Invasion Of Banu Lahyan (Lihyan)?

Invasion Of Banu Lahyan (Lihyan)?

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


The Banu Lahyan tribe (and other tribes) treacherously murdered many Muslims. In return, Prophet Muhammed (P) send his Companions to bring those guilty of these killings, to be dealt with.

Historical reports on this incident

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“The Prophet invoked evil upon those (people) WHO KILLED HIS COMPANIONS AT BIR MAUNA for 30 days (in the morning prayer). He invoked evil upon (tribes of) Ril, Lihyan and Usaiya who disobeyed Allah and His Apostle. …” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 5, Book 59, Hadith 421)

Sahih al-Bukhari:

The Prophet sent seventy men from the tribe of Bani Salim to the tribe of Bani Amir. When they reached there, my maternal uncle said to them, “I will go ahead of you, and if they allow me to convey the message of Allah’s Messenger (it will be all right); otherwise you will remain close to me.”

So he went ahead of them and the pagans granted him security But while he was reporting the message of the Prophet, they beckoned to one of their men who stabbed him to death.

My maternal uncle said, “Allah is Greater! By the Lord of the Ka`ba, I am successful.” AFTER THAT THEY ATTACKED THE REST OF THE PARTY AND KILLED THEM ALL except a lame man who went up to the top of the mountain. … The Prophet invoked Allah for forty days to curse the murderers from the tribe of Ral, Dhakwan, BANI LIHYAN and Bam Usaiya who disobeyed Allah and his Apostle. (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 57)

Sahih Muslim:

Anas b. Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah invoked curse in the morning (prayer) for thirty days upon THOSE WHO KILLED THE COMPANIONS (OF THE HOLY PROPHET) AT BI’R MA’UNA. He cursed (the tribes) of Ri’l, Dhakwan, Lihyan, and Usayya, who had disobeyed Allah and His Messenger. Anas said:

Allah the Exalted and Great revealed (a verse) regarding those who were killed at Bi’r Ma’una, and we recited it, till it was abrogated later on (and the verse was like this): convey to it our people the tidings that we have met our Lord, and He was pleased with us and we were pleased with Him”.  (Sahih Muslim Book 4, Hadith 1433)


… The Messenger of God set out during Jumada at the end of six months from the conquest of the Banu Qurayzah to the Banu Lihyan, seeking [vengeance] for the men [who were betrayed] at al-Raji, Khubayb b. Adi and his companions. To take the enemy by surprise…

He left Medina and travelled by Ghurab, a mountain near Medina, on his way north, then by Makhid and al-Batra. Then he veered to the left and, having passed Yayn and Sukhayrat al-Yamam, his route led him directly by the main road to Mecca. He travelled quickly and halted at Ghuran, where there were settlements of the Banu Lihyan.

[Ghuran is a valley between Amaj and Usfan extending toward a village called Sayah]. He found that they were on the alert and had taken secure positions on the mountain tops. After the Messenger of God halted there and failed to take them by surprise as he intended, he said,

‘If we went down to Usfan, the Meccans would think that we had come for Mecca.’ So he set out with two hundred riders of his Companions and halted at Usfan. He sent out two horsemen of his companions. They reached Kura al-Ghamim and then returned, and he turned back. [1]

Scholar(s) on this incident

Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum – Safi:

Bani Lihyan had acted treacherously towards ten of the Prophet’s Companions and had them hanged. Their habitation being situation deep in the heart of Hijaz on the borders of Makkah, and due to deep seated blood revenge between Muslims on the one hand, and Quraish and the Arabians on the other, the Prophet [pbuh] deemed it unwise to penetrate deep and come close to the greatest enemy, Quraish.

However, when the power of the allied Confederates collapsed and they began to slacken and resign to the current unfavourable balance of power, the Messenger of Allah seized this rare opportunity and decided that it was time to take revenge on Bani Lihyan.

He set out in Rabi Al-Awwal or Jumada Al-Ula in the year six Hijri at the head of two hundred Muslim fighters and made a feint of heading for Syria, then soon changed route towards Batn Gharran, the scene of his Companions tragedy, and invoked Allah’s mercy on them.

News of his march reached Bani Lihyan, who immediately fled to the mountain tops nearby and thus remained out of his reach. On his way back, the Prophet [pbuh] despatched a group of ten horsemen to a place called Kura Al-Ghamim, in the vicinity of the habitation of Quraish on order to indirectly confirm his growing military power. All these skirmishes took fourteen days, after which he left back for home. [2]

Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri:

In Usfan, in the heart of the Hijaz, lived Banu Lihyan, the tribe that had ambushed the seventy Muslims at Raj’i. The memory of that tragic incident filled the Prophet with the desire to punish Banu Lihyan, but he was forced to deal with several emergencies that demanded his attention, the Battle of the Trench was one among them.

Soon, however, the calm following the failed coalition gave him the opportunity to claim retribution. With an army of two hundred men and twenty cavaliers, he marched upon the murderous Banu Lihyan in Rabi Al-Awwal, 6 A.H.

The party reached Batn Gharan, a valley between Amj and Usfan, site of the massacre. There the Prophet prayed for the martyrs and halted for two days. When Banu Lihyan heard of the march against them, they took refuge in the hills and eluded capture, so the Prophet went to usfan with a squad of ten cavaliers in the vanguard. They moved up to Karaa Al-Ghamaim. After fourteen days, the Muslim forces returned to Madinah. [3]


[1] The History of Al-Tabari – The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina [Translator: Michael Fishbein], volume 8, page 42 – 43
[2] Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed nectar), by Safi ur Rahman Al Mubarakpuri, page 205
[3] When The Moon Split By Safi ur Rahman Al Mubarakpuri, Page 198