Shama-il Tirmidhi Chapter 36, Hadith Number 4 (234).

Baraa ibn Aazib radiyallahu anhu was once asked, You all deserted Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam and ran away in the Battle of Hunayn? He replied, No, Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam did not turn away, except a few people in the army who were in a hurry (many of whom were from the tribe of Sulaym and a few newly converted youth of Makkah) turned away when the people of the tribe of Hawaazin began to shower arrows. Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam (with whom there naturally were the great Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum) was riding a mule Abu Sufyan ibn Al-Haarith ibn Abdul Muttalib radiyallahu anhu was leading it by its reins. Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam was reciting the following couplet: Verily, without doubt I am a Prophet. I am from the children (grandsons) of Abdul Muttalib.

Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam mentioned his grand father (‘Abdul Muttalib) instead of his father, because ‘Abdul Muttalib had forecast to the kuffaar of Quraysh that they would be defeated. At this moment the forecast had been fulfilled. Some people say the reason of this is that the father of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam passed away before his birth, therefore he was commonly known as Ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib. It is also said that because ‘Abdul Muttalib was a famous leader, therefore Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu, ‘Alayhi Wasallam mentioned his grandfathers name. Haafiz Ibn Hajar, has written this reason, that it was well known among the kuffar (non-believers) that a person would be born among the children of ‘Abdul Muttalib, who would guide the people, and would be the Seal of all the Prophets. That is why Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam mentioned this relationship and reminded them of this well known fact The Ghazwah of Hunayn took place in the eighth year hijri. The tribes of ‘Arabia were waiting for Makkah to be conquered before they accepted Islaam. If Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam conquered that city, he would overcome the non-believers and he would be obeyed without any fuss or question. If he could not conquer Makkah, he would not be able to overcome the non-believers. Finally when Makkah was conquered, the kuffaar of Hunayn and the outlying areas decided to test their fate. A few tribes made a pact and decided to go to war at Hunayn, a place about ten miles from Makkah in the direction of ‘Arafah and Taa-if. A few experienced old people of these tribes advised their people that war should not be waged against the Muslims. The energetic young people did not heed their advice and said that, the Muslims had not yet fought experienced soldiers, hence they were conquering many places. They may want to attack us, therefore we should attack first. More than twenty thousand fighters were assembled to wage war. When Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam received the news of their preparations, he assembled an army of ten to twelve thousand fighters, in which were included the Muhaajireen, Ansaars, and the newly converted Muslims of Makkah. A group from among the kuffaar of Makkah who had not yet accepted Islaam were also included. A few had joined the Muslims hoping they would receive booty and a few just to experience how a battle is fought.

Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam left for Hunayn on the 9th of Shawwaal in the 8th year hijri. The Muslims had to pass a very narrow valley. The enemy had posted some contingents on the hills. When the Muslims passed there, they began showering arrows on them. This sudden attack shocked the Muslims and they began dispersing into different directions.

In the narration of lmaam Bukhaari RA., the Muslims began ‘defeating the enemy at the beginning of the battle. The enemy scattered in all directions. The people began taking the booty. Suddenly the enemy who were hiding in the mountains began attacking from all sides. The army then began dispersing in different directions in panic. Besides the great Sahaabah, Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu, Sayyidina ‘Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu, Sayyidina ‘Ali Radiyallahu ‘Anhu, Sayyidina ‘Abbaas Radiyallahu ‘Anhu, and some other Sahaabah Radiyallahu ‘Anhum, none remained near Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam. In this term of difficulty, the islaam or faith of a few weak Muslims was at stake. Some began to shout, jeer and taunt. Some ran away and returned to Makkah and began relating the defeat of the Muslims to those people who had not accepted Islaam, or to those who had accepted Islaam hypocritically. At this moment the Haa-shimi blood of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam began to boil. He dismounted from his inule and began walking through this frightening scene and began saying: ‘Annan Nabi laa kadhib’, and began going towards the enemy. Sayyidina ‘Abbaas Radiyallahu ‘Anhu called the Muhaajireen, Ansaar, the companions of the tree (As-haabus Shajarah), by saying: ‘Come here, where are you going?’ As soon as they heard this call, this worried and distressed group returned with such love and enthusiasm, as a camel returns to its child. As soon as the Muslims returned a fierce battle ensued between the two sides. Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam took a handful of soil and stones etc. and threw it in the direction of the enemy saying ‘Shaa-hatil Wujuh’ (The faces have become distorted/disfigured). The scene of fierce battle remained for a few moments. The Muslims who were distressed, now began defeating the enemy, who began running away from the battlefield in such a manner that they did not care to look back, leaving their possessions, wives and children etc. as booty for the Muslims. This event is written briefly here. If one is interested, a detailed history book may be referred to.

It is very important that this factor be brought to notice. One should not create a doubt of perplexity after reading one or two hadith on an incident or subject. This is a sign of being lax in seeking facts. Complete details of an incident are many a time not fully covered in one or two hadith, nor is it the intention of the narrator to explain the complete incident. One should not draw one’s own conclusion without fully obtaining all the details on the subject. Merely to express one’s premature opinion is a sign of not knowing. In this same manner one should not come to an immature conclusion after reading a brief history on the Battle of Hunayn, or a few ahadith on this incident, and think that the whole group of the pious Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum, or all the soldiers from the force of about ten thousand ran away from the battlefield. Also besides a few Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum, no one remained with Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam. This is contrary to the facts and against sound thinking. It would not have been difficult for the kuffar, who numbered more than twenty thousand to surround a few Muslims and kill them when some from their army had deserted. It is astonishing to hear from those who have experienced war, to make such derogatory statements, and become influenced and impressed by narrations where it is stated that Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam was left alone. An army is divided into five regiments. Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam positioned the army in their strategic positions. The front, right, left, middle (of which Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam was the commander) and the back. All these regiments were in separate positions on the battlefield and each had its commander with its flag. The commander of the Muhajireen was Sayyidina Umar radiyallahu anhu, Sayyidina Ali radiyallahu anhu, Sayyidina Sa’d ibn abi Waqaas radiyallahu anhu, Sayyidina Usayd ibn Hudayr radiyallahu anhu, and Sayyidina Khabbab ibn Mundhir radiyallahu anhu, etc., were commanders of the other groups and were stationed at their strategic places. The front regiments consisted of the people of Banu Sulaym, whose commander was Sayyidina Khalid ibn Waleed radiyallahu anhu. This incident took place with this regiment. When they were passing through the valley, at the beginning the enemy began running away, as a result the Muslims thought they were victorious and began collecting the booty. Suddenly the enemy who were hiding in the mountains began showering arrows from all sides. It was natural in this case for the Muslim army to be taken by surprise and scatter in different directions. This also made the other regiments frightened and caused a momentary chaos. This does not mean that the whole army began to run away. A person by the name of Abdur Rahman who was not a Muslim at the time says, When we attacked the Muslims at Hunayn, we began to push them back. They could not withstand our attacks and retreated even further. We carried on in this manner till we reached a person who was riding a white mule, and had a very handsome face. Many people were around him. He saw us and said, ‘Shaa-hatil Wujuh, Irjiu’. After he said this we began to retreat and they overcame us. For this reason Sayyidina Baraa radiyallahu anhu says in the hadith mentioned previously in the Shamaail that Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam did not turn back, but a few impatient people who could not withstand the arrows, began fleeing. It is also stated that when this happened, Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam continued on a path on the right side. It should be pondered upon that at such a time when there is chaos, the people will not know where Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam is, and it was not possible for them to know which direction Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam had taken. At such a time a hundred people were left with Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam as mentioned in a narration. At another time eighty people were left with Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam as stated in another narration. When he began to ride fast on the mule people gave way till only twelve men were left. After that only those four were left who were steering and holding the reins of the mule. When the mule could not move at the desired pace, Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam dismounted and took a handful of pebbles and went forward. This is the same that is mentioned in a narration of Sahib Bukhari that Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam was alone and no one was with him. With this, if one predetermines that in this battle the people ran away, and also decides that besides Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam all the Sahaabah were defected, it is surely a sign that one does not know the full incident. Since there was chaos and verily many people were running away and a few people were happy about this (temporary) defeat as has been mentioned in detail in the events of this battle. One did not know where the other was, as it often happens at such times. For this reason Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam asked Sayyidina Abbas radiyallahu anhu, who had a loud voice to call the Muhajireen, Ansar, the people of the (tree), separately, so that on hearing the call, all would return to Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam. In the second attack, the battlefield was in the hands of the Muslims. Anyhow on this subject, that how many people were with Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam at that time? There are many narrations and each one relates to a different activity. Even the narration of Bukhari, where it is mentioned that no one was with Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam is correct. When Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam descended from his mule and went forward and threw at the enemy a handful of pebbles or sand, all remained behind whilst Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam stepped forward alone. It is not mentioned in any narration that, those who were at any time near Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam defected.