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The Battle of Uhud was an extension of the Battle of Badr. Smarting under the ignominy of their defeat at Badr, the Quraish of Makkah assembled a large army of 3,000 persons, and marched to Madina to avenge their defeat at Badr. The force was led by Abu Sufyan. The force included every adult among the Quraish. The force was fully equipped with war weapons. The force was accompanied by a considerable number of women. They sang songs to inspire the warriors. They said that if the Quraish won the battle, they would throw open their arms to embrace them, but in case they were defeated, their women would turn away from them. The Quraish were confident that this time they would win and teach the Muslims a lesson.
The Holy Prophet's preparation for the battle
When the Holy Prophet came to know of the intentions of the Quraish of Makkah, he held a council of war. He was personally of the view that in view of the strength of the enemy the proper course for the Muslims was to remain in Madina and let the enemy besiege the city. The idea was that if the enemy besieged the city its force would have to be dispersed in a number of sectors, and the Muslims could strike a blow at the enemy where the enemy's concentration was the weakest. The younger element among the Muslims, however, insisted that the battle should be fought in the open at some distance away from Madina. Their argument was that the enemy should not be allowed to approach Madina at any cost. Though the Holy Prophet believed that the defensive strategy proposed by him was the best in the circumstances, yet in deference to the enthusiasm for the young men to keep the enemy away from Madina, he agreed to meet the enemy in the open outside Madina. The Muslims could assemble a force of one thousand persons only. When the Holy Prophet gave the order for the march to the battlefield, three hundred hypocrites led by Abdullah b Ubayy withdrew and went to their homes. The Holy Prophet was thus left with 700 persons only and this was one fourth of the strength of the enemy.
Uhud, a few miles from Madina was a great stretch of barren rock rising out of the desert without any growth of vegetation. The Holy Prophet commanded the Muslim warriors to take up their position at Uhud on the rising ground. A band of archers took up position on an adjoining mound behind the main position. The
archers were commanded not to abandon their posts under any circumstances, without the approval of the Holy Prophet.
As usual the battle began with a duel. Talha bin Abi Talha the standard bearer of the Quraish stepped forward, and challenged the Muslims to a single combat. Ali the standard bearer of the Muslims stepped forward to accept the challenge. Talha b Abi Talha was an expert swordsman among the Quraish, and it was the common belief that no body could beat him. As Talha stepped forward he boasted of his prowess. Talha was the first to attack Ali. Ali warded off the attack on his shield. Talha was wearing a coat of arms. Ali aimed his blows at the legs of Talha. The legs were severed and Talha fell dead. Then another brother of Talha, Abu Shaiba stepped forward to seek a duel with a Muslim warrior. He was done to death by Hamza. Thereafter the third brother, Said b Abi Talha rushed waving his sword and seeking vengeance for his two brothers. He was killed by Saad b Abi Waqas. The murder of the three brothers one after the other made the Quraish furious. Their flag was next held by Irtas b Sharjeel a formidable man. He challenged the Muslims saying that he who coveted death should step forward to measure swords with him. Ali met the challenge, and killed Irtas. Thereupon Asama b Zaid dashed at Ali, with a view to striking a blow at him, before he could adjust himself after killing Irtas. Ali moved his sword right and left and struck a mortal blow on his assailant who reeled and fell down dead. After the death of six warriors from among the Quraish one after the other, no other warrior of the Quraish could dare challenge a duel with the Muslims.
After the duels, the battle began. The Quraish charged with great force, but the Muslims held fast. Then in a counter attack the Muslims broke the enemy's line, and the Quraish fell back. At this stage, the contingent of the Muslim archers, contrary to the instructions of the Holy Prophet left their position in order to plunder the camp of the retreating Quraish. Khalid b Walid who was still a nonMuslim and was commanding a contingent of the Quraish cavalry rushed with his contingent, and occupied the position vacated by the Muslim archers. That exposed the Muslims to an attack from the rear as well as from the front. That changed the course of the battle. The defenses of the Muslims were broken, and in the confusion that followed many Muslims were martyred. Hamza an uncle of the Holy Prophet fell fighting. His dead body was desecrated by the Quraish as a mark of their fury against the Muslims. Hinda the wife of Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraish ripped the dead body, took out his liver, and chewed it. It was a barbarity which an unscrupulous woman like Hinda alone could practice. Among the Muslims who were martyred was Mas'ab b Omair. He bore some physical resemblance to the Holy Prophet, and seeing his dead body the Quraish shouted that Muhammad (peace be on him) had been killed.
In the confusion that followed, the Holy Prophet was wounded, and he fell in a pit over the dead bodies of his followers. Ali charged the Quraish with unprecedented fury, and killed many men of the enemy. He received no less than sixty-one wounds. When the Quraish continued shouting that the Holy Prophet had been killed, and Ali could no longer see the Holy Prophet where he was stationed, he rushed to the spot where the Holy Prophet lay wounded. He took the Holy Prophet from out of the pit, and with the aid of other companions including Abu Bakr and Umar escorted the Holy Prophet to a safer place. Ali fetched water in his shield, and dressed the wounds of the Holy Prophet, taking no heed of the wounds that he himself had received in the battle. As in the meantime, the Quraish continued shouting that the Holy Prophet had been killed, and no contradiction was made from the Muslim camp. The Muslim warriors engaged in combat with the Quraish were demoralized. They felt that if the Holy Prophet had been killed, there was no point in fighting the battle. At this juncture, at the instance of the Holy Prophet, Umar shouted back at the Quraish to say that the Holy Prophet was very much alive. On regaining consciousness, the Holy Prophet charged Ali to launch a counter attack against the Quraish. Ali rallied the Muslim, exhorted them to fight for the glory of Islam, and fell upon the enemy with the ferocity of a lion. Ali broke into the lines of the enemy, and caused great havoc in the ranks of the enemy. So great was the slaughter caused by Ali in the ranks of the enemy that his sword broke down. Thereupon the Holy Prophet sent Ali his own sword, and with this sword Ali caused further havoc among the ranks of the Quraish. He held the flag in his right hand, and when his right hand was wounded he held the nag in his left hand. Ali drove back the enemy. Because of the prodigies of valor performed by Ali, the Quraish could not take advantage of the victory that they had won at an earlier stage of the battle. Abu Sufyan accordingly commanded the Quraish to return to Makkah. He, however, shouted in a boastful mood that the Quraish had taken the revenge for their defeat in the Battle of Badr. Abu Sufyan declared that the Quraish would soon have another confrontation, when the Muslims would be annihilated. When after the battle Ali returned to the camp his entire body was covered with so many wounds that Umm Salim and Umm Atiya, the Muslim nurses, did not know how to dress the wounds of Ali. The Holy Prophet washed and dressed the wounds of Ali himself, and said that God in whose cause Ali had received the wounds would heal them. Ali said, " May God grant me the patience to bear this suffering. It was indeed a favor of God that He gave me the courage to stand and fight in spite of these wounds, and not to leave the field". For his marvelous bravery, the Holy Prophet conferred on Ali the appellation "Asad Allah", the lion of God.
Assessment of the Battle of Uhud
The Battle of Uhud is an important battle in the annals of Islam. In the early stage the battle went in favor of the Muslims, but because of a tactical mistake made by
the archers, the tide of the battle was reversed, and the Quraish came to have the upper hand. The Muslims were thoroughly demoralized and practically lost the will to fight. It was at this stage that Ali took the command and prevented the Quraish from taking advantage of the victory that they had won earlier. The battle that would have otherwise ended in the annihilation of the Muslims concluded as a drawn battle. The Quraish could gain no booty; they could not make any Muslim a captive. True, many Muslims died as martyrs, but the casualties in the ranks of the Quraish were larger still. Ali played the role of a hero in the battle. His services were highly appreciated by the Holy Prophet and the Companions. Some Muslim poets composed verses in the honor of Ali. Extolling his bravery one of the poets said: "There is no sword better than the sword of Ali; and there is no young man superior to Ali." There is some controversy about the number of unbelievers killed by Ali at the Battle of Uhud. According to some accounts the number was about two hundred. According to more conservative accounts the number was about two dozen. We need not enter into any controversy about the number of persons killed. The basic point is that Ali played the role of a great hero at the Battle of Uhud, and he succeeded in averting a crisis which was fraught with great danger for the Muslims.
The Qureshites came out from the Battle of Badr with an astonishing result which they did not expect. They were confident of their capability to annihilate the Muslims easily. Because of they were more numerous and with a bigger reserve and more logistics. Yet, they suddenly found themselves losing seventy of their warriors and leaders, along with seventy captives, in a one-day battle. And above all, the resounding defeat which they received was at the hand of a group whom they used to be little. The Qureshites were unwilling to admit a final defeat. They lost a battle, but they believed that they would never lose the war. All they needed was to mobilize forces to which the Muslims would not be able to stand. The burning hatred in the hearts of Qureshites and their desire to wash away the shame of the defeat at Badr and their eagerness to avenge their lost leaders added to their physical superiority a tremendous psychological strength. The Qureshites mobilized for the battle of avenge three thousand fighters compared to nine hundred and fifty fighters at the Battle of Badr. This army was financed and its logistics were secured through the gross income of the
commercial caravan which was allotted to the battle of avenge. Thus, the community of Quraish, one year after the Battle of Badr, marched towards Medina to annihilate the Muslims, their religion, and their Prophet. The Meccan army arrived at the area of Uhud which is five miles away from Medina. There, the expected battle took place.
The Uhud region
The big and lengthy valley which joined the trade route of Syria with Yemen is called Wadiul Qura. Different Arab tribes and the Jews took up their abode at a spot where necessities of life were available. A number of villages, therefore, came into existence and their sides were fences by stones. Yathrib (which was later named Madinatur Rasul i.e., city of Prophet) was consider to be center of these villages. Whoever came from Makkah to Madina was obliged to enter there from the southern side. However, as this region was stony and it was difficult for an army to move into it, the army of Quraysh bent its route and established itself in the north of Madina in the valley named 'Aqiq', situated at the foot of Mt. Uhud. This area was fit for all sorts of military operations as there was no palm-grove in it and the land was also even. Madina was more vulnerable from this side because there were very few natural obstacles in this part.
The Holy Prophet goes out of Madina
The prophet offered Friday prayers and then left Madina for Uhud with an army consisting of one thousand men. He did not take with him persons like Usamah bin Zayd Harith and Abdullah bin Umar on account of their tender age, but two young men named Samurah and Rafe, who were not more than fifteen years of age, participated in the battle, because, in spite of their being young, they were good archers. The Prophet (S.A.W.) reached Uhud in the morning of Saturday, the 7th of Shawwal, 3 AH (January or February 625 AD).
The Islamic forces arrayed themselves opposite the invading and aggressive forces of Quraysh (Khalid bin Walid on right, Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl on left, Abu Sufyan in middle). The Muslim army selected as their camping place a point which had a natural barrier and protection at the back of it in the shape of Mt. Uhud. There was, however a particular gap in the middle of the mountain and it was probable that the enemy forces might turn round the mountain and appear at the back of the Muslim army through that gap and might attack them from behind. In order to obviate this danger the prophet posted two groups of archers on a mount and addressed their Commander Abdullah Jabir in these words: "You should drive away the enemies (which were led by Khalid bin Walid) by shooting arrows. Don't allow them to enter the battlefield from behind and take us by surprise. Whether we are victorious or defeated, you should not vacate this point.
The elements of the Islamic defence
In this second battle of destiny for the Muslims, the Islamic defense consisted of the same three important elements which played their roles at the battle of Badr: 1. The ideal leadership of the Messenger and his firmness. 2. The members of the house of the Holy Prophet and their heroism. 3. An Islamic army consisting of seven hundred companions, the hearts of many of them were filled with faith and readiness for sacrifice.
The start of the Battle of Uhud followed the method of the beginning or the Battle of Badr. Talhah Ibn Abu Talhah (from Banu Abdul-Dar clan), the bearer of the banner or the pagans, challenged the Muslims, saying: "Are there any duelers?" The respondent to his call was the same respondent of the Battle of Badr. Ali came to him and when they faced each other between the two hosts, Ali swiftly dealt him a blow by his sword through which his head was split. The Holy
Prophet was pleased. He exclaimed: Allahu Akbar (God Is Great), and so did the Muslims, for the biggest hero of the pagan army had died. It is a noteworthy incident that Talha the first standard bearer of the Meccans lost one of his legs by a stroke of Ali's sword, fell down and his lower garment being loosened, he became naked. Ali, instead of finishing him, turned his face from him and hit him no more. When Prophet asked Ali why he had spared the man, he said the man was nude and entreated for the sake of Allah to spare his life. Abu Saad Ibn Abu Talhah (brother of Talhah) carried the banner and challenged the Muslims, saying Companions of Mohammad, you allege that your dead go to Paradise and our dead go to Hell. By "Al Lat", you lie. If you were so confident, some of you could have faced me. Let one of you come to fight me. Ali came to him and Abu Saad was not luckier than his brother Talhah. The men of Abdul-Dar continued replacing the bearers of their banner with their men, and the Muslims continued annihilating them. Ali destroyed Artat Ibn Sharhabeel, Shureih Ibn Qaridh and their servant, Sawab.
Ali and the banner bearers
However, Ibn Al-Atheer reported that Ali, alone, destroyed all the standard bearers at the Battle of Uhud and said that Abu Rafi reported that. And so did AlTabari. The death of the bearers of the banner heightened the morale of the Muslims and shook the hearts of the pagans. Following the death of the banner bearers, the Muslims undertook a general offensive led by Ali, Al-Hamzah, Abu Dujanh, and others. The Islamic offensive terrified the pagan army, but the Muslims lost during this operation a giant hero Al-Hamzah, Lion of God, and uncle of the Messenger of God. Wahshi bin Harb, an Abyssinian (Ethiopian slave of Mut'am), transfixed him with his dart while he was fighting. However, the pagans were forced to flee and leave their camps. The Muslims entered the pagan camps and went on collecting what they found of equipment and material without meeting any resistance from the pagans.
Who were fighting for the sake of lust?
It is learnt from the verses, which Hind and other women were reciting with tambourines to instigate the warriors of Quraysh and to incite them to blood-shed and revenge, that these people were not fighting for the sake of spirituality, purity, freedom and moral virtues. On the contrary they were prompted by sexual and material consideration. The song which the women sang with tambourine and a particular tune amongst the rows of the army was: "We are the daughters of Tariq. We walk on costly carpets. If you face the enemy we shall sleep with you, but if you show your back to the enemy and flee, we shall disengage ourselves from you".
Defeat after victory
We may mention here as to why the warriors of Islam were victorious. It was due to the fact that till the last moment of their victory they had no motive except that of jihad in the path of Allah, acquisition of His pleasure, conveying the message of Allah and the removal of every impediment in its path. Why were they defeated thereafter? It was because, after achieving victory, the aim and intention of most of the Muslims underwent a change. Attention towards the booty, which the army of Quraysh had themselves thrown in the battlefield and had fled, affected the sincerity of a large group and they ignored the orders given by the Prophet. Here are the details of the event: While explaining the geographical conditions of Uhud we had mentioned that there was a particular gap in the middle of Mt. Uhud and the Prophet had entrusted fifty archers under the command of Abdullah Jibir to guard the valley behind the battle front and had given these orders to the commander of the group: "Prevent the enemy from passing through the gap in the mountain by shooting arrows and don't vacate this point at any cost whether we are defeated or victorious". The fire of warfare blazed up on both the sides. Every time the enemies wished to cross this valley they were repulsed by the archers. When the army of Quraysh threw away their weapons and property on the ground and ignored everything else to save their lives, a few brave officers of Islam whose oath of allegiance was perfectly sincere pursued the enemy outside the battle-field. But the majority ignored the pursuit and placing their weapons on the ground began collecting the booty and imagined that the battle had come to an end. The persons guarding the valley behind the battle front also decided to avail of the opportunity and said to themselves: "It is useless for us to stay here and it is profitable that we too should collect the booty". Their commander, however, reminded that the Prophet had ordered that whether the Muslim army gained victory or was defeated they should not move from their post. Majority of the archers, who were guarding the passage, opposed their commander and said: "0ur staying here is useless and the Prophet meant only that we should guard this passage when the battle was in progress, but now the fighting has ended". On the basis of this false presumption forty men came down from the vigilance post and only ten persons remained there. Khalid bin Walid, who was a brave and experienced warrior and knew from the very start that the mouth of the passage was the key to victory and had attempted many times to reach at the back of the war-front through it, but had to face the archers, took advantage of the small number of the guards this time. He led his soldiers towards the
backside of the Muslim army and making a surprise attack reached at the party of the Muslims. The resistance by the small group which was stationed above the mount could not prove effective till all the ten persons after putting up a tough fight were killed at the hands of the troops of Khalid bin Walid and Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl. Soon after that the unarmed and neglectful Muslims were subjected to a severe attack of the enemy from behind. After having gained possession of the sensitive point Khalid sought the collaboration of the defeated army of Quraysh, which was in a state of flight, and strengthened the spirit of resistance and perseverance of Quraysh with repeated shoutings and cries. On account of disruption and confusion, which prevailed in the ranks of the Muslims, the army of Quraysh soon surrounded the Muslim warriors and fighting commenced between them once again. This defeat was due to the negligence of those persons who vacated the passage for their material gains and unintentionally cleared the way for the enemy in such a manner that the mounted soldiers under orders of Khalid bin Walid entered the field from behind. The attack by Khalid was supported by an attack by Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl and unprecedented and surprising disorder prevailed in the forces of Islam. The Muslims had no alternative but to defend themselves as a scattered group. However, as liaison with the command had also been disrupted they did not succeed in defending themselves and suffered heavy casualties, so much so that some Muslim soldiers were inadvertently killed by other Muslims. The attacks by Khalid and Ikrimah strengthened the morale of the army of Quraysh. Their retreating forces re-entered the field and lent them support. They encircled the Muslims from all sides and killed a number of them.
The rumor about the Prophet being killed spreads
A brave warrior of Quraysh named Laythi attacked Mus'ab bin Umayr, the daring standard-bearer of Islam, and after exchange of a number of blows between them the standard-bearer of Islam was killed. As the Muslim warriors had hidden their faces Laythi thought that the person killed was the Prophet of Islam. He, therefore, shouted and informed the chiefs of the army that Muhammad had been killed. This rumor spread from man to man in the army of Quraysh. Their chiefs were so happy that their voices were ringing in the battlefield and all of them were saying: "O people! Muhammad has been killed! O people! Muhammad has been killed!" Publicity of this false news encouraged the enemy and the army of Quraysh came into motion. Every one of them was keen to participate in cutting the limbs of Muhammad so that he might secure a high status in the world of polytheism.
This news weakened the morale of the warriors of Islam much more than it gave strength to the morale of the army of the enemy, so much so that a considerable majority of Muslims abandoned fighting and took refuge in the mountains and none of them, except a few, who could be counted on fingers, remained in the field.
The holy Quran reveals some facts
The verses of the Holy Qur'an tear the veils of fanaticism and ignorance and make it abundantly clear that some companions thought that the promise given by the Prophet about victory and success was baseless and the Almighty Allah says thus about this group: Then after sorrow He sent down security upon you, a calm coming upon a party (a group of companions) of you, and (there was) another party whom their own souls had rendered anxious; they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly, saying: We have no hand in the affair. (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:154) You can learn the hidden facts about this battle by studying the verses of Surah Al-e-Imran. These verses fully bear out the facts in which we believe. We believe that all the companions were not self-sacrificing or lovers of Islam, and some persons with weak faith were hypocrites who were amongst them. And at the same time there were among the companions a large number of true believers and pious and sincere persons. Nowadays a group of writers attempt to draw a curtain on many of these unworthy acts of the companions (their specimens have been seen by you in connection with the events of this battle). They protect the position of all of them by offering unrealistic explanations, which only show their fanaticism and cannot hide the real facts of history. Who can deny the substance of this verse which says clearly: (Believers, remember) When you ran off precipitately and did not wait for any one, and the Messenger was calling you from your rear, (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:153) This verse is about the same persons, who were seen by Anas bin Nazr with his own eyes when they were sitting in a corner and were anxious about their future. The following verse is more clear than that quoted above: (As for) those of you who turned back on the day when the two armies met, only the Shaitan sought to cause them to make a slip on account of some deeds they had done, and certainly Allah has pardoned them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing. (Surah Al-e-Imran, 3:155) Allah reprimands in the following verse those persons who made the news about the Prophet's assassination an excuse for abandoning fight and were thinking of approaching Abu Sufyan through Abdullah bin Ubayy to guarantee their safety:
And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means does harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful.
Five persons conspire to kill the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
At the time when the army of Islam was faced with disorder and chaos, the Prophet was being attacked from all sides. Five notorious men of Quraysh determined to put an end to his life at any cost. They were: 1. Abdullah bin Shahib who wounded the forehead of the Prophet. 2. Utbah Abi Waqqas who, by flinging four stones, broke his ruba'iyat (Ruba'iyat are the teeth (four in number) which are between the front teeth and the canine teeth) teeth of the right side. 3. Ibn Qumi'ah Laythi who inflicted a wound on the face of the Prophet. The wound was so severe that the rings of the Prophet's helmet penetrated into his cheeks. These rings were extracted by Abu Ubaydah Jarrah with his teeth and he lost four of his own teeth in doing so. 4. Abdullah Hamid, who was killed, at the time of attack, at the hands of the hero of Islam, Abu Dujanah. 5. Abi Khalf. He was one of those persons who fell at the hands of the Prophet himself. He faced the Prophet at the time when He (the Prophet) had managed to reach in the valley and some of his companions had come round him, on having
identified him. Abi Khalf advanced towards the Prophet. The Prophet took a spear from Hasis bin Simmah and thrust it in the neck of Abi Khalf as a consequence of which he fell down from his horse. Although the wound sustained by Abi Khalf was minor, he had become so much terrified that when his friends consoled him he could not compose himself and said: "I said to Muhammad in Makkah that I would kill him and he said in reply that he would kill me, and he never tells a lie". All was over with him on account of the wound and fear, and after some time he breathed his last on his way back to Makkah.
Defense associated with success and renewed victory
It will not be inappropriate if we give the name of 'renewed victory' to this part of the history of Islam. What is meant by this victory is that contrary to the expectations of the enemies, the Muslims succeeded in saving the Prophet from death. And this was the renewed victory, which fell to the lot of the army of Islam. If we are associating this victory with the entire army of Islam we are doing so as a mark of respect to the warriors of Islam. In fact, however, the heavy burden of this victory fell on the shoulders of a few persons who could be counted on fingers. These were the persons who protected the Prophet by risking their own lives and in fact it was due to the self-sacrifice of this minority that the State of Islam remained in tact and this luminous candle did not extinguish.
Here is a brief role of self-sacrificing Ali (A.S.) in this battle
Ibn Athir says: "The Prophet become the object of the attack of various units of the army of Quraysh from all sides. Ali attacked, in compliance with the Prophet's orders, every unit that made an attack upon him (the Prophet) and dispersed them or killed some of them, and this thing took place a number of times in Uhud. In the meantime the Archangel Jibreel came and praised the devotion of Ali before the Prophet and said: 'It is the height of sacrifice which this officer is displaying'. The Prophet confirmed the remark of Jibreel and said: 'I am from Ali and Ali is from me'. Then a voice was heard in the battlefield saying: La Fata Illa
Ali, La Saifa Illa Zulfiqar [There is no brave man except Ali and there is no sward which renders service except Zulfiqar (which was in the hands of Ali)].
Site of the battle of Uhud
Battle of Uhud: Archer's Mount
During the Battle of Uhud,
The Battle of Uhud
Mountain of Uhud
The Idolators suffered many casualties among their noble men at the battle of Badr. The caravan that Abu Sufyan led (before Badr) returned safely to Makkah, prompting the remaining Makkan leaders and the children of those who were killed at Badr to demand from Abu Sufyan to, "Spend this money on fighting Muhammad!'' Consequently, they spent the money from the caravan on warfare expenses and mobilized their forces including the Ahabish tribes (tribes living around the city). They gathered three thousand soldiers and marched until they camped near Uhud facing Al-Madinah. The Messenger of Allah led the Friday prayer and when he finished with it, he performed the funeral prayer for a man from Bani An-Najjar called Malik bin `Amr. The Prophet then asked the Muslims for advice, if they should march to meet the disbelievers, or fortify themselves in Al-Madinah. `Abdullah bin Ubayy (the chief hypocrite) advised that they should remain in Al-Madinah, saying that if the disbelievers lay siege to Al-Madinah, the siege would be greatly disadvantageous to them. He added that if they decide to attack Al-Madinah, its men would face off with them, while women and children could throw rocks at them from above their heads; and if they decide to return to Makkah, they would return with failure. However, some companions who did not attend the battle of Badr advised that the Muslims should go out to Uhud to meet the disbelievers.
The Messenger of Allah went to his home, put on his shield and came out. The companions were weary then and said to each other, "Did we compel the Messenger of Allah to go out'' They said, "O Messenger of Allah! If you wish, we will remain in Al-Madinah. '' The Messenger of Allah said,
«»ما ينبغي لنبي إذا لبس لمته أن يرجع حتى يحكم ال له َ ُ َ ُ ْ َ َّ َ ِ ْ َ ْ َ ُ َ َ َ َ ِ َ َ ِ َ ِ َ ِ ِ َ ْ َ َ ْ
(It is not for a Prophet to wear his shield for war then lay down his arms before Allah decides in his favor.)
The Messenger of Allah marched with a thousand of his Companions. When they reached the Shawt area, `Abdullah bin Ubayy went back to Al-Madinah with a third of the army, claiming he was angry the Prophet did not listen to his advice. He and his supporters said, "If we knew that you would fight today, we would
have accompanied you. However, we do not think that you will fight today.'' The Messenger of Allah marched until he reached the hillside in the area of Uhud, where they camped in the valley with Mount Uhud behind them. The Messenger of Allah said,
«» َ يقاتلن أحد حتى نأمره بالقتال َ ِ ْ ِ ُ َ ُ ْ َ ّ َ ٌ َ َ ّ َِ َ ُ ل
(No one starts fighting until I issue the command to fight.)
The Messenger prepared his forces for battle, and his army was seven hundred men. He appointed `Abdullah bin Jubayr, from Bani `Amr bin `Awf, to lead the archers who were fifty men. The Prophet said to them,
ُ ْ ّ َ ُ َ ْ َ َ ُ ُ ْ ََ ْ َِ َ ْ ََ ْ َ َ َ ُ َ ْ ّ ِ َ َ ْ ِ ْ ُ َ َ َ ُ َ ْ َ ْ ُ َِ ِ ْ ِ ّ َ َ ْ ُ َ َ ّ َ َ ْ َ ْ ُ َ ْ »انضحوا الخيل عنا، ول نؤتين من قبلكم، والزموا مكانكم، إن كانت النوبة لنا أو علينا، وإن رأيتمونا تخطفنا الطييير «فل تبرحوا مكانكم ُ َ َ َ ُ َ َْ َ َ
(Keep the horsemen away from us, and be aware that we might be attacked from your direction. If victory was for or against us, remain in your positions. And even if you see us being picked up by birds, do not abandon your positions.)
The Prophet wore two protective shields and gave the flag to Mus`ab bin `Umayr of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar. The Prophet also allowed some young men to participate in fighting, but not others, whom he allowed to participate in the battle of AlKhandaq two years later. The Quraysh mobilized their forces of three thousand men with two hundred horsemen on each flank. They appointed Khalid bin AlWalid to lead the right side of the horsemen and `Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl on the left side. They also gave their grand flag to the tribe of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar. Allah willing, we will mention the details of this battle later on, if Allah wills. Allah said here,
﴾﴿وإذ غدوت من أهلك تبوىء المؤمنين مقاعد للقتال ِ َ ِ ْ ِ َ ِ َ َ َ ِ ِ ْ ُ ْ ُ ّ َ ُ َ ِْ َ ْ ِ َ ْ َ َ ْ َِ
(And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle) ﴿3:121﴾, designating them to various positions, dividing the army to the left and right sides and placing them wherever you command them.
﴾﴿وال سميع عليم ٌ َِ ٌ ِ َ ّ َ ُ
(And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower), He hears what you say and knows what you conceal in your hearts. Allah said next,
﴾﴿إذ همت طآئفتان منكم أن تفشل َ َ ْ َ َ ْ ُ ِ ِ ََ ِ ّ ْ ّ َ ْ ِ
(When two parties from among you were about to lose heart,)
Al-Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, "The Ayah,
﴾﴿إذ همت طآئفتان منكم أن تفشل َ َ ْ َ َ ْ ُ ِ ِ ََ ِ ّ ْ ّ َ ْ ِ
(When two parties from among you were about to lose heart) was revealed about us, ﴿the two Muslim tribes of﴾ Bani Harithah and Bani Salamah. I (or we) would not be pleased if it was not revealed, because Allah said in it,
﴾﴿وال وليهما َ ُ ّ َِ ّ َ ُ
(but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector)) ﴿3:122﴾.''
Muslim recorded this Hadith from Sufyan bin `Uyaynah.
Lessons from the Battle of Uhud
The Battle of Uhud was a great example of what can happen when you disobey the Messenger of God (pbuh). It was a grave lesson for the believers and a warning to them. At the same time, it was a defeat and a victory for both sides. To fully understand the Battle of Uhud, we must divide it into three parts: the events in chronological order, the analysis of the events and the wisdom gained from this experience. From the Quraish’s perspective, this battle was a revenge for the Battle of Badr. The Quraish sent messengers to the different tribes of Mecca to try to gain their support against the Muslims in Madinah. There also hired poets to persuade the people to join. The Makkans even brought fifteen women to influence the men to fight. The Quraish had three thousand men. Seven hundred of their soldiers were armored and two hundred on horseback. They had three thousand camels for the journey. Al Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib sent a message to the Prophet (pbuh) that the Quraish were planning to attack the Muslims. The Prophet (pbuh), after receiving the letter, went to Madinah to discuss the matter. After hearing about the Quraish’s plans, they watched Madinah very carefully. The Muslims organized groups to watch the routes, so that they would know of the coming of the Quraish. Meanwhile the Quraish reached a place near the mountains of Uhud and set up their tents there on Friday, Shawwal 6, 3 A.H. (After Hijrah). The Muslims found the enemy camp and told the Prophet (pbuh) about it. The Prophet (pbuh) wanted to avoid war, so he wanted the Muslims to stay in Madinah, and, if necessary defend it from the Quraish within the city. The final conclusion was to resist the Quraish outside of Madinah. The Prophet (pbuh), after Juma prayer, prepared for the battle. The Prophet (pbuh) made three different groups: Al-Muhajireen, Aws tribe and the Khazraj. The Muslim army had one thousand men. One hundred men were armored and fifty were on horseback. The Jews wanted to fight, but the Prophet (pbuh) did not allow them to. The Prophet (pbuh) sent the physically incapable and young back to Madinah. When the Muslims set up camp, fifty guards were appointed to guard the camp. After the Muslim army was close to the Quraish, Abdullah bin Ubai, a hypocrite, left the battlefield taking three hundred soldiers. This is explained in the Qur’anic verse [3:167]. This incident almost
caused the further split of the army, but Allah (swt) helped them. The Qur’anic Verse [3:122] talks about this. The Prophet (pbuh) and his followers continued their march until they came to the valley of Uhud and that is where they settled camp. The Prophet (pbuh) put fifty archers on a strategic location behind the Muslim army. The Prophet (pbuh) at that point gave Abu Dujana his sword. The Quraish put their army into rows; this was a tradition of war that was passed down to them. The battle started with two fighters, Talha bin Abi Talha Al-Abdari and Az-Zubair bin Al-Awwam. Az-Zubair killed Talha, so the battle started. The Bani Abd Ad-Dar were the flag-bearers, but they were all defeated in the beginning of the battle. Abu Dujana was fighting very bravely. He was about to kill Abu Sufyan’s wife, but said he respected the Prophet (pbuh)’s sword too much to use on a woman. Humza fought bravely as well, but was killed by a slave, Wahshi bin Harb, who killed him to gain his freedom. Hanzala Al-Ghaseel was just married, he was in his wife’s bed, but when he heard of the battle against the Quraish, he ran to the battlefield. The archers, who the Prophet set up behind the Muslim army, kept the cavalry of the Quraish from overtaking the Muslims by surprise. It seemed the Muslims were winning, so forty of the fifty archers left to collect the spoils. The Quraish saw this and exploited it. They surrounded the Muslims and scattered them. The Prophet (pbuh) started calling them back. Some of the Muslims fled the battlefield out of confusion. The Muslims were lost and there spread a rumor that the Prophet (pbuh) had been killed. Anas An-Nadr said he smelled Paradise on the battlefield and died fighting as a martyr. There were only nine people fighting with the prophet (pbuh). Seven of them, all Ansar, died and only two Muhajireen were left with the Prophet (pbuh). At this point in the battle, the Quraish came to the Prophet, seeing he only had two men with him. The Holy Prophet (pbuh)’s tooth broke, his head was scratched and his cheek was bleeding. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “How can people who cut the Prophet’s face and break his tooth, he who calls them to worship Allah, How can such people thrive or be successful? Allah (swt) replies to the Prophet’s statement in this verse [3:128]. The only two companions left protecting the Prophet (pbuh) were Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas and Talha bin Ubaidullah. They were great fighters and kept the Quraish away. Talha paralyzed his arm defending the Prophet (pbuh). Abu Dujana protected the Prophet (pbuh) from arrows by shielding him by his back, while Talha protected him from the arrows by using his chest as a shield. Qatabah bin-Nu’man’s eye fell out, when the Prophet (pbuh) put it back in; it was became better than his other eye. Abdur Rahman bin Awf broke his mouth and wounded his leg. Umm Amarah fought in the battle until she received 12 wounds. Musab bin Umair carried the flag till his death. Ali received the flag from the Prophet (pbuh) after Musab’s death. Uthman bin Abdullah bin Al-Mugheerah tried to kill the Prophet (pbuh), but was killed by
Al-Harith bin As-Simma. The Muslims finally retreated to the mountains of Uhud. Ubai bin Khalaf was killed by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by AlHarith’s spear. Abu Sufyan and Khalid bin Al-Waleed tried to pursue them, but some companions drove them down the mountain. The disbelievers went back on their way to Makkah. After the battle, the disbelievers mutilated some of the Muslim bodies. Hind bin Utbah, Abu Sufyan’s wife, ripped open Hamza’s liver, chewed it and threw it down. Some Muslim women gave water to the Muslim soldiers. Qazman fought well and killed about seven Quraish, but he fought out of pride. The Prophet (pbuh) said he was a dweller of Hell-Fire after he committed suicide due to the pains of his wounds. A Jew was among the martyred. The Prophet (pbuh) said about him, “He, Mukhaireeq is the best Jew.” Many people said that the Battle of Uhud was a defeat for the Muslims. In reality, it was a victory and not that much of a defeat. The Muslims learned the importance of obeying the leader and especially the Prophet (pbuh). This will stay as an example for the Muslims of all ages and times. Even one little mistake can prove disastrous. At the same time, it was made clear to the Muslims who were the believers and who were the hypocrites. The true Muslim fought bravely, many were martyred in the way of God. This made the believers’ inspiration to fight in the way of God and die a martyr greater than it was before. The hypocrites fled from the battle field, some even openly opposed the Prophet (pbuh). Even though the Quraish won, they became cowardly and retreated, knowing that their victory wouldn’t be very long. Even though the believers ended up retreating, they learned very important lessons. The only way it can be seen as a defeat is by the loss of Hamza and the injuries obtained by the Prophet (pbuh). The Quraish had gotten their moment of triumph, but in the end, truth will always prevail over evil. There are many wisdoms from the outcome of the Battle of Uhud. One thing was that the believers learned from their mistakes. God tested the believers with different circumstances. God also made clear to them the true believers and the hypocrites among them. As was the story of Qazman shows us what happens to those who fight for the wrong reasons. He fought so bravely, but only for pride. In the Hereafter, he was one of the losers. God made him as an example for all people. God made the believers stronger and gave them chance to earn martyrdom. The story of the Jew from Bani Tha’labah, Mukhaireeq, who believed in the message and gained martyrdom at Uhud, was also an example. The Prophet said he was the best Jew. The courageous Talha bin Ubaidullah, who the Prophet (pbuh) gave glad tidings of Paradise, proved his selflessness and his love for Allah and his messenger. In these men, there are
examples for us all. We should not fight for nationalistic, ethnic, social or material reasons. We should fight only for Allah (swt), in the way of Allah (swt). In summary, the Battle of Uhud was revenge by the disbelievers against the Muslims. Although it seemed like a victory for the Muslim, it turned into a defeat due to the disobedience of a few men. In the long run, it was a clear victory because it taught the believers obedience and made obvious to them the hypocrites. This was an example for all future generations of Muslims, and Allah (swt) knows best.
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