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Expedition of Bir Maona

Expedition of Bir Maona
Date625, 4 AH
LocationBir Maona
  • 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), took place 4 months after the Battle of Uhud in the year 4 A.H[2] of the Islamic calendar. Muhammad sent missionaries to preach Islam, 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 on these Muslim missionaries. 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 seventy — 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]

Attack on Muslims

At Bir Maunah, the Muslims sent a messenger(Haram bin Milhan) with a letter of Muhammad to Amir bin Tufayl, the cousin of Abu Bara and the chief of Banu Amir. Amir did not read the Message but rather ordered a man to spear Haram bin Milhan in the back. Amir bin Tufayl then requested the Banu Amir people to help him fight the Muslims. They refused to his request, as they were reluctant to betray the promise of safety by Abu Bara to the Muslims. So, Amir bin Tufayl took the help of Banu Salim against the Muslims. Together, they attacked the Muslims. The Muslims fought back, but in the end, all of them were killed except for Ka‘b bin Zaid bin An-Najjar who was carried wounded from among the dead. He later died in the Battle of the Trench.[1]

When the news of this massacre[4] reached Muhammad, he was greatly grieved and sent Amr bin Umayyah al-Damri and an Ansar to investigate the whole matter.[1] On his way back to Qarqara, Amr bin Umayyah rested in the shade of a tree, and there two men of Banu Kilab joined him. When they slept, Amr killed them both, thinking that by doing that he would avenge some of his killed companions. [1]

Then he found out that they had been given a pledge of protection by Muhammad. He told Muhammad what he had done. Then Muhammad said to ‘Amr, that he (Muhammad) must pay a debt for the killing of those he pledged protection to (the Dhimmi's)[1]

Muhammad was so deeply moved by this tragedy that he used to invoke God's wrath against those people and tribes who killed his Companions. Anas reported that for thirty days Muhammad supplicated God against those who killed his Companions at Ma‘una Well. [1]

Every dawn prayer he would invoke God's wrath against Ri‘l, Dhakwan, Lihyan and ‘Usaiyah tribes. He would say,

Usaiyah disobeyed Allâh and His Messenger. [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/586-588][1]

A new Qur’ânic verse was revealed that he kept on reciting till it was abrogated later on:"Inform our folk that we have encountered our Lord and He is satisfied with us and we are satisfied with Him" (Quran 3:169-173).[1]

Motives for attacking Muslims

According to William Montgomery Watt, the motives 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.[5]

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.[6] Modern secondary sources which mention this, include the award winning book,[7] Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar).[8] The event is also mentioned by the Muslim jurist Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya in his biography of Muhammad, Zad al-Ma'ad.[9]

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 g h i j k l m 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. ^ Sir William Muir, The Life of Mahomet and History of Islam, to the Era of the Hegira ..., Volume 3, p. 205
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Mubarakpuri, The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet , p. 352 (footnote 1).
  7. ^ Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar. Dar-us-Salam Publications
  8. ^ Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 280, ISBN 978-9960-899-55-8 
  9. ^ Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, Za'd al Ma'd, p. 2/91. (see also Abridged zād al-maʻād)