[A couple of years ago (maybe longer?) some sisters asked me to come up with a Ramadan quiz for them to work on during Ramadan in the hope that it might encourage them to learn throughout the month. I’ve decided to post the answers to those questions as a series this month Inshallah.]

The last two questions were on matters of Aqeedah: Tawheed and Shirk, so now it’s time to mix it up a bit with some history set in Ramadan with the following question:

3) From the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) until now, which major victories by Islamic armies took place during Ramadan?

Before I start the list, I’d just like to state that I’m not including modern battles (of this and the previous century), because all of the others – such as the Yemini civil war in the 60s, which lasted nine years) continued for really long durations. That and there aren’t any major victories to report on.

Now, the list (which, by the by, I got from that great source of online information: Wikipedia, as well as a Muslim source).

 1)  2H – The Battle of Badr. Now, I’m sure everyone knows the story of this battle (The Message / Ar-Risala, anyone?) and I was going to give you a quick refresher anyway, but seriously, the link has it covered better than me. It’s quite a gripping read! But when you read this, bear in mind: the Muslims set out to raid a caravan, they ended up fighting those who had driven them out – many of whom were their family, and on top of this they were fasting. Subhanallah. And all the kerfuffle over Muslims fasting through the Olympics. Grrr.

2) 5H – The Battle of the Ditch. Ok, so technically this didn’t happen in Ramadan – it happened in Shawwal. However, the Muslim army prepared and trained for this in Ramadan, spending six days digging a massive ditch around the city, harvesting all the crops early and moving all the women and children into the middle of the city. All during the last ten days of Ramadan. Alhamdulillah Allah granted them a decisive victory.

3)  8H – The Conquest of Makkah. Alhamdulillah the Makkans did not challenge the Muslims, but if they had, the Muslim army was ready to conquer either way. This happened on the 10th of Ramadan – can you imagine the Eid celebrations that year?!

4) 53H – Conquest of Rhodes. Apparantly, Omar ibn Al-Khattab refused to allow the Muslim armies to take to the seas and fight the Roman navy, because it was not something he was familiar with and was not sure that the Muslims would come out of it unscathed. Therefore it wasn’t until the Khalifah of Muawaiya  that the Muslims really developed a navy. Muawiya decided enough was enough and that pesky Byzantine empire needed to be sorted out. First though, he tested the new navy (consisting of 300 big ships carrying weapons and 1000 men each, and 500 smaller ships carrying 100 men each) on some islands in the Mediterranean, starting off with Cyprus, before moving on to other islands. Rhodes was of strategic importance because of how close it is to Asia minor (especially Southern Turkey). The Muslims conquered it with ease Alhamdulillah and took apart the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the seven wonders of the world in ancient times, it was a massive statue to a Greek God that had fallen down many centuries before) and used it for scrap metal. Recycling yo!

5) 92H = 710G – The Conquest of Spain. Tarek Bin Ziyad led the Muslim army and invaded the Spanish coastline, defeating the Spanish King Roderick, taking Gibraltar (which is named after him – Jabal Tarek, say it fast like a foreigner and you get Gibraltar! Lol) along the way. The Muslims ruled Andalusia for 800 years.

 6) 584H = 1187G – Battle of Hattin. This was the battle during which Salahudin Al-Ayyubi reclaimed Jerusalem from the crusaders, which if you’re a film junkie like me, you’ll have seen in Kingdom of Heaven (one of the few films in which Orlando Bloom’s weird staring-into-the-mid-distance-while-speaking habit is tolerable, IMO)

7) 685H = 1260G – Battle of Ain Jalut. This was one of the most critical battles in the history of Islam. The Mamluks (that’s the Muslims to you and me) miraculously defeated the Mongols AND the Crusaders AND the Armenians in this battle. This was the first and Alhadmdulillah only time since the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) that the Islamic world came close to destruction. Not only was Jerusalem at risk, but had the Muslim army been defeated, Makkah and Madinah would have been left defenceless. But Alhamdulillah Allah, as He promised, protected His religion.

This post was so much fun to research. Subhanallah I got goosebumps several times reading the descriptions of the battles. I mean, we complain so much about how hard it is to fast in Ramadan, with the heat and blah, blah, blah, but seriously?! At least we’re not facing an army three times our size (Badr), or digging ditches before Eid, or facing total extermination (Ain Jalut). May Allah have mercy on our dead brothers and sisters and grant them light and peace in their graves. Ameen.

The next question in the series is a fiqh one: What are the conditions of Salat which must be fulfilled in order for the prayer to be accepted?