Expedition of Dhat al-Riqa

Expedition of Dhat al-Riqa
DateOctober 625 AD or 627 AD in 3rd month of 7AH (Islamic Calendar)
LocationDhat al-Riqa
  • Enemy escapes (some sources claim treaty was signed)[1][2]
Commanders and leaders
Mohammed Unknown
400 or 800[2][3] Allied of Banu Muharib, Banu Talabah and Banu Ghatafan

The expedition of Dhat al-Riqa took place in October 625 AD, 5AH of the Islamic Calendar,[4] but some other Muslim scholars believe it took place after the Battle of Khaybar in 627 AD, i.e. 7 AH of the Islamic Calendar.,[5] 2 Quran verses 5:11 and 4:101 are related to this event.[6][7][8]

Background and Attack

Muhammed received the news that certain tribes of Banu Ghatafan were assembling at Dhat al-Riqa with suspicious purposes.

Muhammad proceeded towards Nejd at the head of 400 or 700 men, after he had mandated Abu Dhar - in the Ummayad version, the Ummayad chief who killed Abu Dhar is given this honor: Uthman bin Affan - to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence. The Muslim fighters penetrated deep into their land until they reached a spot called Nakhlah where they came across some bedouins of Ghatfan.[2][5]

This is called the expedition of Dhat al-Riqa(the patchwork of mountain) . Muhammad made a surprise raid on them to disperse them. The Ghatafan fled to the mountains, leaving their women behind. No fighting took place but Muhammad attacked their habitations and captured their women . Other sources report Muhammad signed a treaty with the tribe.[5]

When the prayer time came, the Muslims were worried that the Ghatafan men might descend from their mountain hideout and make a sudden attack on them while they were praying. Apprehending this fear, Muhammad introduced the ‘service of prayer of danger.’ In this system, a party of faithful stands guard while the other party prays. Then they take turns. According to Muslim sources, God revealed the verses 4:101 regarding shortening of a prayer.

And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will cause you distress, surely the unbelievers are your open enemy.[Quran 4:101]


While Muhammad was resting under the shade of a tree at Dhat al-Riqa, a polytheist man came to him with the intention of killing him. The man was playing with Muhammad’s sword and pointed it to Muhammad; asked him if he was afraid of him or not. Muhammad claimed that Allah would protect him and that he was not afraid. The would-be assassin then sheathed the sword and returned it to Muhammad. On this the verse 5:11 was revealed, proclaiming His unflinching protection for Muhammad whenever someone stretches his hand out for his life. After fifteen days Muhammad returned to Medina. But he was not at peace; he apprehended that the Banu Ghatafan might make a sudden attack to reclaim their women.[5][9]

Time of Expedition

Some scholars claim, the expedition took place in Nejd (a large area of tableland in the Arabian Peninsula) in Rabi‘ Ath-Thani or Jumada Al-Ula, 4 A.H (or beginning of 5AH). They substantiate their claim by saying that it was strategically necessary to carry out this campaign in order to quell the rebellious bedouins in order to meet the exigencies of the agreed upon encounter with the polytheists, i.e. minor Badr Battle in Sha‘ban, 4 A.H.

The opinion according to Saifur Rahman al Mubararakpuri, however, is that Dhat Ar-Riqa‘ campaign took place after the fall of Khaibar (and not as part of the Invasion of Nejd). This is supported by the fact that Abu Hurairah and Abu Musa Ashaari witnessed the battle. Abu Hurairah embraced Islam only some days before Khaibar, and Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari came back from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and joined Muhammad at Khaibar. The rules relating to the prayer of fear which Muhammad observed at Dhat Ar-Riqa‘ campaign, were revealed at the Asfan Invasion and this scholars say, took place after Al-Khandaq (the Battle of the Trench).[5]

Islamic sources

Quran 4:101 and 5:11

The Quran verse 4:101 was reportedly revealed in this event, regarding shorting of prayers. As was verse 5:11, regarding a man who was sent to kill Muhammad or threaten him[9] which states:

O ye who believe! Call in remembrance the favour of Allah unto you when certain men formed the design to stretch out their hands against you, but (Allah) held back their hands from you: so fear Allah. And on Allah let believers put (all) their trust. [Quran 5:11]

Biographical literature

The event is mentioned by the Muslim jurist Tabari as follows:

There is a difference in opinion as to which of the expedition took place after that against the Banu Nadir, according to Ibn Humayd - Salamah - Ibn Ishaq: The Messenger of God remained in Medina after the expedition against the Banu Nadir, for the two months of Rabi and part of the month of Jumadah (from August 11 to late October 625) . Then he went on an expedition into Najd directed against the Banu Muharib and Banu Thalabah, part of the Ghatafan.

[Foundations of the Community, by Tabari, p. 161] [4]

This event is also mentioned in Ibn Hisham's biography of Muhammad. The Muslim jurist Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya also mentions the event in his biography of Muhammad, Zad al-Ma'ad.[5] Among the modern secondary sources which mention this, include the award winning book,[10] The Sealed Nectar.[5]

Hadith literature

The Sunni Hadith collection Sahih Muslim also says about this event:

We went forward with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and when we reached Dhat ar-Riqa', we came to a shady tree which -we left for him One of the polytheists came there and, seeing the sword of the Messenger (may peace be upon him) hanging by a free. took it up. drew it from the scabbard and said to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him): Are you afraid of Me? He (the Holy Prophet) said: No. He again said: Who would protect you from me? He said: Allah will protect me from you. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) threatened him. He sheathed the sword and hung it up. Then call to prayer was made and he (the Holy Prophet) led a group in two rak'ah. Then (the members of this group) withdrew and he led the second group in two rak'ah. So the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed four rak'ah and people observed two rak'ah.Sahih Muslim, 4:1830

See also


  1. Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 192
  2. 1 2 3 Muir, William (August 1878) [1861], The life of Mahomet, Smith, Elder & Co, p. 223
  3. Watt, W. Montgomery (1956). Muhammad at Medina. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-577307-1. External link in |title= (help) (free online)
  4. 1 2 Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, p. 161, ISBN 978-0-88706-344-2
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 240
  6. Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic). Islamic Book Trust. ISBN 9789957051648.Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here
  7. Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Mukhtaṣar zād al-maʻād, p. 345.
  8. Haykal, Husayn (1976), The Life of Muhammad, Islamic Book Trust, p. 327, ISBN 978-983-9154-17-7
  9. 1 2 3 Muir, William (August 1878) [1861], The life of Mahomet, Smith, Elder & Co, p. 224
  10. Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar. Dar-us-Salam Publications
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