Battle of Autas

The Battle of Autas or Awtas[1]{[2] was an early battle involving Muslim forces, fought in the year 630 in Awtas, after the Battle of Hunayn, but prior to the Siege of Ta'if.[3] Muhammad came with 12,000 fighters against a coalition of tribes. An ambush took place and a rain of arrows were fired on the Muslims.[4] The Muslims, however, came out victorious,


A league of mountain tribes hostile to Muhammad formed an alliance to attack him.

The league consisted of Thakefites, Hawazins, Joshimites, Saadites and several other hardened mountain tribes. According to Islamic tradition the valley of the Banu Sa'd (who Irving called "Saadites") is where Muhammad was nurtured as a child and was also purified by an Angel.[5]

The "Thaqifites" were idolaters who worshipped Allāt. They controlled the productive area of Taif, and were also the tribe which drove Muhammad out of Taif, pelting stones at him in the public square, when he was first preaching Islam.


Muhammad went to Autas with 12,000 men. As the Muslim army passed through the valley of Hunain, a group of hostile tribes fired rain of arrows on the Muslims.

The attacked surprised the Muslims, and many fled away from the arrows. Only nine men remained with Muhammad, including Uthman. After a while the Muslim regrouped and gathered around Muhammad. They then marched to Autas, after a confrontation, the tribes were defeated and the Muslims captured a large amount of war booty.[1][2]

Primary sources

The Sunni hadith collection Sahih Muslim mentions that Muhammad sent an army to Autas:

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's Messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's Messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:" And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (Quran 4:. 24)" (i. e. they were lawful for them when their 'Idda period came to an end) Sahih Muslim, 8:3432

The Quran verse [Quran 4:24] is also related to this incident,[6] it states:

And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah's ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.[Quran 4:24] [6]

The Muslim Mufassir Ibn Kathir's commentary on this verse in his book Tafsir ibn Kathir is as follows:

(Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess.) The Ayah means, you are prohibited from marrying women who are already married,

(except those whom your right hands possess) except those whom you acquire through war, for you are allowed such women after making sure they are not pregnant. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "We captured some women from the area of Awtas who were already married, and we disliked having sexual relations with them because they already had husbands. So, we asked the Prophet about this matter, and this Ayah was revealed,

(Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess). Consequently, we had sexual relations with these women. This is the wording collected by At-Tirmidhi An-Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir and Muslim in his Sahih. Allah's statement,

(Thus has Allah ordained for you) means, this prohibition was ordained for you by Allah. Therefore, adhere to Allah's Book, do not transgress His set limits, and adhere to His legislation and decrees.[7]


  1. 1 2 Ashraf, Shahid (15 June 2005), Encyclopaedia Of Holy Prophet And Companion (Set Of 15 Vols.), Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd., p. 31, ISBN 978-81-261-1940-0 Page 31 in which volume?
  2. 1 2 Battle of Autas, Archived July 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic). Islamic Book Trust.Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here
  4. Muhammad: Victory
  5. Irving, Washington (February 21, 2008), Lives of Mahomet and his successors, Kessinger Publishing, LLC, pp. 111–113, ISBN 978-0548883037. Note: A Full version of this book is available free on Google books
  6. 1 2 Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Ibn Ḥanbal; Isḥāq ibn Ibrāhīm Ibn Rāhwayh (1993). Chapters on marriage and divorce: responses of Ibn Ḥanbal and Ibn Rāhwayh. Translated by Susan Ann Spectorsky. University of Texas Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780292776722.
  7. Saed Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad (11 November 2009), Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 5 (Part 5): An-Nisaa 24 to An-Nisaa 147, MSA Publication Ltd., p. 24, ISBN 9781861795632 (online)

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