Dhul Qa'dah is the 11th month of the Hijri calendar and the first of the three consecutive sacred months. It is named Dhul Qa'dah from the verb "qa'ada" which means to sit. People used to sit back aka abstain from fighting in this month.
Dhul Qa'dah was considered a sacred months even before Islam in the time of Jaahiliyyah. This was so because people would begin their travels for Hajj usually in this month and make their way towards Makkah. Likewise, the month of Muharram was also considered sacred so that the hujjaj could return back to their lands. Rajab, in the middle of the year was made sacred so that those coming from the farthest areas of Arabia were able to perform umrah and then go back to their areas safely.
Allah tells us,
إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًۭا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌۭ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَـٰتِلُوا۟ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةًۭ كَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةًۭ ۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ
Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred. That is the Right Way. So do not wrong one another during these months. And together fight the polytheists as they fight against you together. And know that Allah is with those mindful ˹of Him˺ [Surah at-Tawbah, 36]
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul Qa'dah, Dhul Hijjah and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumad (ath-thani) and Sha'ban." [Bukhari]
The Establishment of The Truth
Why did the Prophet ﷺ say, "Time has come back to its original state.." This is because the Arabs used to play around with the months to suit their means. Fighting is not allowed in the sacred months. But at the time, looting, plundering, and taking from other weaker tribes was the norm. So to justify their actions and whenever they needed to fight during one of the sacred months, or whenever a sacred month approached while they were already fighting, they would say, "This year, this month is not sacred. The next month will be the sacred one." Ex: If Muharram arrived, they would say that this year, the month of Muharram is not sacred, instead of that, the month of S afar will be sacred."
They made it child's play. It was up to them to give any name to any month, call it Dhul Hijjah or call it Ramadan or make one come earlier and make the other come later. After the Conquest of Makkah in 8 AH, the Prophet ﷺ sent Abu Bakr ؓto lead the people in Hajj. This month, in reality was the month of Dhu al-Hijjah but the people as per their old customs had declared it to be Dhul Qa'dah. A very special incident happened here.
On the day of Sacrifice for that years Hajj, on the commands of the Prophet ﷺ, Ali bin Abi Talib stood and proclaimed, "O people! No disbeliever will be admitted into Paradise, no idolator will be permitted to perform Hajj next year, there shall be no Tawaf while naked, and whoever has a covenant with Allah's Messenger, then it shall be valid until its time of expiration."
This was the last time any idolator or naked person performed Hajj. When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ performed his farewell Hajj, there were no idolators at all. This Hajj was in 10 AH and as Qadr would have it, the true calendar and the calendar of the pagans also coincided and it was the genuine month of Dhul Hijjah. This is why, the Prophet ﷺ said in his khutbah at Mina, "Time has come back to its position Allah had set the day He created the Heavens and the Earth."
From the ayah in Surah at-Tawbah we learn that this ordering of the months was recorded in the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz) since eternity. This setting of the months came into being when the Heavens and the Earth were created. One might ask, "Why is so much emphasis put on if they changed months here and there, surely it is harmless right?" No it isn't. It made a mockery of the religion of Allah. The Shariah is very closely connected to the calendar. Things like the payment of our Zakat, the Hajj, the fasting of Ramadan and so much more are linked to knowing when we are in which month. By distorting these months, the pagans distorted the Shariah of Allah for years.
Along with the Gregorian calendar we as Muslims should know what our calendar is as well. We should revive and make it come back to life again by using it often in our dealings.
The Fantastic Four
Allah has created time and has made some times better than others. Throughout the year, there are some months, some days and nights that are better than others. In these times, the rewards are multiplied. There are also some restrictions put for us to train ourselves. This is from the immense Mercy of Allah towards us. Allah is giving us multiple checkpoints and bonuses throughout the year to get more rewards and at the same time to check ourselves. The intelligent person is the one who makes the most of these special times, maximises his profits in the hereafter, and draws nearer to Allah.
In these sacred months, we should:
- Abstain from sins as the sins are heavier in these months.
- Increase in good as the deeds are multiplied in these months.
- Keep the tongue moist with dhikr: Especially in glorifying Allah and seeking His Forgiveness (Istighfar)
- Voluntary fasting
- Increase in charity
- Help those around you and in need
- Increase in reading and pondering over the Book of Allah.
Ibn Abbas said that this phrase - "so do not wrong yourselves during them…" referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas رحمه الله wrote, "The hint given here is that these blessed months have an exclusive characteristic of their own. Whoever devotes to Ibadah during these is awarded with the ability and encouragement to engage in it during the rest of the months. Similarly, a person who makes the necessary effort to stay safe from sins and other bad deeds during these months finds that remaining safe from these evils during the rest of the months of a year has become easier on him. Therefore, not making the best out of these months is a terrible loss." [Ahkam al-Quran]
The Prophet's ﷺ Pilgrimages and Marriages
One of the biggest honour that this month of Dhul Qa'dah has over the rest was that it was chosen by Allah to have his Messenger ﷺ perform most his Umrahs therein. The Prophet's ﷺ first umrah and three out of a total four umrahs were completed in this month. Even for the umrah that was done with Hajj, the Prophet ﷺ entered into the state of Ihram in Dhul Qa'dah itself.
- The Umrah al-Hudaybiyah which he did not complete and had to abandon because of the Quraysh (6 AH).
- The Umrah al-Qada' performed a year after returning from Hudaybiyah (7 AH).
- The Umrah done in the year of the Conquest of Makkah (8 AH).
- The Umrah done during the Farewell Hajj (10 AH).
Because of this, our mother Aisha رضي الله عنها, Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه, and others like Ata' were of the opinion that performing umrah in Dhul Qa'dah is superior to umrah in Ramadan for Allah would only choose the best for His Messenger ﷺ.
The Prophet ﷺ married our mother Zainab bint Jahsh in Dhul Qa'dah 5AH.
The Prophet ﷺ married our mother Maimunah bint al-Harth in Dhul Qa'dah 7AH.
Honoured Prophet Musa عليه السلام
Prophet Musa عليه السلام was ordered to stay away from his people for 30 days in preparation to receive the Suhuf from Allah at Mount Tur. These were the days of Dhul Qa'dah.
Layth narrates on the authority of Mujahid with regards to the ayah:
۞ وَوَٰعَدْنَا مُوسَىٰ ثَلَـٰثِينَ لَيْلَةًۭ وَأَتْمَمْنَـٰهَا بِعَشْرٍۢ فَتَمَّ مِيقَـٰتُ رَبِّهِۦٓ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةًۭ ۚ
We appointed for Musa thirty nights then added another ten—completing his Lord’s term of forty nights. (Surah al-A'raf, 142)
that he said, "It is Dhul Qa'dah." and the ten days that completed it were the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
The Battle of Trench (Khandaq)
The Battle of the Trench or also known as the Battle of Khandaq, the Battle of Ahzab, or the Battle of the Confederates. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars of Seerah if it occurred in Shawwal 4 AH or in Shawwal 5 AH. Imams al-Zuhri, al-Bukhari, Ibn Hazm, al-Nawawi and others opine that the battle occurred at the start of Shawwal in 4 AH. On the other hand, Imams Ibn Ishaq, at-Tabari, Ibn al-Qayyim, and others opined that it occurred in Shawwal 5 AH.
The Battle of Trench was a 30-day long siege of Madinah between the Muslims and the confederates of the Quraysh and the Jewish tribes. It started in Shawwal and ended in Dhul Qa'dah. The Muslim army was approximately 3,000 in number whereas the Confederates were 10,000 strong. Of these, 4,000 alone were from the Quraysh. Such a unification of multiple tribes was unheard in the history of Arabia. So when the confederates were humiliated and sent back as losers by the Muslims, it established them as the new emerging super-power of Arabia.
A few lessons that we can learn from this are:
Quality Over Quantity
Another important point we need to focus on here was that just like in Badr, the numbers were not on the side of the Muslims in the Battle of Khandaq. This shows us that its more about the quality rather than quantity. The reason such small numbers could take on and emerge victorious against impossible numbers of the opposition was tawakkul.
Complete steadfastness and faith in the promise of Allah, utmost sincerity of intention and more importantly following the commandments of the Prophet ﷺ without any question. They coupled that with harakah to get barakah because we are taught to tie the camel before we leave things to Allah. Contrast that to what we are today - large in numbers but hardly any quality, looking for loopholes to get around our obligations.
Our teacher Sheikh Dr Sajid Umar حفظه الله advises us that even today, yes even today if we are sincere in our intention and completely rely upon the aid of Allah alone and put in the work, Allah out of his immense Mercy will send down angels to help us in our difficulties.
Pay attention to actions rather than words for anyone can speak but very few take actions. Lut عليه السلام who was the nephew of Ibrahim عليه السلام was a silent spectator observing Ibrahim take on the entire pagan society. To make a persons Iman true, adherence to truth is always tested. Being in a minority is never a problem for Allah. Seek lessons from the life of Prophet Ibrahim, Lut, Musa and even Badr and do away from the minority mindset.
Invest In People
While Salman al-Farsi remained in Madinah he couldn't participate in either the battle of Badr or Uhud with the Prophet ﷺ and nor could he benefit from him for he was enslaved to a Jewish man. From the story of the freedom of Salman al-Farsi we learn how the Prophet ﷺ built Madinah as a society and instilled brotherhood among the sahaba. The Jewish owner of Salman had asked for 300 trees in return for his freedom.
The Prophet ﷺ not only asked the community to help their brother but they also had to put in the effort of digging out the tree and digging a hole to plant it too. It wasn't a detached donation from them but rather an attached investment. Donating is just one thing but actually volunteering and taking the charity to the people dignifies the deed. The Master of the Children of Adam, the Vessel of Revelation, the Imam of the Prophets of Allah ﷺ at over 50 years of age under the Arabian sun walks down to plant 300 date trees all by himself just for the sake of a slave.
The Prophet ﷺ didn't just see a slave but rather he saw a believer seeking the Truth. Why is this significant? The Battle of Trench was fought that exact same year in which Salman was freed. Salman al-Farisi advised the Prophet ﷺ saying, “In Persia, when we were surrounded by the enemy, we used to surround ourselves with a trench.”
This also teaches us that we should always be open to advices, learning, and exploring any means of benefit. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The word of wisdom is the lost property of the believer. Wherever he finds it, he is most deserving of it.” [Tirmidhi] Innovation is good when it is in the realm of the dunya. Innovation is haram when it is in the realm of the religion.
Shoura and Signs of A True Leader
Again benefitting from the story of Salman al-Farsi, we see that despite being the Messenger of Allah who received revelation from above the seven heavens, the Prophet always did shoura before making a major decision. It was his decision of doing shoura and truly being open to ideas and feedback that brought the idea of digging a trench to protect Madinah.
Winning leaders use 4 adherence accelerators to sharpen their teams focus. They:
1. Cut through complexity to keep things simple.
2. Have absolute clarity about the one thing that is most important.
3. Know when to say no to activities that diffuse their focus.
4. Keep their plans and critical goals visible for all to see.
The Prophet had cultivated a very heathy environment of learning and discussion. From this we also learn that different experiences and training give different people a whole different perspective and ways to tackle a problem that we could have missed completely. Not being open to feedback, suggestions and advice is a recipe for disaster. Rather it may block off the road to learning, building and moving forward. For Prophet Muhammad to take into account the idea of Salman al-Farsi despite it being an unheard of tactic in Arabia and actually bank the safety of the entire city on it after weighing in its pros and cons is what true leaders are made of.
We also see that the Prophet always led from the front. Jabir reported: On the day of the battle of Al-Khandaq, we were digging the trench when a very hard boulder came in our way. The Companions went to Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and told him about it. He said, "I will go down the trench to see it." He stood up and it was noticed that he had tied a stone over his stomach due to intense hunger. [Bukhari] The Prophet was on the ground with his people. He struggled with them and worked twice as hard than anyone there. This increased the love and respect in the hearts of those that surrounded him, if an increase was even possible. Just the lessons from the battle of Khandaq can triumph multiple bookshelves that talk about leadership and management.
Signs of Prophethood
When the Companions of the Prophet were digging the trench, they found a rock which was too immense for their spades to break up. So, they sought the help of the Prophet. This also teaches us that he was strongest of them and led his companions from the front.
The Prophet struck the huge rock three times, and each time he would strike it, a bright light would spark – and in another narration it was like a light in the middle of a dark night. The Prophet took his spade and struck the rock uttering: "Allaahu Akbar! The keys of Shaam are granted to me, I swear by Allaah, I can see its palaces at the moment”; on the second strike he said, "Allaahu Akbar! Persia is granted to me, I swear by Allaah, I can now see the white palace of Madain"; on the third strike he said, “Allaahu Akbar! I have been given the keys of Yemen, I swear by Allaah, I can see the gates of Sana' while I am in my place.” [Ahmad].
All these countries were conquered exactly as the Prophet informed us, but they were not all conquered at the same time. The first city to be conquered in Shaam was Busra. It was conquered in a peace treaty during the reign of Abu Bakr. Umar continued its conquest and conquered Persia as well.
Ibn Sa'd when speaking about the conquests of 'Umar may Allaah be pleased with him said, “He conquered the entire Iraq, Azerbaijan, Al-Basra, Persia, and ancient Syria.”
As regards Yemen, Islam spread in it during the reign of the Prophet and Mu'adh ibn Jabal was sent there by the Prophet to teach and guide the people.
The Treaty of Hudaybiyah
in 6 AH, the Prophet ﷺ saw in a dream that he had entered Makkah and was performing Umrah. The Prophet ﷺ mounted his camel and marched out towards Makkah on the 1st Dhul Qa'dah at the head of 1500 Muslims including our mother Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها. The Quraysh on hearing of this movement got tensed.
Eventually, the Prophet ﷺ sent Uthman ibn Affan رضي الله عنه to Abu Sufyan and other chiefs and told them that the Muslims had come only to perform Umrah. The Quraysh were adamant and not prepared to grant them the permission to perform Umrah while the Muslims camped at Hudaybiyah. While the discussions went back and forth in Makkah, it was feared that something bad had happened to Uthman because of the delay in his return. The Muslims took a pledge to stand and fight with the Prophet ﷺ if something had happened to Uthman. This pledge was called the Bay‘at ar-Ridwan. The Quraysh on seeing the firm and unwavering resolve of the Muslims cowered. They could not let the Muslims do Umrah because it was a matter of ego for them. After more back and forth, it was agreed that there will be a treaty signed between the two groups.
The clauses of the treaty were as follows:
- The Muslims shall return this time and come back next year, but they shall not stay in Makkah for more than three days.
- They shall not come back armed but can bring with them swords only sheathed in scabbards and these shall be kept in bags.
- War activities shall be suspended for 10 years, during which both parties will live in full security and neither will raise sword against the other.
- Whosoever wishes to join Muhammad (ﷺ), or enter into treaty with him, should have the liberty to do so; and likewise, whosoever wishes to join Quraysh, or enter into treaty with them, should be allowed to do so.
- If anyone from Quraysh goes over to Muhammad (ﷺ) without his guardian's permission, meaning a fugitive, he should be sent back to the Quraysh; but should any of Muhammad's (ﷺ) followers return to the Quraish, he shall not be sent back.
Allah Always Has Good Planned For Us
At face value this looks like the Muslims were being subjected to humiliating terms. In reality, this was a political master-stroke from the Prophet ﷺ. While the sahaba were sad and dejected, Allah called Hudaybiyah “a clear victory” when He said,
إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًۭا مُّبِينًۭا
Indeed, We have given you, (O Muḥammad), a clear victory. [Surah al-Fath, 1]
Success and victory is not always measured by direct wins. Short-term setbacks can be accepted in pursuit of a greater cause. Imam Ibn al-Hajar رحمه الله said, “No victory in Islam was greater than al-Hudaybiyah.” Allah granted the Muslims victory, sidelined the Quraysh and opened Arabia for them without raising a sword.
How was this treaty a victory for the Muslims?
- With this treaty, the Quraysh had now recognized Muslims as a political entity and began to deal with the believers on equal terms.
- The Muslims now had the opportunity to spread Islam over areas not then explored. Within the two years following the conclusion of the treaty double as many entered Islam as ever before. The Prophet ﷺ went out to Hudaybiyah with only 1400 men, but when he set out to liberate Makkah 2 years later, he had 10,000 men with him.
- The Quraysh eventually asked the Prophet to scrape Point 5 as many people had escaped Makkah and were intercepting Qurayshi caravans since they couldn't go to Madinah.
- In 7 AH, 3 key figures of Makkah: Amr bin Al-‘Aas, Khalid bin al-Waleed and Uthman bin Talhah entered into Islam. At this, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Quraysh has given us its own blood.”
- In 6-7 AH, the Prophet ﷺ decided to send messages to the kings beyond Arabia calling them to Islam.
- Khaibar soon fell to the Muslims marking the end to a Jewish threat and bringing with it immense riches for the Muslims. The spoils taken at Khaibar were so great that Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه said, “We never ate our fill until we had conquered Khaibar.” Aishah رضي الله عنها is narrated to have said, “Now we can eat our fill of dates.”
- Hudaybiyah was seen as a direct pre-cursor that led to the Conquest of Makkah.
From Hudaybiyah we learn many many lessons that can fill a library if put on paper. We want to focus on one: Don't take all that's happening in your life at face value. Don't take all that's happening in your life at face value. Some events could just be your Hudaybiyah. It may look bad at first and you might feel like things are not going your way. But wait - the hidden returns, in the long run, the doors that might open, may all pale the little difficulties you faced at the start. This could be Allah training and preparing you to be able to receive a bigger blessing that He has in store for you. The Conquest of Makkah happened just months after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
KNOW that your life has been written by the Most Wise. A Lord who is 70 times more merciful and caring towards us than our own mother. What boils down to us, is to put in our max effort and without a doubt have faith in the Plan of Allah. Indeed there is ease after difficulty. Allah never wants difficulty for a believer. There is always some khayr in whatever we are experiencing. We have less than a pixel while Allah has more than the clearest picture.
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said, "If the veils were lifted from Allah’s Kindness and what He does for him (the servant) of what he knows and what he does not know, his heart would melt out of love for Him (Allah) and longing for Him, and he (the servant) would fall prostrating in gratitude to Him (Allah). But the hearts are veiled from witnessing that because of their devotion to the world and their attachment to perceived causes, so they are prevented from the beauty and perfection of His favours. That is the decree of the Mighty, the All-Knowing." [Tariq al-Hijratayn]
لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكْرَهُوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّوا۟ شَيْـًۭٔا وَهُوَ شَرٌّۭ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not. [Surah al-Baqarah, 216]
What if the difficulties are a lot? Our Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله said, "Calamities are a warning from Allah. It is Allah informing the people that Allah's laws or commands are being disobeyed. The cycle for a sinner is such that committing one sin opens the door to another sin. This is a punishment from Allah. When a person sins, they should realize and return back to Allah in repentance.
Whenever you are suffering, look into your relationship with Allah. Allah has promised us good but what matters is that we do our part of the deal. Allah asks only for 2 things in return for success: Iman and putting that Iman into action. Allah promises to take care of all of a person's worries when the Akhirah becomes the primary worry of a person. Tell me this, how is it possible for a person to fail in life when Allah is looking after your affairs. Make sure you take care of your Aqeedah, and your Iman, and try to keep perfecting your relationship with Allah." [Sharh Riyadhus Saliheen]
Lesson from the Advice of Umm Salamah
The Muslims had the opportunity of returning to their home aka Makkah after six years in exile. Yet, the Prophet was now asking them to turn back towards Madinah. It was the first time that a form of dissatisfaction was shown on the faces of some of the sahaba to a command of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
Again, we see our beloved Prophet ﷺ doing Shoura and discussing matters with his wife, our mother Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها. His face was red with anger and sorrow as he entered the tent of Umm Salamah. She advised him, “Sacrifice your animal and shave your head and you will find that they will obey.”
As the Prophet ﷺ emerged from his tent in silence, his companions watched on as he sacrificed his sacrificial animal and shaved his head. The sahaba immediately rushed to follow suit after realisation hit them of what was happening.
Our Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله said, "When you look for a wife, a partner, look for someone who is smart and will support you and guide you. Don't marry someone dumb who will increase your pain when you come back home. When you're under pressure, you come to her and she knows how to cool you down. When she is under pressure, she comes to you and you know how to cool her down. The Prophet ﷺ knew he had someone at home that is why he went home for advice. Some people don't come home to their wives, but go to "professionals" for help. If this is the case then your selection process for a spouse was completely wrong. Start crying from now. Whether you like it or not your wife will know you better than anyone else and vice versa. You should both understand each other very well. Your wife has to be your best consultant in times of need and you for her."
True Love and Respect
When the Quraysh sent Urwah ibn Mas‘ud to negotiate with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, he saw the unparalleled reverence that the Companions accorded the Prophet ﷺ. He saw how whenever the Prophet ﷺ performed wudhu the sahaba would race to get the leftover water of his wudhu and almost fighting for it. If he spat, they took it in their hands and wiped it over their faces and bodies like perfume. If a hair of his fell, they ran to get it; if he ordered them with something, they hastened to carry it out without a moments delay; and when he spoke, they would lower their voices in his presence, and none of them could look at him directly out of awe of him. When he returned to the Quraysh, he told them: “O assembly of Quraysh, I’ve been to Chosroes in his kingdom; Ceaser in his kingdom; and Negus in his kingdom. But, by Allah, I have never seen a king among his people treated like how Muhammad is treated by his Companions.”
Fun Fayda: The longest hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari is that of "the Truce of Hudaibiyah" (2731). It has 1723 words.
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