We all are aware of what Ramadan is for; it is a month of fasting, patience and reflection. People all around the world are quite aware of what they are to do in Ramadan, its history and goals, but what most people don’t know is that many world changing events also took place in this blessed month throughout history. Here are some important events that took place during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Tariq bin Ziyad at the Battle of Guadalete
In the 92nd year of the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which makes it the year 711 C.E, a slave of the governor of Africa who was of the Umayyad and his troops went to battle against the Visigoth King of Spain. It is said of the great Tariq bin Ziyad that he was born a slave and died a beggar, but during his birth and death he by the grace of Allah (SWT) managed to become of the greatest generals in the history of the world.
Having landed shortly before on a large rock at the bottom of Spain (that to this day is names after him), Tariq literally burned the boats that brought him and his comrades from their homeland. The extreme motivational tool worked and despite being outnumbered by the enemy by a ratio of at least 3 to 1, the Muslims managed to defeat the Visigoth King Roderic at the battle of Guadalete and race on to take over the whole of Spain and most of France. Thus began 800 years of Muslim rule in Andalusia that was the apogee of Umayyad civilization, laid the basis of the European enlightenment and proved that Muslims, Christians and Jews could live in harmony all of which was later destroyed and corrupted by the arrival of the inquisition.
Battle of Hattin
Salahuddin Ayyubi (Rahimullah) (Sultan Saladin) is one of the greatest heroes in the history of Islam. We know he defeated the crusaders and reclaimed Jerusalem for Islam and the Muslims after almost a century of Frankish desecration. We even know that he managed to do this all whilst essentially being a noble and chivalrous man and honesty being qualities that even his enemies acknowledged in him.
But did you know that he also had impeccable timing? Salahuddin had been slowly circling the Crusader kingdom for years. He was building his strength, neutralizing weak points within his own ranks and essentially playing a massive game of chicken with the Crusader King. Well, in Ramadan of 1187 C.E., the game came to a head with both sides going for broke at the Horns of Hattin. What followed was less a battle and more a master-class by Salahuddin in how to own your enemy tactically, physically and mentally. When the dust settled, the Muslims had triumphed, the leaders of the Crusader kingdom were prisoners and the road to Jerusalem was clear. Oh, and he retook that on the anniversary of israa and miraaj (the Prophet’s (SAW) ascension to heaven via Jerusalem).
The Last Hope at Ain Jalut
Most of the Islamic world had collapsed in the face of this new and terrible enemy. One last hope remained. In Egypt, the Mamluk sultan Qutuz decided that he wasn’t just going to wait for his turn to die. He gathered his forces and made one last stand. At the springs of Goliath (Ain Jalut) the last consequential army in the Muslim world faced off against the undefeated Mongols. It was like a boxing match between some scrawny challenger and the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world – only with millions more lives at stake. The outcome of the battle see-sawed between the Muslims and the Mongols until finally, Qutuz himself led the breakthrough by charging deep into enemy ranks. That Ramadan, Ain Jalut marked the first time that the Mongols had lost a pitched battle.
Here let me say only this, while it is true that the many of the Mongols eventually accepted Islam as their faith which stopped their conquest of the world, to say that they did not receive any resistance from the Muslim world is not correct and it is certainly not true that the Mongols were undefeated. Though most people in the world and even Muslims tend to hold the conquest of the Mongols as a ridicule to the Muslim world, let them know that it were the Mamluks of Egypt that devastated the Mongols who eventually went on to embrace Islam. The Muslims of Egypt not only saved the Muslim world by stopping the Mongols, but also the rest of the world.
Conquest of Mecca
The conquest of Mecca was more than just a footnote in Islamic history. It was the happy ending of one of the most amazing stories ever told. A story in which a band of men and women were tortured and harassed in their own home town because of their faith, how they had to flee as refugees and within the decade returned as conquerors.
The conquest of Mecca is a turning point in world history. Islam had returned home to where it had begun and the Kaaba was once more dedicated to the worship of Allah alone. As Mecca goes, so does the rest of Arabia and within the time it takes for news to travel, almost all of tribes in the Peninsula sent delegations to Medina with their allegiance.
Today more than 1.6 billion Muslims turn their face five times a day for prayer, go on Hajj at least once in a lifetime and bury all our dead facing towards this city conquered on one fateful day in Ramadan.
Battle of Badr
The mother of all defining moments – the battle of Badr is without a doubt the most important existential battle between good and evil in the history of mankind. On one side, the last Prophet (SAW) and just over 300 of his followers, on the other, the idolaters of Quraish with their superior numbers, weapons and wealth.
What followed was an epic battle that still resonates with Muslims across the world. Actually – the word “epic” doesn’t even begin to define the enormity of this battle. How important was this battle in the grand scheme of things? Before the battle started the Prophet (SAW) raised his hand to the heavens and said words to the effect, “If this small band perish today, then there will be no one left to worship you on the face of this Earth.” They didn’t perish and to this day, all who profess that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger are eternally grateful.
Please keep the Ummah in your prayers this Ramadan, especially those Muslims that are in dire hardships across the world.