1. When was the Battle of Trench fought? By what other name is this Battle known?
Battle of Trench was fought in Shawwal in 5 H. This Battle is also known as the Battle of Ahzab.
2. What role did Bani an-Nadir play in arousing the various Arabian tribes against the Muslims?
Towards the end of 5 H, some Jewish leaders paid a secret visit to Makkah and roused up several of the Arabian tribes against the Prophet. They formed a confederacy under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, with a view to overcoming once and for all, ‘the threat’ posed by Islam to the beliefs and many of their customs.
3. How strong was the army of enemy?
It consisted to an army of well over 10,000 soldiers.
4. What precautions did Allah’s Messenger take against the impending attack?
The Prophet alerted his companions. He spoke to them words of encouragement. He promised them the victory if only they would have patience, be mindful of Allah and obey orders. He, then, held a council of war, at which many opinions were expressed as to what would be the best plan of action. Finally the suggestion of Salman al Farisi was accepted and agreed upon.
5. How strong was the Muslim army?
The Muslim force at the time of the Battle of Ahzab consisted of about 3000 men.
6. What plan of defence did the Prophet adopt?
The Prophet adopted the suggested of Salman al-Farisi and set about to dig a deep trench around the town of Madinah.
7. Who was Salman al-Farisi?
Salman al-Farisi was a great companion of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He was originally from Persia. He was the one who gave the idea of digging a trench in the Battle of Ahzab.
8. Describe the digging of the Trench? How did Allah’s Messenger help the diggers?
When the work of digging the Trench started, Allah’s Messenger set out on a tour of inspection. Wherever Madinah lay open to cavalry attack, a trench was begun to be dug. The Prophet made each section of his companions responsible for a part – ten lengths of the forearm of the trench. The Muslims worked very hard. They went at dawn everyday after Fajr prayer and came home at twilight. Prophet worked with the emigrants and the Ansars, sometimes with a shovel and sometimes with a pick-axe. He supervised the work himself and controlled even the minute details. One fine morning he started a song; in which everyone joined: “O Allah! There is no good life but the life of the Hereafter, Forgive the Ansar and the Muhajirah”.
9. Despite the hardness of the work, there was merriment and feasting. Explain.
Prophet’s personal presence and his physical help in the digging work was a great source of inspiration for the Muslims. Moreover, some miracles that occurred during the course of digging brought merriment and cheer to the Muslims. For instance: There was a shortage of food amongst the diggers. The hard work and cold weather increased the pangs of hunger. Once when dates were poured into the Prophet’s hands, they did not fill them; so the Prophet called for a garment, which was laid out for him and he threw the dates upon it. Then the diggers were invited to have them. When they began to eat, the dates went on increasing and they were still overflowing from the ends of the garment.
10. What did Jabir do when he once saw a stone tied to the Prophet’s belly? What miracle took place at Jabir’s house?
Upon sighting a stone being tied to the Prophet’s belly, Jabir went to his house and asked his wife if she could cook a meal for the Prophet. When Jabir came to know that nothing but ewe and a measure of barley was at home, he sacrificed the ewe and she made some bread out of barley. Jabir, then, went to invite the Prophet for the feast. Along with him the Prophet took all the diggers to Jabir’s house. Jabir was a bit embarrassed as he and his wife had cooked food only for the Prophet and not for all. A miracle so happened that the food increased and all the workers at the trench had satisfied their hunger and still there remained some mutton and some bread!
11. What happened when Salman al-Farisi complained to the Prophet when a rock gave him trouble?
When Salman al-Farisi complained to the Prophet that a rock gave him trouble, the Prophet took the pick-axe from Salman and gave the rock a blow at which a flare of lightning flashed beneath the pick-axe. He gave it another blow and again there was a flash. The third blow shattered the rock into pieces, and this time also there was lightning. When Salman asked the Prophet in wonder about the lightning, the Prophet replied, “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 while palace of Kisra at Mada’in”. Later all these prophecies proved true.