بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
During the ten years of peace that ensued with the Treaty of Hudaybia, the Prophet was freed of the constant hostility of the Quraysh. However, his other source of worry, the Jewish tribes, continued to plague him and the Muslims. They had reneged on agreements and incited other tribes to form a confederacy against the Muslims.
All of Khaybar and the area north of it formed their territory from where they launched campaigns against the Muslims. Three days before the Prophet was about to lead an expedition to Khaybar, a small clash called the Battle of Ghaba
took place. It was in the month of Muharram, 7 A.H.
The Prophet had sent his camels to graze in Ghaba, near Uhud.
With the herd were the Prophet’s slave, Rabah, a herdsman, and
Salamah bin Akwa رضي الله عنه , who was riding Abu Talha’s horse.
Suddenly, Abdul Rahman bin Uyaynah Fazari and his men swooped down, and after killing the herdsman, they rode away with all the camels. Salamah رضي الله عنه left his horse with Rabah and climbed a hill. Facing Madinah, he sounded the alarm. Three times he called, “Ya Sabaha!” Then he went after the thieves launching arrows at them. Undaunted at being alone, he sang a martial song:
‘Take this. I am the son of Akwa, and today is the day of a suckling.”
Salamah رضي الله عنه was very effective in harassing the thieves and he killed several of them. If a horseman turned back to give chase, Salamah رضي الله عنه would shoot at him from a tree. If they entered a hilly pass, he would scale the hill and set off a rock slide.
In desperation, the thieves set all the camels free, but Salamah رضي الله عنه continued to shoot at them.Then the thieves tried to lighten their mounts by throwing away thirty sheets and thirty lances. Salamah رضي الله عنه would cover them with a pile of stones so that they might be easily located, and he would go on after the horsemen.
After one such incident, the thieves sat down at a narrow turning of a mountain pass while Salamah رضي الله عنه sat on the peak. Four of them spotted him and moved towards him. Salamah said to them, “Do you know who I am? I am Salamah bin Akwa. I can easily catch anybody running among you, but none of you can catch me.” The men went back.
Shortly afterwards, Salamah رضي الله عنه noticed the cavalrymen of the Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ riding out from between the trees. The first to come in sight was Akhram, followed by Qatadah and Miqdad. Akhram and Abdul Rahman met in combat.
Although Akhram managed to wound Abdul Rahman’s horse, he himself was killed by Abdul Rahman, who then took his horse.Qatadah rode up and killed Abdul Rahman with his lance. Seeing their leader fall, the rest of the bandits took off with the Muslim cavalrymen in pursuit and Salamah still chasing them on foot.
Shortly before sunset, the thieves reached the mountain pass of Dhu Qarad. They were thirsty and exhausted, but Salamah’s arrows would not let them get near the water. The Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ and his Companions on horseback met up with Salamah رضي الله عنه after sunset.
Salamah رضي الله عنه submitted, “O Messenger of Allah! They are all thirsty, and if you give me a hundred men I will catch them by the scruff of their necks and bring them to you.”
The Prophet said, “O son of Akwa, now that you have the upper hand, show your enemies a little politeness. After all, now they are in the territory of their hosts, Banu Ghatfan.”
For his extraordinary feats that day, Salamah رضي الله عنه received two portions of the booty from the Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ one as a foot soldier and another as a cavalryman. He had the honor of sitting behind the Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ himself on the camel Azba’a, and of hearing the Prophet declare, ‘The best cavalry man among us today is Abu Qatadah, and the best foot soldier is Salamah.”
Sorry about the title but I just couldn’t resist. My little cousin after hearing this story came to tell us, “Do you know Musjidul Akwa can run faster than a horse!”