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bir_mauna.pdf THE EXPEDITION OF BI'R MA'UNA The character of the expedition sent by the Prophet in the month of Safar 4 H., 1 which ended in the killing of the participants at Bi'r Ma'una, is rather obscure. Traditions about this expedition are contradictory: 2 the aim of the expedition can hardly be determined; the number of the participants is variously stated in the divergent traditions; the tribal composition of the participants is disputed; the details about the attackers are few; the reason for their attack on the Muslim party is not clear. It may therefore be useful to present a survey of some of the traditions concerning this encounter, in course of which a version apparently hitherto unknown is presented. I The traditional account of the story as reported by Ibn Ishaq (d. 151 H.) 3 forms a composite narrative, based on the authority of a number of Muslim traditionists. According to this account, one of the chiefs of 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a, Abu Bara' 'Amir b. Malik, 4 nicknamed "Mula'ib al-Asinna" ("The Player with the Spears"), 5 came to the Prophet and was invited by him to accept Islam. Although he did not embrace Islam, he was not far removed from it. He asked the Prophet to send some of his Companions to Najd to summon its people to embrace Islam, and expressed the hope that they would respond. He assured the Prophet of his protection of the Companions. The Prophet sent forty of his Companions with al-Mundhir b. 'Amr 1 Cf. J. M. B. Jones, "The Chronology of the Maghazl-a textual survey," in BSOAS (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies XXI,1957), 249, 267: the anonymous tradition fixing the date of the expedition in Muharram(p. 249 n. 10) is quoted as well in Samhifdi's IfTafd' al-wafd', I, 211. 2 See Max v. Oppenheim, Die Beduinen, rev. and ed. W. Caskel, III, 9. 3 In Ibn Hisham's Sira. 4 See his biography in Ibn Bajar, /fdba nO4417. 6 For this nickname, see Ibn al-Kalbi, Ansdb al-Khail, ed. Al:J.madZaki Pasha (Cairo, 1946), 77; Aus b. Bajar, Diwdn, ed. Geyer, XVII, 7, 8; XXI, 3; Ibn 'Abd Rabbihi, '/qd, III (Cairo, 1935), 335; Yaqiit, Bulddn, s.v. "Sullan"; alZurqani; Sharp 'aId 'I-mawdhib, 11(1325 H.), 75; al-Suhaili: al-Rauq al-unuf, II (Cairo, 1914), 174. - 338 aI-Sa'idi, 1 When the party reached Bi'r Ma