It was called after the location where it took place, a village between Medinah and Mecca.
It happened on the twelve of the month of Safar in the second year of Hijra, in the village of Amal Al-Faraa, or Al-Abwa, which is twenty-three miles from Medinah, or the village of Wadan, six miles from Al-Abwa.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the leader in the expedition, the first of a series of military expeditions against the disbelievers who were fighting Allah’s religion. His uncle Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him) was the flag-bearer.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to identify the different routes around Medinah, and the routes leading to Mecca.
He (peace be upon him) intended to write treaties with the different tribes who lived on these routes.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also wanted the disbelievers and Jews in Yathrib, as well as the Arab Bedouins around Yathrib, to realize the Muslims were now strong, and no longer weak as they used to be.
And the Prophet (peace be upon him) also wished to warn Quraish and make them aware of the growing danger to their trade and the means of their livelihood. This was in order for Quraish to agree on peaceful co-existence, and for them to stop their efforts to attack the Muslims in their homes in Medinah and to obstruct the path of Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) left Saad ibn Ubaidah (may Allah be pleased with him) to dispose of affairs in Medinah in his absence, and then left the city to intercept Quraish’s caravan. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had sixty men from the Muhajareen with him. However, they did not reach the Quraishi caravan.
Instead, they met the tribe of Bani Damrah. Their leader, Mukh’shi ibn Omar Ad-Damuri, was with them. They asked for a peace agreement with the Muslims. Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) wrote an agreement with Banu Damrah that the Muslims would not fight Banu Damrah and that Banu Damrah would not fight the Muslims, and that Banu Damrah would not join others to attack the Muslims or help the enemy against the Muslims.
The following is the text of the treaty with Banu Damrah: “This is the agreement of Muhammed, the Messenger of Allah, with Banu Damrah, stating that their wealth and lives are safe and that they will be helped against those who harm them, on the condition that do not oppose Allah’s religion. This treaty shall remain in full force until there still remains a drop in the sea enough to wet a feather. And if the Prophet (peace be upon him) calls them for help against the enemy, they will help him. In such a way, they will have the protection of Allah and His Messenger.” Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) left for Medinah. The whole journey took fifteen nights.
The grave of Ameenah, the mother of the Prophet, is in Wadan, and it is said that his father Abdullah was also buried there.
There was no fighting in the Wadan expedition, and a treaty was drawn up with Banu Damrah.
The vigilance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his (peace be upon him) leadership was a way of raising the words of Allah and protecting the blood of the Muslims. He left looking for Quraish, and to write a treaty with Banu Damrah for them not to attack the Muslims.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a lesson on the bravery of a leader which did not just rely on laying down plans, but took part on the front line of the conflict, although his Companions wanted him to avoid dangerous situations.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) selected the best Companions to dispose of affairs in Medinah and to carry the flag, may Allah be pleased with all of them.