Details about Battle of Hunain
Battle of Hunain or Ghawa Hunain is one of the few battles mentioned by name in Quran. Speaking about the Battle of Hunain, the Glorious Quran says:
“Allah has already given you victory in many regions and [even] on the day of Hunayn, when your great number pleased you, but it did not avail you at all, and the earth was confining for you with its vastness; then you turned back, fleeing.
Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers.
Then Allah will accept repentance after that for whom He wills; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
Hunain was the last battle led personally by the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and it was fought by the Muslims against the Badawi / Beduin tribe of Hawazin and the tribe of Thaqif (neighboring tribes of Makkah), in 630 CE (Shawwal, 8 AH), in the Hunain valley, situated approx. 18-20 Km on route from Makkah to Taaif.
Background of the Battle:
The Hawazin tribe had been longstanding enemies of the people of Makkah. When tribe of heard the news of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Conquest of Makkah, they made an agreement with another tribe from Taaif, called Thaqif, to fight the Muslims and destroy them before they could spread their religion throughout Arabia. More tribes such as Nasr, Jusham, Bani Hilal and other tribes also joined these two tribes against the Muslims.
Malik Ibn Awuf, the chief of Hawazin tribe, put forward a plan. He ordered his men to bring their families and belongings with them thinking that this would compel his men to fight fiercely. Durayd, an old blind man, blamed Malik for doing so arguing that,
"If a man is so cowardly as to leave the battle, then he will leave his family as well. The women and children will be a great worry for us and if we are defeated, all our wealth will fall into the enemy’s hands."
But Malik ignored this advice and stuck to his original plan.
When the Prophet (S.A.W.) heard what the enemy tribes were planning to attack Muslims, he (S.A.W.) found himself forced to fight and ordered his army towards Taaif.
Prophet (S.A.W.) Prepares the Army:
Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) had twelve-thousand armed soldiers under his command. Out of them, ten-thousand were those, who had accompanied him from Madinah and had taken part in the conquest of Makkah and the other two-thousand were from amongst Quraish, who had embraced Islam recently. The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) made Attab Ibn Asid Ibn Abu Al-Aas Ibn Umayyah Ibn Abd Shams in charge of Makkah to look after the men who had stayed behind. Then he (S.A.W.) went forward to meet Hawazin tribe and their allies.
The Commencement of Battle:
On the night of 10th of Shawwal, the Muslim army arrived at Hunain valley. News of Muslim Army’s arrival was conveyed to Malik bin Awf by his spies. He gave orders to his army of four-thousand men to hide inside the valley and lurk for the Muslims on roads, entrances, and narrow hiding places. His orders to his men were to hurl stones at Muslims whenever they caught sight of them and then to make one-man attacks against them.
Prophet’s (S.A.W.) ordered Muslim who fled from Battle:
When Muslims started camping, arrows began showering intensely at them. Their enemy’s battalions started a fierce attack against the Muslims, who had to retreat in disorder and utter confusion.
According to Ibn Ishaq, Jabir Ibn Abudllah (R.A.), who witnessed Battle of Hunain, said:
‘When we approached the valley of Hunain, we came down through a valley wide and sloping. We were descending gradually in the morning twilight. The enemy had got there before us and had hidden themselves in it by paths and side tracks and narrow places. They had collected and were fully prepared and by Allah, we were terrified when, as we were coming down, the squadrons attacked us as one man, the people fled none heeding the other. The men ran away except that a number of Muhajreen (Muslims migrated with Prophet (S.A.W.) from Makkah to Madinah) and Ansar (Muslim residents of Madinah) and men of his family remained with the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.). Abu Bakr Siddiq (R.A.), Umar Ibn Khattab (R.A.), Ali Ibn Talib (R.A.), Al-Abbas bin Abdullah (R.A.), Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (R.A.), Usamah Ibn Zaid (R.A.) and Abu Sufyan were amongst the Muhajireen who stood firm with the Prophet (S.A.W.).
On seeing the men fleeing, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) withdrew to the right and said:
"Where are you going men? Come to me. I am Allah's Messenger. I am Mohammad, the son of Abdullah."
(As narrated by Ibn Kathir in his book “The Battles of Prophet”)
Another Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Ishaq, who said:
‘I heard Al-Bara narrating when a man came and said to him,
"O Abu Umara! Did you flee on the day (of the battle) of Hunain?"
Al-Bara replied, "I testify that the Prophet (S.A.W.) did not flee, but the hasty people hurried away and the people of Hawazin threw arrows at them. At that time, Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith was holding the white mule of the Prophet (S.A.W.) by the head, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) was saying,
"I am the Prophet (S.A.W.) undoubtedly: I am the son of Abdul-Muttalib."
Muslim Warriors gathers strength again:
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said to his uncle Abbas (R.A.), who was holding the reins of Duldul (Prophet’s horse), “O Abbas! Call out this, ‘O Ansar! O Companions who paid allegiance to the Messenger of Allah under Samura tree! Where are you?’” Abbas called out in a strong voice. (Narrated by Ibn Hisham)
After hearing the strong voice of Abbas (R.A.), the muslim warriors, who were running away, stopped. After the dawn, it was getting bright. Muslim came to their senses by getting rid of the fear that covered their hearts. They said to themselves, “Where are we going? Who are we leaving the Messenger of Allah to?”
They stopped and remembered their promise to the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and started to come to their senses and they started to run toward the Prophet (S.A.W.). The same thing had happened during the Battle of Uhud, too.
After that, hundred men were gathered by the Prophet (S.A.W.) and they went forward and fought. Companions, who surrounded the Prophet (S.A.W.), drew their swords by saying “Allah-u-Akbar” and started to attack the infidels. The enemy soldiers were terrified and frightened all of a sudden. Companions like Uthman Ibn Affan (R.A.), Ali Ibn Talib (R.A.) and Abu Dujana (R.A.) fought in front of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) by using their bodies as shields for the Prophet (S.A.W.).
During the most severe moment of the battle, Ali (R.A.) and Abu Dujana (R.A.) killed one of the flag-bearers of the enemy. When Hawazins saw that, they started to feel scared.
The Prayer of Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and Muslim’s Victory:
When the muslim army started to fight strongly and the enemy started to feel scared, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) got off his mule and prayed to Allah for His help and then picked a handful of sand (some sources say pebbles) and threw it against the enemy soldiers, saying, “May their faces be deformed” (Ref. Sahih Muslim: 1777)
Abbas (R.A.) narrated the events in the following Hadith:
‘……. This is the time when the fight is raging hot. Then the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) took (some) pebbles and threw them in the face of the infidels. Then he said: “By the Lord of Mohammad, the infidels are defeated.” Abbas said: I went round and saw that the battle was in the same condition in which I had seen it. By Allah, it remained in the same condition until he (S.A.W.) threw the pebbles. I continued to watch until I found that their force had been spent out and they began to retreat.” [Sahih Muslim: 1775 (a)]
Soon Hawazin, Thaqif and their allies realized that their efforts were in vain and that they faced destruction and defeat. They turned around and started to flee, leaving behind their women, children and all their properties (camels, goats and silver etc.). The captives which numbered approx. 6,000 were taken by Muslims. The enemy army that was defeated and they left the battlefield.
Martyrs and deaths of the Battle:
At the end of the fighting, it was found out that four Muslims had been martyred but seventy enemy soldiers had been killed.
Shaima: Foster Sister of Prophet (S.A.W.):
Among the captives of battle was Shaima, daughter of Halima Saadia (R.A.). Muslim warriors took her to the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.) to find out whether she was telling the truth or not. Prophet (S.A.W.) recognized her and put his garment on the ground and let her sit on it. Then, he (S.A.W.) said to Shaima,
“If you want, stay here with me; I will show respect to you; or I can give you some goods and send you to your tribe.”
Shaima said: “Give me some goods and send me to my tribe.”
Meanwhile, Shaima became a Muslim and the Prophet (S.A.W.) gave her with abundance of gifts including two slaves and then she returned to her tribe.
The Captives and Booty taken to Jiranah:
Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) sent the booty and captives obtained in the Battle of Hunain to the place called Jiranah which is located approx. 24KM from Makkah. The booty was then distributed amongst the Muslims.
Aftermath of the Battle:
In the battle, Muslims had counter-attacked with such reckless courage that the enemy's ranks were broken and their forces split into two groups. One group went back, resulting in the Battle of Autas, while the larger group found refuge at Taaif (situated approx. 85 KM from Makkah), where Prophet (S.A.W.) besieged them. Muslim’s victory in Battle of Hunain played a major role in setting the stage for Arab tribes to join the Islamic movement.