-riders when they passed by them, and INTENDED TO ATTACK AL-MADINAH.” (Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, [Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009)], by Ibn Sa’d, volume 2, page 76)

This is also reported by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari (838-923 CE):

“In this year he mounted an expedition against Dumat al-Jandal in the month of Rabi’i. The reason for it was that word reached the Messenger of God that a host had ASSEMBLED THERE AND HAD APPROACHED HIS TERRITORIES…” (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – [Translated by Michael Fishbein – State University of New York Press, 1997], volume VIII (8), page 4 – 5)

It was in the interest of the Muslims to make a peace treaty with this group and to make sure they stop their hostilities against the Muslim community. In which after Khalid’s incident they agreed.

As for his claim,

“agreeing to pay jizya (ie. extortion)…”

Jizya was never “extortion” as the deceptive of an “expert” claims. What was Jizya? In modern times we would understand this as a tax that was used to pay for hospitals, schools, military defence of the country, helping the poor and needy. This tax (Jizyah) was needed for the Government to function, and adequate care for its citizens be met. The claim that the author seems to push that ‘Jizya’ was oppressive is only found by those who are pushing a certain agenda to paint Islam negatively. In fact, the same tax that was levied on non-Muslims was also imposed on to Muslims, called Zakat. It was compulsory for the Muslims to pay this as a way for the poor and needy Muslim and non-Muslim be fed and clothed. Odd that he conveniently leaves that out to his readers.

There is a remarkable story of the second Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab (586 – 644 CE, online source https://www.britannica.com/biography/Umar-I ). He was passing along a house when saw an old, blind man begging. Umar immediately touched the old man and asked him, whether he was a Christian or a Jew, the man said that he was from the Jewish faith. The old blind man then further told him that he begged in the day so he could provide himself the daily needs, for his food and pay the Jizya yearly. Umar Ibn Khattab upon hearing this story immediately summoned his people to feed him and allowed the man to longer pay any Jizya:

“To which of the people of the Book do you belong? I am a Jew, responded the blind man. Umar took him by the hand, led him to his own house, GAVE HIM SOMETHING FROM IT (i.e., food) and then sent him to the keeper of the treasure with this message, ‘See to this man and his like, for we have not done right if we devour their youth and neglect their old age. The religious tax is for the poor and needy. The poor are the Muslims; this man is one of the needy of the people of the Book (Christians and Jews). HE FREED THE MAN FROM THE OBLIGATION TO PAY THE JIZYAH.“ (Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub (d. 798), page 71)

As Roberts was unable to find any credible evidence that concretely agrees with his claims on Q. 9:29, he then concludes by saying Islam spread to every community to Spain, and to the Indian sub-continent after Prophet Muhammed’s death by his companions. Therefore his assertions on Sura 9:29 is correct. This line of claims are not credible nor in accord with history. No doubt Islam spread to many of the places you mentioned, but you’re leaving out a major factor and that is, many of these countries did not allow Muslims to spread the religion of Islam freely with words and were very oppressive. Missionary activities were forbidden. Hence there was a suppression by the leaders at the time. These lands, their leaders were very oppressive. Hence, it led those countries being conquered. Nobody denies the fact that those countries were conquered.

To prove that conquering was based on there being no freedom of religion is the case of Abyssinia. Abyssinia allowed Muslims to practice their religion freely. To preach openly about their religion without there being suppression or any hostility. The Prophet nor any of the companions attacked Abyssinia. Nor did they pay any Jizya because the leader was faithful and a righteous Christian man who did not oppress Muslims. Where there was freedom for the Muslim community, the Prophet’s companions never initiated war against them. This is a historical fact. The Prophet’s statement on this matter confirms this:

Leave the Abyssinians alone, so long as they do not take the offensive (leave you at peace).
Transliteration: utruk al-habasha ma tarkukum.” (Al Sirah al Halabiyah, volume 3, page 294)

Sunan an-Nasa’i:

“The Messenger of Allah said at that point “Leave the Ethiopians alone so long as they leave you alone, and leave the Turks alone so long as they leave you alone.’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 1, Book 25, Hadith 3178. Eng. Tran., Hasan Darussalam, https://www.sunnah.com/nasai/25/92 )

Sunan Abi Dawud:

“(1594) Chapter: Prohibition Of Agitating The Turks And Abyssinians
“Narrated from Abi Sukainah One of the Companions: The Prophet said: Let (leave) the Abyssinians alone as long as they let you alone, and let the Turks alone as long as they leave you alone.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 38, Hadith 4288. Eng. Tran., Hasan Al-Albani, https://www.sunnah.com/abudawud/39/12 )

The relationship between Abyssinia and the early Muslim government is an excellent example for rebutting the claims that have been made by Glen Roberts.

The mission of Prophet Muhammed’s entire life was always to spread the message of Islam and stand up for justice. And he only fought those who oppressed people, as the following prayer (Du’a) of the Prophet (p) demonstrates:

“(O Allah, apportion to us such fear as should serve as a barrier between us and acts of disobedience; and such obedience as will take us to Your Jannah; and such as will make easy for us to bear in the calamities of this world. O Allah! let us enjoy our hearing, our sight and our power as long as You keep us alive and make our heirs from our own offspring, and make our REVENGE RESTRICTED TO THOSE WHO OPPRESS US, and SUPPORT US AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE HOSTILE TO US let no misfortune afflict our Deen; let not worldly affairs be our principal concern, or the ultimate limit of our knowledge, and let not those rule over us who do not show mercy to us).” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 5, Hadith 834 Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/5/21 )

Conclusion,

The claims being made against our article on 9:29 does not hold any weight when we examined them. The assertion of Glen Roberts that Surah 9:29 has no connection to Tabuk was not true. The earliest evidence shows that Sura 9:29 was revealed on the occasion of Tabuk is from Mujahid Ibn Jabr [5], a scholar who met the companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) as we showed earlier. Furthermore, the Arabic words used and the earliest historical sources showed that 9:29 was revealed on occasion to the Tabuk expedition. The verse targeted and referred to a specific group of people. In which we found that the Byzantine’s alongside other tribes formed an alliance to attack and murder Muslims. Therefore, the claims being made to discredit our article was nothing more than a deceptive piece to deliberately mislead innocent readers. This article thoroughly showed that Glen Roberts claims made on Sura 9:29 were untenable and thus should be rejected by sane light-minded people. [6]

Sadly the author of the article from TROP has a lot in common extremists right-wingers. They have created this atmosphere, a world of “us” vs “them” mentality, which contributes nothing more than hate and destruction in the world. The only way to win against these extremist bigots on all sides is to give the true message of scripture and bring communities together for a better and peaceful world.

Don’t forget to follow Discover The Truth on Facebook and Twitter. PLEASE help spread the word by sharing our articles on your favourite social networks.

Related articles:

(1) – “Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/06/22/social-conditions-christians-and-jews-in-early-period-of-islam/

(2) – “The Relationship Of The Muslim With Non-Muslims” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/02/12/the-relationship-of-the-muslim-with-non-muslims/

(3) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/05/27/most-misinterpreted-verses-of-the-quran/

(4) – “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/25/the-hadith-fight-until-they-say-there-is-no-god-but-allah-explained/

(5) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/25/early-expeditions-and-battles-of-islam/

(6) – “The Truth About Jizyah” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/06/10/the-truth-about-jizyah/

References:

[1] This is the article that was written by Glen Roberts: “The Myth: Muhammad was Attacked by a Byzantine Army: The Tabuk Expedition and Verse 9:29” (Last accessed 28th February 2017 (*)), https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/muhammad/byzantine-9-29.aspx
[2] The 9th century scholar Hud b. Muhakkam Hawwari states that Surah 9:29 was revealed as a result of Tabuk, his statement is reported in the book, “Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought” by Asma Afsaruddin, page 75 – 76
[3] A summary on 9:29 from At-Tabari (838 – 923 CE):
“عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلا بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ… حِينَ أُمِرَ مُحَمَّدٌ وَأَصْحَابُهُ بِغَزْوَةِ تَبُوكَ
Mujahid reported concerning the verse, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day…” that it was revealed when Muhammad and his companions were commanded with the expedition of Tabuk. The expedition of Tabuk was preceded by the battle of Mu’tah which began when the emissary of the Prophet was assassinated while delivering a letter to a Roman ally. (Tafseer At-Tabari 9:29 Online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=1&tTafsirNo=1&tSoraNo=1&tAyahNo=1&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1 )
[4] The New Encyclopedia of Islam – Cyril Glasse on the Ghassan tribe:
“Ghassanis. A South Arabian tribe, the Banu Ghassan, who migrated to Syria from the Yemen between the 3rd and 4th century AD and settled in the region of Damascus. Many of them became monophysite Christians. Their leaders were accorded a Phylarcate, or status of vassal kingdom, under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian (527 – 569). The Ghassanis protected the southern flank of the Byzantine Empire.” (The New Encyclopedia of Islam – Revised Edition Of The Concise Encyclopedia Of Islam [Introduction by Professor Huston Smith – Altamira Press – Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC, 2002], by Cyril Glasse, page 154)
[5] Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645-722 AD) clearly states in his exegesis that Surah 9:29 was revealed as a result of Tabuk expedition:
“Mujahid Said: ‘This was when Muhammad (p) ordered his companions for Ghazwah Tabook.’
حين أمر محمدٌ وأصحابه بغزوة تبوك (Tafsir al-Tabari, on Surah 9:29, online source, http://quran.ksu.edu.sa/tafseer/tabary/sura9-aya29.html )
[6] In Sahih al-Bukhari the Prophet (p) is reported to have said that he will not sit down while the enemy is out there trying to persecute him or his community:
“I saw the Messenger of God, on the day of the battle with the confederates while he was carrying so much earth for the trench that his abdomen was covered. The Prophet was saying, “O God, had you not guided us, we would not have given charity nor prayed. Send tranquility upon us and make our stance firm if we encounter the enemy. Verily, THEY WERE THE FIRST TO TRANSGRESS AGAINST US. IF THEY INTEND PERSECUTION, THEN WE HAVE REFUSED.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 9, Book 90, Hadith 34, Arabic Tran.)

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Was Tabuk Expedition Against The Byzantine’s Based On Hearsay? No!

Kaleef K. Karim

We have written over the years a number of articles in relation to the Tabuk expedition. A brief mention of this incident for some of our readers who may not be well acquainted with that part of history:

The Byzantine’s as we showed previously prepared their troops southwards heading towards Madinah, intending to attack/kill and overthrow the Muslim Government, 1400 years ago. As such, clear reports had reached the blessed Prophet Muhammed (p) that an army was coming intending to harm him and his community. With the news being confirmed as true, the Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions (Sahaba) prepared to engage the enemy. The Tabuk expedition was one of the reasons why Surah 9:29 was revealed on this occasion: “Answering Jihad: ‘Fight Against Those Who Do Not Believe’ – Quran 9:29

Some missionaries have gone out of their way to discredit the evidences presented, and even make the Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions seem evil for attempting to fight the hostile Byzantine army. As such, a number of fallacious claims have been made in regards to this. One such claim is that the reports reaching the Prophet (p) in relation to Byzantine’s was not actual true reports, but mere hearsay, as they claim. The following reports have been presented to back up their assertions:

Report 1:

“… In those days we were afraid of one of the kings of Ghassan tribe. WE HEARD that he intended to move and attack us, so fear filled our hearts because of that. (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door, and said, ‘Open Open!’ I said, ‘Has the king of Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘NO, BUT SOMETHING WORSE; ALLAH’S APOSTLE HAS ISOLATED HIMSELF FROM HIS WIVES.’ I said, ‘Let the nose of ‘Aisha and Hafsa be stuck to dust (i.e. humiliated)!’ Then I put on my clothes and went to Allah’s Apostle’s residence, and behold, he was staying in an upper room of his to which he ascended by a ladder, and a black slave of Allah’s Apostle was (sitting) on the first step. I said to him, ‘Say (to the Prophet ) ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab is here.’ Then the Prophet admitted me and I narrated the story to Allah’s Apostle. When I reached the story of Um Salama, Allah’s Apostle smiled while he was lying on a mat made of palm tree leaves with nothing between him and the mat. Underneath his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fibres, and leaves of a saut tree were piled at his feet, and above his head hung a few water skins. On seeing the marks of the mat imprinted on his side, I wept. He said.’ ‘Why are you weeping?’ I replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! Caesar and Khosrau are leading the life (i.e. Luxurious life) while you, Allah’s Apostle though you are, is living in destitute”. The Prophet then replied. ‘Won’t you be satisfied that they enjoy this world and we the Hereafter?’ ” ” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 435 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=435)

Report 2:

“… During that time all the rulers of the nearby lands had surrendered to Allah’s Apostle except the king of Ghassan in Sham, and we were afraid that he MIGHT attack us. ALL OF A SUDDEN THE ANSARI CAME AND SAID, ‘A GREAT EVENT HAS HAPPENED!’ I asked him, ‘What is it? Has the Ghassani (king) come?’ He said, ‘Greater than that! ALLAH’S APOSTLE HAS DIVORCED HIS WIVES! I went to them and found all of them weeping in their dwellings, and the Prophet had ascended to an upper room of his. At the door of the room there was a slave to whom I went and said, “Ask the permission for me to enter.” He admitted me and I entered to see the Prophet lying on a mat that had left its imprint on his side. Under his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. Behold! There were some hides hanging there and some grass for tanning. Then I mentioned what I had said to Hafsa and Um Salama and what reply Um Salama had given me. Allah’s Apostle smiled and stayed there for twenty nine days and then came down.”” (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 7, Book 72, Number 734http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=72&translator=1&start=0&number=734)

In the above two reports so far we see that the Muslims at the time were not bothered about this story on the Ghassans. They were more worried about what was happening in the Prophet Muhammed’s household. This should give readers enough proof that the Muslims did not take the story as being authentic at the time. Let’s continue with the reports used by critics:

Report 3:

“… Umar added, AT THAT TIME A TALK WAS CIRCULATING AMONG US THAT (THE TRIBE OF) GHASSAN WERE PREPARING THEIR HORSES TO INVADE US. My Ansari companion, on the day of his turn, went (to the town) and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently and asked if I was there. I became horrified and came out to him. He said, ‘TODAY A GREAT THING HAS HAPPENED.’ I asked, ‘WHAT IS IT? Have (the people of) Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘No, BUT (WHAT HAS HAPENED) IS GREATER AND MORE HORRIFYING THAN THAT: ALLAH’S APOSTLE; HAS DIVORCED HIS WIVES. ‘Umar added, “The Prophet kept away from his wives and I said “Hafsa is a ruined loser.’ I had already thought that most probably this (divorce) would happen in the near future. So I dressed myself and offered the morning prayer with the Prophet and then the PROPHET; ENTERED AN UPPER ROOM AND STAYED THERE IN SECLUSION. I entered upon Hafsa and saw her weeping. I asked, ‘What makes you weep? Did I not warn you about that? Did the Prophet divorce you all?’ She said, ‘I do not know. There he is retired alone in the upper room.’ I came out and sat near the pulpit and saw a group of people sitting around it and some of them were weeping. … When I was leaving, behold! … The stalks left marks on his side and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with date-palm fires. I greeted him and while still standing I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Have you divorced your wives?’ He looked at me and said, ‘NO.’ I said, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ … The Prophet smiled for a second time. When I saw him smiling, I sat down. Then I looked around his house, and by Allah, I could not see anything of importance in his house except three hides, so I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Invoke Allah to make your followers rich, for the Persians and the Romans (Byzantine’s) have been made prosperous and they have been given (the pleasures of the world), although they do not worship Allah.’ Thereupon the Prophet sat up as he was reclining. and said, ‘Are you of such an opinion, O the son of Al-Khattab? These are the people who have received the rewards for their good deeds in this world.’ I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Ask Allah to forgive me.’ THEN THE PROPHET KEPT AWAY FROM HIS WIVES FOR TWENTY-NINE DAYS BECAUSE OF THE STORY WHICH HAFSA HAD DISCLOSED TO ‘AISHA. The Prophet had said, ‘I WILL NOT ENTER UPON THEM (MY WIVES) FOR ONE MONTH,’ because of his anger towards them, when Allah had admonished him. SO, WHEN TWENTY NINE DAYS HAD PASSED, THE PROPHET FIRST ENTERED UPON ‘AISHA. ‘Aisha said to him, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! You had sworn that you would not enter upon us for one month, but now only twenty-nine days have passed, for I have been counting them one by one.’ The Prophet said, ‘The (present) month is of twenty nine days.’ ‘Aisha added, ‘Then Allah revealed the Verses of the option. (2) And out of all his-wives he asked me first, and I chose him.’ Then he gave option to his other wives and they said what ‘Aisha had said . ” (1) The Prophet, ‘ had decided to abstain from eating a certain kind of food because of a certain event, so Allah blamed him for doing so. Some of his wives were the cause of him taking that decision, THEREFORE HE DESERTED THEM FOR ONE MONTH. See Quran: (66.4) ” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 119http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=62&translator=1&start=0&number=119)

Report 4:

“… In those days IT WAS RUMORED that Ghassan, (a tribe living in Sham) was getting prepared their horses to invade us. My companion went (to the Prophet on the day of his turn, went and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently, asking whether I was sleeping. I was scared (by the hard knocking) and came out to him. HE SAID THAT A GREAT THING HAD HAPPENED. I ASKED HIM: WHAT IS IT? Have Ghassan come? He replied that IT WAS WORSE AND MORE SERIOUS THAN THAT, AND ADDED THAT ALLAH’S APOSTLE HAD DIVORCED ALL HIS WIVES. … Have Allah’s Apostle divorced you all?’ She (Hafsah) replied, ‘I don’t know. He is there in the upper room.’ I then went out and came to the pulpit and found a group of people around it and some of them were weeping. Then I sat with them for some time, but could not endure the situation. … I entered upon the Prophet and saw him lying on a mat without wedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet, and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. I greeted him and while still standing, I said: “Have you divorced your wives?’ He raised his eyes to me and replied in the negative. And then while still standing, I said chatting: “Will you heed what I say, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! … I said (Umar Ibn al-Khattab) (to Allah’s Apostle) “Invoke Allah to make your followers prosperous for THE PERSIANS AND THE BYZANTINES HAVE BEEN MADE PROSPEROUS AND GIVEN WORLDLY LUXURIES, though they do not worship Allah?’ The Prophet was leaning then (and on hearing my speech he sat straight) and said, ‘O IBN AL-KHATTTAB! DO YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT (THAT THE HEREAFTER IS BETTER THAN THIS WORLD)? THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GIVEN REWARDS OF THEIR GOOD DEEDS IN THIS WORLD ONLY.’ I asked the Prophet . ‘Please ask Allah’s forgiveness for me. The Prophet did not go to his wives because of the secret which Hafsa had disclosed to ‘Aisha, and HE (MUHAMMED) SAID THAT HE WOULD NOT GO TO HIS WIVES FOR ONE MONTH as he was angry with them when Allah admonished him (for his oath that he would not approach Maria). WHEN TWENTY-NINE DAYS HAD PASSED, THE PROPHET WENT TO AISHA first of all. She said to him, ‘You took an oath that you would not come to us for one month, and today only twenty-nine days have passed, as I have been counting them day by day.’ The Prophet said, ‘The month is also of twenty-nine days.’ That month consisted of twenty-nine days. …” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=43&translator=1&start=0&number=648)

The critics have thus deduced from the above reports that these narrations are telling us that the Muslims fought against the Byzantine’s based on unconfirmed stories.

What the critic(s) leave out deliberately, is that even though these reports may be a “rumor”, the Muslims did not retaliate, nor got their troops ready to attack them. These very reports show that even though they may have been worried and anxious of hearing of the impending army of the Byzantine’s, they did not prepare themselves to deal with them since it was only a story circulating at the time. Furthermore, if they found these “rumors” to be true (even though they are) in this instance, why didn’t the companions prepared themselves to engage the enemy? Why didn’t they ask the Prophet to get ready and set out against them? Why did they find the Prophet Muhammed (p) having some home issues more important than the enemies attacking and aiming to kill them? As I mentioned, at this stage the story that was circulating was not confirmed by the Muslims, hence, they Byzantines were left alone.

I may add further, report 3 and 4 tell us that the Prophet (p) abstained from his wives for 29 days, showing that the Muslims did not engage the enemy straight away, but rather after it was confirmed. If the reports were said to be true, the Prophet (p) would have not abstained one month, and caring for home issues over harm to the whole community. Thus the reports were not taken seriously at the time.

As we have briefly seen here readers the reports that were mentioned in regards to this incident of Tabuk, does not in  any away nullify the overwhelming evidence presented in the previous article, that the Byzantine’s did indeed march southwards intending to attack and kill Muslims, 1400 years.

If the Muslims at the time accepted this story, you would think that they would take immediate military action against the threat, in this incident it was not the case. So in short, the story was not verified yet, it was only after that they took drastic action to confront the enemy head one.

Although the above Hadith reports are authentic collections of Islam, the following report which is narrated by Al-Waqidi is heavily criticised, to the point that many classical scholars have called him a “liar”, as we will show shortly. For now let’s read the al-Waqidi story presented by critics:

“They said: The Saqita–they were Nabateans– arrived in Medina with flour [Page 990] and oil in Jahiliyya and after Islam arrived. Indeed there was news of al-Sham with the Muslims every day. Many of those who came to them were from Nabatea. A group arrived which mentioned that the Byzantines had gathered many groups in al-Sham, and that Heraclius had provisioned his companions for a year. The Lakhmids, Judham, Ghassan and Amila had gathered to him. They marched and their leaders led them to al-Balqa’ where they camped. Heraclius stayed behind in Hims. THAT WAS NOT A FACT, but rather something that was said to them that they repeated. There was not an enemy more fearful to the Muslims than them. That was because of what they saw of them, when they used to arrive as merchants, of preparedness, and numbers, and sheep. …
“He said: Heraclius had sent a man from the Ghassan to observe the Prophet, his ways, his characteristics, the redness of his eyes, and the seal of prophecy between his shoulders. He asked if he (the Prophet) accepts sadaqa, and he learned something of the situation of the Prophet. [Page 1019] Then he returned to Heraclius and he mentioned that to him. He invited the people to believe in the Messenger of God, but they refused, until he feared they would go against his authority. He stayed where he was, AND DID NOT MOVE OR GO FORWARD. News that had reached the Prophet, about Heraclius sending his companions and getting close to the South of al-Sham, WAS FALSE. HE DID NOT DESIRE THAT, NOR DID HE INTEND IT. The Messenger of God consulted about proceeding. Umar b. al-Khattab said, ‘If you are commanded to march, march!’ The Messenger of God said, ‘If I was commanded about it I would not consult you!’ He said, ‘O Messenger of God, the Byzantines have many groups, but there is not one of Muslims. You are close to them as you see, and your closeness FRIGHTENS THEM. So return this year until you come to a decision, or God establishes for you in that affair.’” (The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, edited by Rizwi Faizer, translated by Rizwi Faizer, Amal Ismail and Abdul Kader Tayob [Routledge Studies in Classical Islam, First edition 2011], page 485 and 499)

From the above report of al-Waqidi and the previous ones we analysed, critics have thus concluded that that the Byzantine’s (Romans) had no intention of attacking and killing Muslims.

This story by al-Waqidi is very problematic and it is in conflict with the many authentic reports that has reached us. We will show evidence of the many authentic reports after we have analysed Al-Waqidi as a reporter first:

Shaykh Saalih Al-Munajjid:

“Albani (may God have mercy on him) said: “This chain of narration is FABRICATED. This is either from one of two people. Muhammad bin Umar – and he is AL-WAQIDI – IS ACCUSED OF FABRICATION, as Ibn Hajar said in his book at-Taqrib: ‘He is abandoned, despite the depth of his knowledge.’ The verdicts of the scholars regarding him have preceded more than once.

The other person is Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Musa – and he is Ibn Abi Yahya – and his real name is: Sam’an Al-Aslami the freed man of Abu Ishaq al-Madani. He is ABANDONED (REJECTED) AS WELL JUST LIKE AL-WAQIDI or even worse. Ibn Hajar also said about him: ‘abandoned,’ and narrated in at-Taqrib the critical statements of the scholars regarding him, and they almost constitute absolute consensus on his dishonesty. From those statements is that of al-Harbi: ‘THE SCHOLARS OF PROPHETIC TRADITION LOATHE HIS NARRATIONS; AL-WAQIDI NARRATED ON HIS AUTHORITY THAT WHICH RESEMBLES FABRICATION, THOUGH AL-WAQIDI MADE THINGS WORSE.’

And al-Harbi’s statement regarding the chain itself: ‘Ibn Abi Musa – and I believe he is in actuality Ibn Abi Yahya, but his NAME WAS CHANGED INTENTIONALLY BY AL-WAQIDI AS HE HAS DONE WITH OTHERS …’” (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Dai’fa wal-Maudu’a, volume 10, page 451)” (The Narration of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Contemplation of Suicide is Inauthentic in Terms of Its Transmission and Textual Content, by Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid, online source)

 

The following quotes on al-Waqidi were taken from the following site.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780 – 855 AD):

HE (AL-WAQIDI) IS A LIAR, makes alternations in the traditions”. (al-Dhahabi, Mizan, volume 3, page 110)

al-Nasa’i (829 – 915 AD):

THE LIARS KNOWN FOR FABRICATING THE HADITH OF THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH are four. They are: Arba’ah b. Abi Yahya in Madinah, AL-WAQIDI in Baghdad, Muqatil b. Sulayman in Khurasan and Muhammad bin Sa’id in Syria.” (Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, volume 9 page 366 No.604, [Hyderabad, 1326 A.H.cf. Yusuf ‘Abbas Hashmi, Zaynab bint Jahash, ‘Islamic Culture’ vol.XLI, No.1, Hyderabad (India), 1967])

al-Bukhari (810 – 870 AD):

AL-WAQIDI has been abandoned in Hadith. HE FABRICATES HADITH.” (al-Dhahabi, Mizan, volume 3 page 110)

Ishaq ibn Rahwiyah (777 – 852 AD):

“According to my view, he (al-Waqidi) is one of those who FABRICATE HADITH.” (Ibn Abi Hatim, volume 4 pt.1. page 21)

Abu Dawud (817 – 889 AD):

“I do not write his Hadith and I do not report (Hadith) on his authority. I have no doubt that HE (AL-WAQIDI) USED TO MAKE UP HADITH. (Ibn Hajr, Tahdhib, volume 9, page 366, No.604 cf. Hashmi)

Ali ibn Madyani (d. 241 A.H.):

He (al-Waqidi) fabricates Hadith.” (al-Dhahabi, Mizan, page 110)

As we have read, al-Waqidi is not someone who is reliable enough to accept information from. Even if we were to accept al-Waqidi as a reliable reporter, we have another problem, which is, this story goes against many authentic reports which has reached us, thus, this story claiming that the Prophet (p) marched out against Byzantine’s on hearsay is untrue.

Now we move on to the more important stuff i.e., showing the true authentic narrations on this particular incident. Before the Muslims moved out to engage the enemy we are told in these reports that the Muslims will be facing a big army ahead of them:

“I never remained behind Allah’s Messenger from any expedition which he undertook except the Battle of Tabuk and that of the Battle of Badr. … And this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)

And Riyad as-Salihin:

“…narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah when he left for the BATTLE OF TABUK. Ka’b said: “I accompanied Messenger of Allah in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. … And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21 (Eng. Tran.))

In relation to Tabuk, Ibn Sa’d (784 – 845 AD), in his book Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir states that (a report) it had reached Prophet Muhammed that the Byzantine (Romans) had “concentrated large forces”, and Heraclius had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is was when the Muhammed (p) “summoned” his people to engage the enemy:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, (Eng. Trans.) volume 2, page 203 – 204)

Here is also the 9th Century historian Ahmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 AD), he also reports to us in his book, ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, in clear-cut words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army “had assembled against him”:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, by Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri (Eng. Tran.) volume 1, page 92)

Furthermore, we have also the famous Masjid al-Dirar incident in which it is reported to us the Byzantine with Abu Amir (a Christian monk) just before the expedition of Tabuk were themselves preparing to attack and kill Muslims. Abu Amir and the Byzantine leader’s main goal was to assassinate Prophet Muhammed (p) while he was praying in a mosque. All this happened just before Tabuk expiedtion. Here are some of these reports which are reported by the Mufassirun.

Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD), states the following:

“… The Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf built a mosque at Quba’ and sent for the Messenger of Allah, to come to them. He went there and prayed in that mosque. Their brothers from the Banu Ghunm ibn ‘Awf envied them resentfully and said: ‘Let us built a mosque and send for the Messenger of Allah, to pray in it as he prayed in the mosque of our brothers, and let Abu ‘Amir al-Rahib (the monk) also pray in it when he comes back from Syria‘. This Abu ‘Amir had embraced Christianity and became a monk in the pre-Islamic period. But when the Messenger of Allah, moved to Medina, Abu ‘Amir rejected the religion of Islam and showed enmity toward it. The Prophet, called him then Abu ‘Amir al-Fasiq (the corrupt)… ABU AMIR LEFT FOR SYRIA AND THEN SENT A LETTER TO THE HYPOCRITES in which he wrote: ‘PREPARE YOURSELVES AND MAKE READY WHATEVER YOU CAN OF FORCE AND WEAPONS. Built a Mosque for me, for I AM GOING TO THE CAESAR TO REQUEST HIM TO SEND WITH ME BYZANTINE SOLDIERS SO THAT I DRIVE OUT MUHAMMAD AND HIS COMPANIONS‘. And so, they built for him a mosque by the Quba’ mosque. Those who built this mosque were 12 men … When they finished building this mosque, they went to the Messenger of Allah, and said: ‘We have built a mosque for the sick and the needy and also for use in rainy and wintry nights, and we would like you to come and pray in it’.” (Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi, last accessed 22nd November 2016: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=86&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=107&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 AD), also mentions that Abu Amir got the backing of Heraclius to launch an attack on the Muslim community:

“Masjid Ad-Dirar and Masjid At-Taqwa
The reason behind revealing these honorable Ayat is that before the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, there was a man from Al-Khazraj called “Abu `Amir Ar-Rahib (the Monk).” This man embraced Christianity before Islam and read the Scriptures. During the time of Jahiliyyah, Abu Amir was known for being a worshipper and being a notable person among Al-Khazraj. When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Al-Madinah after the Hijrah, the Muslims gathered around him and the word of Islam was triumphant on the day of Badr, causing Abu `Amir, the cursed one, to choke on his own saliva and announce his enmity to Islam. He fled from Al-Madinah to the idolators of Quraysh in Makkah to support them in the WAR AGAINST THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH. The Quraysh united their forces and the bedouins who joined them for the battle of Uhud, during which Allah tested the Muslims, but the good end is always for the pious and righteous people. The rebellious Abu Amir dug many holes in the ground between the two camps, into one of which the Messenger fell, injuring his face and breaking one of his right lower teeth. He also sustained a head injury. Before the fighting started, Abu Amir approached his people among the Ansar and tried to convince them to support and agree with him. When they recognized him, they said, “May Allah never burden an eye by seeing you, O Fasiq one, O enemy of Allah!” They cursed him and he went back declaring, “By Allah! Evil has touched my people after I left.” The Messenger of Allah called Abu Amir to Allah and recited the Qur’an to him before his flight to Makkah, but he refused to embrace Islam and REBELLED. The Messenger invoked Allah that Abu Amir die as an outcast in an alien land, and his invocation came true. After the battle of Uhud was finished, ABU AMIR realized that the Messenger’s call was still rising and gaining momentum, so HE WENT TO HERACLIUS, THE EMPEROR OF ROME, ASKING FOR HIS AID AGAINST THE PROPHET. HERACLIUS GAVE HIM PROMISES AND ABU AMIR REMAINED WITH HIM. He also wrote to several of his people in Al-Madinah, who embraced hypocrisy, promising and insinuating to them THAT HE WILL LEAD AN ARMY TO FIGHT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH TO DEFEAT HIM AND HIS CALL. He ordered them to establish a stronghold where he could send his emissaries and to serve as an outpost when he joins them later on. These hypocrites built a Masjid next to the Masjid in Quba’, and they finished building it BEFORE the Messenger went to TABUK. They went to the Messenger inviting him to pray in their Masjid so that it would be a proof that the Messenger approved of their Masjid.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, last accessed 22nd November 2016: http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1590&Itemid=64 )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn:

“And, among them, those who have chosen a mosque — these were twelve men from among the hypocrites — by way of HARM, to cause distress for those of the mosque of Quba’, and disbelief, since they built it on the orders of the monk ABU ‘AMIR, as a sanctuary for him, so that whoever comes from his side may stay there: HE HAD GONE TO THE BYZANTINE EMPEROR (QAYSAR) TO BRING TROOPS TO FIGHT AGAINST THE PROPHET (s), and to cause division among the believers, who pray in the mosque of Quba’, by having some of these pray in their [the hypocrites’] mosque, and as an outpost, an observation post, for those who waged war against God and His Messenger before, that is, before it was built — meaning the above-mentioned Abu ‘Amir … They had asked the Prophet (s) to perform prayers in it, and so the following was revealed…” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, last accessed 22nd November 2016: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=107&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

Respectable readers should also be aware that these incidents (above) were not the first time the Byzantine leader had engaged in war against the Muslims. When the Prophet Muhammed (p) sent one of his messenger’s with a letter to the King of Busra, he was intercepted by Shurabbil Ibn Amr al-Ghassani and his men, they executed Muhammed’s messenger on the spot, and those who were with him. These ruthless men executed Muhammed’s men without even reading what was contained in the letter. This incident was one of the reasons which led to the battle of Mut’ah (Mutah): “The Battle Of Mu’tah (Mutah)

Therefore, when some of these critic(s) claim that the Hiraclius and his men did not muster troops against the Muslims, this cannot be not true when we have concrete evidence on this incident that the Byzantine’s all along was planning to attack the Muslims, as the overwhelming evidence has shown.

In conclusion,

We have established to our respectable readers that the claim made in regards to the Tabuk expedition being undertaken as a result of hearsay and rumors is not true:

(1) – The few authentic reports wherein the Muslims heard stories that the Byzantines will attack them, an impending army was on its way, they did not in turn get ready to retaliate:

(2) – The reason for the Muslims not taking the opportunity to attack the Byzantine was as a result of them first wanting to confirm the stories before taking any steps forward.

(3) – The Muslims did not find these stories to be 100% confirmed at the time, hence they were left to deal with some of the issues in the Prophet’s house.

(4) – As shown in the authentic reports, the companions (Sahaba) were being more worried in relation to some of the issues of the Prophet’s personal life, here it shows that they did not take the stories on the Byzantine as truthful at the time, for if they did take the story as being genuine at the time they would have set out immediately to engage the Byzantine’s (romans). But they did not, this shows that the Muslims were waiting for official confirmation before taking any steps forward.

(5) – Al-waqidi is described as being a “liar” and a rejected individual, especially when his story is clearly in conflict with the many authentic reports.

(6) The authentic reports and tafsirs shown tell us the true and authentic version of this incident of Tabuk. The Byzantine’s (Romans) did indeed march southwards intending to attack, kill and overthrow the Muslim government. When the Byzantine’s received news that the Prophet (p) and his people came to engage them, this was when Byzantine soldiers fled away and abandoned their devilish plans.

The Muslims were not the ones who antagonised nor were they the aggressors, as the true historical sources have told us, the Byzantines were the warmongers who intended to harm the Prophet and his people. No alternative was left at the table for Prophet Muhammed (p) but to take action to save his community from harm.

If God wills, we should write few more articles on this incident soon.

Don’t forget to follow Discover The Truth on Facebook and Twitter. PLEASE help spread the word by sharing our articles on your favourite social networks.

 

 

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What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

byzantine-tabuk

Quran 9:49 “The Blonde Women” [P. 1]

Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Background: Surah 9:49
3. Banu Asfar’s Impending Army
4. The Report of Jadd b. Qais, And Excuse of Staying
5. Where is “Enslavement of the Blonde Women”?
6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

It is really worrying how some Christian missionaries use our Quran and Hadith text to deliberately and deceptively twist our scriptures for their own propagandist’s gains. This type of malicious lies has real affect on those who have no knowledge of our scripture. This may even lead some to extremism, all thanks to some Christian missionaries who want to lead innocent people astray to make few shekels on Youtube.

Not long ago the Yazidi minority group were persecuted and subjected to all kinds’ of horrendous treatment by Daesh in Iraq, who claim to follow Islam. Muslim scholars around the world have condemned this cultish group, who are no different from Christian missionaries who twist Islamic scripture for their own evil gains. The missionaries and this cult group are two sides of the same coin. The only difference is, one carries out the evil work, while the missionaries’ reinforce their cult interpretation online and giving them a pat on the back.

Coming back to the minority Yazidi group in Kurdistan-Iraq: as mentioned, they have been persecuted by Daesh.

I don’t know why there is no mention of the fact that Yazidis have been protected by Muslims in Kurdistan for centuries. To the present day, it is the Kurdish Muslim forces who rescue and have protected Yazidis from this cult. It seems ‘Muslim’ only gets mentioned when there is bad, but when there are 10.000s of Kurdish Muslims fighting against Daesh, they are not mentioned.

The claim by this particular missionary is that the Yazidi women who were raped by Daesh, have Islamic scriptural backing. [1]

The evidence presented for this claim is Surah 9:49. The critic claims that Prophet Muhammed (p) enticed and ‘promised’ his men to do Jihadagainst the Banu Al-Asfar (Byzantines/Romans), by giving them ‘blonde female slaves’. His assertion is that the sole purpose for this war was to enslave ‘blonde women’.

The next line of evidence he presents comes from a commentary on Surah 9:49, that Qays didn’t want to participate in the war because he may be tempted by the Byzantine women, and may “sin”. The Prophet (p) allowed him to stay.

The critic’s conclusion from this is that Muhammed (p) enticed and encouraged his men to go to war, basically to enslave/rape ‘blonde women’.

2. Background: Surah 9:49

Let’s read Quran 9:49,

“And among them is he who says:”Grant me leave (to be exempted from Jihad) and put me not into trial.” Surely, they have fallen into trial. And verily, Hell is surrounding the disbelievers.” – Quran 9:49

This verse was revealed about Jadd b. Qays. The commentators of the Quran say that he was requested by Prophet Muhammed (p) to join the expedition to Tabuk, but instead made excuses that he didn’t want to come because he wouldn’t be able to hold back if he sees the ‘Banu Asfar’ women. He was excused from joining this expedition, hence for the revelation of this verse.

As mentioned, Surah 9:49 was revealed in connection with the expedition of Tabuk, this is reported to us by many of the classical scholars (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Ibn Juzayy).

We have written a comprehensive article on the Tabuk expedition. Please click on the following article: “Answering Jihad: ‘Fight Against Those Who Do Not Believe’ – Quran 9:29“. This expedition took place as a result of the aggression and impending army of Byzantine (Roman) Empire, who had reached Balqa, ready to attack the Muslim community. The Prophet (p), upon receiving news of them got his people ready to engage the enemy.

3. Banu Asfar’s Impending Army

The evidence of the impending army by the Byzantines (Banu Asfar) is related to us in a number of authentic reports.

Sahih Muslim:

“I never remained behind Allah’s Messenger from any expedition which he undertook except the Battle of Tabuk and that of the Battle of Badr. So far as the Battle of Badr is concerned, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Allah’s Messenger and the Muslims (did not set out for attack but for waylaying) the caravan of the Quraish, but it was Allah Who made them confront their enemies without their intention (to do so). I had the honour to be with Allah’s Messenger on the night of ‘Aqaba when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was more dear to me than my participation in the Battle of Badr, although Badr was more popular amongst people as compared with that (Tabuk). And this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)

Riyad as-Salihin:

“Abdullah bin Ka’b, who served as the guide of Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) when he became blind, narrated: I heard Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah when he left for the battle of Tabuk. Ka’b said: “I accompanied Messenger of Allah in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. As for the battle of Badr, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Messenger of Allah and the Muslims, when they set out, had in mind only to intercept the caravan of the Quraish. Allah made them confront their enemies unexpectedly. I had the honour of being with Messenger of Allah on the night of ‘Aqabah when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was dearer to me than participating in the battle of Badr, although Badr was more well-known among the people than that. And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21)

Notice, the Prophet and his companions had to confront Banu Asfar’s army, who were ready and equipped to go to war against the Muslim community.

Let’s look further in other reports, that the real reason behind Tabuk expedition was to do with aggression and hostility of Byzantines, who were ready and equipped to attack the Muslim community.

Ibn Sa’d (784-845 AD), in his book Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir states that news had reached Prophet Muhammed that the Byzantine (banu Asfar) had ‘concentrated large forces’, and Heracluis had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is when the Muhammed (p) ‘summoned’ his people to the expedition of Tabuk:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, pp. 203-204) [2]

9th Century historian Ahmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 AD), also reports in his book, ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, in clear words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army ‘had assembled against him’:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, vol. 1, p. 92)[3]

This is also reported in al-Zurqani:

“…the Apostle was informed by the Nabataeans that Heraclius was, after stocking one year’s provisions for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of the Lakhm, Judham, Amla and Ghassan under his banner, INTENDING TO COME UPON and that his advance columns had already reached Balqa.” (Al-Zurqani, commentary on Al-Mawahib, volume 3, page 63 – 64) [4]

From this section we get a clear picture that the war was about one side (Banu Asfar) trying to attack and overthrow the Muslim power In Madinah, while the other group (Muslims) tried defending themselves against the aggression of the Banu Asfar, by fighting back in self-defence.

4. The Report of Jadd b. Qais, And Excuse of Staying

Let us now look at the second claim why Qays did not participate in this expedition, and the claim that Muhammed (p) only went to war because of ‘blonde women’. The report from Tabari says,

“…Everyone transmitted what he had learned about the expedition to Tabuk and some people reported whats others did not. All the reports agree, however, that the Messenger of God ordered his companions to prepare for the military expedition against the Byzantines. This was a season when people were hard pressed; the heat was oppressive and the country was passing throuhg a dry spell. At the time, fruit was ripe and shade was dearly sought. People love to stay where they have shade and fruit [trees], and find leaving them distasteful. The Messenger of God would seldom go out on a military expedition without alluding to a destination and announcing [publicly] that he meant [a place] other than that intended.
The Tabuk expedition was the exception, in that he explained [the particulars of the expedition openly] to the people. This was because of the long distance, the difficult season, and THE ENEMY’S NUMERICAL SUPERIORITY. He wanted the people to be fully prepared, so he ordered them to make ready and informed them that his objective was the Byzantines. They prepared themselves despite their dislike for that approach and what it entailed, as well as their respect for the Byzantines and their fighting ability. One day, while the Messenger of God was making preparations for this expedition, he said to Jadd b. Qays, brother of the Banu Salimah: ‘Would you like, O Jadd, to fight the Banu Asfar this year?’ He said: ‘O Messenger of God, please excuse me [from this] and do not tempt me. By God my folk know no better admirer of women than I. I fear that if I see the women of the Banu of Asfar I shall not be able to control myself.’ The Messenger of God turned away from him saying, ‘I excuse you.’ It was about al-Jadd that the following verse was revealed:
‘Among them is a man who says, ‘Grant me exemption [to stay at home] and tempt me not [into trial].’ Have they not already fallen into trial? Indeed hell encompasses the unbelievers.’ [‘Tempt me not’] meant that he feared temptation from the women of the Banu Asfar. But was it not [also] temptation that he had fallen into, by staying behind [while] the Messenger of God [went to battle]? By falling prey to human desires, he had fallen into a greater temptation. Indeed, hell is at his back. (Tabari vol. 9, page 47 – 48[5]

This report on Jadd b. Qays mentions nothing about Muhammed going to war for the enslavement of “blonde women”.

Furthermore, towards the end of Tabari’s quote it says that Qays didn’t want to go because he may be tempted by the Banu Asfar women, and may lead him to sin. If as the critic claims that rape of these women were allowed, why would Qays say that he didn’t want to go, as it may lead him to touch women? Doesn’t this report show that rape was forbidden, for why would Qays not be willing to join the expedition if this heinous act was permissible?

The critic’s sole claim that Muhammed (p) went to this expedition to ‘enslave blonde women’, has no historical backing from the report.

5. Where is “Enslavement of the Blonde Women”?

As we have seen from the above evidences, the expedition of Tabuk was started as a result of Banu Asfar’s impending army. Let’s look at a further evidence when the Muslims got to the territory of Banu Asfar, what did the Muslims do to the enemy? Did their ‘blonde’ women get enslaved?

Historical Reports

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“We accompanied the Prophet in the Ghazwa of Tabuk and the king of ‘Aila presented a white mule and a cloak as a gift to the Prophet. And the Prophet wrote to him a peace treaty allowing him to keep authority over his country.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 4, Book 53, Hadith 387)

Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to Tabuk in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others whom he learnt had assembled against him, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan volume 1, page 92) [10]

Al-Waqidi:

“In the name of Allah, The most Merciful, The Most Compassionate. This is a covenant of security from Allah and Muhammed, the Messenger of Allah, to Yuhanna Ibn Ru’ba and the people of Alya. Their ships and their journeys by land and sea shall be under the safe protection of God and Muhammed, as shall the people of Syria and Yemen and the coastal dwellers who accompany them. His assets shall not protect the perpetrator of a crime and it shall be lawful to confiscate his wealth.” (Kitab al-Maghazi, by al-Waqidi, volume 3, page 1031)

Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya:

“Then the Governor of Ayla came to the Messenger of God (SAAS) and presented to him a while mule. The Messenger of God (SAAS), presented him with a robe of honour and wrote a document for him giving them protection.” (Al-Sira an-Nabawiyya, volume 4, page 14)

With the Prophet (p) and his army’s arrival in Banu Asfar’s territory, we read that he made peace treaties with the tribes that had allegiance to them. These reports are very interesting! It thoroughly debunks the myth perpetuated by the critic that Prophet Muhammed (p) conquered, and sole purpose was to enslave ‘blonde women’.

We have to also remember that these tribes were guilty of siding with the Byzantine (Banu Asfar) in harming the Muslims, yet when the Prophet (p) had the opportunity to avenge them for what they did (i.e., siding with Byzantine in killing Muslims), he left them alone.

Furthermore, if the claim as the critic claims that the sole purpose of this expedition was for women as he quotes one commentary, why do our most authentic reports tell us the opposite of what he claims? Why is that none of the perverted assertions he made is not backed historically?

6. Conclusion:

The conclusion that can be drawn from all the above proofs is that the purpose of Tabuk expedition was to do with the Byzantine (Banu Asfar) preparing their people to attack the Muslim community. The claim that Muhammed (p) and his companions set out on the expedition to Tabuk to ‘enslave blonde women’, has no historical truth to the event.

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References:

[1] A narration reported by Abu Dharr tells us that:
“The Prophet (p) said: “Feed those of your captives who please you from what you eat and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves, but sell those who do not please you and DO NOT punish Allah’s creatures.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 5142. Albani classified it as Sahih)
This report tells us if a captive-woman were to refuse to please her master, by making food or getting intimate, he was NOT allowed to force her. God orders Muslims to sell her and move away from her. The Prophet also recommended to set free captives. They were NOT to punish. From leaving each other, maybe the second person she goes to may have a better relationship. The idea about ‘raping’ captive-women is described by God to be “punishing Allah’s creatures”, which is the most heinous crime to do.
[2] Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009) Volume 2, page 203-204
[3] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92
[4] Muhammad Rasulullah: The Apostle Of Mercy, [Translated by Mohiudin Ahmad, Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Lucknow (India) – Series No. 126 – Edition English 2nd Lucknow, 1982]S. Abul Hasan Ali, page 349
[5] History of al-Tabari: The Last Years Of The Prophet – [Translated And Annotated By Ismail K. Poonawala, Suny – Series in Near Eastern Studies, University Of California, Los Angeles – State University of New York, 1990], volume 9, page 47 – 48
[6] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92

Quran 9:29, Tabuk, Jizyah

Surah 9:29 has been misunderstood and abused a lot by critics who have no knowledge why the verse was revealed. When was it revealed and for who? Historically speaking, we are certain with the evidences that this verse was revealed concerning the Tabuk expedition. We argued extensively in previous articles, which can be seen here, here and here, that the verse was revealed in relation too one group of people who were hell bent on destroying Islam and Muslims, 1400 years ago. The Byzantine’s intention were of mounting an attack on the Muslims.

This particular group as we showed, were preparing their troops to attack the Muslim community. Reports had reached Prophet Muhammed (p) that the army had reached southwards and were in Balqa. With this, the Prophet (p) and his companions (Sahaba) prepared to engage the enemy head on. The following new report illustrates the threat posed by the Byzantines, 1400 years ago:

“What was the genesis of this expedition? It is related that the Apostle got reports of Byzantine forces converging on the northern frontiers of Arabia with the intention of MOUNTING AN ATTACK ON THE MUSLIMS. … the Apostle was informed by the Nabataeans that Heraclius was, after stocking one year’s provisions for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of the Lakhm, Judham, Amla and Ghassan under his banner, INTENDING TO COME UPON and that his advance columns had already reached Balqa.” (Al-Zurqani, commentary on Al-Mawahib, volume 3, page 63 – 64) [1]

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Reference:

[1] Muhammad Rasulullah: The Apostle Of Mercy, [Translated by Mohiudin Ahmad, Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Lucknow (India) – Series No. 126 – Edition English 2nd Lucknow, 1982]S. Abul Hasan Ali, page 349

Related Articles:

The Truth About Jizyah

Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam

Christians And Jews In Arabia Under Islam

The Quran and Prophetic sayings insists not to ‘harm’ and orders Muslims to strongly to treat non-Muslims kindly and with justice. In the Quran, Allah says:

“Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you on account of your religion nor drive you out of your homes,to treat them with goodness and to be just to them; truly, Allah loves those who are just. Indeed, Allah forbids you (only) with regard to those who fight you on account of religion and drive you out of your homes, and assist (others) in driving you out, that you turn to them (in friendship); and whoever turns to them (in friendship), they are wrongdoers. (Quran – Al-Mumtahanah, 60:8-9)

In a Hadith the Prophet Muhammed (p) said:

“If anyone wrong a man to whom a treaty has been granted, or burdens him above his strength, I am an advocate against him till the day of judgement.” [1]

The first rightly guided Caliph said,

“Do not kill any protected people, for if you do God will require the protection of them from you and will cast you on your faces in hell.” [2]

When Caliph Abu Bakr Siddique sent his soldiers to Syria, he said to have given the followings commandments:

“When you enter that country, kill neither old man, nor little child, nor woman. Do not pull down a pillar saint from his place. Do not injure the monks, for they have set themselves apart to worship God. Do not cut down a tree nor uproot a plant. Do not rip up any ox, cow, or sheep. If a province or people receive you, make an agreement with them and your promise. Let them be governed by their own laws and established customs, and take tribute from them as is agreed between you. Leave them in their religion and their land.” [3]

There are other Hadith, which speak about Umar Ibn al-Khattab, showing kindness to non-Muslims. On the way back from Syria he seen some men in the sun with oil over their heads, in order to attract flies. Umar, asked what is happening to these men, those in charge responded by saying that they are not paying the tax they agreed to pay. Hence, the punishment. The men in response said that they couldn’t pay because they didn’t have any money. They were too poor to pay.

Umar Ibn Khattab ordered those in charge the following,

“Let them go, do not annoy them.” [4]

In another place, Umar was passing along a house when saw an old, blind man begging. Umar touched the old man and asked him, whether he was a Christian or a Jew, the man said that he was Jewish. The old blind man further said that he begged in the day so he could provide himself the daily needs, for his food and pay the Jizya.

“To which of the people of the Book do you belong? I am a Jew, responded the blind man. Umar took him by the hand, led him to his own house, gave him something from it (i.e., food) and then sent him to the keeper of the treasure with this message, ‘See to this man and his like, for we have not done right if we devour their youth and neglect their old age. The religious tax is for the poor and needy. The poor are the Muslims; this man is one of the needy of the people of the Book (Christians and Jews). He freed the man from the obligation to pay the Jizyah.“ [5]

Similarly, in another place Umar Ibn Khattab, the Companion of Prophet Muhammed is said to have instructed his people the following in regards to Christians and Jews (those protected religions’),

“Make it easy for him who cannot pay the Jizyah (tribute); help him who is weak. Let them keep their names…” [6]

Umar Ibn Khattab’s last words, in his dying bed to his successors was the following:

“I charge the Caliph after me to be kind to the dhimmis (non-Muslims), to keep their covenant, to protect them, and not to burden them above their strength.” [7]

Besides presenting Muslim sources on the good, kind treatment given to the non-Muslims in Prophet Muhammed and his successors time, we also have non-Muslim sources attesting, supporting the view that non-Muslims were treated well.

Isho-yahbh the Bishop, who was a Christian patriarch in the years 647 to 657 A.D., states:

“The Arabs, to whom God gave the dominion over the World, behave to us as you know. They are not hostile to Christianity, but praise our religion, honour the priests and saints, and help the Churches and Monasteries.” [8]

The set agreement made by Bishop Isho-yahbh with the Muslims shows to have been quote good and favourable to the Christians. Part of the agreement stipulated was that they should be protected from their enemies, that they should not be forced to fight for the Government in charge, be allowed to their manners and Laws. [9]

The kind, and just treatment towards non-Muslims by Muhammad (p) and his successors is the true essence of Islam. Some in today’s world have rejected and gone against the commandments laid out in the Quran and Hadith. Thus they have gone astray.

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References:

[1] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub page 71
[2] Kitab al-tabaqat al-Kabir, by Ibn Sa’d, volume 3, page 137
[3] The Caliphs And Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study Of The Covenant Of Umar [Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press – London Bombay Calcutta Madras, 1930], by Arthur Stanley Tritton, page 137
[4] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub page 71
[5] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub page 71
[6] History, Ibn Asaakir, volume 1, page 178
[7] Kitab al-Kharaj, by Yahya Ibn Adam, page 54
[8] The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas, Bishop of Marga A.D.840. [Edited From Syriac manuscripts In The British Museum And Other Libraries by E. A. Wallis Budge, Litt. D., F. S. A., – London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., LTD. Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road. 1893], volume 2, page 126
[9] Ecclesiastical Chronicle, Bar Hebraeus, volume 3, page 118

– Quotes and references were extracted from the following book “The Caliphs And Their Non-Muslim Subjects: A Critical Study Of The Covenant Of Umar” [Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press – London Bombay Calcutta Madras, 1930], by Arthur Stanley Tritton, page 137 – 139

“Fight Those Who Do Not Believe” – Surah 9:29

Kaleef K. Karim & Bachir Guediri

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Background on Quran 9:29
3. The Verse – Historical context
4. Jizya (Jizyah)
5. Conclusion

1. Introduction

This article examines chapter 9, verse 29 of the Quran, in its historical context. Some claim that the verse (Q. 9:29) endorses and ‘sanctions Muslims to kill innocent Christians and Jews’. This is simply not true. We undertook the task to investigate the verse (Q. 9:29) as a result of some critics misusing, and twisting the verse to mean something it has never intended to say. It is only appropriate to respond to their claims, given the fact that, not even Prophet Muhammed (p) interpreted it as such during his own life.

2. Background

It is agreed by some of the earliest classical to modern commentators on the Quran that this verse (Q. 9:29) was revealed concerning the expedition to Tabuk, to face Byzantine (Roman) Empire’s army (Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645-722 AD), Hud b. Muhakkam Hawwari [1], Al-Tabari (838-923 AD) [2], Baghawi (1044-1122 AD), and Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 AD)).

3. The Verse – Historical Context

Let us read the verse [Muhammed Asad Translation]:

“[And] fight against those who – despite having been vouchsafed revelation [aforetime] – do not [truly] believe either in God or the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of truth [which God has enjoined upon them] till they [agree to] pay the exemption tax with a willing hand, after having been humbled [in war].” – Qur’an 9:29

So the verse tells Muhammed (p) to fight against those who were revealed previous scripture. Who does the verse refer to? As mentioned previously, some of the earliest Islamic exegesis on the Quran say that the verse (9:29) was revealed concerning Tabuk expedition.

The Hadith, collections of reports from what Prophet Muhammed (p) said, approved off, or sometimes what the Companions of the Prophet (p) said. According to Sahih Muslim (Hadith) and Riyad us-Saliheen, they report to us that the Tabuk expedition was undertaken as a result of the impending army of the Byzantine’s (Romans) who were advancing on the Syrian border for war. Sahih Muslim:

“I never remained behind Allah’s Messenger from any expedition which he undertook except the Battle of Tabuk and that of the Battle of Badr. So far as the Battle of Badr is concerned, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Allah’s Messenger and the Muslims (did not set out for attack but for waylaying) the caravan of the Quraish, but it was Allah Who made them confront their enemies without their intention (to do so). I had the honour to be with Allah’s Messenger on the night of ‘Aqaba when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was more dear to me than my participation in the Battle of Badr, although Badr was more popular amongst people as compared with that (Tabuk). And this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)

Riyad as-Salihin:

“Abdullah bin Ka’b, who served as the guide of Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) when he became blind, narrated: I heard Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah when he left for the battle of Tabuk. Ka’b said: “I accompanied Messenger of Allah in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. As for the battle of Badr, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Messenger of Allah and the Muslims, when they set out, had in mind only to intercept the caravan of the Quraish. Allah made them confront their enemies unexpectedly. I had the honour of being with Messenger of Allah on the night of ‘Aqabah when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was dearer to me than participating in the battle of Badr, although Badr was more well-known among the people than that. And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21)

Notice, in the above two reports we read that the Byzantine army were already there, ready, and equipped to go to war. These following reports (below) also shed information that news had reached the Muslims that the Ghassanid tribe, which was part of the Byzantine (Roman) empire were preparing to attack the Muslim community.

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“… I left her (and went home). At that time I had a friend from the Ansar who used to bring news (from the Prophet) in case of my absence, and I used to bring him the news if he was absent. In those days we were afraid of one of the kings of GHASSANID TRIBE. We heard that he INTENDED TO MOVE AND ATTACK US, so fear filled our hearts because of that. (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door, and said, “Open Open!’ I said, ‘Has the king of Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘No, but something worse; God’s Messenger has isolated himself from his wives.’ …” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 435)

Sahih Muslim:

“I had a friend from the Ansar. When I had been absent (from the company of the Prophet) he used to bring me the news and when he had been absent I used to bring him the news, and at that time we dreaded a KING OF GHASSAN. It was mentioned to us that he INTENDED TO ATTACK US, AND OUR MINDS WERE HAUNTED BY HIM. My friend, the Ansari, came to me, and he knocked at the door and said: Open it, open it. I said: Has the Ghassanid come? He said: (The matter is) more serious than that. The Messenger of Allah has separated himself from his wives. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 9, Hadith 3508)

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

“‘My house was in Al-Awali among those of Banu Umayya, and I had a neighbour among the Ansar, and he and I would take turns visiting the Messenger of God.’ He said: ‘One day I would visit him and bring the news of the Revelation, and one day he would visit him and bring the same. We heard that GHASSAN WERE PREPARING THEIR HORSES TO ATTACK US. He said: ‘One day he came to me in the evening and knocked on my door, so I went out to him. He said: “A horrible thing has happened.” I said: “Ghassan has come?” He said: “Worse than that. The Messenger of God has divorced his wives.’ … “(Jami` at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3318)

In relation to this, Ibn Sa’d (784-845 AD), in his book Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir states that news had reached Prophet Muhammed that the Byzantine (Romans) had ‘concentrated large forces’, and Heracluis had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is when the Muhammed (p) ‘summoned’ his people to the expedition of Tabuk:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, pp. 203-204) [3]

9th Century historian Aḥmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 AD), also reports in his book, ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, in clear words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army ‘had assembled against him’:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, vol. 1, p. 92) [4]

Moreover, Al-Waqidi’s account is similar and consistent with what we have shown already, that the Byzantine had prepared for war against the Muslims first.

Al-Waqidi’s (745–822 AD) report is a bit more detailed on this incident. He states that some Nabateans came to Medina for business related matters, as they usually did throughout the year. They told the Muslims that the Byzantines (Romans) had assembled their troops in Syria to launch an attack on Madinah. And that some of the military already had reached ‘Al-Balqa’. The report suggests that some among the Nabateans were Muslim traders who had gone to al-Sham [Syria], they seen with their own eyes the number of troops, their equipment and arms. All this took place before Prophet Muhammed (p) decided to set out to engage the Byzantine army:

“…The saqita – they were Nabateans who arrived in Medina with flour and oil in Jahiliyya and after Islam arrived. Indeed there was news of al-Sham [Syria] with the Muslims every-day. Many of those who came to them were from Nabatea. A group arrived which mentioned that the BYZANTINE’S HAD GATHERED [ASSEMBLED] MANY GROUPS IN AL-SHAM [SYRIA], and that Heraclius had provisioned his companions for a year. The Lakhmids, Judham, Ghassan, and Amila had gathered with him. THEY MARCHED and their LEADERS LED THEM TO AL-BALQA where they camped. …there was no enemy feared more by the Muslims, this because of what they had seen regarding their numbers, their equipment and their arms when they had set foot in their territory as traders.” (Al-Waqidi, vol. 3. pp. 989 – 990) [5]

 

Moreover, we also want to include the episode of Masjid al-Dirar, in relation to Tabuk expedition. To get a better understanding of Byzantine army’s intend to attack the Muslim community in Madinah.

Masjid al-Dirar was a mosque built by the hypocrites with the help of Abu Amir (Amr), a Christian monk, who had in previous years fought against the Muslims. Abu Amir went to Syria, and had a close relationship with the Byzantine leader. Abu Amir having hatred and enmity towards Muhammed (p) asked Heraclius to give him men, money and weapons so that he could assassinate Muhammed (p). With the help of Heraclius, a Mosque was built, and the hypocrites invited the Prophet (p) to come to this Mosque and pray, so that they could assassinate him. However, the Prophet declined and was busy with Tabuk expedition. Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi  (d. 1075 AD), states the following:

“… The Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf built a mosque at Quba’ and sent for the Messenger of Allah, to come to them. He went there and prayed in that mosque. Their brothers from the Banu Ghunm ibn ‘Awf envied them resentfully and said: ‘Let us built a mosque and send for the Messenger of Allah, to pray in it as he prayed in the mosque of our brothers, and let Abu ‘Amir al-Rahib (the monk) also pray in it when he comes back from Syria‘. This Abu ‘Amir had embraced Christianity and became a monk in the pre-Islamic period. But when the Messenger of Allah, moved to Medina, Abu ‘Amir rejected the religion of Islam and showed enmity toward it. The Prophet, called him then Abu ‘Amir al-Fasiq (the corrupt)… ABU AMIR LEFT FOR SYRIA AND THEN SENT A LETTER TO THE HYPOCRITES in which he wrote: ‘PREPARE YOURSELVES AND MAKE READY WHATEVER YOU CAN OF FORCE AND WEAPONS. Built a Mosque for me, for I AM GOING TO THE CAESAR TO REQUEST HIM TO SEND WITH ME BYZANTINE SOLDIERS SO THAT I DRIVE OUT MUHAMMAD AND HIS COMPANIONS‘. And so, they built for him a mosque by the Quba’ mosque. Those who built this mosque were 12 men: Khidham ibn Khalid (this mosque of opposition was an extension of his house), Tha’labah ibn Hatib, Mu’attib ibn Qushayr, Abu Habibah ibn al-Az’ar, ‘Abbad ibn Hunayf, Jariyah ibn ‘Amir, his two sons Majma’ and Zayd, Nabtal ibn Harith, Bahzaj ibn ‘Uthman, Bijad ibn ‘Uthman and Wadi’ah ibn Thabit. When they finished building this mosque, they went to the Messenger of Allah, and said: ‘We have built a mosque for the sick and the needy and also for use in rainy and wintry nights, and we would like you to come and pray in it’.” [6]

The respected scholar Abu l-Fidaʾ Ismail Ibn Umar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 AD), also mentions that Abu Amir got the backing of Heraclius to launch an attack on the Muslim community:

“Masjid Ad-Dirar and Masjid At-Taqwa
The reason behind revealing these honorable Ayat is that before the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, there was a man from Al-Khazraj called “Abu `Amir Ar-Rahib (the Monk).” This man embraced Christianity before Islam and read the Scriptures. During the time of Jahiliyyah, Abu Amir was known for being a worshipper and being a notable person among Al-Khazraj. When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Al-Madinah after the Hijrah, the Muslims gathered around him and the word of Islam was triumphant on the day of Badr, causing Abu `Amir, the cursed one, to choke on his own saliva and announce his enmity to Islam. He fled from Al-Madinah to the idolators of Quraysh in Makkah to support them in the WAR AGAINST THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH. The Quraysh united their forces and the bedouins who joined them for the battle of Uhud, during which Allah tested the Muslims, but the good end is always for the pious and righteous people. The rebellious Abu Amir dug many holes in the ground between the two camps, into one of which the Messenger fell, injuring his face and breaking one of his right lower teeth. He also sustained a head injury. Before the fighting started, Abu Amir approached his people among the Ansar and tried to convince them to support and agree with him. When they recognized him, they said, “May Allah never burden an eye by seeing you, O Fasiq one, O enemy of Allah!” They cursed him and he went back declaring, “By Allah! Evil has touched my people after I left.” The Messenger of Allah called Abu Amir to Allah and recited the Qur’an to him before his flight to Makkah, but he refused to embrace Islam andREBELLED. The Messenger invoked Allah that Abu Amir die as an outcast in an alien land, and his invocation came true. After the battle of Uhud was finished, ABU AMIR realized that the Messenger’s call was still rising and gaining momentum, so HE WENT TO HERACLIUS, THE EMPEROR OF ROME, ASKING FOR HIS AID AGAINST THE PROPHET. HERACLIUS GAVE HIM PROMISES AND ABU AMIR REMAINED WITH HIM. He also wrote to several of his people in Al-Madinah, who embraced hypocrisy, promising and insinuating to them THAT HE WILL LEAD AN ARMY TO FIGHT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH TO DEFEAT HIM AND HIS CALL. He ordered them to establish a stronghold where he could send his emissaries and to serve as an outpost when he joins them later on. These hypocrites built a Masjid next to the Masjid in Quba’, and they finished building itBEFORE the Messenger went to TABUK. They went to the Messenger inviting him to pray in their Masjid so that it would be a proof that the Messenger approved of their Masjid.” [7]

Similarly, Tafsir al-Jalalayn affirms the Masjid al-Dirar incident:

“And, among them, those who have chosen a mosque — these were twelve men from among the hypocrites — by way of HARM, to cause distress for those of the mosque of Quba’, and disbelief, since they built it on the orders of the monk ABU ‘AMIR, as a sanctuary for him, so that whoever comes from his side may stay there: HE HAD GONE TO THE BYZANTINE EMPEROR (QAYSAR) TO BRING TROOPS TO FIGHT AGAINST THE PROPHET (s), and to cause division among the believers, who pray in the mosque of Quba’, by having some of these pray in their [the hypocrites’] mosque, and as an outpost, an observation post, for those who waged war against God and His Messenger before, that is, before it was built — meaning the above-mentioned Abu ‘Amir — they will swear: ‘We desired nothing, by building it, but, to do, good’, by way of kindness towards the poor in times of [heavy] rain or [extreme] heat and in order to provide [a place of worship] for the Muslims; and God bears witness that they are truly liars, in this [claim of theirs]. They had asked the Prophet (s) to perform prayers in it, and so the following was revealed…” [8]

Likewise, 9th century Islamic scholar Abu Ja’far Muḥammad ibn Jarir al-Ṭabari (838-923 AD) has this story in his Tafsir, in detail [9]. These incidents were not the first time the Byzantine had engaged in war against the Muslims. When the Prophet (p) sent one of his messenger’s with a letter to the King of Busra, he was intercepted by Shurabbil Ibn Amr al-Ghassani and his men, they executed Muhammed’s messenger, and those who were with him. Which led to the battle of Mu’tah (Mutah).

From the evidences, we gather Muhammed (p) was well aware of the Byzantine army’s approach towards Madinah. What he did not know was that some of the hypocrites, Abu Amir the monk, and with the help of Heraclius, were attempting to assassinate him in the Masjid al-Dinar mosque, in Madinah. All this took place before the Muhammed (p) set out to Tabuk.

In view of all the that has been mentioned so far, all the historical evidences shown supports the fact that the expedition to Tabuk, was started as a consequence of the Byzantine (Roman) Empire’s army advancing, to attack the Muslim community. Thus, 9:29 is understood historically that the verse was aimed at those who were hostile, and aimed to harm the Muslims.

4. Jizya (Jizyah)

Moreover, when the Muslims got to Tabuk, to face the enemy, the Muslims found that the Byzantine army had fled. So what did the Muslims do to those Christians and Jews that were allies of the Byzantine, and had sided with them against the Muslims? Did Muslims start killing them indiscriminately? No harm was inflicted on any Christian or Jew. Sahih al-Bukhari and Kitab Futuh al-Buldan report to us the following:

“We accompanied the Prophet in the Ghazwa of Tabuk and the king of ‘Aila presented a white mule and a cloak as a gift to the Prophet. And the Prophet wrote to him a peace treaty allowing him to keep authority over his country.” (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 4, Book 53, Hadith 387)

 

Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to Tabuk in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others whom he learnt had assembled against him, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan vol. 1, p. 92) [10]

With the Prophet (p) and his army’s arrival there, we read that he made peace treaties with the tribes that had allegiance to Byzantine Empire. These two reports are very interesting! It thoroughly debunks the myth perpetuated by some that Prophet Muhammed (p) conquered, and converted them the sword. We have to remember that these tribes were guilty of siding with the Byzantine in harming the Muslims, yet when the Prophet (p) had the opportunity to avenge them for what they did (i.e., siding with Byzantine in killing Muslims), he left them alone.

Part of this peace-treaty was that they will live in their territory peacefully, no harm will come to them as long as they do not harm the Muslims. They also got full protection, and freedom from the Muslim Government. Another intriguing part of this treaty (which is mentioned in this section, Bukhari quotes) was that the Prophet (P) allowed the Christian King Yuhanna (John) of Aila to have full control over his territory, as long as he remained peaceful and paid the poll-tax due to the Prophet (p).

Some claim that the poll-tax (Jizyah) levied on them was ‘discriminatory’ and ‘oppressive’. For those readers who are not aware of what ‘Jizya’ is, Jizyah is a tax on Christians and Jews who live under the Protection of the Muslim government. This is not imposed on all of them. It is only levied on the men. Women, children, old men and handicapped or the poor are exempted from paying this. Similarly, the Muslims were also obliged to pay similar tax called ‘Zakat’ yearly. If the non-Muslim men joined the Muslim military service, they were exempt from paying Jizya. Whereas, even if the Muslims paid Zakat, they were still obliged to join military service, it was compulsory on the Muslims.

As mentioned, the non-Muslims got full freedom, and protection from the Islamic Government, as in the case of the Christian King Yuhanna (John) of Aila, he had full control over his territory. Part of this ‘full-protection’ was that if an enemy country were to think of attacking non-Muslims, the Muslims would have protected them. The enemy would have to fight the Muslims first before they could harm the non-Muslim citizens.

This payment (tax) in turn would have paid for hospitals, schools, military defence of the country, helping the poor and needy. Both of these taxes (Jizya and Zakat) was needed for the Government to function, and adequate care for its citizens be met.

The claim that ‘Jizya’ was oppressive is found by those who are pushing a certain agenda to paint the Islamic faith negatively.

In-fact, anyone who hurts or be ‘oppressive’ towards a dhimmi (modern terminology non-Muslim citizen) will be held accountable, and has gone against God and the Prophet’s teachings. The Prophet states, as it is reported in Tabarani:

“He who hurts a dhimmi hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah. (Narrated by at-Tabarani in Al-aswat on good authority)

And

“Whoever hurts a dhimmi, I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Narrated by Khatib on good authority)

Abu Dawud:

“One the Day of Resurrection I shall prove to be wrong anyone who oppresses a person from among the People of the covenant, or infringes on his right, or puts a responsibility on him which is beyond his strength, or takes something from him against his will.” (Narrated By Abu Dawud)

These sayings are from Muhammed’s (p) own mouth, he categorically forbade the harming, hurting or imposing something beyond the ability the non-Muslim citizen. The Prophet’s companions [11], his successors safeguarded these rights and sanctities of non-Muslim citizens. The Maliki jurist, Shihab ad-din al-Qarafi states:

“The covenant of protection imposes upon us certain obligations toward ahl adh-dhimmah. They are our neighbours, under our shelter and protection upon the guarantee of Allah, His Messenger (p), and the religion of Islam. Whoever violates these obligations against any of them by so much as an abusive word, by slandering his reputation, or by doing him some injury or assisting in it, has breached the guarantee of Allah, His Messenger (p), and the religion of Islam. (Al-Qarafi, Al-furuq)

And Ibn Hazm:

“If the enemy of a dhimmi comes with his forces to take him, it is our obligation to fight this enemy with soldiers and weapons and to give our lives for him, thus honouring the guarantee of Allah and His Messenger (p). To hand him over to the enemy would mean to dishonour this guarantee.” (Ibn Hazm, Maratib al-ijma) [12]

The Quran calls for non-Muslims to be treated with goodness and be just to them:

“God does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you on account of your religion nor drive you out of your homes, totreat them with goodness and to be just to them; truly, God loves those who are just. …” – Quran 60:8

This same Quran also permits Muslims to marry Christian and Jewish woman:

“… The food of those who were given Scripture (before you) is permitted to you and your food is permitted to them. And (lawful to you in marriage are) chaste women from among the Believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture (Christians and Jews) before you…” – Quran 5:5

In the same book, God Almighty informs us that through marriage HE has put love and mercy between the couple’s.

“…and He has put love and mercy between you.” – Quran 30:21

5. Conclusion:

We see that chapter 9, verse 29 of the Quran, that God Almighty only permitted the fighting, in the context of Byzantine (Roman) Empire’s impending army to attack the Muslims. The verse does not in any-way allow or permit aggression against peaceful people. Rather the injunction in the verse has to be understood within the historical context that it was revealed at the time of Prophet Muhammed (p). As explained, the context of which was to do with the aggression and the hostilities of the Byzantine Empire’s actions, as we showed in a number of historical reports. Which led to Prophet Muhammed’s (p) decision in confronting the enemy head-on in Tabuk.

For some to claim that the verse allowed aggression and warfare against innocent people, this has no historical truth to it. The evidences shown tell us, Islam respects, and treats those who adhere to other religions with kindness, care and goodness.

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References:

[1] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought By Asma Afsaruddin, page 75 – 76
[2] A summary on 9:29 from At-Tabari:
“عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلا بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ… حِينَ أُمِرَ مُحَمَّدٌ وَأَصْحَابُهُ بِغَزْوَةِ تَبُوكَ
Mujahid reported concerning the verse, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day…” that it was revealed when Muhammad and his companions were commanded with the expedition of Tabuk. The expedition of Tabuk was preceded by the battle of Mu’tah which began when the emissary of the Prophet was assassinated while delivering a letter to a Roman ally. (Tafseer At-Tabari 9:29 Online source)
[3] Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009) Volume 2, page 203-204
[4] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92
[5] The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi, volume 3, page 989 – 990
[6] Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi, last accessed 28th March 2016: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=86&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=107&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2
[7] Tafsir Ibn Kathir, last accessed 28th March 2016 : http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1590&Itemid=64
[8] Tafsir al-Jalalayn, last accessed 28th March 2016: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=107&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2
[9] Tafsir al-Tabari, volume 14, page 469 – 475
[10] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92
[11] Umar Ibn Khattab: “I also recommend that he do good to the ‘Arab bedouin, as they are the origin of the ‘Arabs and the material of Islam. He should take from what is inferior, amongst their properties and distribute that to the poor amongst them. I also recommend him concerning Allah’s and His Apostle’s protectees (i.e. Dhimmis) to fulfill their contracts and to fight for them and not to overburden them with what is beyond their ability.” (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 5, Book 57, Hadith 50)
[12] The quotes from Tabarani, Khatib, al-Qarafi, and Ibn Hazm were taken from Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s book, “The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam (Al-Halal Wal Haram Fil Islam)”, page 333 – 341

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