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INFOGRAPHIC: Military Expeditions of the Prophet ﷺ

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ established the first Islamic State in Medina with a distinct structure (ajhizaat) that continued with its pillars until 1924. The main elements (jihaz) of this structure must be implemented because they are hukm shari and not styles (usloob) or means (waseela). We can see from the seerah how the Messenger ﷺ trained the sahaba in all aspects of ruling so they could continue on this method after his ﷺ death. The army is one of the jihaz or organisations of the state. The Messenger ﷺ was the commander-in-chief so he organised the army and appointed all its commanders. He ﷺ led many of the battles directly which are known as a ghazwa while also appointing commanders of other units known as a sariya. The graphics below provide an insight in to this organisation and some key observations will be made at the end.


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Key Observations

Military expeditions (ghazwa) led directly by the Prophet ﷺ 28
Military units (sariya) led by commanders appointed by the Prophet ﷺ 65
Total number of military expeditions 93
Total number of military commanders (excluding the Prophet ﷺ) 43
  1. Year 6 Hijri saw a huge increase in the number of military expeditions and conquests. This was due to the signing of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah which Allah (Most High) refers to as a clear victory,

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينًا

“Truly We have granted you a clear victory.” (Al-Fath, 48:1)


  1. The number of expeditions led directly by the Prophet ﷺ decreased over time as the sahaba took a more leading role after their training at the hands of the Messenger ﷺ.


  1. The Prophet ﷺ appointed a total of 43 different sahaba as commanders so they all gained experience in this role. After his ﷺ death these commanders played a vital role in the Islamic conquests such as Khalid ibn Al-Walid, Amr ibn al-Aas and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah.


  1. Three of the Khulufa Rashida were appointed as military commanders namely, Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali. This experience was important for their future roles as Commanders-in-chief of their respective armies.


  1. The population of the Islamic State was continually expanding through new conquests and people accepting Islam. This meant greater manpower for the later military units that were sent out. Compare the 313 soldiers at the Battle of Badr to the 30,000 at the Battle of Tabook.


  1. Ramadan and the month following it, Shawwal, saw the most expeditions and conquests. This continued throughout Islamic history where the zeal for increasing good deeds during the holy months translated into conquests.