23.3 Digging the Trench
The Muslims were alarmed by news of these hosts converging upon them. After consultation it was decided that it would be best to fight such a large force inside their city, after fortifying it. Among the Muslims was a Persian, a man who had traveled much in search of the truth until he found it in the words of Mohamed. He knew of arts and wisdom that the Arabs knew nothing about. His name was Selman the Persian and he knew of war tactics unheard of among the Arabs. Now he suggested that they should dig a trench around the city. The Muslims quickly took up this novel idea. By toil and diligence the trench was dug in six days. Mohamed himself helped in the work. Once when striking a large rock with his pick, there was a great flash of light. His Companions asked him the significance of this phenomenon, this light spreading out, and he smiled and told them to be of good cheer, for one day the light of Islam would shine over lands which at that time belonged to Chosroes of Persia and Caesar of Byzantium. The Muslims raised their voices in praise of Allah, the Greatest. The Persian and the Roman empires were the two great powers that dominated the world at that time. They were feared neighbors to the Arabs and their lands stretched out east and west, two giants encircling Arab land.
Hearing of this, the Hypocrites, the Jews, and the polytheists laughed in glee. They made fun of these words and propagated them far and wide, little knowing that they were being made witnesses to the truth of Mohamed's prediction.
"There," they said,
"the Muslims are about to be exterminated, wiped of the face of the earth, and Mohamed tells them that the lands of Caesar and Chosroes of Persia will be theirs, and the fools believe him."
Less than three years after Mohamed's death, these prophetic words were no longer a joke, but historic fact. The holy verses say in answer to the polytheists' jibes:
Say, 0 Allah !, King of Dominion.
Thou givest kingdoms to whom Thou wilt
and seizest kingdoms from whom Thou wilt.
Thou givest power to whom Thou wilt,
and humiliation to whom Thou wilt.
All good is in Thy hands,
Thou art able to do anything. (3:26)