The battle of Khyber was a very important event in the history of Islam that occurred in 628 A.D (7 Hijri).
The conflict was between the Muslims of Madinah, who were under Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and the Jews who had settled in Khyber after they were expelled from Madinah.
To understand how and why the Jews settled in Khyber, we will go through its background briefly. So, let’s dive into the topic without further introductions.
When the Muslims migrated from Makkah to Madinah (in 622 A.D), they encountered several communities in Madinah. Some of them were:
- Banu Aws
- Banu Khazraj
- Jews (Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nazir and Banu Quraiza)
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) signed a treaty with the Jews of Madinah in the first year of the migration in order to ensure peace and harmony in Madinah. This pact was known as the “Charter of Madinah” (Meethaq-e-Madinah).
Under this pact, the Muslims and Jews were one Ummah (community) and they were to help each other against their enemies. However, this was not the thing with the Jews.
The Jewish tribes violated the treaty and several instances such as:
- Banu Qaynuqa supported the Quraish against the Muslims in the battle of Badr.
Therefore, after the battle, the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) expelled them from Madinah according to the treaty.
- Banu Nazir supported the Quraish of Makkah against the Muslims in the battle of Uhud (in 3 Hijri). Soon after the battle, they plotted to kill Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
When the Muslims came across this development, they asked Banu Nazir to move out of Madinah. However, the negotiations failed and the Banu Nazir shut themselves in their forts.
The Jews surrendered after some days when there was a shortage of food and other necessities. With this, they were also expelled from Madinah.
It is to note that the people of Banu Nazir helped the Quraish in the battle of the trench (ditch) and they settled at Khyber.
- Banu Quraiza was also constantly planning against the Muslims even though they were in a treaty with the Muslims.
Banu Quraiza openly supported Quraish and the other tribes against the Muslims in the battle of the ditch (in 5 Hijri). After the battle, the question was regarding the treatment of the people of Banu Quraiza.
After the battle of the trench, the Muslims marched towards Banu Qurayza who had shut themselves up in their forts. The Muslims laid siege accordingly.
Initially, they resisted but with the shortage of the necessities, their morale became low. After a span of 25 days, the Jews surrendered. Now the treatment of Banu Quraiza was to be decided.
Hazrat Sa’ad ibn Mua’dh (R.A) proposed the idea according to the old testament of violating a treaty. The men of Banu Quraiza were killed and their women and children were taken as captives along with their lands and property.
Now, you know something about the background of the battle of Khyber. Let’s briefly discuss why were the Jews determined to oppose the Muslims?
Reasons for the Jewish opposition to the Muslims:
- The Jews enjoyed their monopoly over trade and politics in Madinah before the arrival of the Muslims.
These monopolies came to an end when the Muslims arrived in Madinah.
- The Jews exploited the historical rivalry between Banu Aws and Banu Khazraj tribe for their own advantage.
The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) resolved their dispute with his wisdom and justice. This inculcated a sense of frustration among the Jews who then were determined to oppose Islam.
- Islam was emerging as a power in the Arabian peninsula as the supporters of the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) were increasing rapidly.
This rise of Islam was not only seen as a threat by the Jews but also by the Quraish of Makkah and the other prominent communities of Arabia. Therefore, they were constantly attempting to weaker this power.
Similarly, many unjust Jews activities were opposed by Islam. The Jews did not like it and thus, their reaction in terms of the opposition to Islam was visible.
Now when we know about something about the status of the Muslims and the Jews, let’s take a look at the battle of Khyber.
Events of the battle of Khyber:
Since the Jews were expelled from Madinah, they were constantly planning to destroy Islam.
When Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came across this development, he considered it vital to move towards Khyber and punish the Jews of their activities.
According to the sources, the Muslims numbered around 1400 and the Jews were around 10,000. The Jews had shut themselves in their forts. The arrival of the Muslims was a shock to the Jews who were not expecting any move like this.
Therefore, the Muslims captured the forts of the Jews one after the other. However, the al-Qamus fort was heavily fortified and thus the Muslims could not capture it even after 15 to 19 days.
One night the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that:
Tomorrow I will give the flag to somebody who will be given victory (by Allah) and who loves Allah and His Apostle and is loved by Allah and His ApostleHazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) | Source:
Everyone keen to find out who this personality was. In the morning, the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) called upon Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A) and gave the banner to him.
This was the time when the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) cured the eye of Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (R.A) with his saliva who was suffering from an eye disease. Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A) marched towards al-Qamus where he killed the famous general Marhab with ease.
Thus, this fort was also captured by the Muslims with the help of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A).
With this, the Jews were defeated and the Muslims were victorious at the battle of Khyber.
This takes us to another important topic which is the aftermath and the importance of this battle.
Aftermath and Importance:
When the Jews surrendered, they entered a treaty with the Muslims. The Jews evacuated the area and surrendered their wealth. Under the treaty, the Muslims were not to attack the Jews.
- The importance of this battle is that it provided financial and military stability to the Muslims.
The significance of this event can be recognised from the fact that 18 months later, the Muslims conquered Makkah.
- Moreover, the faith of the Muslims enhanced with this victory against the Jews.
The constant planning of the Jews against the Muslims came to an end and their support to the tribes against Islam ended.
- In the same way, there was a shortage of food and other necessities during this battle.
However, the Muslims remained steadfast and as a result, Allah bestowed them with a victory.
The Muslims came across the fact that they can consume forbidden items if they are driven by necessity such as the Muslims at Khyber had nothing to eat so they consumed several forbidden animals.
To conclude, the article regarding the battle of Khyber has come to an end. I hope that all your queries have been cleared and you have received the answers to your questions through this platform.
Thank You very much for reading and staying with me till the end.
You should know that several other events also happened in the year this battle happened, 7 Hijri. One of the events was that the Muslims under Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) performed Umrah as per the treaty of Hudaibiya (6 A.H).
The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) also dispatched letters to several emperors such as Heraclius (the Byzantine emperor), Negus (the Abyssinian ruler) and Khosrow Perviz (the Persian king).