The Conquering Commander Who Was Loved By Allah And His Messenger
The Messenger of God was saddened by the defeat of his banner and army on two consecutive days under the leadership of two prominent companions (Abu Bakr and 'Umar). Thus, the Messenger declared the following:
"By God, tomorrow I shall give the banner to a man who loves God and His Messenger, and who is loved by God and His Messenger. He shall take Khaybar by force."
Many Qurayshite companions wished to be the one so highly praised by the Prophet. Imam Ali, at that time, had sore eyes and, therefore, was not expected to be the chosen man. The following day, though, he was brought before the Prophet. The Prophet medicated and cured the Imam's eyes with his blessed saliva. The Imam never complained about his eyes again.
Military tradition demands that the army confronts the enemy ahead of the commander. Imam Ali did the opposite. He ran ahead of the army towards the Jewish fortress. A group of Jews, led by their hero Marhab, came out of the fortress to face the Imam. Imam Ali swiftly annihilated Marhab. Marhab's men ran back to the fortress and closed the heavy door. The Imam, with his bare hands, unhinged the gate and went after them. While fighting, a man hit the shield of the Imam and made him lose it. So, the Imam held the door with his hand and used it as a shield until he finished the battle and defeated the Khaybarites. When the Imam left the door, the companions discovered a miracle:
Abu Rafi'a, a companion of the Prophet, said the following:
"I, along with seven other men, tried to turn the door but we failed." (Ibn Hisham, AI-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah, part 2, pages 234-35; also Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, Al-Tawhid, pages 11-12)
This unique event in history shows us that Imam Ali was a formidable opponent of the Jews and that he was the one who defeated them. Thus, the Almighty opened the fortress of Khaybar at the hand of Ali before the entire Islamic army had arrived. This also shows us that an Islamic army composed of 14 hundred warriors, led by two prominent companions, could not enter the fortress of the Khaybarites, but the great Imam was able to defeat the Jewish forces all by himself.
Adapted from the book: "The Shi'ites Under Attack" by: "Imam Muhammad Jawad Chirri"
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