The Battle of Hunayn
The resounding victory of the Muslims over the Quraysh and the ever-increasing conversions to Islam deeply frightened the enemies out of their senses. Therefore, these adversaries made another attempt, as a last remedy of sort, to check Islam’s fast growing power and popularity but all these failed, rendering their efforts completely inutile.
Assemblage of Hawazin
Hawazin were the old enemies of the Quraysh who considered themselves as their rivals in power and prestige. The submission of the Quraysh to the rising power of Islam had made them undisputed champions of paganism, as they began to harbor hopes of winning the laurels by bringing the Muslims upon their knees. They saw a god-sent opportunity to build up their fame on the declining prestige of the Quraysh.
The Hawazin chief, Malik b. ‘Auf al-Nasari declared he was against the Muslims which was seconded by several other tribes like Thaqif, Nasr, Jusham and S’ad b. Bakr. Two clans of Hawazin, K’ab and Kilab, kept away from Malik b. ‘Auf, but the rest of the alliance commissioned their forces to descend on the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). They also took their cattle, women and children, staking everything on the issue of the battle, in order to ensure that every one would fight to the last and that nobody would retreat or get back to their homes.
An old veteran Durayd b. al-Simma, who was known for his competence in the art of warfare, also accompanied the Hawazin army that took its bivouac at Autas.(58) Their camp reverberated with the groaning of the camels, braying of the asses, bleating of the sheep and goats as well as with the crying of the children. Malik instructed his men: “Break your scabbards as soon as the Muslims are in sight and then attack them as one man.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 437-39)
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had with him two thousand Makkahns, some of whom were recent converts while others had yet to accept Islam, along with the ten thousand troops he had brought from Madeenah. This was thus the strongest force mobilized so far to defend the honor of Islam. The Muslims were, naturally, overconfident because of their great strength while some even exultantly boasted that they could not be defeated now for want of numbers. (Tafsir Tabari, Vol. X; pp. 63-64)
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) obtained on credit, on this occasion, some coats of mail and arms from Safwan b. Umayyah although the latter was still a polytheist. (Ibn HIsham, Vol. II, p. 440)