The news of the disaster at Badr in which a number of noble men from the tribes of Quraish had fallen and the return of the survivors to Makkah in a complete state of confusion and disorder, was met with a lukewarm reception and despair that completely bewildered the Quraish. It had proved an unimaginable catastrophe for them. All those whose fathers, sons or brothers had been killed at Badr, met Abu Sufyan and others who had merchandise in the caravan which was brought back safely to Makkah. It was agreed to set aside the profits of the caravan in order to support in preparing themselves for a new war against the Muslims. The poets, as usual, began inciting the people with their songs of vengeance. To the pagan Arabs, the shedding of the blood of their tribesmen necessitated an effort to avenge those killed in order to vindicate their loss and honour.
A well-equipped army set out from Makkah to fight the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his companions (radiallahu ‘anhum) in the middle of Shawwal, 3 A.H. (After Hijrah: the Muslims began their calendar after the famous “Hijrah” from Makkah to Madeenah, hence everything that happened after that time is dated as “After Hijrah”) The Quraish had mustered an army of three thousand soldiers consisting of their own warriors and others from surrounding tribes that agreed to join them. Their women went with them riding their own camels in order to stir their valour and prevent them from retreat. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 60-62) The noble men of Quraish also took their wives with them. The army advanced in small staggard groups and camped near the gates of Madeenah.
The Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) plan was to remain in the city, leaving the invaders alone and to fight only when they decided to swarm it. He did not favor going out of the city to face the enemy in the battlefield. Abdullah b. Ubayy, too, agreed with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), but some of the Muslims who had somehow missed the opportunity of engaging the enemy at Badr were more enthuasiastic. They said, “O Prophet of Allah, let us go forth and smite our foes, otherwise they would think that we fear to leave the city and face them.”
While they kept on urging the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in this way, he went into his house and put on his coat of armour. The young men who had been keen on meeting the enemy outside the city admonished themselves for their over-eagerness in light of the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) reluctance. Realizing their hastiness, they begged the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to follow his first counsel for they may have been mistaken in persuading him against his will. “If you wish to remain inside the city”, they said, “We will not oppose you.”
However, the Prophet of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “It befits not a prophet, when once he had put on the armour, to take it off until he has fought.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 63)
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then marched out with a thousand strong army, yet, he had not gone far away when ‘Abdullah b. Ubayy withdrew with a third of the army’s men. ‘Abdullah said to his comrades, “He disregarded my advice, but accepted theirs.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 63)
THE PROPHET (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) TAKES POSITIONS
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) marched into the gorge of mount Uhud, about three kilometers to the north of Madeenah and positioned himself with the mountain to his back.(7) He also instructed his men, “Let none of you fight until I give you the word.”
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then drew up his troops for battle, which numbered 700 men all in all. On the adjoining mountain he established 50 archers under ‘Abdullah b. Jubayr and instructed them to keep the enemy cavalry away, for, he said, in no case should they be allowed to come on the Muslims from the rear whether the Muslims won the day or lost it. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 66) “Abandon not your position”, he commanded them sternly, “Even if the birds snatch up these men.” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 349 and Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Section ‘Battle of Uhud’)
THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE YOUNGSTERS
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had sent back two boys, Samura b. Jundub and Rafi’ b. Khadij, as they were both fifteen years of age. Rafi’ was later allowed by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)to join the troops on the recommendation of his father that he was a good archer. When Samura’s turn came and he was asked to go back, he pleaded with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that since he had allowed Rafi’ to join the army although he was stronger than him, he must also be permitted to go. Thereupon the two boys were told to wrestle with each other in which Samura defeated Rafi, thus, he was also sanctioned to take part in the battle. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 66)
THE FIRST PHASE OF ACTION
The battle began and each side hurled itself against the other, while a group of women, headed by the bloodthirsty Hind, rattled their tambourines while singing in order to urge the Quraish troops to deeds of valor. A general engagement ensued and the battle turned hot. Abu Dujana fought with the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sword, killing everybody who came up against him and advanced deep into the enemy’s ranks. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 67-68)
HAMZA AND MUS’AB B. ‘UMAYR KILLED (radiallahu ‘anhumaa)
Hamza (radiallahu ‘anhu) fought gallantly and killed a number of notable Quraish leaders. Nobody was able to bear his dashing charge, however, Wahshi, the slave of Jubayr B. Mu’tim, was watching the movements of Hamza (radiallahu ‘anhu), for he had been promised freedom by his master on the condition that he killed him. Jubayr’s uncle Tu’ayma had been killed by Hamza (radiallahu ‘anhu) at Badr, while Hind had also urged Jubayr to get Hamza killed by Wahsi. At last Wahshi got his chance and plunged at Hamza (radiallahu ‘anhu) while he was preoccupied in a fight with another soldier. Wahshi, an expert javelin thrower, launched his bow and arrow at Hamza (radiallahu ‘anhu), piercing the lower part of his body. Hamza (radiallahu ‘anhu) shivered, then he collapsed and dropped dead. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 70-72. Washi later narrated the event as related in the Sahih Al-Bukhaari, Section: Battle of Uhud).
Meanwhile, Mus’ab b. ‘Umayr (radiallahu ‘anhu) had relegated himself in the defense of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and exhibited singular courage in the thick of the battle by managing to keep the attacking infidels at bay. He fell at last, while nobly discharging the duty he owed to Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 73)
VICTORY OF THE MUSLIMS
Allah fulfilled the promise He had made to the Muslims. The history of Badr was repeated once again; a number of the Quraish nobles fell in succession and their troops took to their heels. The Muslims found Hind and her companions abandoning their songs and running away, while tucking up their garments. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 73)
THE TABLE TURNS ON THE MUSLIMS
The Quraish had suffered an obvious rout. The ignominious retreat of the enemy troops and their women accompanying them taking to their heels made the archers certain of their victory. Uttering shouts of glee, they deserted their posts to despoil the enemy camp. ‘Abdullah b. Jubyr, the leader of the archers, reminded his men of the command given by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), but none of them were prepared to listen to him, except for a handful. So certain were they of their victory that return of the enemy, which was running for their lives, seemed inconceivable to them. Then, the situation changed. No longer obstructed by the potential flurry of arrows, the Makkan cavalry found its way to the unprotected rear of the Muslim army. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 350).
The standard bearers of the Quraish had been killed; their standard was lying in the dust and nobody dared come near it. Suddenly, the Quraish came smashing through the Muslims rear and someone called out: ‘Ha, Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has been killed. The Muslim troops, bounded upon the fugitives, turned back to face the enemy from the rear; the decamping Quraish soldiers were emboldened and returned to resume their attack on the Muslims. The situation now became extremely critical for the Muslims with the enemy being bent upon taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded to it.
The surprise and confusion overcoming the Muslims was as shocking as the two-pronged attack by the Makkans was violent. The Quraish’s troops led by “Abdullah b. Qumiyah and ‘Utbah b. Abi Waqqas, made a bold charge and reached close to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The Muslim troops began to waiver, several were honoured with martyrdom; and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was hit with a stone. He fell on his side, while one of his front teeth was smashed, his face was swollen and his lips were injured. The blood which was running down his face was wiped by the Prophet, while he said, “How can a people prosper who have stained their prophets’ face with blood while he only summoned them to the worship of their Lord?” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 78-80)
The majority of the Muslim soldiers had been scattered and nobody knew where the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was. ‘Ali took hold of the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) hand while Talha b. Ubaydullah lifted him up until the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) got on his feet. Malik b. Sinan was so carried away that he even licked the blood flowing from the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) face.
The Muslims had actually neither fled away nor had they been completely defeated. The flanks of their army had folded up so they were forced to retreat in order to regroup and reinforce their strength for a similar situation. It was, no doubt, a day of test and trial for the Muslims in which they lost a number of their gallant warriors and virtuous comrades of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), but all this had come to pass because of the mistake of the archers who had exposed the Muslim flank. They had disobeyed the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by abandoning the post on which the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had stationed them.
After this Allah revealed to them the following verses concerning the event:
“Allah verily made good His promise unto you when you routed them by His leave, until (the moment) when your courage failed you and you disagreed about the order and you disobeyed, after He had shown you that for which you longed. Some of you desired this world and some of you the Hereafter. Therefore He made you flee from them, that He might try you. Yet now He has forgiven you. Allah is a Lord of kindness to the believers.” [Qur'an 3:152]
THE LOVING COMPANIONS (radiallahu ‘anhu)
The battle of Uhud also affirmed worthiness of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the ardent affection of the companions for him. Two rings from the metal chain strap of the helmet worn by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), had been embedded into his cheek. Abu ‘Ubayda b. Al-Jarrah pulled out one of the rings and one of his front teeth dropped out; he pulled out another ring and another tooth fell down; Abu Dujana leaned over the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to shield him from arrows until many were stuck in his back. S’ad b. Abi Waqqas stood by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) shooting arrows in his defense, while the Prophet handed him the arrows one by one, saying, “Shoot, may my father and my mother be ransomed for you.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 80-82: Bukhari)
Qataba b. al-Nu’man received a blow on his face which made one of his eyes popped out of its socket. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) restored it back in its place with his own hand and it was so completely healed that it even became more functional than his other eye. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 82)
The blood-crazy infidels surged toward the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam); they were ready to die a hundred times in order to kill him, but God had willed it otherwise. Ten of his companions laid down their lives, one by one, defending him. Talaha b. ‘Ubaydullah protected the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from the arrows shot by the enemy with his hands, until his fingers bled profusely and his hands were paralyzed. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wanted to climb up the mountain. He tried but could not do so due to the weakness caused by his injuries. Talha b. ‘Ubaydullah squatted beneath him and helped him to climb up the rock. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed the noon-prayer on the rock sitting, because of the wounds he had received. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 67; Zad al-Ma;ad, Vol. I, p 350)
When the Muslims had been taken by surprise and dispersed by the enemy, with horsemen prodding them from one side and the foot-soldiers on the other, Anas b. An-Nadri(8) continued to fight valiantly; advancing far into ranks. Sa’ad b. Mu’ad happened to pass by him and asked him, “Where do you intend to go?” Anas b. an-Nadri replied, “S’ad, I smell the fragrance of Paradise near the hill of Uhud.” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 350)
Anas b. An-Nadri passed by a few of the Ansaar and Muhaajirun who were sitting dispondently. He asked them, “what makes you sit there?”
“Alas! The Prophet of God has gone to glory”, they replied. “Then what’s the use of living after him?” Answered Anas b. An-Nadr, “Come, let us die for what the Prophet offered his life for.” Anas then advanced to charge at the enemy and died fighting like a hero. His nephew, Anas b. Malik, later on counted seventy wounds, which his uncle had received that day. Actually, it was difficult to recognize the corpse of Anas b. An-Nadr but his sister identified him by a special mark on the tip of one of his fingers. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 83)
Ziyad b. As-Sakan and five others of the Ansaar were holding the enemy back from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The friends of Ziyad fought and died, one by one and Ziyad became disabled by numerous wounds. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked certain persons to bring Ziyad near him and made his foot a support for Ziyad’s head. Ziyad died in that condition keeping his cheeks on the Prophet’s foot. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 83)
‘Amr b. al-Jamuh had a lame leg. He had four sons, all of them were young and sturdy and each was anxious to partake in the battle. On the day of Uhud ‘Amr b. al-Jamuh expressed his desire to go to the battle field, but his sons advised him to remain at home, saying that God has excused him. He called upon the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and told him that his sons wanted to prevent him from taking part in the Jihad.(9) “Yet, by God, I wish to be slain so that I may stroll lamely in the Paradise,” said ‘Amr b. al-Jamuh. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “God has not made Jihad incumbent on you;” and to his sons he said, “What is the problem if you allow him to go?” Amr b. al-Jamuh went with the army and was killed in the battle. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 353)
Zayd b. Thabit relates that on the day of Uhud, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him to look for S’ad b. ar-Rab’i and ask the same person, after conveying his greetings to him, how he felt at the moment. Zayd searched for S’ad b. ar-Rab’i and found him lying wounded among the slain ones breathing his last. Zayd counted seventy cuts from swords, arrows and javelins on his body. Zayd conveyed the message of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to S’ad b. ar-Rab’I to which he replied, “Convey my greetings to the Prophet and tell him that I smell the fragrance of the Paradise.” “And tell my people,” continued S’ad b. ar-Rab’I, “you would have no excuse before God if the enemy lays its hand on the Prophet while you are still alive and breathing.” S’ad had hardly finished his message when he relinquished his life. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 353)
Before departing for the battle of Uhud, ‘Abdullah b. Jahsh had thus implored God, “Upon Thy Word, O God, tomorrow I shall fight the enemy. They may slay me, then rip up my belly and cut off my nose and ears. Then Thou shouldest ask me: what for I had it happened? And I would give the reply: ‘for thee, My Lord. ” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 353)
MUSLIMS REGAIN CONFIDENCE
A renewed vigor was thrust into the Muslims when they found that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was still alive. Many of them gathered round him and took him towards a secluded, narrow valley. Ubayy b. Khalaf who caught up with the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) party said, “Muhammad, if you escape, I will be doomed. ” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), however, asked his companions to leave him alone, but when Ubayy insisted on coming near the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), he took the lance from one of his companions. Then, turning to face him, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), using the sphere, struck the neck of Ubayy b. Khalaf who fell from his way going head over heels. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 84)
On reaching the mouth of the secluded, narrow valley, ‘Ali (radiallahu ‘anhu) brought water in his shield and Fatimah (radiallahu ‘anhu) washed the blood from the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) face. When his wounds continued bleeding, ‘Ali (radiallahu ‘anhu) burnt a piece of mat and dressed the wounds of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with its ash and the bleeding stopped. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 85, Al-Bukhaari and Muslim, Section, Battle of Uhud).
‘Aisha (radiallahu ‘anhaa) brought drinking water in leather bags for the wounded (Al-Bukhaari, Section, Battle of Uhud) while Umm Sulaym drew water for them. (Al-Bukhaari, Section, Umm Salit)
Hind b. ‘Utbah and the women with her mutilated the dead bodies of Muslims and cut off their ears and noses. Hind cut out Hamza’s liver and chewed it, but when she could not swallow it, she threw it away. (Ibn Hisham , Vol. II, p. 91)
Before ordering his army to retire Abu Sufyan ascended a hillock and shouted. “Victory in war goes by turns: one wins today and the other tomorrow – Glory be to Hubal.” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told ‘Umar to get up and say in reply, “God is the Highest and Most Majestic; None exists besides him. Our dead are in paradise and yours in Hell.” (Ibn Hisham , Vol. II, p. 93)
Abu Sufayan came out with the reply, “We have the idol ‘Uzza while you have none.” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) again directed his companions to say in reply: “Allah is our protector, but you have none.” (Al-Bukhaari, Section, Battle of Uhud)
“Before Abu Sufyan departed, he called out, “We shall meet again at Badr next year.” Thereupon the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked a companion to say, “Yes, it is an appointment between us”. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 94)
The people searched for their dead in order to give them a proper burial. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was visibly moved by the death of Hamza, his uncle and foster-brother who had always been a source of strength to him.
THE EXEMPLARY ENDURANCE
Safia bint ‘Abdul Muttalib was the full sister of Hamza. When she came forward to see her brother, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked her son, Zubair b. al-Awwan to send her back so that she might not see her brother’s dead body, which had been mutilated. Accordingly Zubair said to her, “Mother, the Prophet wants you to go back.” She replied, “Why? I know that my brother has been mutilated but it was for the sake of God. I hope for a goodly return from Him and shall be patient, if God wills.” She went to see her brother and prayed for him. Then the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered that he should be buried in Uhud, where his grave still exists up to this day. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 97)
BURIAL OF MUS’AB B. UMAYR (radiallahu ‘anhu)
The standard bearer of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on the day of Uhud was Mus’ab b. Umayr (radiallahu ‘anhu). Before his conversion to Islam, he was one of the best-dressed youngmen of Quraish brought up in the course of luxury. Only a piece of rough cloth could be found as a shroud for his burial when he was slain in the battle of Uhud. The garment was so small that when his head was covered, his feet appeared and when his feet were wrapped his head was exposed; so the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Cover his head and put some brush over his feet.” (Al-Bukhaari, Chapter, Battle of Uhud)
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) directed the martyrs to be shrouded in pairs and ordered the lowering of the corpse of that martyr first in the grave who had memorized more of the Qur’an. While the martyrs were being buried, he said, “I shall be a witness unto them on the Day of Resurrection.” He also ordered to them to be buried in the condition in which they had died.(10)
LOVING REGARD FOR THE PROPHET (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)
On their way back to their homes certain Muslims passed by a woman whose husband, brother and father had been killed at Uhud. When she was told of their death she asked, “Tell me first about the Prophet?” The people replied, “Thanks God, the Prophet is safe.” But she was not satisfied and asked whether she could see the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) herself. When the people brought her to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) she said, “Now that you are safe, every adversity is gone.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 99)
DEVOTION AND FAITHFULNESS
The Makkan army had departed from Uhud but they had not gone far away when the people were heard complaining against one another and accusing their leaders of withdrawing without pressing home their advantage. On the other hand, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) decided the very next day, which was Sunday, to move out in pursuit of the retreating enemy. It was the time when most of the Muslims were tired and wounded, but the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent a person to announce that everybody who had been present in the battle of Uhud should get ready to pursue the enemy. None demurred, none protested; every Muslim who had fought at Uhud the day before followed the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on his way out of Madeenah in spite of his fatigue and wounds. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) camped with his followers at Hamra al-Asad, about 13 kilometers from Madina, where he remained from Monday until Wednesday. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the rest returned when there was no more possibility of the enemy’s resurgence. (Ibn Kathir. Vo. II, p. 97). The dutiful compliance to the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) command by his companions at this difficult hour exhibited their love for him, which was felt all too deeply and has been mentioned by God through the following verses of the Qur’an:
“As for those who heard the call of Allah and His Messenger after the harm befell them (in the fight); for such of them as do right and ward off (evil), there is great reward,
“Those unto whom men said: Lo! the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them, (the threat of danger) but increased the faith of them and they cried; Allah is sufficient for us! Most excellent is He in whom we trust!
“So they returned with grace and favor from Allah, and no harm touched. They followed the good pleasure of Allah and Allah is of infinite bounty.
“It is only the devil who would make (men) fear his partisans. Fear them not; Fear Me, if you are true believers.” [Qur'an 3:172-75]
RESULTS OF THE BATTLE
The battle of Uhud was no doubt a temporary defeat for the Muslims. But it cannot be considered a decisive victory of the Pagans, especially that they failed to take full advantage of their initial triumph in it and withdrew from the encounter at an untimely moment while they could have turned their preliminary success to a decisive victory. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) managed to leave the battleground with relatively minimal losses not exceeding 10% of his forces. However, his army learned useful lessons which proved to be very productive and decisive in the following days.
LESSONS DRAWN FROM THE BATTLE
1. It was made clear that victory in the battle was not dependent on the number of soldiers available. The Muslims triumphed in Badr and failed in Uhud, in spite of the fact that the proportion of the pagan army supremacy was almost the same in both battles.
2. Another essential was also clarified and that was the importance of purifying the ranks from hypocrites and people with weak faith. The withdrawal of Abdullah Ibn Abi Salul was a lesson that could not be forgotten by Muslims in the distant future. Thus we will realize that Abu Bakr did not anymore allow apostates after the passing away of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to take part in any armed conquest.
3. The battle taught the Muslims that the laws of life are fixed: When they applied the fundamentals which lead to victory, they attain victory; when they do not take these keys seriously, they lose. This is one of God’s laws in the universe, and it is a fixed law.
4. It also taught the Muslims the importance of military discipline and abiding to the instructions of the leader under all circumstances. It was made clear to the Muslims that the first reason of their defeat was the laxity of the archers in executing the orders. This deprived the rear side of the Muslim army from protection and enabled Khaled ibn al Walid and company to encircle them.
Many Quranic verses were revealed concerning the battle of Uhud including the lessons that can be drawn from it. (See for example Al-Imran: 121 – 122, 152).
MORE PRECIOUS THAN THEIR OWN LIVES
In the third year after Hijrah, the tribes of ‘Adal and Qara sent an embassador to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asking for scholars who could be sent to teach them the rudiments of faith. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent six of his companions who included ‘Asim b. Thabith, Khubayb b. ‘Adiy and Zayd b. Dathinna. When this party reached Ar-Raji,a place between ‘Usfan and Makkah, the two tribes treacherously fell on them. The Muslims took out their swords to fight against them but the assailants swore by God that they would not kill them. Three of the six Muslims replied that they could not accept any undertaking given by the pagans; so they fought and were killed. The remaining three, Zayd, Khubayb and ‘Abdallah b. Tariq surrendered. The last companion temporarily escaped during the return trip, but was later killed by one of the polytheists, while the remaining two were sold to the Quraish. Hujayr b. Abu Ihab bought Khubayb to vindicate his father Ihab and Zayd was purchased by Safawan b. Umayya to avenge the loss of Umayya b. Khalaf.
When Zayd was taken out for execution, a number of the Quraish including Abu Sufyan gathered to witness the barbaric spectacle. Abu Sufyan asked Zayd, “Verily, for God’s sake, O Zayd, don’t you wish that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had now been in your place and you with your family?” “By God,” replied Zayd, “I don’t wish Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to be hurt even by a thorn while I should be in sweet repose with my family.” Thereupon Abu Sufyan remarked: “I have never seen any man so much adored as Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is held by his companions.” Zayd was killed after that. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 169-76, Bukhari, Kitab Ul-Maghazi).
Then they brought Khubayb to crucify him. He asked his executioners to allow him to offer two rak’ats of prayer. Having performed the prayers in complete tranquility, Khubayb said to them, “Were it not that you would think I only extended my prayer out of fear of death, I would have prolonged my prayer.” Then he recited these verses:
“I fear not which side I fall apart; It’s all for God who will bless the limbs that had taken part.” Khubayb was striken dead with the song of love on his lips. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 174, Ibn Kathir, Vol. III, p. 123-25).
Another act of treachery took place shortly thereafter. A tribal chief, ‘Amir b. Malik, was interested to have the doctrines of Islam explained to his people. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent 70 persons, some of whom were his eminent companions, but when they reached the place called Bi’r Ma’una, the tribesmen of Banu Sulayman, Usayya, Ri’l and Dhakwan ambushed the delegation. The Muslims fought bravely and all but one was killed. K’ab b. Zayd returned to tell the story. He died in the Battle of the Trenches. (Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 186).
DYING DECLARATION OF A MARTYR
One of the Muslims who was killed treacherously on this occasion was Haram b. Milhan. The words uttered by him at the time of his death brought about the conversion of his killer Jabbar b. Salma to Islam. Jabbar used to relate later on that what led him to accept Islam was that he attacked a man with his spear and when the man saw the tip of his spear coming out if his chest, he heard him crying, “By the Lord of K’abah, I have succeeded!” Jabbar further says that he wondered what sort of success it was. Had he not killed the man? Jabbar enquired from others who told him that the man had meant martyrdom and thus he was convinced that his victim had truly been successful. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 187)
EXPULSION OF BANU AN-NADIR
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) approached Banu an-Nadir to demand a contribution to be paid as blood money to Bani ‘Amir since two men had been killed invadvertently by the lone survivor of Bi’r Man’ua. Banu An-Nadir, being one of the two influential tribes of the Jews that settled in Madeenah was in alliance with Bani ‘Amir and was thus liable to pay such. They feigned willingness to accept the demand with pleasure, but busied themselves plotting against the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). While the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was asked to make himself comfortable by the side of a wall in one of their houses, they couselled one another, saying; “Never would we get such a golden chance. If one of us drops a rock on him from the top of the house, we shall all get rid of him.” Abu Bakr, ‘Ali and ‘Umar and a few more companions were with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on this occasion.
God informed the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of the treacherous plan of the Jews. He went back to Madeenah and ordered to make preparations for war against the Banu an-Nadir. Thus, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came upon them in Rabi’ul-Awwal, 4 A.H. the siege of Banu an-Nadir lasted for six nights whilst God cast terror in the hearts of the Jews. They requested the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that if he agreed to spare their lives, they would abandon the city with their belongings except their war implements. The offer was accepted and Banu an-Nadir departed from Madina after destroying their houses and loading all that they could on their camels. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 190-91)
The Suratul-Hashr (Surah of Exile) in the Qur’an calls attention to the banishment of Banu an-Nadir.
“He it is Who hath cause those of the People of the Scripture who disbelieved to go forth from their homes unto the first exile. Ye deemed not that they would go forth, while they deemed that their strongholds would protect them from Allah. But Allah reached them from a place whereof they reckoned not and cast terror in their hearts so that they ruined their house with their own hands and the hands of the believers. So learn a lesson. O ye who have eyes!” [Qur'an 59:2]
Many of these exiles settled in Khaybar, the Jewish centre in the north of Hijaz, whereas others went away to the far-off Syria. And the Muslims got rid of that sneaky dark corner of deception in their midst without having to meet the Jews in an open fight. The lands and groves left by the Jews were divided up among the first Makkan emigrants.
THE RAID OF DHAT-UR-RIQ’A
In the fourth year of the Hijrah, the Prophet of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) decided to administer a raid into Najd. Together with six companions that included Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, he took refuge from an oasis in that area. The group had to cover the distance mostly on foot, as only one camel was at their service. The incursion was called Dhat-ur-Riq’a as the companions taking part in the expedition had to bandage their injured feet and toes. (Al-Bukhaari, Chap. Expedition of Dhat’ur-Riq’a)
The Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) party approached the enemy, but there was no fighting for each feared the other. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) led the prayer of fear in this expedition. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 204)
WHO CAN NOW SAVE YOU?
While the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was on his way back to Madeenah, he stopped and leaned back to take rest under the shade of a thicket of acacia trees after hanging his sword to a branch.
Jabir relates that he was taking a nap along with his friends when they heard the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) calling them. They saw a Bedouin sitting by the side of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and when they went to him, he said, “I was sleeping when this man came and took hold of my sword. As I woke-up, I saw him with the sword drawn over my head and he was asking me, ‘Who can now save you from me?” I replied Allah, Now he is sitting before you.” The Prophet did not, however, punish the Bedouin. (Al-Bukhaari, Chap. Expedition of Dhatur-Riq’a)
EXPEDITION WITHOUT FIGHTING
The same year, in Sh’aban, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went forth to Badr to keep his appointment with Abu Sufyan at Uhud. He remained at Badr for eight days with a large force waiting arrival of the Makkan army. Abu Sufyan did come out of Makkah to honor his call, but he did not venture to advance more than a few miles in the desert. He pursuaded his men to return since it was a season of drought in which his people were in a bad shape. There was thus no fighting and the Muslims returned with their prestige and morale bolstered higher than before.
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) undertook another expedition of Dumatul-Jandal a few months later. But the Muslims returned to Madeenah once more without any fighting. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 209-213)
 To get a clear picture of the disposition of troops, see The Battlefield of the Prophet Muhammad, by Dr. Muhammad Hamid Ullah, pp. 24-25.
 Uncle of Anas b. Malik, the personal attendant of the Prophet.
 Lit. An effort or striving: Fighting in the way of God. It may be defensive or offensive, but solely for a cause just and right.
 Bukhari, Battle of Uhud. There is no difference of opinion in regard to burying the martyrs, without washing them, so that they present themselves before God in the condition they were slain. As for the burial service, Imam Malik, Imam Shafe’I and Imam Ahmad do not consider it necessary while Imam Abu Hanifa (and others like Imam Awza’I, Sufyan Thauri, Is’haq b. Ruhuway) say that the burial service should be performed. Imam ahmad also relates a Tradition about the offering of burial service over the martyrs. Bukhari has also related a Traidtion on the authority of ‘Uqbah b. ‘Amir that once the Prophet went to Uhud and recited burial service for the martyrs.Print This Post