it was in fact not a battle but rather a skirmish carried out against a platoon of bani fazarah. the place by which it was fought is known as dhu qarad, a reservoir of water at a day’s journey from madinah. according to the majority of scholars, this incident took place three days before the battle of khaibar.
it has been narrated on the authority of salamah bin al-akwa‘, the hero of this battle, that the messenger of allâh [pbuh] sent his hireling rabah, with his camels to a nearby pasture. i, taking talhah’s horse, went there for the same purpose. when the day dawned, ‘abdur rahman al-fazari made a raid, drove away all the camels, and killed the man who looked after them. i told rabah to ride the horse, take it to talhah and inform the messenger of allâh [pbuh] that the polytheists had made away with his camels. then i stood upon a hillock and turning my face to madinah, shouted thrice: "come to our help!" after that i set out in pursuit of the raiders, shooting at them with arrows and chanting (self-eulogatory) verse:
i am the son of al-akwa‘
today is the day of defeat for the mean.
by allâh, i continued shooting at them and hamstringing their animals. whenever a horseman turned upon me, i would come to a tree (hid myself) sitting at its base, shoot at him and hamstring his horse. at last they entered a narrow mountain gorge. i ascended that mountain and held them at bay throwing stones at them. i continued to chase them in this way until i got all the camels released with no one left with them. they fled in all directions and i following and shooting at them continually until they dropped more than thirty mantles and thirty lances, lightening their burden. on everything they dropped, i put a mark with a stone so that the messenger of allâh [pbuh] and his companions might recognize them (that it was booty left by the enemy). they went on until they came to a narrow valley. they sat down to eat something, and i sat on the top of a tapering rock. four of them ascended the mountain coming towards me. when they were near enough to hear me, i shouted: "do you recognize me?" they said: "no. who are you?" i said: "i am salamah son of al-akwa‘. i can kill anyone of you i like but none of you can kill me." so they returned. i did not move from my place until i saw the horsemen of the messenger of allâh [pbuh], who came riding through the trees. the foremost among them was akhram, behind him was abu qatadah al-ansari followed by al-miqdad bin al-aswad. akhram and ‘abdur rahman al-fazari met in combat. akhram hamstrung ‘abdur rahman’s horse but the latter managed to strike him with his lance and kill him. ‘abdur rahman turned around riding akhram’s horse. abu qatadah, seeing this, got engaged in fierce combat with ‘abdur rahman, smote him with his lance and it was fatal. the polytheists consequently fled away and i was in their pursuit until before sunset they reached a valley with a spring of water called dhu qarad. they rested there to have a drink. i however, running in hot pursuit, turned them out of the valley before they could drink a drop of water. later on, the prophet [pbuh], along with his companions, overtook me. i addressed him saying: messenger of allâh, let me select from our people one hundred men and i will follow the marauders and finish them. in reply, the prophet [pbuh] said: "ibn al-akwa‘, you have taken enough and so now you have to show magnanimity; now they have reached the habitation of ghatfan where they are being feted." he added saying: "our best horseman today is abu qatadah, and our best footman today is salamah." he allotted me two shares of the booty - the share meant for the horseman and the other meant for the footman, and combined both of them for me. intending to return to madinah, he made me mount behind him on his she-camel called al-‘adba’.