It has been narrated on the authority of Salamah bin Al-Akwa‘, who said: We marched upon Khaibar with the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him). We journeyed during the night. One of the men said to my brother ‘Amir: Won’t you recite to us some of your verses, ‘Amir? So he began to chant his verses to urge the camels, reciting:
O Allâh, if You had not guided us,
We would have neither been guided rightly nor practised charity, nor offered prayers.
We wish to lay down our lives for You; so forgive You our lapses,
And keep us steadfast when we encounter (our enemies).
Bestow upon us peace and tranquility,
Behold, when with a cry they called upon us to help.
The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) said: “Who is this driver (of the camels)?” They said: “It is ‘Amir.” He said: “Allâh will show mercy to him.” A man said: “Martyrdom is reserved for him; O Messenger of Allâh, would that you had allowed us to benefit ourselves from his life.” The Prophet’s Companions had already known that he would never invoke Allâh’s mercy upon a close Companion but to single him out for martyrdom.
On their way down a valley, the Muslims began to entertain Allâh’s Greatness: shouting at the top of their voices: “Allâh is Great, Allâh is Great, there is no god but Allâh.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked them to lower down their voices saying: “The One you are invoking is neither absent nor deaf; He is close to you, All-hearing.”
In a spot called As-Sahba’, not far from Khaibar, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) observed the afternoon prayer, then he called his Companions to have whatever food provisions they had. What they brought was too scanty to satisfy them all. The Prophet took it by his hand and it immediately grew in quantity, so they all ate to their fill. Shortly afterward, he and the others, rinsed their mouths and performed the evening prayer without ablution; he did the same for the night prayer.
The following morning, at sunrise, the Muslims encountered the Jews when they had come out about their jobs with their axes, spades and strings driving their cattle along. They began to shout in surprise: “Muhammad has come along with his force!” The Messenger of Allâh Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã said: “Allâh is Great, Khaibar shall face destruction. Behold! When we descend in the city centre, it will be a bad day for those who have been warned (but have not taken heed).”
For encampment, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had chosen a certain plot of land he deemed suitable to serve as the headquarters of his army. However, a veteran fighter of his called Hubab bin Al-Mundhir suggested that they, under the exigencies of war requirements and for the sake of providing maximum logistic facilities, shift to another place. On approaching the vicinity of Khaibar, the Prophet ordered his troops to halt, and began to invoke his Lord saying: “O Allâh! Lord of the seven heavens and what they harbour beneath, Lord of the seven earths and what lies in their wombs, Lord of devils and whomsoever they have led astray; we beseech You to grant us the good of this village (Khaibar), the good of its inhabitants and the good that lies in it. We seek refuge with You from the evil of this village, the evil of its inhabitants, and the evil that lies in it.” Then he ordered, “Now march (towards the village) in the Name of Allâh.”
“The banner”, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) declared “would be entrusted to a man who loves Allâh and His Messenger and they (Allâh and His Messenger) love him.” All the Muslims came forward in the following morning hoping to be granted the honour of carrying the banner. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) called for ‘Ali bin Abi Talib whose eyes used to hurt, and handed it to him. ‘Ali, on his part, pledged he would fight the enemies until they embraced Islam. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) answered him saying: “Take things easy and invite them to accept Islam and brief them on their duties towards Allâh. I swear by Allâh that if only one should be guided through your example, that would surely outweigh the best of our camels.”
Khaibar, it seems, was split into two parts with five forts in the first: Na‘im, As-Sa‘b bin Mu‘adh, the castle of Az-Zubair, ’Abi Castle, and An-Nizar in Ash-Shiqq; three others were in part two: Al-Qamus, Al-Wateeh and As-Salalim.