Expedition of Bir Maona
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Expedition of Bir Maona
Expedition of Bir Maona
Date625, AH 4
  • Muhammad sends missionaries to preach islam[]
  • Missionaries were set up and killed[1]
Muslims Banu Lahyan tribe
40 or 70 Unknown
Casualties and losses
40-70 Muslims killed [1][2] 2

The Expedition of Bir Maona (also spelt Ma'una), according to Islamic tradition, took place four months after the Battle of Uhud in the year A.H. 4[2] of the Islamic calendar. Muhammad sent missionaries to preach Islam,[better source needed] at the request of Abu Bara. Forty (as per Ibn Ishaq) or seventy (as per Sahih Bukhari) of the Muslim missionaries sent by Muhammed were killed.[1]


Four months after the Uhud battle, a delegation of Banu Amir came to Muhammad and presented him with a gift. Abu Bara stayed in Medina. Muhammad declined to accept that gift because it was from a polytheist and asked Abu Bara to embrace Islam. He requested Muhammad to send some Muslims to the people of Najd to call them to Islam. At first, Muhammad was quite apprehensive of this, as he feared that some harm might befall these Muslim missionaries.[better source needed] On Muhammad's hesitation, Abu Bara guaranteed the safety of the emissaries of Muhammad.[1]

The Muslim scholar Tabari describes the event as follows:

Ibn Ishaq's Biography claims that forty men were sent to them; but Sahih al-Bukhari states that there were 70-- Al-Mundhir bin 'Amr, one of Banu Sa'ida, nicknamed 'Freed to die' -- commanded that group, who were the best and most learned in the Qur'an and jurisprudence.[1]

A short time after the Raj'i incident (4 Safar/April 625), chief of the Amir ibn Sa'sa' tribe Abu Bara' Amir ibn Malik came to Madina and obtained information about Islam from Prophet Muhammad. Despite not being Muslim himself, he requested that the Prophet send representatives to his tribe to teach them about Islam. After receiving assurances of their safety, the Prophet assigned a group of seventy (or forty) people well-versed in the Qur'an, most of them natives of Madina and People of the Suffa, led by Mundhir ibn 'Amr al-Khazraji. When the group arrived at Bi'r Al-Mauna, on the road between Makka and Madina, the Prophet's Companion Haram ibn Milhan was given the responsibility of taking Prophet Muhammad's letter to the chief of the Amir ibn Sa'sa' tribe. Meanwhile, upon receiving news that Amir ibn Malik had died, Haram ibn Milhan gave the letter to the former's nephew Amir ibn Tufayl and invited those around him to Islam. Just as longtime, avowed enemy of Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims, Amir ibn Tufayl, had the envoy killed, he incited members of the tribe to launch an attack on the Muslims at Bi'r Al-Mauna. However, the people did not respond positively to this proposal due to the fact that Amir ibn Malik had guaranteed the safety of members of the delegation. Amir ibn Tufayl then appealed to certain branches of the Banu Sulaym tribe with whom they had bonds of friendship. With his provocation, armed groups from the neighboring tribes attacked the Muslims waiting at Bi'r Al-Mauna and completely unaware of any of these developments. They killed everyone except Ka'b ibn Zayd al-Najjar, who was severely wounded and left for dead, and Mundhir ibn Muhammad (or Harith ibn Thimma), who had taken the camels out for pasture at the time, and 'Amr ibn Umayya. Unable to bear what had happened to his friends, Mundhir ibn Muhammad attacked the polytheists and was also killed. When 'Amr ibn Umayya, who was taken as prisoner, said that he was from the tribe of Mudhar, he was released by Amir ibn Tufayl to fulfil his mother's votive offering of emancipating a slave.

Learning of this horrific incident by means of revelation and informing his Companions therein, Prophet Muhammad felt more pain and sorrow than ever before and cursed those responsible for this incident during every morning prayer for thirty or forty days on end. He sent a force of 24 men under the command of Shuja' ibn Wahb, with the purpose of punishing the Amir ibn Sa'sa' tribe who were responsible for the Bi'r Al-Mauna massacre (8 Rabi` al-Awwal/May 629). Many animals were taken as booty and women captured in a sudden night raid. Some time later, a Muslim delegation from the Banu Amir ibn Sa'sa' came to Prophet Muhammad and requested that the women taken captive be released. Consulting with Shuja' ibn Wahb and his Companions, the Prophet released the women upon their acceptance of Islam.

Motives for attacking Muslims

William Montgomery Watt wrote that the motive of the Banu Lahyan for attacking Muslims, was that the Banu Lahyan wanted to get revenge for the assassination of their chief at Muhammad's instigation.[4]

The background for the Abdullah Ibn Unais expedition revealed that Sufyan (tribal chief) was on his way to kill Muslims. Abdullah ibn unais, upon enquiry to this intelligence encountered Sufyan to which he informed him he was. The Muslim migration to Madinah to reach safety from persecution in Makkah, clearly was being followed with tribes being sent to disrupt the Madinan community even after they had emigrated and were forced from their homes in Makkah. The intention of all these expeditions was to stop Muslim trade, Muslims' relations with other tribes and attempts at settling down into a community.[]

Islamic sources

Biographical literature

This event is 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] Modern secondary sources which mention this, include the award-winning book,[6]Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar).[7] The event is also mentioned by the Muslim jurist Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya in his biography of Muhammad, Zad al-Ma'ad.[8]

Hadith literature

The event is mentioned in the Sunni hadith collection Sahih Bukhari, as follows:

The event is also mentioned in the Sahih Muslim hadith collection as follows:


According to Mubarakpuri, Quran 3:169-173 is related to the event, and the verse was later abrogated.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mubarakpuri, The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, pp. 352.
  2. ^ a b 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
  3. ^ Tabari, The History of al-Tabari Vol. 7: The Foundation of the Community: Muhammad, p.151, 1987, ISBN 0887063446
  4. ^ Watt, W. Montgomery (1956). Muhammad at Medina. Oxford University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-19-577307-1. The common version, however, is that B. Lihyan wanted to avenge the assassination of their chief at Muhammad's instigation, and bribed two clans of the tribe of Khuzaymah to say they wanted to become Muslims and ask Muhammad to send instructors. (online)
  5. ^ Mubarakpuri, The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, p. 352 (footnote 1).
  6. ^ Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine. Dar-us-Salam Publications.
  7. ^ Mubarakpuri, Safiur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 280, ISBN 978-9960-899-55-8
  8. ^ Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, Za'd al Ma'd, p. 2/91. (See also Abridged z?d al-mad).


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