Battle of Sawiq

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Battle of Sawiq
Date 2/624
Location Suburban Medina
Result
  • After polytheists killed two Muslims and set fire to farms of Urayd, they fleed.
  • Muslims looted "sawiq", a kind of flour.
Cause Revenge for the polytheists' casualties in the Battle of Badr
Belligerents
Muslims Polytheists
Commanders
The Prophet (s) Abu Sufyan
Strength
200 200 soldiers or 40 cavalries, based on conflicting information.
Casualties
2 0

Battle of Sawīq or Ghazwa al-Sawīq (Arabic: غَزْوَة السَّویق) was a ghazwa by the Prophet (s) in the 2/624. In this battle, the polytheists of Mecca invaded the surroundings of Medina in order to avenge their casualties in the Battle of Badr. However, they fled after killing two Muslims and burning palm groves. In order to escape faster from Muslims who were chasing them, they threw down their provisions including sawiq (a kind of flour). The battle ended without a confrontation.

Revenge against the Battle of Badr

The defeat of polytheists in the Battle of Badr, in which a number of noblemen in Mecca were killed, led the polytheists to revenge against the Prophet (s) and Muslims. Abu Sufyan, who had lost his son and some of his close companions in the battle, vowed that he would not have intercourse with women and would not lubricate his hair with oil until he revenges from Muslims.[Note 1][1] In Dhu l-Hajja 2 (May 624), Abu Sufyan and a number of polytheists left Mecca to attack Muslims. According to some sources, there were 200 polytheists involved in the invasion, and according to others, there were 40 cavalries involved.[2]

Murder of Two Muslims

After crossing the Najdiyya region, the polytheists approached a water well near a mountain known as "Tayt".[3] In order to gain information about the condition of Muslims, Abu Sufyan went to people from the Banu Nadir Tribe.[4] He first went to the house of Huyay b. Akhtab, but he did not open the door to Abu Sufyan out of fear.[5] He then went to Sallam b. Mishkam, the head and the treasurer of Banu Nadir Jews. Sallam received Abu Sufyan, giving him information about the condition of the Prophet (s) and Muslims. During the dawn, Abu Sufyan and his army invaded the palm groves around Medina. After burning a palm tree and two houses in 'Urayd, the polytheists attacked and killed two people from Ansar.[6] With this revenge, Abu Sufyan fulfilled his vow, and then escaped back to Mecca together with other polytheists.[7]

A Battle without a Confrontation

Once the Prophet (s) learned about the story, he appointed Abu Lubaba b. 'Abd al-Mundhir as his successor in Medina, and then began chasing the polytheists of Mecca together with 200 people from Muhajirs and Ansar. The Muslim army advanced to an area known as Qarqarat al-Kudr, from where they returned to Medina after failing to find Abu Sufyan.[8]

According to al-Tabari, since no confrontation occurred between Muslims and polytheists in this invasion, Muslims asked the Prophet (s) if they could refer to the chasing as a “ghazwa”. The Prophet (s) confirmed that it counted as a ghazwa.[9]

Reason for Naming

"Sawiq" refers to a flour made of sautéed wheat or barley mixed with either water or honey or oil.[10] The battle is known as "Sawiq" because while running away back to Mecca, Abu Sufyan and other polytheists threw down most of the provisions, including their sawiqs, in order to make their loads lighter and escape at a higher speed. Thus, the battle was known as the “Battle of Sawiq”.

Notes

  1. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 181; Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 2, p. 139; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 3, p. 416.
  2. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 484; Ḥamawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, vol. 2, p. 65.
  3. Ḥamawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, vol. 2, p. 65; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 484.
  4. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 30.
  5. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 3, p. 416.
  6. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 30.
  7. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 3, p. 416; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 484.
  8. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 181.
  9. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 484.
  10. Zarqānī, Sharḥ al-zarqānī, vol. 2, p. 353.
  1. Simply put, he intended not to bathe or adorn himself as an outward sign of grief.

References

  • Ḥamawī, Yāqūt b. ʿAbd Allāh. Muʿjam al-buldān. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Ibn Athīr, ʿAlī b. Muḥammad. Al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh. Beirut: Dār al-Ṣādir, 1399 AH.
  • Ibn Kathīr, Ismāʿīl b. ʿUmar. Al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya. Edited by ʿAlī Shīrī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Ibn Saʿd, Muḥammad b. Manīʿ al-Baṣrī. Al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā. Beirut: Dār al-Ṣādir, 1968.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk. Beirut: Dār al-Turāth, [n.d].
  • Wāqidī, Muḥammad b. ʿUmar al-. Al-Maghāzī. Beirut: Aʿlamī, 1409 AH.
  • Zarqānī, Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Bāqī al-. Sharḥ al-Zarqānī. Edited by Muḥammad ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Khālidī. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmīyya, 1417 AH.