The Battle of Mu’ta

This is my first visit to Jordan and I am honored to visit the resting place of Ja’far (RA), and Zaid Ibn-Haritha (RA), and the site of the battle of Mu’ta. I would like to express my happiness with this gathering and tell you that I am also honored to be among you.

I know very well that you are familiar with the battle of Mu’ta, but I would like to remember it with you. I would like to remember Ja’far (RA), Zaid Ibn-Haritha (RA), and Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha (RA). I’m sure that you already know the information I am about to mention, but sometimes when people are living in a certain place and get used to it and they don’t realize how special that place is. So although you are near the martyrs who are now in Paradise, you may not be fully aware of that fact.

I feel that as soon as we remember these three companions, people will be more attached to them. They are, Ja’far, Zaid Ibn-Haritha and Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha (RA).

Listening to this information, which you may be familiar with, will make you think of this place with more sacredness, solemnity and respect.

Do you know how many companions witnessed Mu’ta?

They were 3000 against 200,000 of Romans and Ghassanians. It was almost an impossible mission! The companions, therefore, met for two days prior to the battle to discuss and exchange opinions on how to face this enormous number… Should they face this hostile army or will that be unwise?

After two days of consultation there were three opinions:

Return to the Prophet (PBUH) to tell him they were not able to face the army of two hundred thousand men.

Send to the Prophet (PBUH) asking for back-up support.

Face the army and engage into battle.

All of the companions rejected the first option completely. They couldn’t imagine that they can go back to the Prophet (PBUH) who sent them for Jihad in the cause of Allah, and tell him that they could not take on Jihad.

The second option was not approved either as there could be no additional help because those 3000 companions were all that were available.

Confrontation was the only option left!

But how can 3000 men face 200,000? Although this was the only option left, the companions were not so sure about it.

This is where Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha (RA) stepped in…

He said, “O People, the thing you are afraid of now is the very thing you came for… By Allah, we do not fight our enemies with our numbers or weapons, but we fight them with this religion which Allah has honoured us with!”

And they replied “In Allah we trust!”

What took place in Mu’ta represents the greatest military plan in history and is therefore being taught until this day in military schools in Europe and America… What took place can never happen again. There is nobody on Earth braver, more daring, stronger or more sincere than those three thousands men.

You are living on this land, I warn you against not having a share of the morals of the companions who attended Mu’ta!

Then it was the turn of Zaid Ibn-Haritha (RA) the army commander who came with the idea of seeking a narrow closed plain so as not to face all 200,000 men all at once. So he chose Mu’ta…

And the battle started…200,000 against 3000 …

Logically speaking… how long would such a battle be expected to last? 10 minutes for instance?

The goal behind the plan of seeking a narrow plain was to restrict the battle area and to force the Romans to attack the Muslims with a small number of men equal to the number of the Muslims army as the place does not allow for more… because if the Romans confronted the Muslims in an open extended dessert, they would easily wipe them out.

Thus, the battle started on that narrow plain which was surrounded by mountains from three sides, and the Romans had to divide themselves into groups one after the other, each group consisted of 3000 soldiers.

And this way, Zaid (RA) disabled most of the Roman army.

Combat used to start from after the Dawn prayer and continue until the Sunset prayer, and then they would rest for the following day… But how many days did the battle continue? Six days! Six days with two armies, one consisting of 200,000 soldiers and the other of only 3000!

It is Faith that works wonders …it’s the total trust in Allah and the love for Islam.

This land has witnessed a heroism that will remain eternal until the Day of Judgment.

The people of this land must feel this and realize it.

All through the war, which lasted for six days with the Muslims winning, the Romans began to doubt them and question whether they were human beings or Jinn. They just wouldn’t die! The Romans were so confused by the nature of their opponents that they actually decided to examine the body of one of the Muslims soldiers they killed. When they did so, they found him bleeding and they became certain that these were human beings.

The Romans sent to their king for more help… Heraclius said, “By God, if these people were as they are saying, Muhammad will inherit my kingdom soon”. Indeed his kingdom came to an end only ten years later!

How will a person, who is far from Allah (SWT) or whom Islam is not precious to him, live on this land? This is the land that witnessed the glory of Islam. Anyone living here has no choice but to be certain that Allah (SWT) will glorify Islam…for this is where 3000 men confronted 200,000 men and won. All of this despite the fact that the Romans were the super-power at the time!

The Roman Commander was called Malik Ibn-Rafila. On the sixth day of battle he decided to change his tactics. He thought the reason behind the power of the Muslim army was the flag carrier; the army commander Zaid Ibn-Haritha (RA). So he decided to kill him. Therefore the battle on that day was fought only to get Zaid (RA).

The 200,000 soldiers were trying to kill him while the other three thousand were defending him. The battle was fierce and crowded to the extent that it was difficult to move with the horses among the Romans who were concentrating to kill Zaid (RA), and the Muslims who were resolved to defend him. In the middle of all this, Zaid (RA) was standing firm! Spears targeted him from everywhere, but he remained still and did not move. Then the first spear pierced his shoulder! If only you could know the heavy weight of a spear, and what unbearable pain it inflicts! However, the companions later said that although the spear had hit his shoulder he still did not move, and stood firm.

The spears then started to follow one another, until his body became like a sieve!

The Prophet (PBUH) was in Madinah describing the battle as it was happening there live. He said, “Allah has raised the land for me to see their battle”, and this was one of our Prophet’s miracles.

Did you see how Allah (SWT) has raised your land for the Prophet (PBUH) to be able to see it from Madinah? This is the land you live upon! Treat this great land as it should be treated… Never commit a sin here. This a land of heroism… a land of martyrdom… a land that Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (PBUH) love, otherwise Allah (SWT) would not have honored it by burying all those noble martyrs in it. Please give this land its due appreciation and respect… You have to feel a sense of belonging towards those companions. They are our role models, our grandfathers and our beloved… Keep visiting them…

So the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Allah Has raised the land for me to see their fight… Zaid Ibn-Haritha carried the flag, I see him now fighting for the cause of Allah…he was martyred…I can see him now in Paradise!”

Did you see this? He entered Paradise as soon as he was martyred!

Then came the next hero, our beloved Ja’far Ibn-Abi Talib (RA)… who bore the closest resemblance to the Prophet (PBUH) not only in his looks, but in his manners as well. The Prophet (PBUH) use to tell him, “You resemble my looks and my manners”. It was Ja’far (RA) the father of the poor, the generous, the bountiful and charitable… he used to break the honey jar to feed the poor to the last drop in it.

Take him as a role model…He is “Flying Ja’far”. Do you realize now who is buried in your neighborhood, in your country? He was the beloved of the messenger of Allah (PBUH). When Ja’far (RA) returned from Abyssinia, the Prophet (PBUH) said while embracing him, “By Allah we do not know with which to be happier, by the conquest of Khaibar or the return of Ja’far!”

The Prophet (PBUH) was never seen weeping for anyone more than he wept for the deaths of Hamza and Ja’far (RA)!

The flag was then with Ja’far (RA), and he started reciting a few verses of poetry while fighting, “How welcome is Paradise and its nearness … it is so good and its drink is so cool. The Romans are approaching to make us suffer… but it is I, I who will make them suffer!”

He dismounted from his horse, and started to fight on foot due to the crowded battlefield. It is utmost courage for the flag carrier to fight on foot. The spears rained on him until a Roman soldier came and hit him with his sword chopping off his right hand, but he quickly carried the flag in his left hand. Then his left hand was also chopped off, so he hugged the flag with what remained from his arms! It was as if to say that the flag of Islam will not go down as long as I live! Then he was hit again and again until he was killed.

Abdullah Ibn- Omar said, “ I looked at the chest of Ja’far Ibn-Abi Talib and I found more than 70 stabs, and when I turned him around I did not see a single one!”

Do you see how brave he was? He never turned away from the stabs hitting his chest!!

When you visit his grave, talk to him, say, “Peace be upon you, O my beloved and the beloved of the messenger of Allah (PBUH). O Ja’far Ibn-Abi Talib, you preceded me, and Allah (SWT) Willing, and I will follow you.”

O Allah let us be with him in Paradise.

Ask Allah (SWT) to make you a companion of Ja’far Ibn-Abi Talib, but you have to sense his personality very well while asking.

Have you ever seen someone who loves Islam to that extent? There are people who pray, fast and even do voluntary acts of worship. There are also others who have been praying in mosques for 30 years or so, but when the issue of loving Islam is raised, they might not have it. There are also people whose worship might not be that much, but their hearts are filled with the love for Islam, and passion for the religion of Allah (SWT).

We saw this love in Ja’far (RA) who did not mind loosing both his hands, one after the other, because all he was thinking about was Islam.

As we said before, the Prophet (PBUH) was relating the events in Madinah. He said, “Zaid Ibn-Haritha took the flag, I see him now fighting for the cause of Allah…he is martyred…I can see him now in Paradise! Then Ja’far Ibn-Abi Talib took the flag. I see him fighting for the cause of Allah. They cut his right hand so he carried the flag in his left hand… they cut his left hand… he is holding the flag with what remained from his arms. They killed him! I see him now in Paradise…flying with two ruby wings; Allah replaced his arms with ruby wings! I see him now drinking from the rivers of Paradise, and eating from the fruits of Paradise, and then he resorts to lanterns under the Throne of the Most Merciful!”

The companions said, when we looked at the Prophet, he was weeping out of love for Ja’far (RA)!

And now the third hero rushed to carry the flag. It was Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha (RA), but he lingered just for a moment. It was as if having seen the two commanders preceding him die, he asked himself whether to proceed or not… but he decided to enter. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha carried the flag, but lingered for a moment.”

The Ansar wept bitterly, because the first two men were from the Muhajireen, while Abdullah (RA) was the only commander from the Ansar. They wanted him to be as manly and heroic as the first two. He lingered for just “a moment”, but it was counted and related in history until this day!

There are those who delay the Fajr prayer for years, and there are women who hesitate to obey Allah (SWT) for years, and there are those who linger to pray in the mosque! So you cannot blame Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha (RA) because he was facing death!

He wanted to strengthen his resolve, so he recited the following verses of poetry:

“Go and Fight O self, or else I will force you to!

Why is it that I see Paradise not attractive to you?

O self, even if you aren’t killed, you’ll still die one day.

And this is the fire of death coming your way!

What you’ve asked for, you have received,

Do as those two did, and you will surely succeed!”

He then carried the flag and charged in. He met his cousin (who was in charge of motivating the soldiers and bringing them food and water) who offered him a piece of meat and told him, “Eat Ibn-Ruwaha, you have been fighting for six days!” Abdullah (RA) took a bite, then looked at the food and said, “What is this Ibn-Ruwaha? Are you still in this world? By Allah you should not be here, don’t you want to meet with your two friends?”

He then carried the flag and fought and was martyred.

As we said, the Prophet (PBUH) was relating the events. He said, “Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha carried the flag, but lingered for a moment, then charged in and fought and was martyred…I see him now in Paradise.”

Do you see how special Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha (RA) was?

The Prophet proceeded then to tell them about the three men.

“I see Zaid Ibn-Haritha on a golden bed in Paradise, and I see Ja’far Ibn-Abi Talib next to him on a golden bed, and I see Abdullah Ibn-Ruwaha on a golden bed, but the bed of Ibn-Ruwaha is slightly below the level of the beds of his two friends.” The companions asked, “Why, O messenger of Allah?” He answered, “He lingered for a moment!”

Paradise has levels, if someone who lingered for a moment was lowered a level, what about those who lingered for ten years?

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said, “The people in Paradise will look up to the people in the lofty mansions of Paradise as one of you would look up to a star far in the sky.”

When you find a chance to obey Allah (SWT), do not linger but take it immediately. If you lingered seek forgiveness because you lost a level, will you be able to catch up?

The flag now fell from Ibn-Ruwaha (RA), but the Prophet (PBUH) hadn’t specified the chain of commanders before the battle except up to those three, he told the army to choose whom they want after that if the three of them died. So Thabit Ibn-Al-Aqram (RA), one of the companions who attended Badr, took the flag, and cried at the top of his voice, “O father of Sulaiman, O father of Sulaiman!” He was calling Khaled Ibn- Al-Waleed (RA)! Khaled Ibn- Al-Waleed (RA) came and said, “Yes, Thabit, what is it?” Thabit replied, “Carry the flag!” Khaled said, “No, Thabit. You deserve it more than I do. You are a man who attended Badr, and I was a disbeliever on that day.”

Do you see how sincere Khaled (RA) was? But Thabit (RA) who was even more sincere said, “By Allah, Khaled, I did not take it except to give it to you!” Do you see this manliness? Khaled (RA) then carried the flag and continued to fight through the sixth day, the day when those three were martyred.

This was in the month of Jamad Awal, in the 8th year after Hijra. Khaled (RA) said, on the day of Mu’ta, or the 6th day of battle, 9 swords were broken in my hand!

Can you imagine that? A sword is something passed down among tribes, generation after generation, and is fought with for years, how can 9 swords break in his hand on a single day? He even fought with two swords at once, one in his right hand and the other in his left!!

Do you know now who those companions were who walked on your land? Who can believe that we are now walking on a land that Khaled Ibn- Al-Waleed (RA) and many other companions had walked on?

Be careful not to sin, because you might sin in a place where the blood of one of the companions ran and the land will bear witness against you on the Day of Judgment.

Just imagine that this land will bear witness twice, once for those companions who died as martyrs and the second against those who sinned on it, although it is the same land!

When the earth is shaken with its (final) earthquake. And when the earth throws out its burdens. And when man will say: ‘What is the matter with it?’ That Day it will declare its information (about all that happened over it of good or evil).(TMQ, 99:1-4) (1).

The earth will tell about us, so by Allah (SWT) do not give the earth two tales to tell. Give it just one, that those who lived on it were the sincere who loved Islam and who prayed in mosques.

At sunset Khaled (RA) gathered the army and said, “We have come here in obedience to our Prophet and for honoring our religion… We have killed of them, despite our small number, more than they have killed of us despite their large numbers. This battle cannot end in victory… but we had to fight to obey the orders of the messenger of Allah.”

Khaled (RA) was of the opinion of withdrawal, but he consulted with the others, and all the Muslims concluded that withdrawal was inevitable. Khaled (RA) then said, “But we cannot withdraw now as we are inside Mu’ta and if we came out in the open dessert they will wipe us out. We have to withdraw without them following us, but how? The Romans wish we would come out of Mu’ta so they could finish us off!”

The answer was to defeat them morally, to kill the moral spirit of the Romans, so that if the Muslim army withdrew, the Romans would have no desire to follow it.

And here came Khaled Ibn-Al-Waleed’s turn, the man who developed a plan that is still taught in military schools in Europe and America as the greatest withdrawal plan in history!

The plan was to make the right wing of the army go left, and the left wing go right, and the head go back while the back advance to the front. He also made the soldiers wash and clean their clothes, and wipe the flags and write new words to make the army look like a new one.

This will defeat them morally by only 50% while they have to be defeated 100%. So Khaled Ibn- Al-Waleed (RA) decided to take out 300 horsemen and divide them into six divisions, each division consists of 50 horsemen. He then ordered them to go back behind the army in a sandy area. With the break of day light, when the two armies engage in fighting, those horsemen have to beat the ground with the hooves of their horses to raise a huge cloud of sand in order to give the impression that there are six more armies coming!

The plan was set in a fashion so that the first division would arrive with the break of dawn while shouting “Allah Is The Greatest!” Then the second division would come and do the same, then the third and so on till the sixth division.

As soon as the sixth division joins the army, Khaled Ibn- Al-Waleed (RA) would say: “O servants of Allah, in Allah put your trust!”

But they will still not withdraw at that moment in order not to break the credibility of their actions in front of the Romans. The plan at this stage was for the Muslims to fiercely attack the Romans while they are still shaken. This way they (the Romans) would not follow the army when it withdraws.

Do you see how wise and skilled were the companions? Khaled (RA) developed a plan that is being taught until now in military schools! The Prophet’s companions did not just sit in the mosques and do nothing… they understood life very well.

When they started to implement the plan in the morning, the Romans were surprised to see completely new faces as they began to know the faces they fought with for 6 days. Now they found a new right wing, a new left wing, a new front and a new back …in other words a new army! So the Romans sent to Malik Ibn- Rafila saying that the Muslims came with a new army, when he asked them where the old army is, they replied, “Resting!” Then they were again surprised to see a huge cloud of sand, and then new fighters coming and shouting “Allah Is The Greatest”, and carrying flags with Allah ‘Is the Greatest’ written on them.

Following the entrance of the six divisions one after the other, Khaled (RA) said, “O servants of Allah, in Allah put your trust!” The Muslims then attacked the Romans fiercely and killed 500 of them! The Muslims later described how at the time they saw death in the eyes of the Romans! Once the fighting flared up, and the Muslims were beating the Romans, Khaled (RA) said, “O slaves of Allah turn back!” The withdrawal then began very quietly, from the sixth division to the fifth, the fourth, the third, the second, the first, the right wing, the left, the back and then the front until the whole army withdrew. How organized! When the Muslims withdrew, the Roman soldiers started to run after them but their Commanders ordered them saying “Don’t!! Its an ambush!!” As Khaled Ibn- Al-Waleed (RA) was about to reach Madinah, the Romans were still waiting for an ambush!!

The women came to receive the army as it entered Madinah. They came to receive their husbands and their families, so how would the reception be? They received the army with rocks and stones! They thought the army ran away, so they came shouting: “Escapers! Did you escape from the cause of Allah?” But the Prophet (PBUH) said, “No, they are not escapers, they are the attackers, may Allah be willing!” And indeed they went back after ten or fifteen years, and conquered the whole of Jordan, and Jordan became a Muslim country, and the prophesy of the messenger of Allah (PBUH) came true.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) then went to Ja’far’s house and hugged his children while weeping. He then went out to the Muslims and asked, “Who will provide for the children of Ja’far?”

The narrator said I saw three Muslims raising their hands wanting to provide for those children although each one of them was poorer than the other!

Do you see now the greatness of this land you live upon? Belong to it!

The blood of the martyrs of Mu’ta ran on this land, please preserve it!

(1)TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur’an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur’an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.

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