What happened between the battles of Uhud and Trench?
The Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir were originally sworn allies of the Muslims
in Madina but they secretly intrigued with the Makkan pagans and the Madinan
hypocrites. They even tried treacherously to take the life of the Prophet while
he was on a visit to them, breaking both the laws of hospitality and their own
sworn alliance. God’s Messenger asked them to leave the strategic position which
they occupied, about three miles south of Madina. They agreed to this but when
‘Adbullah ibn Ubayy, the chief of the hypocrites, assured them that his party
would help them in case of war, the Banu Nadir demurred.
The Muslim army then besieged them in their fortresses and, seeing that neither
the Makkan polytheists nor the hypocrites in Madina stirred a finger to help
them, the Banu Nadir had to leave the city. They were dismayed but their lives
were spared, and they were given ten days in which to remove themselves, their
families, and such goods as they could carry. Most of them joined their brethren
in Syria and the others in Khaybar.
While returning from the Battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan had challenged the Muslims
to another encounter at Badr the following year.47 But when the appointed time
arrived, Abu Sufyan’s courage failed him to fight against God’s Messenger. As
a face-saving device he sent an agent, Nu‘aym ibn Mas‘ud, who was then an unbeliever,
to Madina who spread the rumor that the Quraysh were making tremendous war preparations
and that they were gathering a huge army which no other power in the whole of
Arabia would resist. However, when the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings,
reached Badr with an army of fifteen hundred fighters, they found there no one
to fight with them. They stayed at Badr for eight days awaiting the threatened
encounter, and when no sign of the Quraysh army appeared, they returned to Madina.
This campaign was called Badr al-Sughra (Badr the Minor).
In the fifth year after the Hijra, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and
blessings, was informed that the desert tribes of Anmar and Sa’laba had decided
to attack Madina. Accompanied by 400 fighters, he reached Zat al-Riqa’ and hearing
that the enemy tribes had fled, returned to Madina.48
After this campaign, God’s Messenger marched upon Banu Mustaliq, a pagan
tribe of Arabia. Banu Mustaliq had made preparations of war against the Muslims.
With an army of 700 warriors, God’s Messenger attacked them and defeated them.49
On the way back to Madina, the intrigues of the hypocrites to bring about dissension
between the Emigrants and Helpers were brought to naught. The verses sent down
revealed all their secrets and how polluted their inner world was (al-Munafiqun,
47. I. Hisham, 3.94; I. Sa‘d, 2.59.
48. I. Hisham, 3.213.
49. I. Kathir, 4.178–9.