Battle of the Ditch 31st March 627 AD
This was the largest and last attempt by the Qurayesh tribe to defeat the Muslim forces of Muhammad. Accounts say that 10,000 Meccan troops, made up of the Pagan Qurayesh tribe and various Nomad groups attacked Medina, but found themselves facing a series of earth works around the city. The Meccan forces were not equipped for a siege and in the harsh desert environment had to withdraw after a few weeks, although several unsuccessful probing attacks took place including some duels between rival tribal leaders.
The Muslims used the time the defences bought them to split up the fragile coalition of the enemy forces facing them and were helped by the fact that Medina was suffering a drought so the invading army had little chance to pillage supplies and food. Tradition says that a Persian convert to Islam, Salman al-Farsi had advised Muhammad on the building of the ditch and earth work defence and that it was constructed by the whole population of Medina within 20 days. Medina also had strong natural defences on several sides with old lava flows and hills with dense scrub preventing cavalry access. It is sometimes known as the battle of the Trench.
| The Message. One of the very few films about the life of Muhammad and is reasonably accurate in its depictions of the battles. As it is respectful of Muslim beliefs Muhammad is not portrayed by an actor and is not ‘seen’ during the film.
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, T (22 January 2008), Battle of the Ditch 31st March 627 AD, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_the_ditch.html