The Battle of Muta

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) sent a man named Al-Harith bin Umair al Azdi to the ruler of Busra inviting him to the religion of Islam. The governor of al-Balqa, Sharhabeel bin Amr al Ghazani interfered and Al-Harith ended up getting beheaded. This was not to be taken lightly since the Treaty of Hudaybiyah had promised peace.

The Prophet (SAW) rallied 3000 of his men and said, “Zaid bin Haritha will be commander and if Zayd should be killed, then it will be Ja’far bin Abu Talib. If Jafar is killed, then Abdullah bin Rawahah will be commander. If he should be killed, then the Muslims should choose one from among themselves to appoint over them.” SubhanAllah, Zaid bin Haritha was even informed of the great risks of the battle and was told that if the Prophet (PBUH) was indeed a Prophet then Zaid would be killed in battle. Zaid did not flee from fear, he proudly took the title to defend the Muslim people.

At Muta, the Muslims found themselves opposing 100,000 men of the Byzantine army. For each Muslim man there were 33 Byzantine men. The army contemplated returning to the Prophet (SAW) and informing him of the great disadvantage in numbers, but with the leadership of Abdullah bin Rawahah, they decided otherwise.

The battle was as fierce as they predicted it would be. Each of the Prophet’s (SAW) appointed leaders started off holding the banner of the Prophet (SAW) and wouldn’t let it go at any cost. After Zaid bin Haritha was martyred, Ja’far took hold of the banner with his right hand. His right hand was cut off in battle and yet he did not let that stop him from holding on to the banner. He held it with his left arm until that too was cut off. Even then he did not give up, and used his upper arms to hold the banner until he was killed. Abdullah bin Rawahah soon faced the same fate.

In the mean time, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was in Madina narrating the events of the battle. He told the men, “Zayd bin Haritha took the banner and fought with it until he was martyred. Ja’far then took it and fought, bearing it until he was martyred,” after that the Prophet (SAW) became silent and the faces of the Ansar changed as they wondered about Abdullah bin Rawahah. Then he said, “Abdullah bin Rawahah has taken it now and fought until martyrdom. They have been raised up to heaven – I saw in a vision – upon couches of gold. I noticed that the couch of Abdullah bin Rawahah was slanting away from those of his companions and I asked ‘Why is this?’ I was told, ‘They went straight ahead, whereas Abdullah bin Rawahah hesitated somewhat before proceeding’.”

The next leader chosen was known as “the Sword of God.” Khalid bin Walid changed the positioning of his men making it seem as though the Muslims were reinforced with more men. This scared the Byzantine army and by the end of the night both armies retreated. The battle had no winner and no loser, but it showed the immense power of the Muslims. We should all take this as a lesson, Allah subhannahu watala never gives us more than we can handle, even when things may appear to be that way. The bravery of the Muslim army should be an inspiration for us all to strive regardless of how immense the struggle may seem to be.