Battle of Khaybar

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet set out for Khaibar and reached it at night. He used not to attack if he reached the people at night, till the day broke. So, when the day dawned, the Jews came out with their bags and spades. When they saw the Prophet; they said, "Muhammad and his army!"

The Prophet said, "Allahu Akbar! (Allah is Greater) and Khaibar is ruined, for whenever we approach a nation (i.e. enemy to fight) then it will be a miserable morning for those who have been warned."

Bukhari 52.195

That mighty victory would come only two years into the ten-year non-aggression pact. Muhammad used the breathing space provided by the Treaty of Hudaibiyah to complete the encirclement of Mecca. In the meantime, he delivered the spoils promised by Allah in Revelation 48:19 by attacking Khaybar (also spelled Khaibar). Under the treaty, Mecca had to remain neutral in disputes between the Muslims and their enemies. The eight fortresses of Khaybar fell to the Muslims in just ten days. A revelation about the conquest of Khaybar:

48:20 Allah has promised you many spoils, for you to take, and He has hastened this one (the spoils of Khaybar) and held the hands of people back of you (the clause in the Treaty of Hudaibiyah that prevented the Meccans from intervening), that it may be a sign to the believers and that He might guide you to the straight path.

48:21 And another one (Mecca) which you could not take; Allah had besieged already. Allah has power over everything.


Most probably this is a reference to the Conquest of Makkah. The same is the opinion of Qatadah and Ibn Jarir. It seems to mean this: "Though Makkah has not yet fallen to you, Allah has encircled it, and as a result of this victory at Hudaibiyah, it will also fall to you."

The Bedouins who refused to accompany Muhammad on his attempted pilgrimage to Mecca were denied Khaybar. The Prophet, always thinking ahead, would give them a chance to redeem themselves, offered in Revelation 48:16, in what he expects will be a much bigger challenge: the taking of Mecca.

48:11 The Bedouins who stayed behind will say to you: “Our possessions and our families preoccupied us; so ask forgiveness for us.” They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say: “Who can avail you anything against Allah, if He wishes to harm you or He wishes to profit you? No, Allah is fully aware of what you do.

48:12 “Rather, you thought that the Messenger and the believers will never return to their families; and that was embellished in your hearts and you entertained evil thoughts and were a useless people.”

48:13 He who does not believe in Allah and His Messenger, We have, indeed, prepared for the unbelievers a blazing fire.

48:14 To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He forgives whomever He wishes and punishes whomever He wishes. Allah is All-Forgiving and Merciful.

48:15 Those who stayed behind will say, when you set out after certain spoils to seize them: “Let us follow you”; intending to change Allah’s Words. Say: “You shall not follow us; thus has Allah said already.” They will then say: “No, you are jealous of us.” Rather, they understand but a little.

48:16 Say to those who stayed behind: “You shall be called up against a people of great might; you shall fight them or they shall submit. If, then, you obey, He will grant you a fair wage; but if you turn away as you turned away before, He will inflict a painful punishment upon you.”

Some who did not make the journey were not to blame.

48:17 The blind are not to blame, nor the cripple is to blame, nor the sick are to blame. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will admit him into Gardens beneath which rivers flow; but he who turns away, He will inflict upon him a painful punishment.

There is more to being a believer than simply saying “we submit,” as the Bedouins have yet to discover.

49:14 The Bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You do not believe, but say: ‘We submit’; for belief has not yet entered your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not stint you any of your works. Allah is surely All-Forgiving and Merciful.”

49:15 Indeed, the believers are those who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, then were not in doubt, but struggle with their possessions and themselves in the Cause of Allah. Those are the truthful ones.

49:16 Say: “Will you inform Allah about your religion, while Allah knows what is in the heavens and in the earth? Allah has knowledge of everything.”

49:17 They regard it a favour to you that they have submitted. Say: “Do not regard your submission a favour to me; rather Allah has favoured you when He guided you to belief, if you are really truthful.

49:18 “Allah knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth, and Allah sees well the things you do.”

Khaybar was the last refuge of the Jews of the Hijaz. The Jews who survived the slaughter were forced out of the area by Caliph Umar, the second successor to the Prophet as leader of the believers.

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Umar bin Al-Khattab expelled all the Jews and Christians from the land of Hijaz. Allah's Apostle after conquering Khaibar, thought of expelling the Jews from the land which, after he conquered it belonged to Allah, Allah's Apostle and the Muslims. But the Jews requested Allah's Apostle to leave them there on the condition that they would do the labor and get half of the fruits (the land would yield).

Allah's Apostle said, "We shall keep you on these terms as long as we wish."

Thus they stayed till the time of Umar's Caliphate when he expelled them to Taima and Ariha.

Bukhari 53.380

For more on the taking of Khaybar see 1001 Sayings and Deed of the Prophet Muhammad: Khaybar, Boreal Books.