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I have read in a fatwa from Islamweb.com that the Prophet Muhammad conducted expeditions against the Kuffar. Some of these expeditions are called Ghazawat and some are called Saraya.

I'd like to know what is the difference between these two types of expeditions.

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Both ghazawat (sing. ghazwah) and saraya (sing. sariyyah) are types of expeditions, some military, some diplomatic, some economic, etc. An expedition in which the Prophet (saws) personally participated (i.e. travelled with) is called a ghazwah and an expedition that he (saws) ordered but didn't personally participate in it and rather appointed others to lead is called a sariyyah.

Source: Any seerah book.

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The answer is as it seems the following:

  • A Ghazwa is a expedition/battle/rencounter the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) assists him self. And it doesn't matter whether he fought or not!
  • A sariya: is a expedition/battle/rencounter where the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) only sent his sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) out without going/participating himself!

See the following Fatwa

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