Al-Fazari’s Raid On al-Ghabah

Al-Fazari’s Raid On al-Ghabah

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


Uyainah Ibn Hisn al-Fazari who was the leader of the Banu Ghatafan, raided outskirts of Madina with his men, robbed camels, murdered a shepherd who was looking after them, and kidnapped a woman. When Prophet Muhammad (p) received news of this, he sent his companions out in pursuit of those criminals.

Historical reports on this incident

Sahih Muslim:

When the day dawned, Abd al-Rahman al-Fazari made a raid and drove away all the camels of the Messenger of Allah, and killed the man who looked after them. I said: Rabah, ride this horse, take it to Talha b. ‘Ubaidullah and Inform the Messenger of Allah that the polytheists have made away with his camels.

Then I stood upon a hillock and turning my face to Medina, shouted thrice: Come to our help I Then I set out in pursuit of the raiders, shooting at them with arrows and chanting a (self-eulogatory) verse in the Iambic metre:

I am the son of al-Akwa’ And today is the day of defeat for the mean. I would overtake a man from them, shoot at him an arrow which, piercing through the saddle, would reach his shoulder, and I would say:

Take it, chanting at the same time the verse And I am the son of al-Akwa’ And tody is the day of defeat for the mean. By God, I continued shooting at them and hamstringing their animals. Whenever a horseman turned upon me, I would come to a tree and (hid myself) sitting at its base.

Then I would shoot at him and hamstring his horse. (At last) they entered a narrow mountain gorge. I ascended that mountain and held them at bay throwing stones at them. I continued to chase them in this way until I got all the camels of the Messenger of Allah released and no camel was left with them.

They left me; then I followed them shooting at them (continually) until they dropped more than thirty mantles and thirty lances. Lightening their burden. On everything they dropped, I put a mark with the help of (a piece of) stone so that the Messenger of Allah and his Companions might recognise them (that it was booty left by the enemy).

(They went on) until They came to a narrow valley when so and so, son of Badr al-Fazari joined them. They (now) sat down to take their breakfast and I sat on the top of a tapering rock. Al-Fazari said: Who is that fellow I am seeing? They said: This fellow has harassed us. By God, he has not left us since dusk and has been (continually) shooting at us until he has snatched everything from our hands.

He said: Four of you should make a dash at him (and kill him). (Accordingly), four of them ascended the mountain coming towards me. When it became possible for me to talk to them, I said: Do you recognise me? They said: No. Who are thou? I said: I am Salama, son of al-Akwa’. By the Being Who has honoured the countenance of Muhammad I can kill any of you I like but none of you will be able to kill me. One of them said:

I think (he is right). So they returned. I did not move from my place until I saw the horsemen of the Messenger of Allah, who came riding through the trees. Lo! The foremost among them was Akhram al-Asadi. Behind him was Abu Qatada al-Ansari and behind him was al-Miqdad b. al-Aswad al-Kindi. I caught hold of the rein of Akhram’s horse (Seeing this).

They (the raiders) fled. I said (to Akhram): Akhram, guard yourself against them until Allah’s Messenger and his Companions join you. He said: ) Salama, if you believe In Allah and the Day of Judgment and (if) you kaow that Paradise is a reality and Hell is a reality, you should not stand between me and martyrdom. so I let him go. Akhram and Abd al-Rahman (Fazari) met in combat.

Akhram hamstrung Abd al-Rahman’s horse and the latter struck him with his lance and killed him. Abd al-Rabman turned about riding Akhram’s horse. Abu Qatada, a horse-man of the Messenger of Allah, met ‘Abd al-Rahman (in combat), smote him with his lance and killed him.

By the Being Who honoured the countenance of Muhammad (may peace oe upon him), I followed them running on my feet (so fast) that I couldn’t see behind me the Companions of Muhammad, nor any dust raised by their horses. (I followed them) until before sunset they reached a valley which had a spring of water, which was called Dhu Qarad, so that they could have a drink, for they were thirsty.

They saw me running towards them. I turned them out of the valley before they could drink a drop of its water. They left the valley and ran down a slope. I ran (behind them), overtook a man from them, shot him with an arrow through the shoulder blade and said: Take this. I am the son of al-Akwa’; and today is the day of annihilation for the people who are mean.

The fellow (who was wounded) said: May his mother weep over him! Are you the Akwa’ who has been chasing us since morning? I said: Yes, O enemy of thyself, the same Akwa’. They left two horses dead tired on the hillock and I came dragging them along to the Messenger of Allah. I met ‘Amir who had with him a container having milk diluted with water and a container having water. I performed ablution with the water and drank the milk.

Then I came to the Messenger of Allah while he was at (the spring of) water from which I had driven them away. The Messenger of Allahhad captured those camels and everything else I had captured and all the lances and mantles I had snatched from the polytheists and Bilal had slaughtered a she-camel from the camels I had seized from the people, and was roasting its liver and hump for the Messenger of Allah.

I said: Messenger of Allah, let me select from our people one hundred men and I will follow the marauders and I will finish them all so that nobody is left to convey the news (of their destruction to their people). (At these words of mine), the Messenger of Allah laughed so much that his molar teeth could be seen in the light of the fire, and he said: Salama, do you think you can do this?

I said: Yes, by the Being Who has honoured you. He said: Now they have reached the land of Ghatafan where they are being feted. (At this time) a man from the Ghatafan came along and said: So and so slaughtered a camel for them. When they were exposing its skin, they saw dust (being raised far off). They said: They (Akwa’ and his companions) have come. So. they went away fleeing. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith 4450)

Sunan Abi Dawud:

“Abd Al rahman bin ‘Uyainah raided the Camels of the Apostle of Allaah and killed their herdsman. He and some people who were with him on horses proceeded on driving them away. …” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 14, Hadith 2746)

Ibn Ishaq:

The Apostle had spent only few nights in Medina when Uyanya b. Hisn b. Hudhayfa b. Badr al-Fazari with the cavalry of Ghatafan raided the Apostle’s milch-camels in al-Ghaba. A Man of b. Ghifar, who had wife with him, was in charge of the camels. Him they killed and carried off his wife with the camels.” (Ibn Ishaq p. 486[1]


“… Then the Messenger of God returned to Medina. He has stayed only a few nights before Uayaynah b. Hisn b. Hudhayfah b. Badr al-Fazari with horsemen of the Ghatafan raided the milch camels of the Messenger of God at al-Ghabah. Tending them were a man of the Banu Ghifar and his wife. They killed the man and carried off the woman with the camels.” (Tabari v.8 p.43[2]

Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir – Ibn Sa’d:


Then occurred the Ghazwah of the Apostle of Allah, against al-Ghabah which lies at a distance of one al-barid (12 miles) on the route to Syria, in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal in the sixth year from his hijrah. They (narrators) said: There were the milch-camels of the Apostle of Allah, numbering twenty, which grazed in al-Ghabah. Abu Dharr was with them. 

UYAYNAH IBN HISN LED A SURPRISE ATTACK ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT WITH FORTY HORSEMEN, AND CARRIED AWAY THE CAMELS KILLING A SON OF ABU DHARR. Then were was shouts and cries (an alarm of) al-faza’, al-faza (there is a dread), was raised. Then it was proclaimed:

O army of Allah! Ride on. This was the first occasion when cries with these woods were raised. There Apostle of Allah, mounted and emerged on Wednesday morning wearing an iron helmet and waited. The first person to come out was al-Miqdad Ibn Amr who had a coat of arms, a helmet and a drawn sword. The Apostle of Allah, fastened a banner on his spear and said: March on till you meet the armies and I am also following on your foot-steps.

The Apostle of Allah, left behind Abd Allah Ibn Umm Maktum in charge of al-Madinah; he also left Sa’d Ibn Ubadah at the head of three hundred men of his people to guard al-Madinah. Al-Miqdad said: I marched on and reached the rear guard of the enemy. Abu Qatadah killed Mas’adah and the Apostle of Allah, gave him (Abu Qatadah) his (Mas’adah’s) horse and arms.

Ukkashah Ibn Mihsan killed Athar Ibn Amr Ibn Athar’ Al-Miqdad Ibn Amr killed Habib Ibn Uyaynah Ibn Hisn and Qirfah Ibn Malik Ibn Hudhayfay Ibn Badr.Among the Muslims, Muhriz Ibn Nadlah was killed, Mas’adah had killed him. Salamah Ibn al-Akwa reached the people and he was on his feet. Then he began to shoot arrows on them and say: ‘I am Ibn al-Akwa, Today is the day (the annihilation) of the ignoble.’

Then he reached Dhu Qarad, which is in the TERRITORY OF KHAYBAR adjoining al-Mustanakh, with them. Salamah said: Then we joined the Apostle of Allah, the people and the cavalry at Isha (early part of night). Then I said: O Apostle of Allah! Our men are thirty.

If you despatch me with a contingent of a hundred men. I shall seize the flock of animals which is with them and capture their chiefs. The Prophet, said: You can do but be gentle. Then he said: NOW THEY WILL MOBILIZE IN GHATAFAN.

Their cries reached BANU AMR IBN AWF WHICH CAME TO THEIR AID. The horsemen continued coming in. The men came on foot and on camels till they reached the Apostle of Allah, at Dhu Qarad. Then they seized ten she-camels and their men fled with the remaining she-camels which were ten in number. The Apostle of Allah, offered the prayer of fear (i.e., with half the soldiers at a time) at Dhu Qarad.

There he stopped for a day and a night to gather information. He allotted a camel to be slaughtered for every one hundred of his Companions. They were five hundred and according to another version they were seven hundred. Sa’d Ibn Ubadah sent loads of dates and ten camels which were sufficient for the Apostle of Allah, Dhu Qarad. …” (Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir – Ibn Sa’d, v.2 p. 99 – 100[3]

Scholars commenting on this incident

Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri:

It was in fact not a battle but a clash carried out against a platoon of Bani Fazarah. It occurred at Dhi Qarad, a water reservoir situated at a day’s journey from Madinah. Al-Bukhari named a chapter about it in which he indicated that it occurred three days before the battle of Khaibar.

Muslim reported a chain of narration from Salamah bin Al-Akwa (saying the same). The majority of the writers on the battles of the Prophet list it before Al-Hudaibiyah, but what is most correct is what Al-Bukhari and Muslim mention.

It has been narrated on the authority of Salamah bin Al-Akwa, the hero of this battle:

‘Allah’s Messenger sent one of his Rabah with his camels to a nearby pasture. I was taking Talhah’s horse, went there for the same purpose. When the day dawned, Abdur-Rahman Al-Fazari made a raid, drove away all the camels, and killed the man who looked after them.

I told Rabah to ride the horse, take it to Talhah and inform Allah’s Messenger that the polytheists had made away with his camels. Then I stood upon a hill and turning my face to Madinah, shouted thrice: ‘Come to our help!’

After that I set out in pursuit of the raiders, shooting at them with arrows and chanting (selfeulogistic) verse: …” [4]

Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil:

The purpose of this mission was to repel Uyainah Ibn Hisn Al-Fazari, who had raided a part of Al-Madinah.” [5]


[1] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated: A. Guillaume], page 486
[2] The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina – [Translator: Michael Fishbein],volume 8, page 43
[3] Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir [1967], By Ibn Sa’d,volume 2, page 99
[4] The Sealed Nectar: Ar-Raheeq Al Makhtoom By Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri 179
[5] Atlas of the Qur’an – Places. Nations. Landmarks. By Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil, page 251