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A Persian Hero Among Arabs

The Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench) or The Battle of Aḥzāb (Battle of the Confederates) will always be remembered for Imam Ali’s (a.s) victory in his encounter with Amr ibn Abd Wudd.

The defeat of the bravest and strongest man in the enemy’s army, who was considered equivalent to a thousand soldiers in terms of being warlike and courageous, saved the blushes of the Muslims’ army and was a momentous factor in an unlikely victory. The Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family) stated, "Ali's stroke in the battle of Khandaq is superior to any jinn's or human's (thaqalayn) worship." (1)  
Yet in the tale of this battle, there should be more talk about an underrated companion; Salman Al-Farsi. In the month of Shawwal five years after the Hijra, the Quraysh tribe united with other tribes, such as Banu Nadir in order to destroy Islam. An army of ten thousand warriors, three hundred horses, and 1,500 camels was on their way with one common goal in mind; to annihilate Muslims and Islam.  
An ally from the Khuza'a tribe informed the Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family) about the movement. Thus, the Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family) asked for people's thoughts about whether to stay in Medina and fight there, or leave the city and confront the polytheists out of the city. The situation was tense as the danger was very, very grave. The Muslims needed a bright idea to fend off a certain defeat. Salman Al-Farsi came up with an idea which provoked amazement among both Muslims and the polytheists. He advised digging a trench around the Muslims’ army, which was welcomed by the Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family).
Thus, the Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family) ordered that a trench be dug. The digging started from a fortress located in the west of Fath Mosque named Mudhad. The Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family) specified around twenty meters for every ten people, or as stated in some reports assigned parts for every tribe to dig. As a great leader would do, the Prophet (p.b.u.h. & his family) himself contributed to the work. After six long days, they reached the Dhubab region and Mount Ratij (besides Mount Banu 'Ubayd, at the West of Bathan). The trench was complete before the Muslim army, with Mount Sal' behind them.
Upon reaching the battlegrounds, the enemies were shocked by the trench, which ruined all their plans. All this set the course for an unpredicted victory for Muslims. This was thanks to Salman Al-Farsi’s genius plan, making him a well-needed hero.(2)

(1) Al-Khisal, p.579. 
(2) View Al-Tabri, v.2, p.566-569; Al-Maghazi, v.2, p.453 – 454. 



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