The defeat at Badr was a humiliation which the pride of the Quraish could not leave unavenged. Revenge was, therefore, the catchword over all Makkah. The Makkans even forbade lamenting over their dead [from Badr], or the ransom of those who were taken as captives, so that the Muslims do not realize the degree of sadness and feeling of tragedy that they were experiencing.
In the wake of Badr, the Quraish came to a common agreement and began fresh preparations to launch an attack against the Muslims, restoring their wounded reputation and pride. The polytheists who were most enthusiastic in going to battle were `Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Umaiyah, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, and `Abdullah bin Abi Rabi`ah; they were determined to crush the Islamic community once and for all. They also sent envoys to all the neighboring tribes to make common pact against the new rising faith, which resulted in the enlistment of support of anyone who wanted to fight against the Muslims from amongst the tribe of Kinanah, the people of Tihamah, and the people living in the suburbs. It was also decided that the profits of the caravan which had escaped capture from the Muslims while headed by Abu Sufyan, which amounted to one thousand camels and fifty thousand dinars, would be devoted for providing equipment to the army. It was about this that Allah revealed:
“Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcome.” [8:36]
They also devised other ways of recruiting people which included the hiring of poets to persuade the tribes into fighting the Muslims. Safwan bin Umaiyah convinced the poet Abu `Azzah to work in this context in return for riches after the war or support for his daughters if he was to be killed. Incidentally, this poet was a prisoner of war [at the Battle of Badr] and the
Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was gracious enough to release him without a ransome provided that he would not engage in any fight against him [or the Muslims].
It was Abu Sufyan who harbored the most enmity against Muslims because of his losses in the as-Saweeq campaign, and the Quraish’s losses by the squad of Zaid bin Harithah (May Allah be Pleased with him).
The Preparation of the Quraish Army
In the light of these successive failures, the Quraish increased their preparations for a decisive battle with the Muslims. At the turn of the year, all preparation were complete. The Makkans decided to have their women accompany them as a source of inspiration to fight valiantly. A group of three thousand well-armed soldiers marched toward Madinah; included in this were seven hundred soldiers with coats of armor, and two hundred well-mounted cavalry with three thousand camels and fifteen women. Their overall leader was Abu Sufyan bin Harb, the cavalry was under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Walid, who was assisted by `Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, and Bani `Abdud-Dar were entrusted with the standard.
The Mobilization of the Makkan Army
After the completion of the preparations the Makkan army began its journey toward Madinah. Old deep-seated hatred enveloped the whole process, forewarning of a bitter and bloody fighting.
The Plans of the Enemy are related to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
Al-`Abbas bin `Abdul-Muttalib maintained a closely watch on the military movements and preparations for war, which were relayed in an urgent message to the Prophet(May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) received the message while he was in Quba’ Masjid, which was read to him by Ubai bin Ka`b. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked him to keep the contents of the letter secret for the time being. He hurried back to Madinah and convened a special meeting with the Helpers and Emigrants, seeking consultation from them as to the course of events that should be taken.
The Muslims Prepare for Imminent Danger
The whole of Madinah was placed on alert and the men were heavily armed, even during prayer, in anticipation of any emergency. A group from among the Helpers, which included Sa`d bin Mu`adh, Usaid bin Hudair and Sa`d bin `Ubadah, volunteered to guard the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and to keep a watchful eye all night long on his residence. Armed groups of the Madinan residents began to police the entry ways and roads leading to the city, so as not to be taken by suprise. To maintain an eye on the movements of the polytheists, scouts of Muslim began patroling the routes for any possible enemy raid.
The Makkan Army’s Approach to Madinah
The Makkan army continued its march along the usual western route. On reaching Al-Abwa’ the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind bint `Utbah, suggested the digging up of the grave of the Prophet’s mother; however the leaders of the army refused for fear of the consequent results. The army then followed Wadi-ul-`Aqeeq and turned right to camp at a place called `Ainain near the Mountain of Uhud. That was on a Friday, the 6th of Shawwal, in 3 A.H.
A Consultation Assembly for a Defense Plan
The scouting party from Madinah conveyed all the movements of the Makkan army. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) convened a head military council to exchange ideas about the situation. He told them about a dream he had. He said:
“By Allah, I have dreamt – and I pray to Allah that it is a dream of bounty – of slaughtered cows, and that there was a groove at the point of my sword; I had inserted my hand into an immune armor.”
‘The cows’ was in reference to some of his men that would be killed, and
‘the groove at the point of my sword’ was a reference to a member of his House hold getting hurt. As for ‘the armor’ it represented Madinah. He then suggested to his Companions that they should remain [and defend from] inside of Madinah, and the enemy would be left in the open to exhaust themselves. In this way the Muslims would not risk a battle. If they thought of entering Madinah to attack it, then Muslim men would be ready to fight them on the streets, while the Muslim women would aid them from over the rooftops. ‘Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn Salul, who was the head of the hypocrites, also attended the meeting as a chief of Al-Khazraj was in support of the Prophet’s (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) plan.
However, his support for the Prophet’s plan was not based on merits of the plan but on personal benefit, because he did not want to fight. On the contrary he secretly aimed at being far away from the fight. However it was Allah’s will that he should be, for the first time, exposed and disgraced in public. It was His will that the veil which concealed the disbelief of the hypocrites be lifted. Allah’s will enabled the Muslims to recognize the reality of those snakes, who were slithering within their garments. It is all thanks to Allah that they were able to recognize them during a critical junction of their lives.
Some of the most honorable Companions, who had missed the Battle of Badr, offered the suggestion that the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) should march out from Madinah, urging him to accept their advice. One of them said: “Messenger of Allah, we have been looking forward to this day for a long time; we have prayed to Allah to make this day draw near. All gratification is for Allah. It is time to fight, so let us march out and fight our enemies in case they start to believe that we have lost heart and dare not fight them.” Hamzah bin Abdul-Muttalib, who was the paternal uncle of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and who had already decorated his sword with the blood of the idolaters during the Badr Battle, was the leader of those eager people who were advocating him to march out and meet the disbelievers. He said to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “By Allah, who has sent the Book down to you, I will not taste food until I fight them with my sword outside of Madinah.”
After carefully weighing the pros and cons of the issue, it was decided that the enemy should be fought outside the city at Uhud.
Dividing the Islamic Army and Departure to the Battlefield
Ascending the pulpit during the Friday congregational prayer, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), in his sermon, urged the people to fight courageously. He related to them of the help that they would receive if they remained steadfast. He then commanded the people to make preparations for the battle, to which they rejoiced.
He (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led the afternoon prayer with a crowd of people, and then entered his house accompanied by his two friends Abu Bakr and `Umar. They helped him dress for the battle. He wore his helmet, armed himself, and wore two sets of armor, one over the other. He wore his sword and went out to meet the people, who were waiting impatiently for him.
Sa`d bin Mu`adh (May Allah be Pleased with him) and Usaid bin Hudair (May Allah be Pleased with him) began to blame the people for imposing their view on the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), by saying: “You have forced Allah’s Messenger to fight the enemy outside of Madinah.” They were determined to leave the entire choice in the matter with the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came out, all the people said: “Messenger of Allah, we should not have disagreed with you. You are free to do what you desire. If you prefer to stay inside Madinah, we will stay with you.” Upon this Allah’s Messenger remarked:
“It does not suit a Prophet that once he has place on his armor, to take it off until Allah has decided between him and the enemy.”
The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) divided his army into three battalions: 1) The Muhajireen battalion, under the command of Mus`ab bin `Umair Al-`Abdari; 2) The Ansari-Aws battalion under the command of Usaid bin Hudair; and 3) The Ansari-Khazraj battalion under the command of Al-Hubab bin al-Mundhir.
The army consisted of one thousand fighters, a hundred of them had armor, and no cavelry was amongst them. He appointed Ibn Umm Maktum to lead the people in prayer in Madinah. Departure was announced and the army moved northwards with the two Sa`ds, in full armor, running in front of the army.
While passing along the Wada` mountain path he saw a well-armed battalion, which was detached from the main body of the army. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked as to who they were. He was informed that they were Jews, who were allies of Al-Khazraj and they wanted to help in the fight against the idolaters. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked, “Have they embraced Islam?” They answered, “No,” so he refused to let them joing saying that he would not seek the assistance of disbelievers against the idolaters.
The Lining up of the Army
As soon as he reached an area called Ash-Shaikhan, he lined up his army and dismissed those whom he considered to be disabled or too young to partake in the fighting. These included `Abdullah bin `Umar bin AlKhattab, Usamah bin Zaid, Usaid bin Zuhair, Zaid bin Thabit, Zaid bin Arqam, `Arabah bin Aws, `Amr bin Hazm, Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, Zaid bin Harithah Al-Ansari, Sa`d bin Habtah, and Al-Bara’ bin `Azib (May Allah be Pleased with all of them). As the latter one there is a Hadith in Sahih AlBukhari which states that he had taken part in the fighting on that day.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) allowed both Rafi` bin Khadij and Samurah bin Jundub to join the army, though they were young. The former proved to be skillful at shooting arrows, while the latter had defeated the former one in a wrestling match. The permission of Rafi` to join the army had made Samurah say: “I am stronger than him; I can overcome him.” When the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard this he ordered them to wrestle, which they did, and Samurah won so he was also permitted to join the army.
Passing the Night Between Uhud and Madinah
As night fell upon them between Uhud and Madinah, they performed both the Maghrib and the Isha prayers there and spent the night. Fifty people were chosen to guard and patrol the camp. Muhammad bin Maslamah AlAnsari(May Allah be Pleased with him), the hero of the brigade of Ka`b bin
Al-Ashraf, was in charge of the guards, while Dhakwan bin `Abd Qais(May Allah be Pleased with him)took the responsibility of guarding the Prophet(May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The Rebellion of `Abdullah bin Ubai and his Followers
Toward the end of the night and just before dawn, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) broke camp, and when he reached Ash-Shawt he performed the Fajr prayer. He was close enough to the enemy that they could see one another. It was here that the hypocrite `Abdullah bin Ubai rebelled against the Muslims And withdrew with onethird of the army, three hundred fighters. He said, “We do not know why we should kill ourselves.” He claimed that the reason for his withdrawal was stage a protest against the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for refusing his opinion and accepting the opinion of others.
However, this was not the real cause for his withdraw, because if the refusal of his opinion, as the hypocrite claimed, was the real reason, then it would not have made sense for him to join the Prophet’s army from the onset.
The real reason behind this rebellion, withdrawal, and detachment at this delicate time was to produce panic, confusion, and disorder within the ranks of the Muslim army, who were within sight and hear distance of the enemy, who were also looking forward to more disunity on the side of the Muslims, as it was occurring among themselves.
The hypocrite aimed at breaking the high morale of the believers, which they believed would accelerate the breakdown of the army and the eventual death of Muhammad, his faithful Companions, and Islam as a whole. The path to reclaiming the leadership, which the hypocrite had lost due to the advent of Islam in Madinah, would then become clear.
If it was not for Allah’s benevolence, the plot of the hypocrite would have been successful. Banu Harithah from Al-Aws and Banu Salamah from AlKhazraj were partially affected by the hypocrite’s behavior, and both, being overwhelmed by confusion and fear, had almost retreated; however, Allah’s benevolence saved them from that disgrace. Allah says:
“When two parties from among you were about to lose their heart, but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector). And in Allah should the believers put their trust.” [3:122]
‘Abdullah bin Haram (May Allah be Pleased with him), who was the father of Jabir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be Pleased with him), tried to stop the withdrawal of the hypocrite, reminding them of their duty at this delicate and awkward junction; but it was all in vain. Following them he criticized and advised them to return to the army saying: “Come and fight in the way of Allah, or at least for the defense [of your land].” They answered: “If we had known that fighting would have really taken place, then we would have not have withdrawn.” Having despaired of any hope from them, he said to them: “May Allah cast you away, you enemies of His. Allah will certainly suffice His Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” Allah says about those hypocrites:
“And that He might test the hypocrites, it was said to them: `Come, fight in the way of Allah or (at least) defend yourselves.' They said: `Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you.' They were that day, nearer to disbelief than to Faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allah has full knowledge of what they conceal.'' [3:167]
The Remainder of the Islamic Army Moves to Uhud
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) moved towards the enemy with the remaining fighters. After the rebellion and withdrawal of the hypocrites, the number of soldiers in the Muslim army was reduced to seven hundred.
The camp of idolaters was situated in a place that permitted them to block the many pathways leading to Uhud. So Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to his men: “Who from amongst you can lead us to where the [disbelieving] people are, along a short path that does not pass through them?” Abu Khaithamah said: “Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), I am the person that you need.” He travelled on a short path that led to Uhud, passing by Harrah Bani Harithah and their farms, while maintaining the army of the idolater to the west.
On their way they passed by the field of Mirba` bin Qaizi, who was a blind hypocrite. When Marba` realized that they were the army of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he began to throwing dirt at their faces; they rushed to kill him, but the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
``Do not kill him. He is blind in his heart and in his eyes.''
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) followed the path until they climbed down the hill of Uhud at the slope of the valley. He camped there with his army facing Madinah while their backs were to the hills of Mount Uhud, and the enemy stood between the Muslims and Madinah.
The Defensive Plan
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mobilized his army and arranged them into two rows in preparation for the battle. He form a squad of fifty skillful archers and placed them under the command of `Abdullah bin Jubair bin An-Nu`man Al-Ansari Al-Awsi AlBadri (May Allah be Pleased with him). He ordered them to remain where they were, which was on the side of the mountain at the south bank of the Qanat valley, south east of Muslim camps, and about one hundred and fifty meters from the Islamic army. Later on this mount was called the Mount of Archers.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) clarified the mission of this squad through the following words:
“Drive off the horses from us by means of arrows, lest they should attack us from the rear. Whether we win or lose the battle, remain standing in your positions, and make sure that we are not attacked from your side.” He added:
“Defend our backs! If you see us slain, do not come to assist us; and if you see that we have acquired booty, do not share in that with us.”
In a version recorded by al-Bukhari, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
``If you see us snatched into pieces by birds, do not leave this position of yours until I send for you. If you see that we have defeated the enemy and crushed them, do not desert your positions until I send for you.”
With the location and assignment of this squad complete, alongs with the strict military orders of not leaving their place, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) blocked the only way for the idolaters to reach the rear of Muslim army; causing the enemy to encircle the Muslim.
The remainder military assignments, posts, and responsibilities were also established by the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He appointed Al-Mundhir bin `Amr (May Allah be Pleased with him) to lead the right flank, Az-Zubair bin Al-`Awwam (May Allah be Pleased with him) to lead the left flank and Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad (May Allah be Pleased with him) as his assistant and supporter. Az-Zubair (May Allah be Pleased with him) was also given the responsibility to stop the cavalry under the command of Khalid bin Al-Walid. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) selected the best and most courageous group to be at the front line of the army. They were distinguished for their readiness, alertness, and bravery and were estimated to equal thousands of men.
It was a wise and carefully-laid plan which revealed the high military skills leadership that the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) possessed. No other leader could have drawn a more accurate or wise plan. Even though he came to the site later than the enemy, he managed to occupy a better position. The rocky mountainside, which was to the rear of the army served as a defense for any rear and right flank of the army. By blocking the only path on the side of the mountain with the archers, he was able to provide additional protection to the rear as well as the left flank of the army. For the fear of possible defeat and to deter the Muslims from fleeing, which would make it easier for them to become prisoners, he chose a high place for the military camp.
Additionally, a strategic site of this nature would offer the opportunity to inflict heavy losses on the polytheists if they thought of approaching or occupying his positions. His choice of this strategic location allowed him to reduce the enemy to a narrow geographical area of his choosing that was on a lower plain than his. This position of theirs would offer them no benefit in any possible victory. If the victory is with the Muslims, their position would offer them any route for escape while being pursued by them.
To make up for the shortage in numbers, he chose the most able fighters to take positions in the the front row.
Thus, the army of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was fully mobilized on the morning of Saturday, the 7th of Shawwal, in 3 A.H.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Implants the Spirit of Bravery in His Soldiers
The Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade the Muslims to begin fighting without orders from him. He, wore two armors, a frontal armor and a rear one. He urged his Companions to fight and encouraged them to show stamina and firmness during the battle. He began to instill the spirit of boldness and bravery in them. To rouse his Companions in standing firm during the battle, he took a sharp sword, held it in his hand and called out to them saying: “Who is ready to take this sword and give it its proper due?” Many set out to take it, including `Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam, `Umar bin AlKhattab, and others (May Allah be Pleased with all of them). But it was not given to anyone of them. Abu Dujanah Sammak bin Kharshah asked: “Messenger of Allah, what is its due?” The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: “To strike the faces of the enemy until it bends.” So, Abu Dujanah said: “Messenger of Allah, I will take it along with its due,” and he was given the sword.
Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was a courageous man who would swagger during a battle. He had a red band which, whenever he wore around his head, everyone knew that he was determined to fight to the death. As soon as Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) took the sword from the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) he placed his band on his head and began to strut proudly among the fighters. On seeing this, the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “This type of walking is disliked by Allah except in such a situation.”
The Positioning of the Makkan Army
The idolaters applied a system of rows in the mobilization of their army. The general leadership of the army was given to Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb, who positioned himself in the center of the army. Khalid bin AlWalid was on the right flank, while `Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl, was on the left flank. Safwan bin Umaiyah was in charge of infantry. The archers were under the command of `Abdullah bin Abi Rabi`ah.
The standard was given to a squad from Bani `Abdud-Dar. This distribution of the posts of the army was what had been practiced since the days of `Abd Manaf, who had initially assigned them with this task. This assignment was then inherited from Qusai bin Kilab, as we previously mentioned in this book. No one had the right to compete with them concerning it, and it was consistent with their traditions, which they inherited from their ancestors.
Being the overall leader, Abu Sufyan reminded the standard-bearers of what had occurred to the Quraish on the Day of Badr when their standard-bearer, An-Nadr bin Al-Harith, was captured. In an attempt to evoke their anger and enmity toward the Muslims he said: “Bani `Abdud-Dar, you have been assigned as bearers of our standard, and you are aware that the standard is the first thing that the enemy attacks. Should it fall, we shall fall with it. Therefore, either guarantee its safety or leave it for us and we will certainly suffice you that task.”
Abu Sufyan’s attempt worked and his speech made Bani `Abdud-Dar extremely angry that they threatened and almost attacked him. Addressing him, they responded: “You want us to deliver to you the custodianship of the standard? Tomorrow when we fight against them, you will witness our deeds.” They would fight bravely and remain firm in defense of the standard until they were all killed.
Political Strategies of the Quraish
Shortly before fighting commenced, the Quraish tried to sow the seeds of discord and dispute among the Muslims. First, Abu Sufyan sent a message to the Helpers saying: “Leave us to fight our cousins alone and do not interfere. If you stand aside, we will not fight you, because fighting you is not our purpose.” But that attempt proved fruitless. What could such a wicked scheme do to those whose faith was as firm as a mountain? The reply of the Helpers was undoubtedly disappointing and contrary to what Abu Sufyan had expected.
When the hour approached, the two parties drew near. Not losing hope by the first failure, Quraish made another attempt to sow discord among the Muslims, this time with the assistance of a traitor named Abu `Amir AlFasiq. His real name was `Abd `Amr bin Saifi and he was called a monk, but Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) nicknamed him Al-Fasiq (i.e., evildoer, dissolute). He was the leader of the Aws during the days of ignorance, but when Islam came to Madinah he had hatred for it, and publicly announcing his enmity for Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he left Madinah for Makkah. While there he rallied the Quraish against Allah’s Messenger, urging them to attack him. He claimed that he was obeyed and respected by his people, and as soon as they saw him coming they would join him immediately.
He went those who were from among the slaves of the people of Makkah, and the various tribe members among the Muslims. He called out to his people, and when they recognized him, he said: “My people of Aws, I am Abu `Amir.” Their replied: “The eyes of none shall be comforted with your view, O Fasiq.” Hearing this he said: “My people have been afflicted by an evil after my departure.” When the fighting broke out, he fought against his people fiercely and pelted them with stones.
That was the second attempt made by the Quraish to sow the seeds of discord among people of faith. This revealed the great terror that was cast in the hearts of the Quraish in spite of their supremacy in number and weaponry.
The Efforts of the Quraish Women in Improving the Zeal of their Men
The Quraishi women led by the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind bint `Utbah, also participated in the battle. They would wander among the rows of the idolaters striking their Duffs, encouraging the men to fight, inflaming the emotions of heroes, lancers, swordsmen and brave fighters. Once they addressed the standard-bearers saying:
“Bani `Abdud-Dar, home of the defenders,
Strike with your sharp swords…’’
And at another time they would sing: “If you fight (bravely), we will embrace And unfold mats to welcome you.
But if you flee from the battlefield, we leave you,
Desert you and no more love you.”
The two armies approached even closer to one another. The initial fighting began. The first fighter to come out for a duel from the Quraish was Talhah bin Abi Talhah Al-`Abdari, who was their standard-bearer. He was one of the bravest fighters from among the Quraish, and had been nicknamed `The Ram of the Battalion.’ He came forth riding a camel and challenged the Muslims to a duel, which was answered by Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam (May Allah be Pleased with him). Az-Zubair (May Allah be Pleased with him) did not give the `Ram’ any chance to fight, but fell like a lion on his camel’s back, pulled him down to the ground, and slaughtered him with his sword.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was watching this duel and at the end said: Allahu Akbar, i.e., `Allah is the Greatest’; and the Muslims also shouted: Allahu Akbar. He praised AzZubair (May Allah be Pleased with him) with the following statement: “Every Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has a disciple and my disciple is Az-Zubair.”
The Fighting That Centered Around the Standard-Bearer
The battle soon started and all over the battlefield the fighting grew fierce. The majority of the fighting took place around the standard bearers. After the death of their leader Talhah bin Abi Talhah, Banu `Abdud-Dar transfered the mission of being the standard bearer to Talhah’s brother, `Uthman, who had ran forward and seized the standard which lay by the lifeless body of his brother. He chanted: “The standard-bearer has the right to color its shaft in blood, until it is beaten in his hand.” Hamzah bin `Abdul-Muttalib (May Allah be Pleased with him) attacked him and dealt a severe blow to him which cut through his arm and shoulder and went down to his navel, and exposed his lung.
This time the enemy standard was raised by Abu Sa`d bin Abi Talhah; however, `Asim bin Thabit bin Abul-Aflah (May Allah be Pleased with him) struck and killed him. His brother Kilab bin Talhah bin Abi Talhah picked up the enemy standard and raised it, however Az-Zubair bin Al’Awwam (May Allah be Pleased with him) attacked and killed him. Their brother Al-Jallas bin Talhah bin Abi Talhah lifted the standard, however Talhah bin `Ubaidullah (May Allah be Pleased with him) stabbed him to death. It is also said that it was `Asim bin Thabit (May Allah be Pleased with him) who dealt him a fatal blow.
Those five people, who died as standard bearers, belonged to one house, the house of Abi Talhah `Abdullah bin `Uthman bin `Abdud-Dar. Another person from Bani `Abdud-Dar, named Artat bin Shurahbeel, took the standard, however he was killed by `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him); however, some said it was Hamzah (May Allah be Pleased with him) who killed him and not `Ali(May Allah be Pleased with him).
Shuraih bin Qariz took the standard but was killed by Quzman, who was a hypocrite fighting for prestige and not in defense of Islam. Abu Zaid `Amr bin `Abd Manaf Al-‘Abdari then took the standard, but he too was killed by Quzman. A son of Shurhabil bin Hashim Al-‘Abdari hoisted it but he was also killed by Quzman.
So, we see that ten fighters from Bani `Abdud-Dar, who were the standardbearers, were killed. Seeing that none of `Abdud-Dar survived to carry the standard, their Abyssinian slave, called Sawab, came and raised it. The slave displayed more bravery and firmness than his former masters. Sawab went on fighting until his hand was severed. He knelt down and embraced the banner, leaned it against his chest and neck lest it should fall to the ground. He remained fighting until he was killed. After the death of Sawab, the slave, the standard fell to the ground and remained there, as there was no one to carry it.
While the brunt of the battle centered round the standard, bitter fighting was also going on everywhere on the battlefield. The spirit of faith overwhelmed the Muslims’ ranks and they rushed upon the idolaters as an overflowing destructive flood that destroys all dams and barriers standing in its way. Martyrdom, martyrdom was their announced motto on that day.
Recognized by the red bandana wound around the head, Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) came fought with the sword that the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had given him, determined to fulfill what was due to it at all costs. He slew all the idolaters came in front of him, splitting and dispersing their ranks. AzZubair bin Al-‘Awwam said:
“I was saddened when Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him) refused to give me the sword, instead giving it to Abu Dujanah. I said to myself: ‘I am his maternal cousin, the son of his aunt Safiyah, from the Quraish. I was the first to ask [for the sword] but he favored him over me. By Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!), I will watch how he behaves with it.’ I followed him. I saw him take out his red bandana and wrap it around his head. Seeing him like this, the Helpers said, ‘Abu Dujanah has worn the bandana of death.’ Then he set out reciting loudly:
‘I am the one with whom my close friend made a covenant, while we were under the palm trees on the mountain side. The covenant that we made was that I should not fight at the rear, but fight at the front heroically with the sword of Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!) and His Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).’
Anyone who stood in the way of Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was killed. There was a person from among the idolaters whose only objective was to kill the wounded Muslims. Abu Dujanah drew near that man, and I prayed to Allah that they engage in fight, which they did. They both exchanged sword-strokes. The idolater struck Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him), but he managed to escape unhurt as the sword struck his leather shield. With the idolater’s sword now stuck in the shield, Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) struck him with his sword and killed him. He then rushed into the thick of the battle to kill a person who was inciting the enemy against the Muslims. When he approached the person they shrieked and behold it was a woman. Abu Dujanah spared her saying: ‘I respect the sword of the Prophet too much to use it on a woman.’’The woman was Hind bint `Utbah.”
Describing the same incident, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: “I saw Abu Dujanah raising a sword directly over Hind bint `Utbah’s head, but he removed it, saying to myself: ‘Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!) and His Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) know best.’ (Meaning, know why he acted like that).”
Hamzah bin `Abdul-Muttalib (May Allah be Pleased with him) displayed great acts of bravery against the overwhelming odds. He created chaos and confusion in the disbelieving army. Heroes dispersed from his way as if they were leaves blown away by a strong wind. In addition to his effective contribution to the destruction of the idolaters who defended the standard, he was even more effective at fighting against men of bravery and distinguished horsemen. It was Allah’s will that he be slain while he was at the top. He was not killed in a face-to-face fight on the battlefield, which is the normal way of heroes to die, rather he was assassinated in a stealthily manner, as was the custom way to kill generous and noble men who were impossible to kill in an honorable face to face fight.
The Assassination of Asadullah (the Lion of Allah) Hamzah bin `Abdul-Muttalib (May Allah be Pleased with him)
Hamzah’s assassin, Wahshi bin Harb, himself relates how he killed Hamzah. He said: “I was a slave working for Jubair bin Mut’im, whose paternal uncle Tu`aimah bin `Adi was injured at the battle of Badr. When the Quraish marched to Uhud, Jubair said to me: ‘If you kill Hamzah (May Allah be Pleased with him), the uncle of Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), stealthily, you shall be manumitted.’ So I marched with the people to Uhud, and I am an Abyssinian man who is an expert with an Abyssinian spear. When the two armies fought, I set out seeking Hamzah (May Allah be Pleased with him). I saw him amidst the people fighting. He was like a white and black striped camel, striking severely with his sword and no one could stand in his way. By Allah, I tried to seize the best opportunity to spear him, hiding sometimes behind a tree or a rock all the while hoping that he would draw near and be within my range. At that moment I caught sight of Siba’ bin `Abdul-‘Uzza going closer towards him. When Hamzah (May Allah be Pleased with him) saw him, he said: ‘Come, you son of a clitoris-cutter,’ for his mother was a circumciser. He struck him with one strong stroke that could not miss his head. At this I balanced my spear and shook it until I was content with it, then I threw it and speared him. It went down into his stomach and came out from between his legs. He attempted to move towards me but he was afflicted by his wound. I left him there with the spear in his entrails until he died. I came back to him later and pulled out my spear and returned to the camp, where I stayed without coming out as he was my only target. I killed him only to free myself, so, as soon as I got returned to Makkah, I became a free man.”
Controling the Situation
Although the death of the Lion of Allah and His Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Hamzah bin `Abdul-Muttalib (May Allah be Pleased with him), was a great loss for the Muslims, they still maintained full composure and control over the entire battlefield situation. On that day, Abu Bakr, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `Ali bin Abi Talib, AzZubair bin Al-‘Awwam, Mus`ab bin `Umair, Talhah bin `Ubaidullah, `Abdullah bin Jahsh, Sa`d bin Ar-Rabi` and Anas bin An-Nadr (May Allah be Pleased with all of them) and others fought fiercely, effectively, and efficiently that they broke down the strong will of the idolaters, scattering them.
From his Wife’s Lap to a Sword-fight
One of the brave adventurers of that day was Hanzalah Al-Ghaseel (May Allah be Pleased with him), whose full name was Hanzalah bin Abu `Amir (May Allah be Pleased with him), the son of the very monk that was nicknamed Al-Fasiq (evildoer, dissolute) whom we mentioned earlier. Hanzalah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was a newlywed who left his wife’s bed at the first call for to join the army at the first call for Jihad. He made his way through the idolaters on the battlefield, until he reached their leader Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb, whom he almost killed him; however it had been ordained for him to become a martyr, so at that very moment Shadad bin Al-Aswad reached him and killed him.
The Muslim Archers Contribution to the Battle
The squad of archers, whom Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) positioned on the mountain, played an important role in facilitating the fighting in favor of the Muslim army. The Makkan horsemen, who were commanded by Khalid bin Al-Walid and supported by Abu `Amir Al-Fasiq, tried to attack left flank of the Muslim army three times. Their aim was to crush left flank and then infiltrating to the rear of the army to create confusion and disorder among the Muslim ranks, thereby inflicting a heavy defeat on them. However, the three assaults were countered successfully thanks to the skills, quickness, and great efforts of the archers.
Sense of Defeat Among the Idolaters
The fighting continued fiercely and the Muslims were in full control of the military theater. The idolaters began to scatter and retreat, abandoning all reasons of pride and forgetting [the vengeance they sought for] their tarnished dignity. Their standard lay under the feet of the fighters, and none was courageous enough to approach [or lift] it. It seemed to them that their force of three thousand idolaters was fighting a Muslim force of thirty thousands and not a force of only several hundred.
Ibn Ishaq said: “Allah sent down His help to the Muslims and fulfilled His promise to them. They chased the idolaters and removed them from their camp. There was no doubt that it was a defeat.” `Abdullah bin Az-Zubair narrated that his father said: “By Allah, I saw the servants of Hind bint `Utbah and her female friends fleeing with their garments pulled up. No one was there to prevent us from capturing them.”
In another version mentioned Al-Bara’ bin `Azib and recorded in Sahih AlBukhari, he said: “When we fought them, they fled, and their women could be seen fleeing in the mountains with their anklets and legs exposed.”
The Archers’ Fatal Mistake
While the small Islamic army was on the verge of gaining a second absolute and clear victory over the Makkans, which was no less in splendor and glory than the first one, the majority of the Muslims archers on the mountainside committed a fatal mistake that turned the tide of the battle and became a source of heavy loss for the Muslims. It culminated in the near murder of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and left a negative impression of the fame and dignity which they deservedly earned because of the battle of Badr.
We have already mentioned the orders that were given to the Muslim archers to hold their position irrespective of the course of the battle. Despite these strict orders, and the warning of their leader, `Abdullah bin Jubair (May Allah be Pleased with him), forty archers deserted their posts. They were enticed by the too soon roar of victory and the pursuit of worldly gains in the form of spoils of war. The remaining nine archers and their leader `Abdullah decided to abide by the Prophet’s order and stayed there until they were given the signal to leave or the all died. As a consequence to this action the rear of the Muslim army was left inadequately defended.
Khalid bin Al-Walid Cuts Off the Rear
The sharp-minded Khalid bin Al-Walid seized on this opportunity to turn swiftly around to the rear of the Muslim army and encircled them. He killed Ibn Jubair and his group, and fell upon the rear of the Muslims. His horsemen uttered a shout that signaled the news of the military developments. The polytheists counterattacked the Muslims. An idolateress– named `Umrah bint `Alqamah Al-Harithiyah rushed to the standard lying on the earth, picked it up and raised it. The idolaters gathered around the standard and called out to one another until they encircled the Muslims and stood fast to fight again. The Muslims became trapped between two barriers.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was among a small group of fighters who totaled nine in number, at the rear of the army, watching the events of the battle unfold and braving the Muslim fighters. Khalid and his men took him by utter surprise, and this required him to follow either of two options:
- To flee for his life and abandon his army to a doomed end, or
- to take action at the risk of his life, rally the ranks of the Muslims again,and work their way through the hills of Uhud towards the encircled army.
The intellect of Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), his peerless and matchless courage, made him opt for the second course. He raised his voice calling out to his Companions: “Servants of Allah.” He did that knowing that his amplified voice would be heard by the idolaters before it was heard by the Muslims. He called out to them with the risk to his own life during this delicate situation. The idolaters recognized him and reached his position before the other Muslims could do so.
The Weakened Position of the Muslims
The encirclement of the Muslims cause their division into three groups of people: The first group comprised of those who were only interested in themselves and they went so mad that they fled, leaving behind the battlefield without any knowledge of what may have happened to the others. Some from this group fled as far as Madinah, while others climbed up the mountain.
The second group of Muslims comprised those who returned to the battle, but inadvertently became mixed with the idolaters in such a way that they could not recognize one another. Consequently some of them killed each other by mistake. It is stated in Al-Bukhari that `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) said: “On the Day of Uhud, the idolaters were utterly defeated. Iblis (Satan) then called out: ‘Servants of Allah, beware of the rear (i.e., the enemy is approaching from behind).’ So those who were at the front turned back and fought the ones who were behind. Then Hudhaifah caught sight of his father Al-Yaman about to be killed by other Muslims. So he said: ‘Servants of Allah beware, that is my father. That is my father.’ But they did [did not hear him] and did not leave him until he was killed. Hudhaifah then said: ‘May Allah forgive you.’” `Urwah (who narrated it from `Aishah) said: “By Allah, from that time onwards, Hudhaifah was always blessed and wealthy until he died.”
The reason for his wealth was because of his forgiveness of them without taking any blood money in return for his father’s murder, instead recommended that it be spent in charity.
This Muslim group suffered from great bewilderment, and disorder prevailed among them. A lot of them became lost and did not know where to go. At this awkward time they heard someone calling: “Muhammad has been killed.” This news made them even more bewildered, nearly making them lose all their sense. This caused a break down in their morale of many of them. Some stopped fighting, slackened, and cast down their weapons. Others thought of finding `Abdullah bin Ubai, the leader of the hypocrites, and seek his assistance in getting them a security pledge from Abu Sufyan.
Anas bin An-Nadr passed by some of those people who were shuddering out of fear and panic, and inquired: “What are you waiting for?” They said: “Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has been killed.” So he said: “What do you live for after Muhammad? Come and die for what Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has died for.” He continued: “Allah, I apologize for what these people (i.e., the Muslims) have done; and I disavow myself of what the idolaters have perpetrated.” He continued onward until he met Sa`d bin Mu`adh, who asked him: “Where are you going Abu `Umar?”
Anas replied: “How sweet is the scent of the Paradise that I smell here in Uhud.”
He continued and fought against the idolaters until he was killed. No one but his sister could recognize his dead body. It had been cut and stabbed by over eighty swords, arrows, and spears. It was only because of the tip of his finger that she was able to recognize him after the battle.
Thabit bin Ad-Dahdah (May Allah be Pleased with him) called out to his people saying: “Kinfolk of the Helpers, if Muhammad is killed, then know that Allah is Everlasting and He never dies. Fight in defense of your faith. Allah will help you and you will be victorious.”
A group from among the Helpers joined him and they all attacked a battalion of Khalid’s horsemen. He kept on fighting until he and his companions were killed.
An Emigrant passed by a Helper who was besmeared by blood. He said: “My fellow, have you heard of Muhammad’s murder?” The Helper answered: “If Muhammad is killed, then he must have completed the delivery of the Message, so fight in defense of your religion.”
With such boldness and encouragement, the Muslims soon recovered their spirits, came around to their senses, and resisted the idea of surrender or contacting the hypocrite `Abdullah bin Ubai. They took up arms and resumed the fight in an attempt to make way to the camp, particularly after the news of the Prophet’s death had been proven to be false.
Their resolve was strengthened by the good news, and provided them with the help to break the military blockade, and concentrate their forces in a safe place so that they can resume a relentless and fierce fight against the polytheists.
The third group of Muslims comprised of those who cared for nothing except the safety the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). They comprised of such noble Companions as Abu Bakr, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `Ali bin Abi Talib, and others (May Allah be Pleased with all of them). They hastened to protect the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) showing unrivalled devotion.
The Battle Intensifies Around Allah’s Messenger
(May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
As the Muslims were fighting against the main force of the idolaters, the fight began to intensify around Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), with who were only nine people.
It has already been mentioned that when the idolaters started encircling them, the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was accompanied with only nine people; as soon as he called out to the Muslims: “Come here, I am the Messenger of Allah,” the idolaters heard his voice and recognized him. They turned back and attacked him with all their power before any of his Companions could come to his aid.
A violent and intense struggle broke out between the nine Muslims and the idolaters during which unmatched love, self-sacrifice, bravery, and heroism was demonstrated by the nine companions.
Imam Muslim, on the authority of Anas bin Malik, records that Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), along with seven Helpers and two Emigrants, was confined to an area when the idolaters attacked him. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Whoever pushes back those idolaters, will be housed in Paradise,” or “He will be my Companion in Paradise.”
One of the Helpers stepped forward and fought against the idolaters, defending the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), until he was killed. They again attacked the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The same process was repeated again and again until all the seven Helpers were killed. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then said to his two companions from the Quraish: “We have not done justice to our Companions.”
The last of the seven Helpers was `Umarah bin Yazeed bin As-Sakan, who kept fighting until he was prevented by his wounds and he fell dead.
The Most Awkward Hour in the Messenger’s Life
After the fall of Ibn Sakan, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) remained alone with two of his companions who were from the Quraish. According to Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Abu `Uthman said: “At that time, there was no one with the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) except Talhah bin `Ubaidullah and Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas.”
That was the most uncomfortable and dangerous hour for the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and a golden opportunity for the idolaters who tried to take advantage of it, by concentrating their attack on the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with to the intention to murder him.
`Utbah bin Abi Waqqas pelted him with stones, one of which struck his face, causing injury to his lower right incisor tooth and wounding his lower lip. He was also attacked by `Abdullah bin Shihab Az-Zuhri who injured his forehead. `Abdullah bin Qami’ah (Qami’ah refers to a humiliated woman), who was an obstinate strong horseman, struck him violently on his shoulder with his sword that did not penetrate his two armors; however the blow would cause pain to the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for over a month. He also dealt a heavy blow on the Prophet’s cheek, which caused two rings from his iron-ringed helmet to penetrate into them. He said: “Take this stroke from me, for I am Ibn Qami’ah.” Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, while wiping the blood from his face: “I beseech Allah to humiliate you.”
In the narration recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim it is stated that when his incisor broke, and his head was injured, he started wiping the blood and saying:
“How can a people who cut the face of their Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and broke his teeth, while he calls them to worship Allah, thrive or be successful?”
Concerning this incident, Allah, the Glorious, sent down the following Qur’anic Verse:
“Not for you (O Muhammad but for Allah) is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the Zalimun (the disobedients, polytheists and wrongdoers).” [3:128]
At-Tabarani relates that the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah’s wrath is great on those who wound the face of His Messenger,” he became silent for a short while and then said:
“O Allah, forgive my people for they do not know.”
It is recorded in Sahih Muslim that Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“My Lord, forgive my people for they have no knowledge.”
It is related in the book ash-Shifa by Al-Qadi Al-`Aiyad that the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah, guide my people for they have no knowledge.”
It is quite clear that their primary intent was to kill the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), however they were stopped by Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas and Talhah bin `Ubaidullah, who were from the Quraish. They both immense bravery and courage, and fought fiercely and valiantly. They were from amongst the best archers, and they continued fighting, defending Allah’s Messenger, until the entire squad of idolaters was driven away from him.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) emptied his quiver of arrows and said to Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas:
“Shoot an arrow Sa`d, may my father and mother be ransomed for you.”
The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had never said such a thing about his parents except in the case of Sa`d; a privilege granted to him for his efficiency.
An-Nasa’i records, concerning the attitude of Talhah bin `Ubaidullah (May
Allah be Pleased with him) towards the idolaters who were gathered around Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and only some Helpers with him, that Jabir said: “When the idolaters reached him, Allah’s Messenger said: ‘Who will suffice us from their evil (i.e., fight them back)?’ Talhah said: ‘I will.’” Then Jabir goes on to mentioned the advancement of the Helpers to fight and how they were killed, one after another, which is similar to the Muslim’s recording. “When all the Helpers were killed, Talhah proceeded to fight as much as the other eleven did until his hand was injured and his fingers were severed.
So, he said: ‘Be they cut off!’ The Prophet said: ‘If you had said: “In the Name of Allah,” the angels would have raised you up before the people’s very eyes.’” Then he said: “Allah drove the idolaters off them.”
In his book, al-Ikleel, Hakim states that Talhah had sustained thirty-nine or thirty-five wounds, and his fingers were paralyzed.
Al-Bukhari reported that Qais bin Abi Hazim said: “I saw the hand of Talhah and it was paralyzed, because he protected the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with it during the battle of Uhud.”
At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah reported that, afterwards, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would say about Talhah: “Whoever desires to see a living martyr walking on the earth, should look at Talhah bin `Ubaidullah.”
Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi reported that `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) said: “Whenever Uhud was mentioned, Abu Bakr used to say: `That was Talhah’s day (i.e., battle).’ Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him) recited a verse of poetry concerning him: ‘Talhah bin `Ubaidullah, Paradise is for you just as water-springs are for the deer to drink from.’” At the most delicate and difficult time, Allah, Glory is to Him, sent down His invisible Help.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim it is reported that Sa`d said: “I saw Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the Day of Uhud with two men who were dressed in white and defending him fiercely. I have never seen anyone similar to them before Uhud or after it.”
In another version it says: “He meant to say that they were Jibreel and Michael.”
The Companions Surround the Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
All those events occured quickly, and if the gravity of the situation would have realized sooner by the Prophet’s Companions, they would have rushed to his aid faster and would not have let him sustain any wounds. Unfortunately, they did not get there until after Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) got wounded and six of the Helpers had been killed, while the seventh was severely wounded and desperately fighting to defend the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). As soon as they reached the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), they encircled him with their bodies and weapons, and were able to prevent the enemy from reaching him. The first one to reach there was his companion of the cave, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.
Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih, records a version from `Aishah(May Allah be Pleased with her) in which she narrates that Abu Bakr said: “On the Day of Uhud when all the people had left the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), I was the first to go back and see him. Before him I saw a man fighting to shield him from the enemy. I said to myself: ‘I wish he were Talhah. Let my father and mother be ransomed for you. Let him be Talhah! Let my parents be ransomed for you!’ On the way, I was overtaken by Abu `Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, who was moving as swift as a bird. We both rushed to dress the Prophet’s wounds. There we found Talhah suffering from serious wounds before Allah’s Messenger. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘See to your brother for he is in more need.’ I noticed that two rings of the iron-ringed helmet had penetrated the Prophet’s cheek, so I set out to take them out. However, Abu `Ubaidah (May Allah be Pleased with him) demanded: ‘By Allah, Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him), I request you to let me do it.’ Fearing to hurt the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) he started pulling one of the two rings very slowly and carefully with his mouth. Then he pulled the arrow out by his mouth, too. Consequently, his front tooth came out. I then went to pull the second one out, but Abu `Ubaidah (May Allah be Pleased with him) requested me to leave it saying: ‘Abu Bakr (May Allah be Pleased with him), I beg you by Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!) to let me do it.’ He pulled the second ring very slowly and carefully with his mouth, until it came out. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘See to your brother for he is in more need.’ We approached Talhah to tend to him but found that he had some ten sword-wounds in his body.” This showed how efficiently Talhah had fought and struggled on that day.
At that ill moment, a group of Muslim heroes gathered around the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forming a shield to protect him from the idolaters. They included Abu Dujanah, Mus`ab bin `Umair, `Ali bin Abi Talib, Sahl bin Hunaif, Malik bin Sinan, who was the father of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri, Umm `Umarah Nusaibah bint Ka`b AlMaziniyah, Qatadah bin An-Nu`man, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, Hatib bin Abi Balta`ah and Abu Talhah (May Allah be Pleased with all of them).
The Idolaters Increase the Intensity of Battle
The number of idolaters began to steadily increasing; and so did their attacks. Their drive increased to such an extent that Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fell into one of the holes dug and designed by Abu `Amir Al-Fasiq, which he created as traps. With his knee wounded, `Ali helped and Talhah bin `Ubaidullah helped him. Nafi` bin Jubair said: “I heard an Emigrant say: ‘I have witnessed the battle of Uhud and watched arrows being hurled from all directions at the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and none of them hit him.’ `Abdullah bin Shihab Az-Zuhri said: ‘Guide me to Muhammad, by Allah, if I do not kill him then I would not want to live.’ Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was next to him alone, but he was unable to see him. Safwan, another polytheist, chastised him [for not attacking him], but `Abdullah swore that he did not see Muhammad, adding that he might be immune to their attempts on his life. He also said that four of them pledged to make a fresh attempt to kill him, but to no avail.’”
The Muslims demonstrated unprecedented heroism and marvelous sacrifices. For example, Abu Talhah shielded Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with his body, using his own chest to protect the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) against the arrows of the enemy. Anas related that on the Day of Uhud when people abandoned the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Abu Talhah, being a skillful archer who could shoot many arrows, broke two or three bows that day. When a man passed along with a quiver full of arrows, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would say: “Give the arrows to Abu Talhah!” As the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) watched the people shooting, Abu Talhah would say to him: “May my father and mother be ransomed for your safety, do not go too close lest an arrow of theirs should hit you. I would rather die than see you hurt.”
Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) stood before Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and protected him from the arrows with his back. Hatib bin Balta`ah (May Allah be Pleased with him) followed `Utbah bin Abi Waqqas, who had broken the honorable incisor [of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] and struck him with the sword, cracked his head and took his horse and sword. Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas (May Allah be Pleased with him) was so keen to kill his brother `Utbah, but he could not; however, Hatib (May Allah be Pleased with him) could.
Sahl bin Hunaif (May Allah be Pleased with him), who was a hero among the archers, also pledged to die in the cause of Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!). He also played a prominent part in the battle at Uhud.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was also involved in shooting arrows. It is related from a version by Qatadah bin An-Nu`man that Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) shot so many arrows that the two ends of his bow bent. So, Qatadah bin An-Nu`man (May Allah be Pleased with him) took it and it remained with him. On that day his eye was injured and it fell out of its socket and onto his cheek; Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) placed it back in its socket with his hand and it became the better and stronger of the two.
On that day `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf (May Allah be Pleased with him) maintained fighting until his mouth was wounded. He sustained over twenty wounds, some in his leg which made him lame.
Malik bin Sinan (May Allah be Pleased with him), the father of Abi Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be Pleased with him), sucked the blood from the Prophet’s cheek until he cleaned it. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Spit it out!” But Malik said: “By Allah, I will never spit it.” Then he went out to fight and the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Anyone who wishes to see a man from amongst the people of Paradise, should him look at this one.” No sooner had he resumed fighting that he was martyred in the thick of the battle.
Umm `Umarah (May Allah be Pleased with her) also participated in the fighting. She encountered Ibn Qami’ah in combat, and sustained a slight wound on her shoulder, but she herself also struck him with her sword several times, but he survived because he was wearing two armors. She, however, went on striking until she had received twelve wounds.
While Mus`ab bin `Umair (May Allah be Pleased with him) fought fiercely and ferociously defending the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) against the attacks of Ibn Qami’ah and his associates. He was carrying the Muslim standard with his right hand. In the process of fighting, his hand was severed, and so he grabbed the standard with his left hand, which was also amputated; so he knelt down and shielded it with his chest and neck at which point Ibn Qami’ah came and killed him. Because Mus‘ab’s appearance resembled that of the Prophet, so he mistakenly believed that he had killed the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him) and began to shout: “Muhammad has been killed.”
The Rumor of the Death of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and its Effect on the Battle
No sooner had Ibn Qami’ah uttered these ominous words that anxiety gripped the Companions of the Prophet, causing their morale to drastically reduce. Confusion and a miserable state of disorder prevailed among them. Not only did the rumor adversely affect the Muslims, but it also caused a sharp decrease in their assaults of they began to believe that they had really achieve their objective, [the death of the Prophet], and so they turned towards mutilating the bodies of the dead.
The Messenger Consolidates His Position in the Battle
When Mus`ab (May Allah be Pleased with him) was killed, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave the standard to `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him). `Ali, in conjunction with the other Companions, remained fighting bravely; setting marvelous examples of heroism, courage and endurance in both defense and offense.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made his way to his encircled army. Ka`b bin Malik (May Allah be Pleased with him) was the first one to recognize the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) approaching and shouted at the top of his lungs: “Muslims, be cherished! Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is here.” However, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) signaled for him to stop lest his position be located by the idolaters. Upon hearing the shout, the Muslims immediately raced towards the source, which brought about thirty Companions to gather around the Prophet. With this assembled number of his Companions, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) started drawing a planned withdrawal to the hills.
Hostilities from the enemy grew fiercer as they aimed to foil the plan of the Muslims’ withdrawal. Their attempts proved to be fruitless due to the heroic steadfastness of the lions of Islam.
`Uthman bin `Abdullah bin Al-Mughirah, who was part of the enemy cavalry, progressed towards Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: “Either I kill him or I will be killed.” Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) moved to encounter him but his mare tripped in a hole. Instead, AlHarith bin As-Simmah (May Allah be Pleased with him) fought against him. He struck his leg which immobilized him, and then he finished him off; he took his weapons and caught up with Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
However, Al-Harith bin As-Simmah (May Allah be Pleased with him) encountered another person from the cavalry of the enemy named `Abdullah bin Jabir. He attacked Al-Harith and struck him on the shoulder with his sword. Al-Harith was carried to the Muslim camp suffering from serious wounds. However, the enemy horseman did not escape death, for Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him), the red bandana hero, struck him with a heavy blow that severed his head.
During the bitter fighting, a desire to sleep overwhelmed the Muslims, which in fact was from Allah as a security and tranquility to help His Muslims servants. The Qur’an speaks of this. Abu Talhah said: “I was one of those who were possessed by a desire to sleep on the Day of Uhud. On that day my sword fell from my hand several times. Again and again it fell down, and again and again I would pic kit up.”
In a regular withdrawal and with great bravery and boldness, the Muslims finally retreated to the cover of Mountain Uhud. The rest of the army followed them to that safe position. In this manner, the genius of Muhammad foiled that of Khalid bin Al-Walid.
Ubai bin Khalaf is Killed
Ibn Ishaq (May Allah be Pleased with him) related: When Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was going up the hill he was followed by Ubai bin Khalaf who was saying: “Where is Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? Either I kill him or I will be killed.” The Companions said: “Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), do you mind if one of us fights with him?” But Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Leave him!” So, when he drew nearer, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took the spear from Al-Harith bin As-Simmah (May Allah be Pleased with him), and it shivered violently in such a way that made all of them scatter in all directions. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) observed a gap in Ubai bin Khalaf’s armor at the collarbone and hit him in that spot. The effect of the stroke was so strong that it made him roll off his horse over and over; however, when he returned to the Quraish, they found that he had only a small scratch on his neck. When the blood congealed he said: “By Allah, Muhammad has killed me.” Hearing him saying so, they said: “By Allah, you are afraid of death. By Allah, you are possessed by a devil.” He replied: “He had already told me, when we were in Makkah: ‘I will kill you.’ By Allah, had he spat on me, he would have killed me.” Eventually, this enemy of Allah breathed his last at a place called Sarif, while they were taking him back to Makkah. In a version by Abul-Aswad, on the authority of `Urwah it states that he was moaning like a bull and saying: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if what I am suffering from now were distributed among the people of Dhul-Majaz, it would have caused them all to die.”
Talhah Lifts the Prophet (Peace be upon him)
As Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) withdrew up the mountain, a big rock blocked his way. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) tried to mount it, but having worn a short heavy armor and being seriously wounded, he could not ascend it. Readily enough Talhah sat in a position that enabled the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to stand on his back. Then he lifted him up until he stood on it. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then said: “Talhah, after this is eligible for it (Paradise).”
The Idolaters’ Last Assault
When Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) settled down in the hill, the idolaters began their last attack upon the Muslims. Ibn Ishaq related: “While the Prophet was on the way to the hill, a group from among the Quraish elite ascended the mountain, led by Khalid bin Al-Walid and Abu Sufyan, so Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed his Lord:
‘Allah, they (i.e., the idolaters) should not be higher (i.e., in position or in power) than us (i.e., the Muslims).’
`Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be Pleased with him) and some of the Emigrants fought against the idolaters until they were able to drive them back down the mountain.
Al-Umawi in his book Al-Maghazi stated that the idolaters went up the mountain, so Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to Sa`d: “Drive them off.” Sa‘d replied: “How can I drive them off myself [without anyone help].” But Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) repeated the phrase three times. Sa`d (May Allah be Pleased with him) then took an arrow out of his quiver, shot it at one of them and killed him. He said: “Then I took that same arrow, which I knew, and shot another man with it. Then I took the same arrow I knew and killed a third one. Consequently they climbed down the mountain. I said to myself: ‘This must be a blessed arrow.’ I put it back in my quiver.” He kept it with him until he died. His children kept it with them afterwards.
Mutilation of the Martyrs
That was the last attack conducted by the idolaters against the Prophet. Being almost certain of his death, the idolaters returned to their camp and began preparations to return to Makkah. Some of them, along with their women, began to mutilating the corpses of the Muslims, cutting off the ears, the noses, and the genitals of the martyrs; even cutting open their bellies. For example, Hind bin `Utbah cut open Hamzah took his liver and chewed on it; however, finding it unpleasant, she spat it out. She made the ears and noses of Muslims into anklets and necklaces.
Two incidents occurred during the last hours of the fighting, which demonstrated the extent that the Muslims were ready to fight and sacrifice in the way of Allah:
- Ka`b bin Malik (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: “I was one of theMuslims who fought during Uhud. I witnessed the polytheists’ acts of barbarity in mutilating the corpses, but I passed them because I couldn’t stand it. I then saw a heavily armed idolater passing through the Muslims and saying: ‘Gather them up and combine them in the way that sheep are gathered and slaughtered.’ Similarly, I saw an armed Muslim waiting for him. I walked towards them until I stood behind him. Comparing both of them, I found that the disbeliever was better than the other in arms and figure. The Muslim thrust at the disbeliever with his sword which went down up to the hip of the disbeliever, splitting him into two. When the Muslim unveiled his face, he said: `What about that, Ka`b? I am Abu Dujanah.’”
- Some Muslim women came to the battlefield after the fighting had subsided. Anas (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: “I saw `Aishah bint Abu Bakr with Umm Sulaim. Their garments were gathered up so I could see their ankles. They carried water bags on their shoulders and emptied them into the mouths of the people. They would then go back to fill them and come back to do the same.” `Umar said: “She [Umm Saleet, one of the Ansari women] carried water bags to us on the Day of Uhud.”
Umm Aiman, seeing some the defeated and retreating Muslim fighters entering Madinah, threw dust at their faces rebukingly saying: “Here is a spinning wheel, take it, and give up carrying swords.” She raced to the battlefield and began to give water to the wounded. Hibban bin Al-‘Araqah shot an arrow at her and she fell down exposing herself. Seeing that, the enemy of Allah, burst into laughter. The sight upset Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so he gave Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas (May Allah be Pleased with him) an arrow that lacked an arrowhead and said: “Shoot it.” Sa`d shot it, and it pierced the idolater’s throat. He fell down and some parts of his body became exposed. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then began to laugh so much that his molars could be seen. He said: “Sa`d avenged her, may Allah respond to his supplications.”
The Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Reaches the Trail
As soon as Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reached the trail, `Ali bin Abu Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him) went out and filled his water container with water from Al-Mihras. AlMihras is said to be a hollow (concaved) rock that contains plenty of water. It was also said that it is a water spring at the mountain of Uhud. Either way, `Ali brought that water to Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to drink. Finding that it smelled bad, he refused to drink it, but only washed the blood from his face and poured some of it over his head saying:
“Allah’s wrath is great on those who injured His Messenger’s face.”
Sahl said: “By Allah, I know who washed the wound of Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and who poured water over it for him and what (substances) his wound was treated with. His daughter Fatimah(May Allah be Pleased with her) washed it; `Ali poured water over it from a container. When Fatimah realized that the water increased the flow of blood, she took a piece of straw mat, burnt it a little and stuck it to the wound so the blood stopped flowing.”
Muhammad bin Maslamah (May Allah be Pleased with him) brought him fresh water to drink. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) drank and supplicated Allah to provide him with good. Owing to the affects of the wounds on his body, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led his followers in the Dhuhr prayer from a sitting position, and the Muslims sat as well.
When the preparations for the idolaters departure were completed, Abu
Sufyan came to the mountain and called out: “Is Muhammad among you?” They did not answer him. Then he asked: “Is Ibn Abi Quhafah (i.e., Abu Bakr) among you?” They did not answer. He again asked: “Is `Umar bin Al-Khattab among you?” They did not answer him, because the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had forbade them answering him. He only asked about those three. That is because he and his people knew quite well that the call to Islam depended to a large degree on those men. Abu Sufyan then said: “As for those three, we have relieved you of.” `Umar could not help but speak, so he said: “Enemy of Allah, those whom you have just mentioned, I tell you that they are still alive. Allah has maintained what you hate.” Abu Sufyan answered: “The mutilation of your dead is something that I did not order; but it did not displease me either.” Then he shouted: “Hubal [the idol], let it be sublime!” The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Why do you not reply?” They asked him: “What shall we say?” He said: “Say: Allah is more Sublime and Exalted, and Mightier.”
Abu Sufyan then said: “Al-‘Uzza [the idol] is ours, but you have no `Uzza (the idol).” The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Why do you not reply?” They asked: “What shall we say?” He said: “Say Allah is our Protector, but you have no protector.”
Abu Sufyan said: “Today is the day of revenge for the Day of Badr. This is for that. War is attended with alternate success.” `Umar replied: “No. They are not the same. Our dead are housed in Paradise; but yours are in the Fire.”
Then Abu Sufyan said: “Come `Umar!” Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Go and see what the matter is.” So he went there and Abu Sufyan asked him: “I ask you by Allah’s Name to tell me the truth: Have we killed Muhammad?” `Umar (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: “By Allah, no, and he is listening to your words.” He said: “For me, you are more truthful than Ibn Qami’ah, and even more reliable.”
The Appointment to Meet Again at Badr
Ibn Ishaq said: “When Abu Sufyan and those who were with him were leaving, he called out saying: ‘We will meet again at Badr next year.’ Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to one of his men: ‘Say: Yes, it is an appointment for both of us.’”
Verifying the Movement of the Idolaters
Afterwards, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) dispatched `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him) to track the movements of the Quraish. He said to him:
“Pursue them and see where they are going and what they intend to do. If they dismount their horses and ride on their camels, this means that they are leaving for Makkah; but if they ride their horses and lead their camels unmounted, they are headed for Madinah. By the One, in Whose Hand is my soul, if they attacked Madinah I would march to them there and fight them.”
`Ali (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: “I went out and tracked them to see what they were up to. I saw them mounting their camels and leaving the horses unmounted. They were heading for Makkah.”
Checking on the Dead and Wounded
After the departure of the Quraish, the people went out to check the identity of the dead and the wounded. Zaid bin Thabit (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent me on the Day of Uhud to seek Sa`d bin Ar-Rabi’ (May Allah be Pleased with him) and said: “When you see him, say: `Peace be upon you,’ from me and say to him: `Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says: How do you feel?”’ Zaid said: “I started checking the dead until I came across Sa`d, who was dying from seventy sword wounds and a spear and an arrow in his body. I said: “O Sa`d, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sends you his greetings, and says: `Peace be upon you, tell me how do you feel?”’ Sa`d said: “Let peace be upon Allah’s Messenger, as well. Tell him, I smell the scent of the Paradise, and tell the Helpers, my people: `You shall not be excused before Allah if Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is hurt and your eyes are blinking.”’ Then he died.
They came across Al-Usairim `Amr bin Thabit, whom they had already urged to embrace Islam but he had refused. They saw him among the wounded on the verge of death. “What did he come here? We parted with him while he was still obstinate about accepting Islam.” They asked him: “What made you come here [to the battlefield]? Was it out of zeal to defend your people or is it because of an inclination to Islam?” He said: “It is (certainly) an inclination to Islam. I believe in Allah and in His Messenger. I have fought with Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until I got what you see,” and then he immediately died. They told Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about him. Hearing that, he said: “He is one of the inhabitants of Paradise. Although he had not offered one single prayer.” It was narrated by Abu Hurairah.
Qazman, who was found among the wounded, fought heroically, killing seven or eight idolaters. He was in a weakened state because of the wounds he sustained, so they carried him to the locality of Bani Zufr. The Muslims gave him the glad tidings of Paradise, but he said: “By Allah I only fought out of passion for my people. Had it not been for that I would have never fought.” When his wounds worsened he committed suicide.
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had previously said of him, whenever he was mentioned: “He is an inhabitant of Fire.” This is the end result of those who fight for a national cause or for a cause other than raising high the Word of Allah, even if they fought under the banner of Islam or within the army of Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or his Companions.
Contrary to Qazman, there was a Jew from Bani Tha’labah who was among the dead. He had said to his people, “People of Jews, by Allah you have already known that it is necessary to support Muhammad.” They said: “Today is Saturday.” He said: “There is no Saturday for you.” He took his sword and equipment and said: “If I am killed, my property should be put at Muhammad’s disposal.” The next morning he kept fighting until he was killed. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said about him, “Mukhaireeq is the best Jew.”
Burial of the Martyrs
Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) supervised the martyrs’ burial and said:
“I bear witness that anyone who is wounded in the Allah’s cause, Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!) will resurrect him on the Day of Resurrection with a liquid that is similar in color to blood but contains the fragrance of musk from his wound.”
Some of the Companions (May Allah be Pleased with all of them) carried the dead to Madinah, but Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered that they be brought back and buried where they were killed. He ordered that they should not be washed but buried as they were after stripping them off their armor and leather clothes. He would bury in every grave two or three martyrs together, evening having two men share a funeral garment. He would ask: “Who is the more learned of the Qur’an?” and he would place him in the grave first. He said: “I bear witness to those on the Day of Resurrection.” He buried both `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Haram and `Amr bin Al-Jamuh (May Allah be Pleased with all of them) in one grave due to the friendship they had for one another.
They missed the body of Hanzalah, and after searching for it they found that it in a nearby area and water was dripping from it. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) related to his Companions that the angels were washing him, and he said: “Ask his wife.” They asked her and she confirmed that he had been in a state of ritual impurity. This is why Hanzalah (May Allah be Pleased with him) was termed Ghaseel Al-Mala’ikah (the one washed by the angels).
When Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw the mutilation inflicted on his uncle and foster brother, Hamzah, he became extremely grieved. When his aunt Safiyah came to see her brother Hamzah (May Allah be Pleased with him), Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered her son Az-Zubair (May Allah be Pleased with him) to send her away so that she does not witness what happened to her brother. She refused and said, “Why should I go away, when I have been informed that they mutilated him, and as long as it was in the way of Allah. Therefore, whatever happens to him satisfies us. Allah is Sufficient and I will be patient if Allah wills.” She approached, looked at him and supplicated to Allah for him saying: “To Allah we belong and to Him we will surely return.” She also supplicated to Allah to forgive him. Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered that he should be buried with `Abdullah bin Jahsh, who was his nephew as well as his foster brother.
Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be Pleased with him) said: “We have never seen Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) weeping as much as he did for Hamzah bin `Abdul-Muttalib. He directed him towards Al-Qiblah, then stood at his funeral and sobbed.”
The sight of the martyrs was extremely horrible and heart-breaking for the Muslims. Khabbab, while describing Hamzah’s funeral, said: “No shroud was available that was long enough for Hamzah except a stripped shawl. When they covered his head, his feet would be exposed. If they covered his feet, his head would be exposed. So they covered his head with it and placed some Idhkhir plant to cover his feet.” Similar was the case with Mus`ab bin `Umair.
The Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Praises Allah (Might and majesty belong to Him!) and Supplicates to Him
Imam Ahmad reported that after the idolaters left on the Day of Uhud, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Line up so that I can offer thanks and praise to my Lord, the Great and the All-Mighty.”
So, they stood in rows behind him. He then said:
``Allah, Yours is all the praise. Allah, no one can withhold what You permit or permit what You withhold. No one can guide whom You misguide and no one can make misguide whom You guide. No one can grant any provisions which You have withheld, and no one can withhold what You grant. No one can near what You ordained to be distant, or detach what You decree to be close. Allah, grant to us Your blessings, mercy, favors, and provisions.'' `Allah, I ask You to grant me permanent bliss that neither changes nor vanishes. Allah, You alone we seek help during hardships. You alone we resort to for security on a day of terror. Allah, to You alone I resort to protect us from the evil of that which You have given us and from the evil of that which You have withheld from us. Allah, make us love faith and make it adorn our hearts. Make disbelief, rebellion and disobedience detestable to us. Let us be among those who are rightly guided. Allah, make us live as Muslims and cause us to die as Muslims; and make us join with the righteous but not with the disgraced and misled. Allah, destroy the disbelievers who belie Your Messenger and divert from Your righteous way. Allah, let Your punishment and Your enmity befall the disbelievers. Allah, destroy the disbelievers to whom You have given the Book, God of Truth.’’
Display of Love Received on the Return to Madinah
After burying all the martyrs and offering praise and supplication to Allah, the Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went back to Madinah.
On his return, unparalleled examples of love and devotion were exhibited by the believing women, which were in no way less than the heroic deeds displayed by the men during battle.
Hamnah bint Jahsh(May Allah be Pleased with her) met Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the way back, and he announced to her the death of her brother, `Abdullah bin Jahsh (May Allah be Pleased with him) to which she answered: “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. I ask Allah’s forgiveness.” Then he announced to her the death of her maternal uncle Hamzah bin `Abdul-Muttalib (May Allah be Pleased with him) and she answered: “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. I ask Allah’s forgiveness.” When it was announced to her the death of her husband, Mus`ab bin `Umair (May Allah be Pleased with him), she began to shout and cry. Seeing her doing so, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The husband is extremely dear to the wife.”
He passed by a woman from Bani Dinar whose husband, father, and brother were all killed at Uhud. When their death was announced to her, she asked: “How is Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?” They said: “Well, O mother of so-and-so. Thanks to Allah; he is well and as good as you desire.” She said: “Let me see him.” They pointed at him. Seeing him she said: “All misfortunes are nothing so long as you are safe.”
Umm Sa`d bin Mu`adh(May Allah be Pleased with her) came running to see the Prophet, while her son was holding the rein of the Prophet’s (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mare. Seeing his mother, he said to the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) : “Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), this is my mother.” The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “She is welcomed,” and he stopped and waited for her. When she drew near, he consoled her for her son `Amr bin Mu`adh (May Allah be Pleased with him) who had been killed. But she said: “So long as I see you are safe, I consider my misfortune as nothing.” Then Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) supplicated Allah for the relatives of those who were killed at Uhud and and bear the good tidings to their kindred said: “Be joyful Umm Sa`d, that all their people who have been killed in the battle are comrades in Paradise, and they serve as intercessors for all their relatives.” She replied: “Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we are satisfied; who would cry for them after this joyful news?” She then said: “Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), invoke Allah [for those who remained behind].” He said: “Allah keep sorrow away from their hearts, and console them for their misfortunes; compensate those who stayed behind with goodness and welfare.”
The Messenger in Madinah
The Messenger of Allah (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) arrived in Madinah on Saturday evening of, the seventh of Shawwal, year 3 A.H. As soon as he arrived in his house, he handed his sword to his daughter Fatimah and said: “Daughter, wash the blood off this sword, by Allah it has been helpful to me today.” `Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be Pleased with him) also handed her his sword and said: “Wash the blood of this sword as well, by Allah, it has been helpful to me today.” So, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Sahl bin Hunaif (May Allah be Pleased with him) and Abu Dujanah (May Allah be Pleased with him) have been as courageous as you in the fight.’
The Number of Dead
Most narrations confirm that seventy Muslims were killed and the majority of them, which numbered sixty-five, were from among the Helpers. Fortyone of them were from the Khazraj and twenty-four from Aws. Besides these, other casualties included one Jew and four Emigrants.
As for the polytheists, twenty-two of them were killed, but some versions state that it numbered thirty-seven. Allah knows best.
A State of Emergency in Madinah
On Saturday the night of the eighth of Shawwal, and after their return from Uhud, the Muslims spent the night in a state of emergency, despite being utterly exhausted. They remained on alert, and spent the night guarding the outlets and inlets of Madinah. They were especially busy guarding their general leader, Allah’s Messenger, for fear that some suspects could commit an unexpected attack.
The Hamra’ul-Asad Invasion
For his part, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), spent the night pondering over the situation. He feared that the idolaters, while still on their way to Makkah, change their direction and head toward Madinah after realizing that they had availed nothing of that victory; regretting their decision to return to Makkah they might now decide to invade Madinah as compensation. Therefore Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) became determined to pursue the Makkan army.
The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) called out to people and ordered them to march out and encounter the enemy of Islam. This was on a Sunday morning, the proceeding day after the battle of Uhud. He said: “No one will march to the fight except those who participated in the fighting at Uhud.” `Abdullah bin Ubai said: “I will march out with you.” The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No.”.
The Muslims responded to the Prophet’s call even though they were suffering from immense pain and anxiety. Jabir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be Pleased with him) sought permission from the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to join them in the new expedition, because he wished to accompany the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on all military expeditions and was only prevented from participating in Uhud because his father had asked him to remain behind in Madinah to look after his sisters. The Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) granted him his wish.
The Muslims marched until they reached a place called Hamra’ul-Asad, situated about eight miles from Madinah and encamped there. In that place Ma`bad bin Abi Ma`bad came to Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and professed Islam. Some people said that he remained an idolater and he simply desired to give the Messenger some advice due to the abidance of a covenant between Khuza`ah (his tribe) and Bani Hashim. He said: “Muhammad, by Allah, we feel great sorrow for what happened to you and to your Companions. We really hope you will not suffer again.” So, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) suggested that he should go to Abu Sufyan and discourage him from pursuing his evil intentions.
The Messenger’s fears of the idolaters returning proved to be true. No sooner had the idolaters dismounted and encamped at Ar-Rawha’, a place situated thirty-six miles from Madinah, and they began to reproach one another. One group said to the other: “You accomplished nothing. You broke down their force but you left them. There are still some distinguished men among them who will probably gather people to once again fight against you. Let us go back, and kill them and crush their forces.”
It was in fact a hasty decision taken by some shallow-minded individuals who misjudged the potential power and morale of both armies, and is why one of the eminent leaders of Quraish, Safwan bin Umaiyah, tried to discourage them from pursuing such a decision. He said: “People, do not do such a thing. I fear that he will gather those who remained behind from participating in Uhud. Instead, go back home as winners. I am not sure of what turn the events will take if you become involved in such a fight. It might be against you in the end.” Notwithstanding that weighty argument, the majority of the polytheists were determined to embark on that risky undertaking.
Ma`bad bin Abu Ma`bad meet them and, in order to ruin their plans, began to exaggerate the dangers awaiting them. He said: “Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has marched out to meet you with a large host of fighters; I have never seen something similar to it before. He has gathered all the troops who remained behind and did not participate in Uhud. They surely regretted what they missed and want to revenge for it now. Their hearts are filled with hate and resentment.” Abu Sufyan said: “Woe to you! What do you suggest?” He said: “By Allah, I see that you would not leave until he comes and you see the heads of their horses, or until the vanguard of his army turns up to you from behind that hill.”
Abu Sufyan said: “By Allah, we have reached a common consent to crush the Muslims and their power.” The man, once more with an implied warning, advised him to stop it.
In the light of these news, the resolution and determination of the Makkan army faltered and panic and terror overtook them. They consequently thought it safest to complete there withdrawal back to Makkah. They, however, as an alternative, started a hostile propaganda whose aim was to discourage the Muslim army from pursuing them. A caravan belonging to `Abdul-Qais happened to pass by them on its way towards Madinah so Abu Sufyan, in the context of his propaganda, asked them to communicate a message to Muhammad stating that the Makkans had rallied their ranks to kill the Messenger and his Companions. In return for their delivery of his message, Abu Sufyan promised to give the people of the caravan loads of raisins at the forum of `Ukaz the following year.
The people of the caravan conveyed the message to Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) at Hamra’ul-Asad, but it had no effect; on the contrary, Abu Sufyan’s words increased them in faith. Allah says:
``And they said: `Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us). So they turned with Grace and Bounty from Allah. No harm touched them; and they followed the good Pleasure of Allah. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.'' [3:173, 174]
After the arrival of the caravan on Sunday, Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stayed at Hamra’ul-Asad for three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from the 9th to the 11th of Shawwal, 3 A.H., and then returned to Madinah. Before his return, he took Abu `Azza Al-Jumahi as a prisoner of war. Incidentally, this man had also been captured at Badr, but on account of his poverty and the large family he supported, the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had been gracious enough to release him on condition that he would never again involve himself in fighting against the Muslims. Abu `Azza did not keep his promise and took part in the Uhud hostilities on the side of the polytheists. Here again he requested Muhammad for pardon but the latter told him that a believer wouldn’t be captured twice in the same trap. He deservedly merited the sentence of death, which was executed by Az-Zubair or, in another version, by `Asim bin Thabit.
A Makkan spy, called Mu’awiyah bin Al-Mughirah bin Abul-‘As, was also sentenced to death. This spy was the maternal grandfather of `Abdul-Malik bin Marwan. When the idolaters went retuned to Makkah after Uhud, Mu’awiyah came to his paternal cousin `Uthman bin `Affan. `Uthman gave him shelter after securing permission from the Prophet, who granted it on condition that if he was caught there after three days, he would be executed. He did not comply with this condition. When the Muslim army left Madinah, he stayed there for more than three days during which he spied for the Quraish. When the army returned, Mu’awiyah fled from Madinah, so Allah’s Messenger (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered Zaid bin Harithah and `Ammar bin Yasir to pursue and kill him. So he was killed.
The invasion of Hamra’ul-Asad is not considered to be a separate invasion, but a part, or more specifically, a follow-up to Uhud.
That was the battle of Uhud with all its stages and details. It has long been discussed by scholars and men of research as to whether it was a defeat or a victory for the Muslims.
There is no doubt that the military superiority in the second phase of the battle was in favor of the polytheists, who could successfully directed the course of the fighting and inflicted heavy losses on the Muslims. It is true that the believers suffered some defeat, but this cannot be considered as a Makkan victory.
This is because the Makkan army failed to occupy the camp of the Muslims. The majority of the Madinan army, in spite of the chaos and confusion, did not retreat; rather they showed unparalleled and heroic resistance and managed to gather themselves again around their base fighting bravely and courageously.
Additionally they did not allow the Makkans to run after them in pursuit. Neither were any Muslim captives taken nor were any spoils gained by the Makkans.
The enemies of Islam were also too cowardly to conduct the third phase of war, and impress their superiority on the battlefield; on the contrary, they were in hot haste to evacuate the field even before the Muslims.
Madinah, the capital of the Muslims, was only a stone’s throw from the lines of the enemy, and vulnerably exposed, yet the polytheists were not bold enough to storm it to plunder its wealth or capture the Muslim women in it.
These suggestive details in fact support our argument that the events of Uhud were an occasion on which the Makkans merely managed to inflict heavy losses on the Muslims but failed to achieve their ultimate goal of destroying the Muslim army.
After all, it is not unusual for conquerors to sustain such casualties and losses, but these could under no circumstances be regarded as victory for the hostile party.
The incident of Hamra’ul-Asad is interesting case in this regard; it is interesting to see a victorious army in retreat, for fear of disgrace and defeat, while being pursued by a defeated group of Muslims.
So this second operation is not considered as a separate battle; rather each party gained some success and failure. In this regard, the operation can be considered as an inseparable battle.
In this context, Allah says:
``And don't be weak in the pursuit of the enemy; if you are suffering (hardships) then surely, they (too) are suffering (hardships) as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allah (for the reward, i.e., Paradise) that for which they hope not.'' [4:104]
The Verse explicitly identifies the attitudes of equality of both parties concerning losses and hardships suffered. Both parties concluded the military operations and returned neither victorious nor defeated.
The Observations of the Noble Qur’an on the Battle of Uhud
Qur’anic Verses were revealed to shed light on the most decisive phases of the battle, clearly bringing forward the cause that led to these heavy losses, and illustrating the vulnerable areas that were still persisting in the souls of some believers over their duties in adopting a decisive attitude with respect to the noble objectives for which the Muslim Community was formed and what it was expected to accomplish.
The Noble Qur’an also speaks about the attitude of those pretending to have faith, and makes clear the hostility and hatred that they held against Allah and His Messenger. The words of Allah also managed to erase all traces of uncertainties and objections raised by the hypocrites and their allies the Jews, who were the authors of conspiracy and plots, which were still active in the minds of some weak-hearted Muslims.
The Qur’an also dealt with lenghtily the admirable judgment and longsought objectives that were attributable to the battle of Uhud. Sixty verses, which were relevant to the battle, were revealed offering a full account of the first phase of the battle:
``And (remember) when you (Muhammad) left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud).'' [3:121]
And to end in a comprehensive commentary on its results and moralities:
``Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (unseen), but Allah chooses of His Messengers whom He pleases. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. And if you believe and fear Allah, then for you there is a great reward.'' [3:179]
Lessons and Morals
Ibn Al-Qaiyim offered a pointed reference to the battle of Uhud and gave a detailed explanation of the divine benefits and morals that resulted from it. Some Muslim scholars, on the authority of Ibn Hajar, have said:
The stories of Uhud, and what affected the Muslims in it, contain important virtues and lessons. Included in these are: The recognition of evil caused by disobedience, and the danger of committing what is prohibited. These are lessons derived from the events that occurred as a consequence [of disobeyment] of orders which the Messenger had given to the archers: to maintain their position and not to vacate it.
It is also customary for the Messengers be tested through suffering. The wisdom behind this is to deferential the true believers from others who, otherwise, would have joined them because of their continuous victorious and not because of belief; and if they continuously suffered defeat, then the objective of the mission would have never been met. The wisdom contained in victory and defeat is the distinction between the truthful and the deceitful. Initially, the hypocrisy of the hypocrites was hidden from the Muslims, but when this event took place, the hypocrites began to openly behave as they did, so then things became clear and recognition of the enemy within their own land became clear to the Muslims. This recognition permitted the Muslims to make preparations against them and to be on guard against them. The delaying of victory in some cases, restricts and diminishes the conceit of the soul, because, when the believers are tested they are patient while the hypocrites are impatient.
Allah has prepared lofty abodes for His believing servants, which they could never attain by their deeds alone. It is through trials and adversities that, which He sends of them, that they are able to achieve this lofty abode. Martyrdom is among the highest ranks that the true friends of Allah can achieve, and through them Allah wants to destroy His enemies. He makes them the cause by which they deserve that end, which was a result of their disbelief, tyranny, and transgression against His friends. Through this the sins of the believers are erased, and are imposed upon the disbelievers.”