Non-muslim specially the opponents of Islam always claim that Islam is not a religion of peace, it is in fact a religion of violence, promote terrorism, and a faith that advocates fight against those persons who do not believe in Islam. The most common Ayat (text) they normally bring up to support their claim is that of Surah 9:29 (Surah Taubah).
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book*, until they pay the Jizya** with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Before i answer we have to expose the double standard of Christian, why do they assume that fight has to completely mean physical only? Fighting those who do not believe in Islam can done in many other forms other than a physical fight or conflict, fighting someone can be done with the tongue, you refute and crush the persons lies, and you preach the truth to them until they repent of their ways and come to the truth. There is not a single objection any Christian or other can bring against this point, because they have deceptively interpreted this verse to mean physical altercation only, in fact what will Christians say to this verse from their Bible:
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword
Christians will interpret this verse saying that sword doesn't actually mean a physical sword, rather it is metaphorical language referring to the tongue, that by the tongue Christians shall spread the truth and crush the lies that have been propagated by satan. Therefore I must ask why don't Christians leave this interpretation open to the Quran as well? Why do they immediately assume that Surah 9:29 must ONLY refer to physical altercation? If a Christian objects to my claim that Surah 9:29 can also mean fighting unbelievers by the tongue, then it also throws out their own interpretation of Matthew 10:34 which means they no longer have any argument! So it is up to the Christian, if they want to argue honestly, or if they want to argue deceptively using double standards in interpretation.
Now let us examine the historical context of this verse, since Christians never want to take anything into context, they just quote and scream victory. We shall quote Maududi's excellent commentary of the verse's background and context:
Now let us consider the historical background of the Surah. The series of events that have been discussed in this Surah took place after the Peace Treaty of Hudaibiyah. By that time, one-third of Arabia had come under the sway of Islam which had established itself as a powerful, well organized and civilized Islamic State. This Treaty afforded further opportunities to Islam to spread its influence in the comparatively peaceful atmosphere created by it. After this Treaty, two events took place, which led to very important results:
Conquest of Arabia
The first was the Conquest of Arabia. The Holy Prophet was able to send missions among different clans for the propagation of Islam. The result was that during the short period of two years, it became such a great power that it made the old order of ignorance' feel helpless before it. So much so that the zealous elements from among the Quraish were so exasperated that they broke the Treaty in order to encounter Islam in a decisive combat. But the Holy Prophet took prompt action after the breach so as not to allow them any opportunity to gather enough force for this. He made a sudden invasion on Makkah in the month of Ramadan in A. H. 8 and conquered it. Though this conquest broke the backbone of the order of ignorance, it made still another attack on Islam in the battle-field of Hunain, which proved to be its death-knell. The clans of Hawazin Thaqif, Naur, Jushm and others gathered their entire forces in the battle field in order to crush the reformative Revolution, but they utterly failed in their evil designs. The defeat of 'ignorance' at Hunain paved the way for making the whole of Arabia the 'Abode of Islam' (Dar-ul-Islam). The result was that hardly a year had Passed after the Battle of Hunain, when the major portion of Arabia came within the fold of Islam and only a few upholders of the old order remained scattered over some corners of the country.
The second event that contributed towards making Islam a formidable power was the Campaign of Tabuk, which was necessitated by the provocative activities of the Christians living within or near the boundaries of the Roman Empire to the north of Arabia. Accordingly, the Holy Prophet, with an army of thirty thousand marched boldly towards the Roman Empire but the Romans evaded the encounter. The result was that the power of the Holy Prophet and Islam increased manifold and deputations from all corners of Arabia began to wait upon him on his return from Tabuk in order to offer their allegiance to Islam and obedience to him. The Holy Quran has described this triumph in Surah AN-NASR: "When the succour of Allah came and victory was attained and you saw people entering the fold of Islam in large numbers... Campaign to Tabuk
The Campaign to Tabuk was the result of conflict with the Roman Empire, that had started even before the conquest of Makkah. One of the missions sent after the Treaty of Hudaibiyah to different parts of Arabia visited the clans which lived in the northern areas adjacent to Syria. The majority of these people were Christians, who were under the influence of the Roman Empire. Contrary to all the principles of the commonly accepted international law, they killed fifteen members of the delegation near a place known as Zat-u-Talah (or Zat-i-Itlah). Only Ka'ab bin Umair Ghifari, the head of the delegation, succeeded in escaping and reporting the sad incident. Besides this, Shurahbll bin Amr, the Christian governor of Busra, who was directly under the Roman Caesar, had also put to death Haritli bin Umair, the ambassador of the Holy Prophet, who had been sent to him on a similar minion.
These events convinced the Holy Prophet that a strong action should be taken in order to make the territory adjacent to the Roman Empire safe and secure for the Muslims. Accordingly, in the month of Jamadi-ul-Ula A. H. 8, he sent an army of three thousand towards the Syrian border. When this army reached near Ma'an, the Muslims learnt that Shurahbil was marching with an army of one hundred thousand to fight-with them and that the Caesar, who himself was at Hims, had sent another army consisting of one hundred thousand soldiers under his brother Theodore. But in spite of such fearful news, the brave small band of the Muslims marched on fearlessly and encountered the big army of Shurahbil at M'utah. And the result of the encounter in which the Muslims were fighting against fearful odds (the ratio of the two armies was 1:33), as very favorable, for the enemy utterly failed to defeat them. This proved very helpful for the propagation of Islam. As a result, those Arabs who were living in a state of semi. independence in Syria and near Syria and the clans of Najd near Iraq, who were under the influence of the Iranian Empire, turned towards Islam and embraced it in thousands. For example, the people of Bani Sulaim (whose chief was Abbas bin Mirdas Sulaimi), Ashja'a, Ghatafan, Zubyan, Fazarah, etc., came into the fold of Islam at the same time. Above all, Farvah bin 'Amral Juzami, who was the commander of the Arab armies of the Roman Empire, embraced Islam during that time, and underwent the trial of his Faith in a way that filled the whole territory with wonder. When the Caesar came to know that Farvah had embraced Islam, he ordered that he should be arrested and brought to his court. Then the Caesar said to him, "You will have to choose one of the two things. Either give up your Islam and win your liberty and your former rank, or remain a Muslim and face death." He calmly chose Islam and sacrificed his life in the way of the Truth.
No wonder that such events as these made the Caesar realize the nature of the danger that was threatening his Empire from Arabia. Accordingly, in 9 A. H. he began to make military preparations to avenge the insult he had suffered at M'utah. The Ghassanid and other Arab chiefs also began to muster armies under him. When the Holy Prophet, who always kept himself well-informed even of the minutest things that could affect the Islamic Movement favorably or adversely, came to know of these preparations, he at once under- stood their meaning. Therefore, without the least hesitation he decided to fight against the great power of the Caesar. He knew that the show of the slightest weakness would result in the utter failure of the Movement which was facing three great dangers at that time. First the dying power of 'ignorance' that had almost been crushed in the battle-field of Hunain might revive again. Secondly, the Hypocrites of Al: Madinah, who were always on the look-out for such an opportunity, might make full use of this to do the greatest possible harm to it. For they had already made preparations for this and had, through a monk called Abu Amir, sent secret messages of their evil designs to the Christian king of Ghassan and the Caesar himself. Besides this, they had also built a mosque near Al-Madinah for holding secret meetings for this purpose. The third danger was of an attack by the Caesar himself, who had already defeated Iran, the other great power of that period, and filled with awe the adjacent territories.
It is obvious that if all these three elements had been given an opportunity of taking a concerted action against the Muslims, Islam would have lost the fight it had almost won. That is why in this case the Holy Prophet made an open declaration for making preparations for the Campaign against the Roman Empire, which was one of the two greatest empires of the world of that period. The declaration was made though all the apparent circumstances were against such a decision: for there was famine in the country and the long awaited crops were about to ripen: the burning heat of the scorching summer season of Arabia was at, its height and there was not enough money for preparations in general, and for equipment and conveyance in particular. But in spite of these handicaps, when the Messenger of Allah realized the urgency of the occasion, he took this step which was to decide whether the Mission of the Truth was - - going to survive or perish. The very fact that he made an open declaration for making preparations for such a campaign to Syria against the Roman Empire showed how important it was, for this was contrary to his previous practice. Usually he took every precaution not to reveal beforehand the direction to which he was going nor the name of the enemy whom he was going to attack; nay, he did not move out of Al- Madinah even in the direction of the campaign.
All the parties in Arabia fully realized the grave consequences of this critical decision. The remnants of the lovers of the old order of 'ignorance' were anxiously waiting for the result of the Campaign, for they had pinned all their hopes on the defeat of Islam by the Romans. The 'hypocrites' also considered it to be their last chance of crushing the power of Islam by internal rebellion, if the Muslims suffered a defeat in Syria. They had, therefore, made full use of the Mosque built by them for hatching plots and had employed all their devices to render the Campaign a failure. On the other side, the true Believers also realized fully that the fate of the Movement for which they had been exerting their utmost for the last 22 years was now hanging in the balance. If they showed courage on that critical occasion, the doors of the whole outer world would be thrown open for the Movement to spread. But if they showed weakness or cowardice, then all the work they had done in Arabia would -end in smoke.
That is why these lovers of Islam began to make enthusiastic preparations for the Campaign. Everyone of them tried to surpass the other in making contributions for the provision of equipment for it. Hadrat Uthman and Hadrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf presented large sums of money for this purpose. Hadrat Umar contributed half of the earnings of his life and Hadrat Abu Bakr the entire earnings of his life. The indigent Companions did not lag behind and presented whatever they could earn by the sweat of their labor and the women parted with their ornaments. Thousands of volunteers, who were filled with the desire of sacrificing their lives for Islam, came to the Holy Prophet and requested that arrangements for weapons and conveyance be made for them so that they should join the expedition. Those who could not be provided with these shed tears of sorrow; the scene was so pathetic that it made the Holy Prophet sad because of his inability to arm them. In short, the occasion became the touchstone for discriminating a true believer from a hypocrite. For, to lag behind in the Campaign meant that the very relationship of a person to Islam was doubtful. Accordingly, whenever a person lagged behind during the journey to Tabuk, the Holy Prophet, on being informed, would spontaneously say, "Leave him alone. If there be any good in him, Allah will again join him with you, and if there be no good in him, then thank Allah that He relieved you of his evil company".
In short, the Holy Prophet marched out towards Syria in Rajab A. H. 9, with thirty thousand fighters for the cause of Islam. The conditions in which the expedition was undertaken may be judged from the fact that the number of camels with them was so small that many of them were obliged to walk on foot and to wait for their turns for several had to ride at a time on each camel. To add to this, there was the burning heat of the desert and the acute shortage of water. But they were richly rewarded for their firm resolve and sincere adherence to the cause and for their perseverance in the face of those great difficulties and obstacles.
When they arrived at Tabuk, they learnt that the Caesar and his allies had withdrawn their troops from the frontier and there was no enemy to fight with. Thus they won a moral victory that increased their prestige manifold and, that too, without shedding a drop of blood.
In this connection, it is pertinent to point out that the general impression given by the historians of the campaigns of the Holy Prophet about the Campaign of Tabuk is not correct. They relate the event in a way as if the news of the mustering of the Roman armies near the Arabian frontier was itself false. The fact is that the Caesar had begun to muster his armies, but the Holy Prophet forestalled him and arrived on the scene before he could make full preparations for the invasion. Therefore, believing that "discretion is the better part of valor," he withdrew his armies from the frontier. For he had not forgotten that the three thousand fighters for the cause of Islam had rendered helpless his army one hundred thousand strong at M'utah. He could not, therefore, even with an army of two hundred thousand, dare to fight against an army of thirty thousand, and that, too, under the leadership of the Holy Prophet himself.
When the Holy Prophet found that the Caesar had withdrawn his forces from the frontier, he considered thee question whether it would be worthwhile to march into the Syrian territory or to halt at Tabuk and turn his moral victory to political and strategical advantage. He decided on the latter course and made a halt for twenty days at Tabuk. During this time, he brought pressure on the small states that lay between the Roman Empire and the Islamic State and were at that time under the influence of the Romans, and subdued and made them the tributaries of the Islamic State. For instance, some Christian chiefs Ukaidir bin Abdul Malik Kindi of Dumatul Jaiidal, Yuhanna bin D'obah of Allah, and the chiefs of Maqna, Jarba' and Azruh also submitted and agreed to pay Jizyah to the Islamic State of Al- Madinah. As a result of this, the boundaries of the Islamic State were extended right up to the Roman Empire, and the majority of the Arab clans, who were being used by the Caesar against Arabia, became the allies of the Muslims against the Romans.
Above all, this moral victory of Tabuk afforded a golden opportunity to the Muslims to strengthen their hold on Arabia before entering into a long conflict with the Romans. For it broke the back of those who had still been expecting that the old order of 'ignorance' might revive in the near future, whether they were the open upholders of shirk or the hypocrites who were hiding their shirk under the garb of Islam. The majority of such people were compelled by the force of circumstances to enter into the fold of Islam and, at least, make it possible for their descendants to become true Muslims. After this a mere impotent minority of the upholders of the old order was left in the field, but it could not stand in the way of the Islamic Revolution for the perfection of which Allah had sent His Messenger.
So as you can see, it was a direct act of war by the neighbouring Christians that resulted with this verse, they killed innocent Muslim messengers who were simply passing a letter from the prophet Muhammad to them, and back then it was an international ruling and law that simple messengers carrying messages to other rulers would not be targeted or killed.
Secondly, during the war, Caesar killed an Arab commander for the Roman empire Favrah for converting to Islam, he was given an ultimatum to either leave Islam or die, he choose Islam and hence was martyred, this act shows the Romans evil hatred towards the Muslim nation that they would kill you for being Muslim!
So what do our Christian friends expect? Do they expect the Muslims to simply sit down and let this happen? God revealed this verse so that the Muslims could defend themselves against the onslaught of one of the worlds greatest empire at the time which were the Romans, Allah gave the Muslims permission to attack them, as they say, the best defence is an offence. The Muslims were forced to act, the Muslims did not start the war, the Christians did, and they lost, the Muslims managed to take control of several areas which were held by the Romans, and these new captured lands were now part of the Islamic state and the inhabitants would have to pay the jizyah. If Christians have a problem with this, then they should have never started the war with the Muslims, as they say, don't start something you cant finnish, Muslims are not mere European Pagans who Christians could pick on, the Muslims had God on their side so the Christians picked on the wrong people to make war with.
Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri in his work of Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum
(THE SEALED NECTAR) Memoirs of the Noble Prophet [pbuh] writes:
The invasion and the conquest of Makkah was considered a decisive one between the truth and the error. As a result of which, the Arabs had no more doubt in Muhammad's mission. Thus we see that things went contrary to the pagans' expectations. People started to embrace Islam, the religion of All⨬ in great numbers. This is manifested clearly in the chapter ? The delegations, of this book. It can also be deduced out of the enormous number of people who shared in the Hajjatul-Wad⦣145; (Farewell Pilgrimage). All domestic troubles came to an end. Muslims, eventually felt at ease and started setting up the teachings of All⨦#146;s Laws and intensifying the Call to Islam
The underlying Reasons
The Byzantine power, which was considered the greatest military force on earth at that time, showed an unjustifiable opposition towards Muslims. As we have already mentioned, their opposition started at killing the ambassador of the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh], Al-Harith bin ?Umair Al-Azdi, by Sharhabeel bin ?Amr Al-Ghassani. The ambassador was then carrying a message from the Prophet [pbuh] to the ruler of Busra. We have also stated that the Prophet consequently dispatched a brigade under the command of Zaid bin Haritha, who had a fierce fight against the Byzantines at Mu'tah. Although Muslim forces could not have revenge on those haughty overproud tyrants, the confrontation itself had a great impression on the Arabs, all over Arabia.
Caesar ? who could neither ignore the great benefit that Mu'tah Battle had brought to Muslims, nor could he disregard the Arab tribes' expectations of independence, and their hopes of getting free from his influence and reign, nor he could ignore their alliance to the Muslims ? realizing all that, Caesar was aware of the progressive danger threatening his borders, especially Ash-Sham-fronts which were neighbouring Arab lands. So he concluded that demolition of the Muslims power had grown an urgent necessity. This decision of his should, in his opinion, be achieved before the Muslims become too powerful to conquer, and raise troubles and unrest in the adjacent Arab territories.
To meet these exigencies, Caesar mustered a huge army of the Byzantines and pro-Roman Ghassanide tribes to launch a decisive bloody battle against the Muslims.
General News about the Byzantines and Ghassanide Preparations for War
No sooner news about the Byzantine's preparations for a decisive invasion against Muslims reached Madinah than fear spread among them. They started to envisage the Byzantine invasion in the least sound they could hear. This could be clearly worked out of what had happened to ?Umar bin Al-Khattab one day.
The Prophet [pbuh] had taken an oath to stay off his wives for a month in the ninth year of Al-Hijra. Therefore, he deserted them and kept off in a private place. At the beginning, the Companions of the Messenger of All⨠were puzzled and could not work out the reason for such behaviour. They thought the Prophet [pbuh] had divorced them and that was why he was grieved, disturbed and upset. In ?Umar's version of the very story he says: "I used to have a Helper friend who often informed me about what happened if I weren't present, and in return I always informed him of what had taken place during his absence. They both lived in the high part of Madinah. Both of them used to call at the Prophet alternatively during that time of suspense. Then one day I heard my friend, knock at the door saying: "Open up! Open up!" I asked wondering, "What's the matter? Has the Ghassanide come?" "No it is more serious than that. The Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] has deserted his wives." [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/730]
In another version, ?Umar said, "We talked about Ghassanide preparations to invade us. When it was his turn to convey the news to me, he went down and returned in the evening. He knocked at the door violently and said ?Is he sleeping?' I was terrified but I went out to meet him. ?Something serious had taken place.' He said. ?Has the Ghassaindes arrived?' Said I. ?No,' he said, ?it is greater and more serious. The Messenger of All⨍ [pbuh] has divorced his wives.'" [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/334]
This state of too much alertness manifests clearly the seriousness of the situation that Muslims began to experience. The seriousness of the situation was confirmed to a large degree by the hypocrites behaviour, when news about the Byzantines' preparations reached Madinah. The fact that the Messenger of All⨍ [pbuh] won all the battles he fought, and that no power on earth could make him terrified, and that he had always proved to be able to overcome all the obstacles that stood in his way - did not prevent the hypocrites, who concealed evil in their hearts, from expecting an affliction to fall upon the Muslims and Islam.
They used to harbour evil and ill-intentions against the whole process of Islam and the Muslims. On grounds of illusory hopes of destroying this great religious edifice, they erected a hotbed of conspiracy and intrigue in the form of a mosque ? Masjid-e-Darar (the mosque of harm). They approached the Prophet [pbuh] with the request that he should come and consecrate the place by praying in it himself. As he was at the moment about to start for Tabuk, he deferred compliance with their request till his return. Meanwhile he came to know through Divine Revelation that it was not a Mosque for devotion and prayer but a meeting place for the anti-Islamic elements. On his return, therefore, the Prophet [pbuh] sent a party to demolish the new structure.
Particular News about the Byzantine and Ghassanide Preparations for War
A magnified image of the prominent danger threatening the Muslims life was carried to them by the Nabateans who brought oil from Ash-Sham to Madinah. They carried news about Heraclius' preparations and equipment of an enormous army counting over forty thousand fighters besides Lukham, Judham and other tribes allied to the Byzantines. They said that its vanguard had already reached Al-Balq⦣146;. Thus was the grave situation standing in ambush for the Muslims. The general situation was aggravated seriously by other adverse factors of too much hot weather, drought and the rough and rugged distance they had to cover in case they decided to encounter the imminent danger.
The Messenger of All⨦#146;s [pbuh] concept and estimation of the situation and its development was more precise and accurate than all others. He thought that if he tarried or dealt passively with the situation in such a way that might enable the Byzantines to paddle through the Islamic controlled provinces or to go as far as Madinah, this would ? amid these circumstances ? leave the most awful impression on Islam as well as on the Muslims' military credibility.
The pre-Islamic beliefs and traditions (Al-Jahiliyah) which were at that time dying because of the strong decisive blow that they had already had at Hunain, could have had a way to come back to life once again in such an environment. The hypocrites who were conspiring against the Muslims so that they might stab them in the back whereas Byzantines would attack them from the front. If such a thing came to light and they succeeded in their evil attempts, the Prophet and his Companions' efforts to spread Islam would collapse and their profits which were the consequences of successive and constant fights and invasions would be invalidated. The Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] realised all that very well. So ? in spite of the hardships and drought that Muslims were suffering from ? the Prophet [pbuh] was determined that the Muslims should invade the Byzantines and fight a decisive battle at their own borders. He was determined not to tarry at all in order to thwart any Roman attempt to approach the land of Islam.
When the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] had made up his mind and took his final decision, he ordered his Companions to get ready for war and sent for the Makkans and the other Arab tribes asking for their assistance.
Contrary to his habit of concealing his real intention of the invasion by means of declaring a false one, he announced openly his intention of meeting the Byzantines and fighting them. He cleared the situation to his people so that they would get ready, and urged them to fight in the way of All⨮ On this occasion a part of Surat Bara'a (Chapter 9 ? The Repentance) was sent down by All⨬ urging them to steadfastness and stamina.
On the other hand, the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] cherished them to pay charities and to spend the best of their fortunes in the way of All⨮
No sooner had the Muslims heard the voice of the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] calling them to fight the Byzantines than they rushed to comply with his orders. With great speed they started getting ready for war. Tribes and phratries from here and there began pouring in Madinah. Almost all the Muslims responded positively. Only those who had weakness at their hearts favoured to stay behind. They were only three people. Even the needy and the poor who could not afford a ride came to the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] asking for one so that they would be able to share in the fight against the Byzantines. But when he said:
"...?I can find no mounts for you' they turned back while their eyes overflowing with tears of grief that they could not find anything to spend (for Jihad)." [Al-Qur'an 9:92]
The Muslims raced to spend out money and to pay charities to provide this invasion. ?Uthman, for instance, who had already rigged two hundred, saddled camels to travel to Ash-Sham, presented them all with two hundred ounces (of gold) as charity. He also fetched a thousand dinars and cast them all into the lap of the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh], who turned them over and said: "From this day on nothing will harm ?Uthman regardless of what he does." [Jami' At-Tirmidhi 2/211 (The virtues of 'Uthman)] Again and again ?Uthman gave till his charity toped to nine hundred camels and a hundred horses, besides the money he paid.
Abdur Rahman bin ?Awf, on his side, paid two hundred silver ounces, whereas Abu Bakr paid the whole money he had and left nothing but All⨠and His Messenger as a fortune for his family. ?Umar paid half his fortune. Al-?Abbas gifted a lot of money. Talhah, Sa?d bin ?Ubadah and Muhammad bin Maslamah, gave money for the welfare of the invasion. ?Asim bin ?Adi, on his turn, offered ninety camel-burdens of dates. People raced to pay little and much charities alike. One of them gave the only half bushel (or the only bushel) he owned. Women shared in this competition by giving the things they owned; such as musk, armlets, anklets, ear-rings and rings. No one abstained from spending out money, or was too mean to grant money or anything except the hypocrites:
"Those who defame such of the believers who give charity (in All⨦#146;s cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in All⨦#146;s cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers)." [Al-Qur'an 9:79]
The Muslim Army is leaving for Tabuk
Upon accomplishing the equipment of the army, the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] ordained that Muhammad bin Maslamah Al-Ansari should be appointed over Madinah ? in another version Siba? bin ?Arftah. To ?Ali bin Abu Talib he entrusted his family's safety and affairs and ordered him to stay with them. This move made the hypocrites undervalue ?Ali, so he followed the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] and caught up with him. But the Prophet made ?Ali turn back to Madinah after saying: "Would it not suffice you to be my successor in the way that Aaron (Harun) was to Moses'?" Then he proceeded saying: "But no Prophet succeeds me."
On Thursday, the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] marched northwards to Tabuk. The army that numbered thirty thousand fighters was a great one, when compared with the previous armies of Islam. Muslims had never marched with such a great number before.
Despite all the gifts of wealth and mounts the army was not perfectly equipped. The shortage of provisions and mounts was so serious that eighteen men mounted one camel alternatively. As for provisions, members of the army at times had to eat the leaves of trees till their lips got swollen. Some others had to slaughter camels ? though they were so dear ? so that they could drink the water of their stomach; that is why that army was called "The army of distress".
On their way to Tabuk, the army of Islam passed by Al-Hijr ? which was the native land of Thamud who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley; that is "Al-Qura Valley" of today. They watered from its well but later the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] told them not to drink of that water, nor perform the ablution with it. The dough they made, he asked them to feed their camels with. He forbade them to eat anything whatsoever of it. As an alternative he told them to water from that well which Prophet Salih's she-camel used to water from.
On the authority of Ibn ?Umar: "Upon passing by Al-Hijr the Prophet [pbuh] said:
"Do not enter the houses of those who erred themselves lest what had happened to them would afflict you, but if you had to do such a thing let it be associated with weeping."
Then he raised his head up and accelerated his strides till he passed the valley out." [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/637]
Shortage of water and the army's need to it made them complain to the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] about that. So he supplicated All⨬ who sent a rainful cloud. It rained and so all people drank and supplied themselves with their need of water.
When they drew near Tabuk, the Prophet said: "If All⨠will, tomorrow you will arrive at Tabuk spring. You will not get there before daytime. So whoever reaches it should not touch its water; but wait till I come." Mu?adh said: "When we reached the spring it used to gush forth some water. We found that two men had already preceded us to it. The Messenger of All⨍ [pbuh] asked them: ?Have you touched its water?' They replied: ?Yes'. He said what All⨠inspired him to say, then he scooped up little water of that spring, thin stream which gathered together, he washed his face and hand with it and poured it back into it; consequently plenty of water spouted out of it so people watered. ?Mu?adh', said the Messenger of All⨬ ?if you were doomed to live long life you will see in here fields full of vegetation.'" [Sahih Muslim 2/246]
On the way to Tabuk, or as soon as they reached Tabuk, the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] said: ?Severe wind will blow tonight, so none of you should stand up. Whoever has a camel should tie it up.' Later on when the strong wind blew, one of the men stood up and the wind carried him away to Tai' Mountain. [ibid. Sahih Muslim 2/246]
All the way long the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] was intent on the performance of the combined prayer of noon and the afternoon; and so did he with sunset and evening prayers. His prayers for both were either pre-time or post-time prayers.
The Army of Islam at Tabuk
Arriving at Tabuk and camping there, the Muslim army was ready to face the enemy. There, the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] delivered an eloquent speech that included the most inclusive words. In that speech he urged the Muslims to seek the welfare of this world and the world to come. He warned and cherished them and gave them good tidings. By doing that he cherished those who were broken in spirits, and blocked up the gap of shortage and mess they were suffering from due to lack of supplies, food and other substances.
Upon learning of the Muslims' march, the Byzantines and their allies were so terrified that none of them dared set out to fight. On the contrary they scattered inside their territory. It brought, in itself, a good credit to the Muslim forces. That had gained military reputation in the mid and remote lands of Arabian Peninsula. The great and serious political profits that the Muslim forces had obtained, were far better than the ones they could have acquired if the two armies had been engaged in military confrontation.
The Head of Ailah, Yahna bin Rawbah came to the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh], made peace with him and paid him the tribute (Al-Jizya). Both of Jarba' and Adhruh peoples paid him tribute, as well. So the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] gave each a guarantee letter, similar to Yahna's, in which he says:
"In the Name of All⨬ the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
This is a guarantee of protection from All⨠and Muhammad the Prophet, the Messenger of All⨬ to Yahna bin Rawbah and the people of Ailah; their ships, their caravans on land and sea shall have the custody of All⨠and the Prophet Muhammad, he and whosoever are with him of Ash-Sham people and those of the sea. Whosoever contravenes this treaty, his wealth shall not save him; it shall be the fair prize of him that takes it. Now it should not be lawful to hinder the men from any springs which they have been in the habit of frequenting, nor from any journeys they desire to make, whether by sea or by land."
The Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] dispatched Khalid bin Al-Waleed at the head of four hundred and fifty horsemen to ?Ukaidir Dumat Al-Jandal and said to him: "You will see him hunting oryxes." So when Khalid drew near his castle and was as far as an eye-sight range, he saw the oryxes coming out rubbing their horns against the castle gate. As it was a moony night Khalid could see Ukaidir come out to hunt them, so he captured him ? though he was surrounded by his men ? and brought him back to the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh], who spared his life and made peace with him for the payment of two thousand camels, eight hundred heads of cattle, four hundred armours and four hundred lances. He obliged him to recognize the duty of paying tribute and charged him with collecting it from Dumat, Tabuk, Ailah and Taima'.
The tribes, who used to ally the Byzantines, became quite certain that their dependence oinn their former masters came to an end. Therefore they turned into being pro-Muslims. The Islamic state had therefore enlarged its borders to an extent that it, touched the Byzantines' and their agents' borders. So we see that the Byzantine agents role was over.
Returning to Madinah
The Muslim army returned from Tabuk victoriously, undeceived or wronged. That was because All⨠had sufficed them the evils of fight.
On the way back and at a mountain road, twelve hypocrites sought the Prophet's life and that was while he was passing along that mountain road with only Ammar holding the rein of his she-camel and Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman driving it, at the time that people had already gone down into the bottom of the valley.
The hypocrites seized that opportunity to seek the Prophet's life. As the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] and his two companions were moving along, they heard thrusts of people coming towards him from behind with their faces veiled. Hudhaifa, who was sent by the Prophet to see what was going on, saw them and stroke their mounts' faces with a crook in his hand and All⨠cast fear into their hearts. They fled away and overtook their people.
However, Hudhaifa named them to the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] and informed him of their intentions. So that was why Hudhaifa was called the "confidant" of the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh]. About this event All⨬ the Exalted says:
"And they resolved that (plot to murder Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]) which they were unable to carry out." [Al-Qur'an 9:74]
When his headquarters, Madinah, began to loom at the horizon, the Prophet [pbuh] said: "This is a cheerful sight. This is Uhud, which is a mountain, we like it and it likes us." When the Madinese learnt of their arrival they set out to meet the army. Women, youths, youngsters and small children went out of town to celebrate their home-return wholeheartedly singing:
"The full moon shone down upon us, through the traits of Al-Wada? Mountain.
Thanks is due to us, as long as a supplicator invokes to All⨮."
The Messenger of All⨠[pbuh] 's march to Tabuk was in Rajab and his return in Ramadan. So we see that this Ghazwah took fifty days, twenty days of which were spent in Tabuk and the others on the way to and fro. Tabuk Invasion was the last one made by the Prophet [pbuh].
The Invasion of Tabuk and its Far-Reaching Ramifications
The effect of this invasion is great as regards extending and confirming the Muslims' influence and domination on the Arabian Peninsula. It was quite obvious to everybody that no power but Islam's would live long among the Arabs. The remainders of Jahiliyin and hypocrites ? who used to conspire steadily against the Muslims and who perpetually relied on Byzantine power when they were in need of support or help ? these people lost their expectations and desires of ever reclaiming their ex-influence. Realizing that there was no way out and that they were to submit to the fait accompli, they gave up their attempts.
From that time on, hypocrites were no longer treated leniently or even gently by the Muslims. All⨠not only bade Muslims to treat them severely but He also forbade them to take their gift charities or perform prayer on their dead, or ask All⨦#146;s forgiveness for them or even visit their tombs. All⨠bade the Muslims to demolish the mosque, which they verily appointed and used as a hiding place where they might practise their plots, conspiracy and deceit. Some Qur'⮩c verses were sent down disclosing them publicly and utterly so that everybody in Madinah got to know their reality.
The great impact that this invasion produced could be perceived in of the great number of delegations who came successively to meet the Messenger of All⨠[pbuh]. Naturally, deputations used to come to meet him at the end of an invasion particularly after Makkah Conquest [Ibn Hisham 2/515-537; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 3/2-13; Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/633,635-637, 1/252, 414; Fath Al-Bari 8/110-126; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.391-407] but they were not as many as these nor were they as frequent as they were then in the wake of Tabuk event. It was certainly the greatest.
The Qur'⮩c Verses Relating to this Invasion
Many a verse of Bara'a (Tauba) Chapter handling the event of Tabuk were revealed. Some verses were revealed before the march, while others after setting out for Tabuk, i.e. in the context of the battle. Some other verses were also revealed on the Prophet's arrival in Madinah. All of which covered the incidents that featured this invasion: the immanent circumstances of the battle, exposure of the hypocrites, the prerogatives and special rank earmarked for the strivers in the cause of All⨬ acceptance of the repentance of the truthful believers who slackened and those who hung back, etc.
This all refutes the assertions made by Christians and anti-Islamic's, the Muslims were forced to act, and they did, Christians only attack this verse because they're angry that they lost the wars. And it also seems that Christians think its okay for their people to kill and having the intention to destroy the Islamic nation, but when Muslims react we become criminals and an intolerant faith! How convenient!