Q&A: The Shuhada’ (Martyrs) of the Battle of Mu’tah
Assalamu Alaykom Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu,
Our brother, beloved, Shaykh, and Ameer Ata’ bin Khalil Abu al-Rashtah, may Allah (swt) preserve and protect you, and grant victory on your hands. May He (swt) keep away from you the hatred of those who hate you, the transgression of the transgressors, and may Allah (swt) make us of those submissive to Him (swt) and to His Messenger ﷺ under your leadership, and keep our feet firm so that we do not slip or betray… our respected Shaykh, I have a question which I hope you could answer as soon as possible, it is:
It is mentioned in the book The Islamic State, page 106, the first line under the chapter “Liberation of Makkah”: “When the Muslims returned from the battle of Mu’tah, having suffered a large number of casualties…”
Our Shaykh and leader, I paused at the statement “having suffered a large number of casualties”, and I searched through all the references for something to indicate the validity of this phrase or the proof of its reality – but found in the narrations those who said that the number of those killed was 8, and others said it was 12, while others said 13 and others said it was 15, and there are indications to the contrary, including that the Prophet ﷺ gave Khalid bin Al-Waleed the nickname of “The undefeated sword of Allah” and called them as the fighters, not the runaways. And if we saw how 9 swords were broken in the arms of Khalid, we would have known the strength of the Muslims and their patience in fighting, and how terror was crept in the tribes after the Romans were beaten. It is also mentioned how the bodies of the Shuhada’ were full of stabs up to 50 to 70 stabs and sword strikes, and on the other hand, the best of Sahaba and memorizers of the Qur’an were killed in the battle of Uhud who numbered more than those killed in the battle of Mu’tah according to narrations, but we did not say that they suffered a large number of casualties in this battle.
I hope that you answer and clarify this matter, may Allah swt bless you, wassalamu alaykom wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.
From Sa’di Thib Awadh
Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu,
We had previously answered this question and sent it to the different regions, but it seems like you have not seen the answer from your region for some reason. I convey to you some of what was mentioned in the answer in relation to your question:
[The mentioned extract from the book The Islamic State is:
“When the Muslims returned from the battle of Mu’tah, having suffered a large number of casualties, the Quraysh deemed that the Muslims were finished, so they motivated the tribe of Banu Bakr against Khuza’ah and supplied them with weapons. Banu Bakr attacked Khuza’ah killing some of their men and the remaining Khuza’ah fled to Makkah for refuge. ‘Amru ibn Salim al-Khuza’i then hurried to Madinah and told the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم what had happened and implored his help…”
There are narrations that say that the number of martyrs in Mu’tah were 12, while other narrations state that they were about 70. This means that what is mentioned in the book makes sense, especially that (logically) one assumes that the number of martyrs is many, because the number of the Muslim Army was about three thousand, and the enemies’ army was two hundred thousand. In addition, the three army commanders were martyred, especially that they were the bearers of the banner of Rasoolullah, and the army in the old wars would usually rush around the banner which shows, according to the reality of the old wars, that many numbers of the army were martyred.
1- Some evidence that the Martyrs of Mu’tah numbered 70 or so:
*- it is mentioned in the book Dala’il al-Nubuwah for Al-Baihaqi (3/277):
(Abu Al-hussein bin Bishran Al-Adl informed us in Baghdad: Abu Amr bin Al-Sammak said: Hanbal bin Ishaq said: Affan said: Hammad bin Salama said: that Thabit narrated that Anas said: Oh Allah, the seventy of Al-Ansar: seventy on the day of Uhud, seventy on the day of Bir Ma’ounah, seventy on the day of Mu’tah and seventy on the day of Al-Yamamah)
*- in the Seerah Al-Nabawiyah for Ibn Kathir (3/91):
(Hammad bin Salamah narrated, from Thabit, from Anas, that he used to say: (the number of their martyrs) reached almost seventy on the day of Uhud, and the day of Bi’r Ma’ounah, and the day of Mu’tah, and the day of Al-Yamamah)
2- Evidence that the martyrs of Mu’tah are 12 or so:
*- it was reported in Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiyah for Ibn Kathir (3/489):
(the chapter of Those Muslims Martyred At Mu’tah: from amongst the muhajireen…. these total four. From among the Ansar… these numbered four. The total of Muslims killed that day was these eight men, according to the account of ibn ishaq. However, Ibn Hisham stated, „“According to Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri of those killed at Mu‘tah…. these four were also ansar and so according to these two authorities the total killed should be twelve men.)
*- Also, in the Seerah An-Nabawiyah in Light of The Qur’an and Sunnah (2 / 428):
“… It is rare in the history of wars for one soldier to fight against seventy heavily armed soldiers, but it is the faith that turns cowards into brave, and turns the brave into heroes, and it is perhaps surprising that all the Muslims that were martyred in Mu’tah were only eight, and some say twelve.”
– In terms of combining the evidences, since the two evidences do not differ in terms of strength, it is then required that we take the narration of the seventy because the narration of the twelve is incorporated in the first narration, and thus both narrations are combined, so the extent of knowledge of the first (narrator) that they were twelve and did not know about the others, but the second has known more. And the martyrdom of seventy of the three thousand is attested by “a large number”…
Therefore, what is mentioned in the book The Islamic State is true, and thus, it is not necessary to change what is mentioned in the book) Ends 13/02/2017] ends.
I hope this answer is sufficient, and Allah (swt) knows best, and is the Most Wise.
Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah
12th Sha’ban 1439 AH – 28/04/2018 CE
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