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Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam

Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad

At Ghazwa-i-Khandaq

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam recited some verses together with his companions while digging the trench (khandaq) around Madina to ward off the attack of the Quraysh of Makkah in 5 A.H. We learn of this from a Hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol 4, p. 169.

Chapter (161). The recitation of poetic verses in war and raising the voice while digging the trench.

(272) Narrated Al-Bara': I saw Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) on the day (of the battle) of the Trench carrying earth till the hair of his chest were covered with dust and he was a hairy man. He was reciting the following verses of 'Abdullah (bin Rawaha):

"O Allah, were it not for you,
We would not have been guided,
Nor would we have given charity, nor prayed.
So bestow on us calmness, and

when we meet the enemy,

Then make our feet firm, for indeed,
The enemy has revolted against us;
Yet if they want to afflict us
We oppose their affliction".

The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) used to raise his voice while reciting these verses. (Bukhari)

The wording of this qasida (in transliteration) is:

Allahumma lawlaa Anta mahtadaynaa
Wa laa tasaddaqnaa walaa sallaynaa
Fa anzilan sakeenatan 'alaynaa
Wa thabbitil aqdaama in laaqaynaa
Innal a'daa'a qad baghaw 'alaynaa
Idhaa araadu fitnatan abaynaa

Lo behold! We find that Imam Yusuf ibn Ismail an-Nabahaani has used the same (first four and sixth) verses in his Waseelatu-sh-Shaafiy (The Means To Healing). After all, could he do any better than borrow from the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam and his blessed companions?

A similar Hadith has been reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol 4, Chapter 34, p. 65.

CHAPTER (34) The digging of the Trench

(88) Narrated Anas: The Emigrants and the Ansar started digging the trench around Madina, carrying the earth on their backs and saying,

Nahnu'lladheena baaya'u Muhammad-aa
'Ala'l Jihadi maa baqeena abadaa

We are those who have given a pledge of allegiance to Muhammad
That we will carry on Jihad as long as we live.

The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) kept on replying,

Allahumma innahu laa khayra illa khayru'l Aakhirah
Wa Baarik fi'l Ansari wa'l Muhajirah

O Allah, there is no good except the good of the Here-after
So confer your blessings on the Ansar and the Emigrants. (Bukhari)

When we study the verse quoted in this Hadith, we find that the first hemistich (half verse) contains nasiha (advice) while the second is munaajaat (supplication). Hence, two themes, of advice and supplication are woven into just one verse.

This incident is also reported in Hadith numbers 4442, 4444 and 4448 in Sahih al-Muslim, Vol 3, Chapter 746.

Martin Lings, in his biography of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) summarises, in part, what happened at the Battle of the Trench.

"""One of them, Bara' of the Harithah clan of Aws, would tell in after years of the great beauty of the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) as he remembered him at the trench, girt with a red cloak, his breast sprinkled with dust and his black hair long enough to touch his shoulders. "More beautiful than him I have not seen", he would say.


The first cry for help came from Jabir who had dug down to a rock which none of their implements could loosen. The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) called for some water and spat into it, then having prayed, he sprinkled the water over the rock and they were able to shovel it out like a heap of sand. Another day, it was the Emigrants who needed help. After many attempts to split or dislodge a rock he had struck, (Sayyidina) 'Umar went to the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) who took the pickaxe from him and gave the rock a blow at which a flare as of lightening flashed back over the city and towards the south. He gave it another blow and again there was a flash but in the direction of 'Uhud and beyond it towards the north. A third blow split the rock into fragments and this time the light flashed eastwards. Salman saw the three flashes and knew they must have some significance, so he asked for an interpretation from the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) who said,

"Didst thou see them Salman? By the light of the first, I saw the castles of Yemen; by the light of the second I saw the castles of Syria; by the light of the third, I saw the white palace of Kisra (Chosroes, King of Persia) at Mada'in. Through the first hath God opened unto me the Yemen, through the second hath He opened unto me Syria and the West; and through the third, the East""". (p. 217-218)

As we are all aware, within a short time, these prophecies of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam were fulfilled as Islam spread to these countries and beyond in all four directions. This narration shows, like all such narrations, the miraculous powers of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam and how all his prayers were answered instantly.

The Hadith Sharif by Hadrat al-Bara' Rady Allahu 'Anhu on the handsomeness of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam that Martin Lings refers to are to be found in Sahih al-Bukhari as well (Vol 4, Hadith numbers 749 and 752, p. 488).

Narrated Al-Bara': The Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) was the handsomest of all people, and had the best appearance. He was neither very tall nor short. (Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Is'haq: Al-Bara' was asked: "Was the face of the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) (as bright) as a sword?" He said, "No, but (as bright) as the moon". (Bukhari)

Mawlaaya Salli wa Sallim daaiman abadaa
'Alaa Habibika Khayril khalqi kullihimi

Allahumma Salli wa Sallim 'alayh

O Lord! Bestow blessings and peace for and evermore
On Your Beloved, the best in all creation.

O Allah! Bestow blessings and peace on him.

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