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Sura 33
Aya 9
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا اذكُروا نِعمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيكُم إِذ جاءَتكُم جُنودٌ فَأَرسَلنا عَلَيهِم ريحًا وَجُنودًا لَم تَرَوها ۚ وَكانَ اللَّهُ بِما تَعمَلونَ بَصيرًا

Muhammad Asad

O YOU who have attained to faith! Call to mind the blessings which God bestowed on you [at the time] when [enemy] hosts came down upon you, whereupon We let loose against them a stormwind and [heavenly] hosts that you could not see:1 yet God saw all that you did.
  • Cf. 3:124-125 and the corresponding note 93. The present passage (verses 9-27) relates to the War of the Confederates (al-ahzab) - also called the War of the Trench (al-khandaq) - which took place in 5 H. At the instigation of the Jewish tribe of Banu 'n-Nadir, who had been expelled from Yathrib (Medina) after they had broken the treaty binding them to the Muslims, several of the most powerful Abrabian tribes formed a confederacy with a view to overcoming, once and for all, the threat posed by Islam to the beliefs and many of the customs of pagan Arabia. In the month of Shawwal, 5 H., a force of well over 12,000 men, composed of the Quraysh and their allies the Banu Kinanah, Banu Asad and the people of the coastlands (the Tihamah), as well as the great Najdi tribe of Ghatafan and its allies, the Hawizin (or Banu 'Amir) and Banu Sulaym - converged upon Medina. Forewarned of their coming, the Prophet had ordered a deep trench to be dug around the town - a defensive measure unknown in pre-Islamic Arabia - and thus brought the assault uf the Confederates to a halt. At that point, however, another danger arose for the Muslims. The Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah, who lived in the outskirts of Medina and until then had been allied with the Muslims, broke the treaty of alliance and openly joined the Confederates. Nevertheless, during a siege lasting several weeks all the attempts of the latter to cross the trench - manned by the numerically much weaker and less well-armed Muslims - were repulsed with heavy losses to the attackers; dissensions, based on mutual distrust, gradually undermined the much-vaunted alliance between the Jewish and the pagan Arab tribes; in the month of Dhu'l-Qa'dah their frustration became complete when a bitterly-cold stormwind raged for several days, making life unbearable even for hardened warriors. And so, finally, the siege was raised and the Confederates dispersed, thus ending the last attempt of the pagans to destroy the Prophet and his community.