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Early Islam
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Ghazwa (Arabic: الغزوة) refers to battles of the early years of Islam in which the Prophet (s) himself was present, whether he had a military encounter in them or not. The most important ghazwas include the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq. There is a disagreement among historiographers over the number of ghazwas; some take it to be 26 and others take it to be 27.


The word "ghazwa" is from the root "gh-z-w" (Arabic: غ ز و) and its plural form is "ghazwat". It literally means fight or battle. The person who fights is called "ghazi" (غازي) and its plural form is "ghuzat" (غُزاة) and "ghuzza" (غُزّا). In Islamic terminologies, the word "ghazwa" refers to any battle of the early years of Islam in which the Prophet (s) himself was present.

Beginning of Ghazwas

According to Ibn Ishaq, from Rabi' I 12 of the first year after the migration to Medina (September 622) to the Safar month of the second year (August 623), the Prophet (s) had no battles. However, according to al-Waqidi, sariyyas (military expeditions) of Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, 'Ubayda b. al-Harith, and Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas occurred in the first year of the migration to Medina.

Battles in Which Military Encounter Occurred

Ibn Ishaq in his Sira and al-Tabrisi in his I'lam al-wara say that the following battles are those in which the Prophet (s) had a military encounter with his enemies:

Al-Mas'udi mentioned Battle of Tabuk, instead of Banu l-Mustaliq.


According to al-Mas'udi, the Prophet (s)'s ghazwas were 26, but some people took their number to be 27. The ground of the disagreement is that some people take the Prophet (s)'s return from Khaybar to Wadi l-Qura to be identical with the Battle of Khaybar, but others take them to be two distinct ghazwas. However, whereas Ibn Ishaq did not mention Wadi l-Qura after Khaybar, he took the number of the Prophet (s)'s ghazwas to be 27 by counting 'Umrat al-Qada' as a ghazwa.

Battle of Mu'ta

Although the Prophet (s) was not present in the Battle of Mu'ta, it was called a "ghazwa".


Title Muslim forces Forces of the enemy Location Date Result
Battle of Abwa' (Waddan) 200 cavalries and infantries unknown Abwa' Safar, 2/August, 623 Pact of mawadda with Banu Damra
Battle of Buwat 200 cavalries 100 people Buwat Rabi' I or Rabi' II, 2/September or October, 623 -
Battle of Dhu l-'Ushayra 200 cavalries An alliance of Quraysh, Banu Madlaj, and Banu Damra al-'Ushayra (a place between Mecca and Medina) Jumada I, 2/November, 623 Breaking the alliance of Banu Madlaj and the allies of Banu Madlaj and Banu Damra
the First Battle of Badr 200 cavalries Few forces under the commandership of a polytheist Badr Jumada II or Rabi' I, 2/ December or September, 623 The escape of polytheists
Battle of Badr 313 people with 2 horses and 70 camels 950 cavalries and infantries Badr Ramadan 17, 2/ March 16, 624 Muslims' victory over Quraysh
Battle of Banu Sulaym 200 cavalries Banu Sulaym and Ghatafan Between Mecca and Medina Shawwal, 2/April, 624 The escape of Banu Sulaym leaving their assets in the battlefield
Battle of Banu Qaynuqa' Muslims of Medina Jews of Medina Medina Early Shawwl, 2/Early April 624 Dismissing the Jews from Medina
Battle of Sawiq Few people 200 people Qarqarat al-Kudr Dhu l-Hijja, 2/June, 624 Escape of Quraysh
Battle of Dhi Amarr 450 people Banu Muharib Dhu Amarr in Najd Muharram, 3/July, 624 Escape of Banu Tha'laba; Muslims' sojourn for one month
Battle of Buhran 300 cavalries Banu Sulaym Buhran, a mine in Hijaz or an area in Zabi' Rabi' II, 3/September 624 -
Battle of Uhud 700 cavalries and infantries around Medina 2900 to 3000 people hillsides of Mount Uhud Shawwal, 3/March, 625 Martyrdom of 70 Muslims; failure of polytheists to gain a decisive victory; the rescue of the sieged armies of Muslims
Battle of Hamra' al-Asad 630 cavalries and infantries 9279 people from Quraysh Hamra' al-Asad, between Mecca and Medina Shawwal, 3/March, 625 Escape of the polytheists of Quraysh
Battle of Banu Nadir All Muslims in Medina the Jews of Banu Nadir Suburbs of Medina Rabi' I, 4/August-September 625 Dismissing Banu Nadir from the suburbs of Medina
Battle of Dhat al-Riqa' 400 cavalries and infantries Banu Muharib Dhat al-Riqa' in Najd Jumada I, 4/October-November, 625 Escape of Banu Tha'laba and Muharib
Battle of Badr al-Wa'd 1000 people 2000 people Badr Sha'ban, 4/January-February 626 No military encounter
Battle of Dumat al-Jandal 1000 cavalries and infantries Dumat al-Jandal tribes Dumat al-Jandal Rabi' I, 5/August 626 Escape and defeat of Jandal tribes
Battle of Khandaq 3000 people 10,000 people from polytheist tribes Medina Shawwal, 5/March 627 Defeat of parties (Ahzab) and their return without a victory
Battle of Banu Qurayza 3000 people 600 to 700 people Suburbs of Medina Dhu l-Qa'da- Dhu l-Hijja, 5/April 627 Victory of the Islamic army over Banu Qurayza'
Battle of Banu Lihyan Around 3000 people Banu Lihyan Gharran Jumada I, 6/September 627 Escape of Banu Lihyan
Battle of Dhi Qarad 500 to 700 people Ghatafan tribe Dhu Qarad Jumada I, 6/September 627 A peace treaty between Muslims and the Quraysh
Battle of Banu l-Mustaliq 1000 cavalries and infantries Banu l-Mustaliq al-Muraysi' Sha'ban, 6/January 627 Escape of polytheists after a short resistance
Battle of Hudaybiyya 1600 people Quraysh Hudaybiyya Dhu l-Qa'da, 6/March-April 628 Peace treaty between Muslims and the Quraysh
Battle of Khaybar 1600 people Jews of Khaybar Khaybar Muharram-Safar, 7/June 628 The defeat of people of Khaybar
Battle of 'Umrat al-Qada' 1400 Quraysh Mecca Dhu l-Hijja or Dhu l-Qa'da, 7 /March or April 629 Muslims' spirit improved and polytheists' spirit weakened
Conquest of Mecca 10,000 people Quraysh and Banu Bakr Mecca Ramadan, 8/January 630 Conquest of Mecca
Battle of Hunayn 12000 people Hawazin and Thaqif tribes Near al-Ta'if Shawwal, 8/February 630 The fall of Hawazin and Thaqif tribes
Battle of al-Ta'if 12000 people Thaqif and Hawazin tribes al-Ta'if Shawwal, 8/February 630 Return to Medina without victory
Battle of Tabuk 30,000 people Rome and its allies Tabuk Rajab and Sha'ban 9/October 630 Romans suggested a financial compromise with Muslims


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from غزوه in Farsi WikiShia.