An incident of “Istighatha”: Using Intermediaries and Intercessors

(Written by Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad, reproduced with permission)

In SP AH wrote:

One night, the Prophet of Allah ﷺ may Allah bless him and grant him peace – was in his house and was heard to proclaim ‘I am here!’ three times and ‘You have been granted help’ also three times. Umm al-Muʼminīn, Maymūnah – may Allah be well pleased with her – asked the Prophet – may Allah bless him and grant him peace – whom he had been talking to since there was no one present. He ﷺ may Allah bless him and grant him peace – replied, ‘I was talking to a person called Rajiz from the tribe of Banī Kaʻab. He asked for help from me against the Quraysh.’ Umm al-Muʼminīn, Maymūnah – may Allah be well pleased with her – said that when she finished fajr prayer the next morning, she heard Rajiz calling out in the streets of Madina: “Yā Rasūl-Allāh! Help us and call the servants of Allah to help us.”

Shaykh Yūsuf al-Nabhānī, Allah have mercy on him, cites two hadiths in this respect with their full wording in the chapter of the Prophet’s ʻilm al-ghayb in his encyclopedia of the Prophetic miracles, “Hujjat Allāh ʻala al-ʻĀlamīn bi-Muʻjizāt Sayyid al-Mursalīn” (p. 493):

<<Al-Ṭabarānī narrates that Maymūna the Mother of the believers said: “The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, was sleeping with me one night and he got up to make ablution and pray. I heard him say during his ablution in the dead of night:

“Labbayka labbayka labbayka”

– [like this,] three times – then:

“nuṣirta nuṣirta nuṣirta”

[like this,] three times. When he came out, I asked him, “Messenger of Allāh, I heard you say, during your ablution, ‘In your service!’ three times, and ‘To your defense!’ three times, as if you were addressing someone. Was there someone with you?” He replied: “This was the poetry champion (rājiz) of the Banū Kaʻb” – one of the sub-tribes of the Khuzāʻa – “invoking my aid (yastaṣrikhunī) (1) and asserting that the Quraysh had helped the Banū Bakr against them.” The latter had allied themselves with the Quraysh the day of the Ḥudaybiya truce while the Khuzāʻa had allied themselves with the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, and he became duty-bound to defend them. The support of the Quraysh for the Banū Bakr against the Khuzāʻa was therefore a violation of their truce with the Messenger of Allāh, upon him blessings and peace. This incident was the catalyst for the conquest of Makka and, immediately afterwards, he prepared himself to enter it and conquered it. (2)

<<Ibn Isḥāq said – as found in Ibn Hishām’s Sīra – that when the Banū Bakr and the Quraysh defeated the Khuzāʻa and looted them, violating the terms of the solemn pact to which they had agreed with the Messenger of Allāh, upon him blessings and peace, by warring with the Khuzāʻa, his formal allies, ʻAmr ibn Sālim al-Khuzāʻī, one of the Banū Kaʻb there, rode out until he came to see the Messenger of Allāh, upon him blessings and peace, in al-Madīna. His coming gave the impetus for the conquest of Makka. (3) He stood before the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, as the latter sat in the Mosque, in full sight of the people, and declaimed:

Lord! I am appealing to Muḥammad
by the time-honored pact of both our fathers. (4)

You (5) were a father and we a son;
then we entered Islām and remained loyal.

Help us, and may Allāh help you always!
Summon His servants, they shall come in arms,

Among them, the Prophet mobilized–
if he is wronged, his face glowers.

In his legion he marches, a sea, foaming.
Quraysh broke its treaty with you!

They violated the truce they pledged you,
made me as good as dead and buried! (6)

They claimed I could not call on anyone
although they are meaner and less by far!

They snared us at Watīr during our vigils
and slew us as we bowed and prostrated. (7)

<<The Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, said: “In your defense, ʻAmr ibn Sālim!” Then the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, glimpsed a cloud in the sky and said: “Truly, this cloud is initiating the victory of the Banū Kaʻb.” Then he geared himself for the conquest of Makka and conquered it. (8)>>


(1) Ibn Ḥajar in al-Iṣāba (4:631) mentions another wording, “invoking my mercy (yastarḥimunī).

(2) Narrated from Maymūna by al-Ṭabarānī in the Kabīr (23:433-434 §1052) and Ṣaghīr (2:167-169 §968) and al-Taymī in his Dalāʼil (p. 73-74 §59), both with a slightly weak chain because of Yaḥyā ibn Sulaymān ibn Naḍla al-Madīnī cf. al-Haythamī (6:163-164) although Ibn ʻAdī in al-Kāmil (7:255 §2156) said “he narrated reports from Mālik and the Madinans, most of which are valid.” Ibn Ḥibbān included him in his Thiqāt (9:269). Cf. Iṣāba (4:631), Fath. (7:520), Sīra Ḥalabiyya (3:5), and Daḥlān’s Sīra (2:76-77).

(3) Cf. Ibn ʻUmar’s narration in Ibn Ḥibbān (13:140 §5996) and Ibn Ḥajar, Talkhīṣ al-Ḥabīr (4:131 §1929).

(4) Allāhumma innī nāshidu Muḥammadā / ḥilfa abīnā waʼabīhi al- atladā.

(5) I.e. the Banū Hāshim and Banū ʻAbd al-Muṭṭalib with a rhetorical trope of apostrope (iltifāt).

(6) Wa-jaʻalū lī fī kadāʼin raṣadā, misspelt in al-Nabhānī as wa-jaʻalū lī fīka dāʼin raṣadā.

(7) Ibn ʻAsākir (43:519) narrated from Ibn al-Musayyab: “There is not one homebound woman of Banū Khuzāʻa except she memorized the verses of ʻAmr ibn Sālim al-Khuzāʻī to the Messenger of Allāh, upon him blessings and peace.

(8) Narrated
(i) through al-Zuhrī from ʻUrwa ibn al-Zubayr from the Companion al-Miswar ibn Makhrama and the Tābiʻī Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam by Ibn Isḥāq in the Maghāzī (cf. Ibn Hishām 5:48, al-Ṭaḥāwī, Sharḥ Maʻānī al-Āthār 3:315-316, Iṣāba 4:630-631, and Bidāya 4:278), al-Ṭabarī in his Tārīkh (2:152-153), Ibn ʻAsākir in his Tārīkh (43:519- 520), and al-Bayhaqī in the Sunan al-Kubrā (9:233) and Dalāʼil;
(ii) from Ibn ʻAbbās by Ibn Mandah and Abū Nuʻaym in Maʻrifat al-Ṣaḥāba as well as Ibn al-Athīr in Usd al-Ghāba (4:225-226 cf. Iṣāba 5:285);
(iii) from Abū Hurayra by al-Bazzār and al-Bayhaqī (cf. Bidāya 4:281) with a fair chain according to Ibn Ḥajar in the Fatḥ (7:520) and al- Haythamī (6:162);
(iv) from the Tābiʻīn Abū Salama and Yaḥyā ibn ʻAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Ḥāṭib by Ibn Abī Shayba (7:398 §36900) and
(v) also mursal from ʻIkrima by Ibn Abī Shayba (7:400-401 §36902) and al-Ṭaḥāwī in Sharḥ Maʻānī al-Āthār (3:291, 3 :312-313). The bracketed segment is narrated only through al-Zuhrī. Cf. Iktifāʼ (2:215); al-Fākihī, Akhbār Makka (5:103); Istīʻāb (3:1175-1176); Ibn al-Qayyim, Zād (3:348-349); Sīra Ḥalabiyya (3:5-6); Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ṣārim al-Maslūl (2:214); Iṣāba (1:122), Fatḥ (7:519-520), Talkhīṣ al-Ḥabīr (4:131-132 §1929), Ibn al-Athīr, Kāmil (2:162), al-Suhaylī, Rawḍ (2: 265), and Kanz (§14422, §30166, §30195, §30204). Al-Watīr or Watīn is a Khuzāʻa watering-point in the lowest area of Makka cf. Yāqūt and al-Nihāya. Ibn Isḥāq and al-Wāqidī said that ʻAmr was accompanied by forty riders of the Banū Khuzāʻa when he arrived in Madīna. Another report by al-Bārūdī with a weak munqaṭiʻ chain attributes those verses to Budayl ibn Kulthūm ibn Sālim al-Khuzāʻī cf. Iṣāba (1:274).

Blessings and peace on the Prophet his Family, and all his Companions.

[SP 2006-03-02]

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