Battle of the Trench. The bloodless battle. This was a battle that confused the Quraish and their allies. Because the amazing Salman Al Farsi (ra) had suggested the digging of a deep trench around Madinah to prevent the enemies from invading it.
I’ve always actually been a girly girl, someone who would sometimes skip the battles when reading the seerah. I could never understand or remember the details. But the boys I teach absolutely love it. They love to know how the Muslim army moved. What their strengths and weaknesses were. I have to cater for this lovely eagerness. It sits slightly outside my comfort zone as I can passionately discuss other parts of the seerah in detail and even think of activities.
After learning about the Battle of Badr and Uhud, the boys told me the Battle of Khandaq was boring. I wanted them to see that it actually wasn’t. I wanted them to appreciate how the Prophet (saw) included the valuable advice of Salman (ra) and honoured it by using it as part of the Muslim tactic.
After a lesson of reading and even watching a video the boys thought they understood this battle but with this little practical task, I soon found out they hadn’t actually understood what the trench really was.
Using some lentils (we didn’t have sand) and cardboard I asked them to show me what a trench would look like. They had the whiteboard to make a plan and then create a make-shift trench.
This turned out to be much more than learning about the trench, it was about working as a team to make something of quality. They planned, they re-planned, they taught each other. And in doing all this they learnt a tiny lesson of brotherhood.
We then used the little wooden men as enemies and the Muslims to see how it looked all those years ago.
I’m hoping that this tiny activity will leave a little mark on the minds of my boys. InshaAllah one day they will remember it all.
Not everything must be academic especially when it comes to the deen – making it practical even if it’s with only a few things from home can make Islam that tiny bit real for our children.
If you have boys or even eager girls, try this. It’s fun. And a challenge because separating and piling up lentils isn’t easy.
Or if you have a garden, then of course make a real trench and invite friends round.
Here’s the worksheet battle-of-khandaq I used after the activity, this was to assess comprehension and doesn’t need to be used at all.
We used the ‘Islamic Studies Weekend Learning Series’ book but any good seerah book would work.