The Tabuk Expedition

The Tabuk Expedition is a very important event in history due to several reasons. The event has a background and some significant details about it which we will discuss in this article.

This expedition is also known as the Expedition of Usra that took place in 9 Hijri after the Battle of Hunain. So let’s start with the background of this event without further introductions.


The Conquest of Makkah in the 8 Hijri allowed the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to secure Makkah from its South. Now, he had the duty to protect Madinah from its North from the Byzantines and the Persians.

The reason being the Battle of Mu’tah that started the Arab-Roman hostility. This was because an envoy of the Muslims, Hazrat Harith bin Umair al-Azdi, was killed by Shurahbil bin Amr al-Ghassani (the Arab governor of Balqa).

The Muslim envoy was carrying a peaceful message of Islam and this bloodshed of an innocent Muslim led to the Battle of Mu’tah and thus, the Muslims came head to head with the Byzantines.

The Byzantine emperor was analysing the victories of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in the Arabian Peninsula.

Heraclius decided to raise an army and attack Madinah. This news was given to the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) by the Nabateans (ancient Arab people in Northern Arabia).

The Tabuk Expedition

The Preparations begin:

When Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came across this development, he ordered his companions to give donations to meet the challenge.

The reason was that this was the time when severe famine struck Madinah and the Muslims were in a weak financial condition due to the scarcity of resources.

The Muslims donated generously except for the hypocrites for which the Quran says:

Those who criticize the contributors among the believers concerning (their) charities and (criticize) the ones who find nothing (to spend) except their efforts, so they ridicule them – Allah will ridicule them, and they will have a painful punishment.

Surah Tawbah (9:79) Al-Quran

Regarding the hypocrites, the Quran also says that:

They will not be able to harm you except for (some) annoyance.

Surah Al-e-Imran (3:111)

This was the time when Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A) donated everything he possessed. When it was asked that what did he leave behind for his family, he replied that Allah and his messenger.

Hazrat Umar (R.A) donated half of his wealth. Similarly, Hazrat Usman Ghani (R.A) donated ten thousand (10,000) dinars in cash along with one thousand camels. Some reports say that he donated 300 camels along with 50 horses and one thousand dinars.

The Tabuk Expedition

In either case, the donations of Hazrat Usman (R.A) helped the Muslim army to a great extent.

Hazrat Abd Rahman bin Auf donated four thousand dinars to bear the expenses of the Muslim army.

The other companions of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) also donated in their own way. The Muslims who possessed nothing decided to join the Muslim army and fight along with the Muslims.

Thus, Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) decided to move towards Tabuk leaving Muhammad bin Musalmah as the governor of Madinah and Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A) to take care of the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) family.

Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A) wanted to accompany Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) who consoled him by saying:

Will you not be pleased that you will be to me as Harun to Musa? But there will be no Prophet after me.

Thus, the Muslim army of around 30,000 men moved towards Tabuk, near the Gulf of Aqaba.

The Tabuk Expedition:

When the Muslim army reached Tabuk, they found no Byzantine army. This was because the Romans abandoned the idea of fighting with the Muslims.

The expedition raised the morale of the Muslims who became confident for future conflicts. However, the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) made some important decisions at this time.

The Tabuk Expedition

He signed treaties with the neighbouring tribes in order to protect Madinah from the North. Some of the areas that agreed to pay Jizya to the Muslims were the heads of:

  1. Ailah, Yuhannah bin Rawba
  2. Jarba
  3. Adhruh
  4. Tabuk
  5. Taima
  6. Dumat al Jandal

Thus Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) managed to protect Madinah from the Arab-Syrian border and the Muslim army returned back without any battle.

The Tabuk Expedition taught important lessons to the Muslims and it was very significant for several reasons.

Let’s discuss the importance of this expedition now:

The Importance:

  • The importance of the expedition of Tabuk is that it indicated a peaceful message of Islam.

This is because when the Muslim army did not encounter the Romans, they did not shed unnecessary blood and they returned back to Madinah peacefully.

The Holy Quran also says:

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits.

Surah Baqarah (2:190)
  • The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) signed the treaties with several tribes around Madinah.

This ensured the safety and protection of Madinah and support during the difficult times.

The Tabuk Expedition

In the same way, the Muslims were able to show their strength to their enemies and it was proved that the Muslims were ready for war at any time.

Therefore, it can be said that the Tabuk Expedition was a great success for the Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught his followers to prevent bloodshed as much as they could.

On a whole, the Tabuk Expedition was an example of the doctrine of deterrence, preventing any kind of attack from your enemy.


With this, the article regarding the Tabuk Expedition has come to an end. I hope that all your questions have been answered.

Thank You for staying with me till the end. To conclude, it can be said that this expedition was a key event in the history of Islam.

The Muslim army under Hazrat Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) managed to successfully sign treaties with the influential tribes around Madinah. This process took around twenty days after scouting the area around Tabuk.

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