The defeat at Badr was an ignominy which the Quraishites pride could not leave unavenged. Revenge was, therefore, the catchword all over Makkah. The Makkans even forbade lamenting over their murdered people, or ransoming their captives at Badr Battle lest the Muslims should realize the grave degree of sadness and feeling of tragedy they were experiencing.
In the wake of Badr event, Quraish was in common consent and started fresh preparations to launch an overall war against the Muslims in order to restore their blemished prestige and wounded pride. The most enthusiastic polytheists desiring to go into a new battle were 'Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Omaiyah, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, and 'Abdullah bin Abi Rabi'a. They were determined to crush the commonwealth of Islam once and for all. Emissaries were sent to all the tribes to make common cause against the rising Faith. As a consequence of this, they managed to enlist the support of two well-known tribes Kinana and Tihamah besides some desert bedouins Ahabish. It was also decided that the profits of the escaped caravan headed by Abu Sufyan, which amounted to 1000 camels and 50 thousand Dinars, should be devoted for providing equipment to the army. The Noble Qur'ân has alluded to this decision of theirs in the following words:
"Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allâh, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcomed." [Al-Qur'an 8:36]
They also devised other ways of recruitment including hiring poets to entice the tribes into fighting the Muslims. Safwan bin Omaiyah allured Abu 'Azza, the poet to work in this context in return for riches after the war or supporting his daughters if killed. Incidentally, this poet was prisoner of war (in the context of the Badr events) in the hands of the Muslims and the Prophet [pbuh] was gracious enough to release him unransomed provided he would not engage in fight against him.
Abu Sufyan nursed the most grudge against Muslims because he had lost most of his supplies in As-Sawiq invasion, let alone the heavy economic losses that Quraish had sustained in the aftermath of the events that featured the platoon of Zaid bin Harithah.
In the light of these successive failures, Quraish precipitated and accelerated their preparations for a decisive battle with the Muslims. At the turn of the year everything was ready for the move. The Makkans also decided to take their women along with them for they might arouse them to fight manfully. Thus a contingent of three thousand pitched warriors, of whom seven hundred were mailed soldiers and two hundred well-mounted[Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/92; Fath Al-Bari 7/346] cavalry with three thousand camels and fifteen women marched towards Madinah. The general leader was Abu Sufyan bin Harb, the cavalry under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Waleed assisted by 'Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, and Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar were entrusted with the flag.
Old deep-seated feelings of hatred, with heart-based grudge enveloped the whole process foreshadowing bitter, bloody revenge-instigated fighting between the two parties.
Meanwhile Al-'Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib, was closely watching the military movements and preparations for war, and these were all included in an urgent message sent by him to Prophet [pbuh] who received it while he was in Qubâ' Mosque. Ubai bin Ka'b read the letter to the Prophet [pbuh], who asked him to be reticent with respect to its serious contents. He hurried back to Madinah, convened a meeting with the Helpers and Emigrants and conducted with them serious consultations as regards the measures to be taken.
The whole of Madinah was put on the alert and all men were heavily armed even during prayer in anticipation of any emergency. A group of Helpers volunteered to guard the Prophet [pbuh] and kept watchful eye all night at his door, amongst whom there were Sa'd bin Mu'adh, Usaid bin Hudair and Sa'd bin 'Ubadah. Lest they should be taken by surprise, armed groups of the Madinese began to police the entrances and roads leading to the city. To reconnoitre the movements of the polytheists, Muslim platoons began to patrol the routes for any probable enemy raids.
The Makkan army, on the other hand, continued the march along the usual western road. On reaching Al-Abwâ', Hind bint 'Utbah, Abu Sufyan's wife, suggested that they dig up the grave of the Prophet [pbuh]'s mother, but the leaders of the army refused to do so for fear of the consequent results. The army then followed Wadi Al-'Aqeeq and turned right to encamp themselves at a place called 'Ainain near Uhud Mountain. That was on Friday, 6th Shawwal, 3 A.H.
A Consultation Assembly for a Defence Plan
The scouting party of Madinah conveyed the news of the Makkan army step by step. Then the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] held a head military consultation assembly to exchange views about the situation. He told them about a dream he had. He said: "By Allâh, I have dreamt of — I implore Allâh to be a dream of bounty — cows slaughtered and that there was a groove at the pointed top of my sword, and that I had inserted my hand into an immune armour."
The interpretation of 'the cows' was that some of his men were killed, and 'the groove at the pointed top of his sword' was that a member of his House would be hurt. As for 'the armour' it was Madinah. Then he offered a suggestion that his Companions should not go out of Madinah and that they should encamp themselves within the city. He was of the opinion that the enemies should be left in the open to exhaust themselves and thus the Muslims would not risk a battle. But if they thought of attacking Madinah, Muslim men would be ready to fight them at the mouths of lanes; whereas Muslim-women would help from over the house roofs." 'Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul — the head of the hypocrites; who attended the meeting as a chief of Al-Khazraj — supported the Prophet [pbuh]'s plan.
As a matter of fact his agreement was not based on the righteousness of the plan but rather on personal benefit. He did not want to fight. On the contrary he secretly aimed at being far away from fight. However it was Allâh's Will that he should be disclosed and disgraced in public — for the first time. It was His Will that the curtain which concealed their disbelief behind should be uncovered and pulled down. Allâh's Will enabled the Muslims to recognize the reality of those snakes that were creeping within their garments and inside the sleeves of their clothes. Thanks to Allâh they recognized them in one of the most critical times of their lives.
Some of the best honourable Companions, who had missed Al-Jihâd in Badr invasion, suggested that the Prophet [pbuh] should go out of Madinah and urged him to accept their point of view. One of them said: "O, Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], for long time we have been looking forward to this day; and we have implored Allâh to make such a day draw near. Thanks to Allâh it is time to fight. So let us go out and fight our enemies lest they should think that we have lost heart and do not dare to fight them." Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib the paternal uncle of the Prophet [pbuh], who had already covered the ornaments of his sword with idolaters' blood in Badr Battle, was ahead of those enthusiastics who urged him to go out and meet the disbelievers. He said to the Prophet [pbuh]: "By Allâh, Who has sent the Book down unto you, I will not taste food till I fight them with my sword outside Madinah."[As-Seerah Al-Halabiyah 2/14]
After weighing carefull the pros and cons of the issue, it was decided that the enemy should be resisted outside the city at Uhud.
Dividing the Islamic Army into Phalanxes and Departure to the Battle-field
Ascending the pulpit at the Friday congregational prayer, the Prophet [pbuh] urged the people in his sermon to fight courageously. "If you remain steadfast," he said "you will be helped by the Power of the All- Mighty." Then he commanded his men to make ready for the battle. Most of them rejoiced greatly.
He led the afternoon prayer with crowds of people. Then he entered his house accompanied by his two friends Abu Bakr and 'Umar. They helped him dress and wear his headcloth. He armed himself and wore two armours one over the other. He wore his sword and went out to meet people.
People were waiting for him impatiently. Sa'd bin Mu'adh and Usaid bin Hudair blamed people for pressing on the Prophet [pbuh]. They said: "You have forced the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] to fight the enemy outside Madinah." Therefore they were determined to leave the whole matter to the Prophet [pbuh], and blamed themselves for what they had already done. When the Prophet [pbuh] came out, they said: "O Messenger of Allâh, we should have not disagreed with you. So, you are free to do what you desire. If you prefer to stay inside Madinah we will stay with you. Upon this the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] remarked: "It does not become a Prophet that once he had put on armour, he should take it off, until Allâh has decided between him and the enemy." [Quoted by Ahmad, Nasa'i, Hakim and Ibn Ishaq]
The Prophet [pbuh] divided his army into three battalions:
Al-Muhajireen battalion, under the command of Mus'ab bin 'Umair Al-'Abdari. Al-Ansari-Aws battalion was commanded by Usaid bin Hudair. Al-Ansari-Khazraj battalion with Al-Hubab bin Al-Mundhir to lead it.
The army consisted of a thousand fighters; a hundred of them armoured; another fifty horsemen. [Al-Huda 2,92] 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, who were armoured, running in front of the army.
Upon passing along Al-Wada' mountain trail he saw a well-armed battalion, which were detached from the main body of the army. The Prophet [pbuh] inquired who they were and he was told that they were Jews and were allies of Al-Khazraj. They told him that they wanted to contribute to the fight against the idolaters. "Have they embraced Islam?" The Prophet [pbuh] asked. "No," they said. So he refused admitting them and said that he would not seek the assistance of disbelievers against the idolaters.
Parading the Army
As soon as he reached a location called Ash-Shaikhan, he paraded his army. He dismissed those whom he considered to be disabled or too young to stand the fight. Among them were 'Abdullah bin 'Umar bin Al-Khattab. Usama bin Zaid; Usaid bin Zaheer, Zaid bin Thabit, Zaid bin Arqam. 'Araba bin Aws, 'Amr bin Hazm, Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri, Zaid bin Haritha Al-Ansari, Sa'd bin Habba and Al-Barâ' bin 'Azib, Sahih Al-Bukhari pointed out that he had shared in the fight that day.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] allowed both Rafi' bin Khadaij and Samura bin Jundub to join the army — though they were too young. The former proved to be skillful at shooting arrows; the latter wrestled the former and beat him. The admission of Rafi' made Samura say: "I am stronger than him, I can overcome him." When the Prophet [pbuh] heard this saying he ordered them to wrestle. They did. Samura won so he was also admitted.
Passing the Night between Uhud and Madinah
As night fell upon them there, they performed both the sunset and the evening prayers and spent the night there as well. Fifty people were chosen to guard the camp and go round it. Muhammad bin Maslama Al-Ansari, the hero of the brigade of Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf, was in charge of the guards. Whereas Dhakwan bin 'Abd Qais undertook the responsibility of guarding the Prophet [pbuh], in particular.
The Rebellion of 'Abdullah bin Ubai and his Followers
At the end of the night and just before it was daybreak, the Prophet [pbuh] moved and when he got to Ash-Shawt he observed the dawn prayer. There he was close enough to the enemy that they could see one another. It was there that 'Abdullah bin Ubai — the hypocrite — rebelled against the Muslims. One-third of the army withdrew with him — that is to say three hundred fighters. He said, "We do not know why we shall kill ourselves." He claimed that his withdrawal was no more than showing protest against the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] who had already refused his opinion and accepted that of the others.
Undoubtedly that was not the real cause of his detachment. If it had been the refusal of his opinion — as the hypocrite claimed — there would have no sense whatsoever for his joining the Prophetic army. If it had been so, he would have refused to go out with the army from the very beginning of the march. As a matter of fact the real purpose of this rebellion, withdrawal and detachment — at this delicate and awkward position and time — was to produce bewilderment, confusion of mind, and disorder in the Muslims army who were within the sight and hear range of the enemy who were also looking forward to seeing more and more dissension on the side of the Muslims, like themselves. They also aimed at breaking the high morale of the believers. That would accelerate — in their opinion — the breakdown and consequently the death of Muhammad, his faithful Companions and Islam as a whole. The way would then be clear for the reclaim of presidency, which that hypocrite had lost on the advent of Islam into Madinah.
Short of Allâh's Care, the hypocrite's plot would have been successful. Banu Haritha of Al-Aws and Banu Salama of Al-Khazraj were partially impressed by the hypocrite's behaviour. Both of them were overwhelmed by confusion and they had almost started to withdraw, but Allâh's Care saved them from that disgrace. About their incident Allâh says:
"When two parties from among you were about to lose their heart, but Allâh was their Wali (Supporter and Protector). And in Allâh should the believers put their trust." [Al-Qur'an 3:122]
'Abdullah bin Haram — the father of Jabir bin 'Abdullah — attempted to stop their withdrawal. He reminded the hypocrites of their duty at this delicate and awkward condition, but in vain. He followed them, reproached them and urged them to go back saying: "Come and fight in the way of Allâh or at least be defenders." They said: "If we had known that you would really fight we would have not gone back." Having despaired of them, he addressed them saying: "May Allâh cast you away, you enemies of Allâh. Allâh will certainly suffice His Prophet." Allâh says about those hypocrites:
"And that He might test the hypocrites, it was said to them: 'Come, fight in the way of Allâh 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 Allâh has full knowledge of what they conceal." [Al-Qur'an 3:167]
The Remainder of the Islamic Army are on the Move to Uhud
With the remainder of fighters, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] moved towards the enemy. After the rebellion and withdrawal of the hypocrites, the number of soldiers was reduced to seven hundred only.
The camp of idolaters was situated in such a place that the many roads leading to Uhud were almost blocked by them. So the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said to his men: "Which man of you can lead us to where the people (i.e. the idolaters) are, along a short track that does not pass by them?" Abu Khaithama said: "O Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], I am the man you need." Then he chose a short track that led to Uhud passing by Harrah Bani Harithah and their farms, leaving the idolaters' army westwards.
On their way they passed by Ha'it (i.e. the field) of Marba' bin Qaizi, who was a blind hypocrite. When Marba' felt and realized that they were the Prophetic army, he started throwing earth at their faces, so they rushed to kill him, but the Prophet [pbuh] said:
"Do not kill him. He is blind in heart and eyes."
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] went along till climbed down the hillock of Uhud at the slope of the valley. He camped there with his army facing Madinah while their backs were to the hills of Uhud mountain. So the army of the enemy stood a barrier between the Muslims and Madinah.
The Defence Plan
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] mobilized his army. He arranged them into two rows to prepare them for fight. He selected fifty skillful archers that formed a squad and made them under the command of 'Abdullah bin Jubair bin An-Nu'man Al-Ansari Al-Awsi Al-Badri. He issued his orders to them to stay where they were — on a mountain(side) at the south bank of Qanat Al-Wadi (i.e. a canal of the valley), south east of Muslims camp at about one hundred and fifty metres from the Islamic army. Later on this mountain was called the Mountain of Archers.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] clarified the mission of this squad in words he directed to them. He said to their leader: "Drive off the horses from us by means of arrows, lest they should attack us from behind (the rear). Whether we win the battle or lose it, stand steadily in your position and mind that we are not attacked from your side."[Ibn Hisham 2/65,66]
"Defend our backs! If you see us slain. Do not come to assist us; and if you see gaining grounds, do not share us."[Fath Al-Bari 7/350]
In a version by Al-Bukhâri the Prophet [pbuh] said:
"If you see us snatched into pieces by birds, do not leave this position of yours till I send for you. And if you see that we have defeated the enemy and trodden on them do not desert your position till I send for you."[Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of Jihad 1/426]
With the assignment of this squad and locating it on the mountainside and the issuance of those strict military orders, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] blocked the only groove that might lead the idolaters stealthily to the rear of Muslim ranks and might even enable them to encircle them in an encompassment procedure.
The assignments of posts and responsibilities for the rest of the army were performed by the Prophet [pbuh] as follows: On the right wing, he appointed Al-Mundhir bin 'Amr. On the left he appointed Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam, and made Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad his assistant and supporter. Az-Zubair's function was to standfast in the face of Khalid bin Al-Waleed's horsemen. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] selected the top and the most courageous group to be in the vanguard of the army. They were notable for their readiness, alertness and bravery and estimated to be equal to thousands of men.
It was a wise and carefully-laid plan which revealed the genius of military leadership that the Prophet [pbuh] possessed. No other leader could have drawn a more accurate or wise plan. Although he approached the site later than the enemy, he managed to occupy better positions. He made the rocky mountainside to function as shield for the army's rear and right flank. He was able, by blocking the only vulnerable gap on the side, to provide additional maximum protection for the rear as well as the left wing. For fear of possible defeat, and to deter the Muslims from fleeing, in which case they would fall easy prisoners in the hands of the enemy, he chose a high place for encampment. Moreover a strategic site of this sort would surely inflict heavy losses on the polytheists if they thought of approaching or occupying his positions. In a further step, he reduced the enemy to a narrow scope of choice when they were cornered for encampment in geographically low positions that would avail them nothing of the benefits of any possible victory; at the same time they would not be able to escape the pursuit of the Muslims in case victory sided with the latter. To make up for the quantitative shortage in fighting personnel, he chose a picked body of fighters to stand at the front.
The army of the Prophet [pbuh] was thus fully mobilized on Shawwal 7th, 3 A.H.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] implants the Spirit of Bravery among his Armed Forces
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] forbade the Muslims to start the fight without having an order from him. He, then, wore two armours — a front armour and a back one. He urged his Companions to fight and spurred them to show stamina and steadfastness at fight. He started to implant the spirit of boldness and bravery in them. To wage and inflame his Companions and in order to standfast in the fight, he took a sharp sword, held it in his hand and called out unto his Companions and said: "Who is ready to take this sword and give it its proper due?" Many a man set out to take it. Some of them were 'Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam and 'Umar bin Al-Khattab. But it was granted to none. Abu Dujana Sammak bin Kharsha inquired: "O Messenger of Allâh, what is its price?" The Prophet [pbuh] said: "It is to strike the enemy's faces with it till it was bent." So Abu Dujana said: "O Messenger of Allâh I will take it for that price." and he was given the sword.
Abu Dujana was a man of courage who used to swagger at war. He had a red band which he wore round his head. Whenever he was head-banded everybody knew that he was determined to fight to death. Therefore as soon as Abu Dujana took the Prophet [pbuh]'s sword, he banded his head and started strutting amongst the fighters.
Watching him doing that, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: "This is a sort of walking that Allâh detests except in such a situation."
Recruitment of the Makkan Army
The idolaters applied the rows system in the mobilization of their army. The general leadership of the army was entrusted to Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb, who would be in the centre-position of the army. Khalid bin Al-Waleed was on the right wing; whereas 'Ikrima, the son of Abu Jahl was on the left. Safwan bin Omaiya was in charge of infantry men. The archers were under the command of 'Abdullah bin Abi Rabi'a.
As for the standard, a squad of Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar were in charge to bear it. Thus was the distribution of the posts of the army ever since 'Abd Munaf had already assigned them. This assignment had been inherited from Qusai bin Kilab — as we have previously alluded to in an early phase of this book. No one had the right to compete them with it. It was consistent with their traditions that they had inherited from their ancestors.
Abu Sufyan, the general leader, reminded his men — the standard bearers — of what had happened to Quraish on Badr Day (i.e. battle) when their standard bearer, An-Nadr bin Al-Harith, was captured. In an attempt to wage their anger and enmity to the Muslims he said: "O Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar! You have been assigned bearers of our standard and you know that the standard is the first thing that the enemy attacks. Should it fall, we fall down too. Therefore, I say either you guarantee its safety or leave it for us, and we will certainly suffice you that task."
Abu Sufyan's attempt seemed to be fruitful. For his speech made Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar so extremely angry that they threatened him and almost attacked him for that. Addressing him, they said: "You want us to deliver you the custodianship of the standard? Tomorrow when we fight them, you will witness our deeds." As a matter of fact, they fought bravely and stoodfast in defence of the standard till they were all killed.
Political Manoeuvres of Quraish
A little time before the break out of the battle, Quraish made some endeavours to sow the seeds of discord and dispute among the Muslims. First, Abu Sufyan sent to the Helpers a message saying: "Leave us alone to fight our cousins and do not interfere. If you stand aside, we will not fight you; for fighting you is not a target of ours." But that attempt proved to be fruitless. What could such a wicked scheme do to those whose Faith was as solid and firm as mountains?! The Helpers reply was undoubtedly disappointing and contrary to Abu Sufyan's expectations.
The zero-hour was due. The two parties drew nearer. Undespaired by the first failure, Quraish made another attempt, for the same purport but now with the assistance of a traitor called Abu 'Amir Al-Fasiq, whose name was 'Abd 'Amr bin Saifi. He was called a monk, but the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] nicknamed him Al-Fâsiq (i.e. perverted transgressor; dissolute). As he was the head of Aws in Al-Jahiliya, he could not tolerate Islam when it came. He announced his enmity to the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] in public. He left Madinah for the Quraishites in Makkah to rally them against the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and to urge them to start the fight against him. He claimed that he was obeyed and esteemed by his people and that as soon as they saw him come they would join him immediately.
So he was the first one among the mob and slaves of Quraish to show resistance. He called out unto his people, recognized them and said: "O kinfolk of Aws! I am Abu 'Amir." Their reply was "No eyes of anybody shall be consoled by viewing you, O Fâsiq." Hearing them say so, he said: "My people must have been afflicted by an evil after my departure." Therefore when the fight broke out, he fought them fiercely and pelted his people with stones, as well.
That was how the second attempt of Quraish to sow the seeds of discord among people of Faith. This, however, revealed the great terror of the Quraishites cast in their hearts in spite of their supremacy in number and equipment.
The effort of Quraishite Women at waging the Zeal of Men
Quraishi-women participated in the battle led by the wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind bint 'Utbah. They wandered among the rows of the idolaters, tapped on tambourines, encouraged men to fight, inflamed the emotions of heroes, lancers, swordsmen and brave fighters. At one time they addressed the standard-bearers:
"O Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar!
O home defenders,
Strike with your sharp swords ..."
And at another time they would wage people's zeal by singing:
"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 parties approached and grew very close to each another. The phases of fight started. The first combatant was the standard-bearer, Talha bin Abi Talha Al-'Abdari, who was the most distinguished idolater. He was one of the bravest men of Quraish fighters. Muslims nicknamed him 'the ram of the battalion.' He came forth riding a camel and challenged the Muslims to a single combat. People refrained from fighting him due to his bravery; but Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam advanced for the fight. He did not give the 'Ram' any chance to fight but fell on him like a lion on his camel's back, pulled him down to the ground and slaughtered him with his sword.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] who was watching that wonderful incident exclaimed: Allâhu Akbar that is 'Allâh is the Greatest' and the Muslims exclaimed Allâhu Akbar too. He praised Az-Zubair when he said:
"Every Prophet has a disciple and Az-Zubair is a disciple of mine."[As-Seerah Al-Halaiyah 2/18]
Soon the general engagement ensued and the fight of the two parties grew fierce everywhere on the battlefield. The strain of the fight was centred round the carriers of the standard. After the death of their leader Talha bin Abi Talha, Banu 'Abd Ad-Dar alternated the mission successively. Talha's brother, 'Uthman, ran forward and seized the standard which lay by the lifeless body of his brother, chanting: "The standard-bearer has the right to dye its shaft in blood, till it be beaten in his hand." Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib attacked and dealt him a blow that cut his arm and shoulder and went down to his navel to uncover his lung.
The standard was raised up again by Abu Sa'd bin Abi Talha; but Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas shot him with a deadly arrow that hit him at his throat and made his tongue hang out breathing his last.
In another version it was narrated that Abu Sa'd lifted the standard up and challenged the Muslims to fight him. 'Ali bin Abi Talib went forth. They exchanged two blows. Then 'Ali gave him a terminal blow that finished him off.
Musafi' bin Talha bin Abi Talha then hoisted the standard, but was soon shot with an arrow by 'Asim bin Thabit bin Abi Al-Aqlah. His brother Kilab bin Talha bin Abi Talha followed him picked the banner and lifted it up; but Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam attacked him and managed to kill him. Their brother Al-Jallas bin Talha bin Abi Talha lifted the banner up but Talha bin 'Ubaidu-Allâh stabbed him to death. They also said that it was 'Asim bin Thabit who managed to deal a terminal blow to him.
All those six people killed round and in defence of the standard, belonged to one house, the house of Abi Talha 'Abdullah bin 'Uthman bin 'Abd Ad-Dar. Another man from Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar, called Artat bin Sharhabeel carried the standard but he also was killed by 'Ali bin Abi Talib. Others said it was Hamzah who killed him not 'Ali.
Then it was Shuraih bin Qariz who was killed by Quzman — he was a hypocrite who fought for prestige only, not in defence of Islam. Abu Zaid 'Amr bin 'Abd Munaf Al-'Abdari lifted the standard up but he was killed by Quzman too. A son of Sharhabeel bin Hashim Al-'Abdari hoisted it again and was also killed by Quzman.
So we see that ten fighters of Bani 'Abd Ad-Dar — the standard-bearers — were annihilated. Seeing that none of 'Abd Ad-Dars survived to carry the standard, a slave of theirs — called Sawab — came to raise it. The slave showed more admirable sorts of bravery and steadfastness than his former masters. Sawab, the slave went on fighting till his hand was cut off. So he knelt down and embraced the banner, leant it against his chest and neck lest it should fall down to the ground. He remained fighting steadily and steadfastly till he was killed. In the meanwhile he did not stop saying: "O Allâh, have I been excused?" After the death of the slave Sawab, the standard fell down to the ground, and remained there as there was no one to carry it.
Whilst the brunt of the battle centred around the standard, bitter fighting was going on everywhere on the battlefield. The spirit of Faith overwhelmed the Muslims' ranks; so they rushed among the idolaters as if they had been an outbreak of a destructive flood that overflowed and knocked down all dams and barriers standing in its way "I seek death, I seek death." That was their announced motto on Uhud Day.
Abu Dujana, recognized by the red band worn round his head, came forth, fighting with the sword of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]. He was determined to pay its price at all costs. He killed all the idolaters that stood on his way splitting and dispersing their ranks. Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam said:
"I felt angry and discouraged when the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] refused to give me the sword but gave it to Abu Dujana. I said to myself: 'I am his paternal cousin — the cousin of his aunt Safiya — a Quraishite, besides, I was the first who demanded it and yet he favoured him to me. By Allâh, I will watch how he will use it.' So I followed him, I saw him take out his red band and wear it round his head. Seeing him like that, the Helpers said, 'Abu Dujana had worn the band of death.' Then he set out saying loudly:
'I am the one whom my intimate friend made covenant with, when 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 Allâh and His Messenger.'
No one stood the way of Abu Dujana but was killed. There was a man among the idolaters whose only target was to finish off the wounded Muslims. During the fight Abu Dujana drew near that man; so I implored Allâh that they might engage in combat. They in fact did and exchanged two sword-strokes. The idolater struck Abu Dujana, but he escaped it and it pierced into his leather shield. The idolater's sword now stuck to it, Abu Dujana struck him with the sword and killed him. Ibn Hisham 2/68,69] Into the thick of the battle, he rushed to kill a person who was inciting the enemy to fight the Muslims. Upon this the person shrieked and lo! it was a woman. Abu Dujana spared her saying: 'I respect the Prophet [pbuh]'s sword too much to use it on a woman.' The woman was Hind bint 'Utbah."
Describing the same incident, Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam said: "I saw Abu Dujana raising a sword over the parting part of Hind bint 'Utba's head then he moved it off. I said to myself: 'Allâh and His Messenger know best.' (i.e. know why he acted like that). [bn Hisham 2/69]"
Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib displayed wonderful feats of gallantry against the overwhelming odds which stood unparalled and created consternation and confusion in the disbelieving hosts. Heroes dispersed off his way as if they had been tree-leaves blown away by strong wind. In addition to his effective contribution to the annihilation of the idolaters who stood in defence of the standard, he was even of much greater effect at fighting against men of bravery and distinguished horsemen. It was Allâh's Will that he be murdered when he was at the top. He was not killed in a face-to-face fight on the battlefield — in the normal way by which heroes die — but rather assassinated in the dead-dark as was the custom of killing generous and noble men that were impossible to kill in an honourable fight.
Assassination of Asadullâh (the Lion of Allâh) Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib
Hamzah's assassin, Wahshi bin Harb, described how he killed Hamzah. He said:
"I was a slave working to Jubair bin Mut'im, whose paternal uncle Tu'aimah bin 'Adi was injured at Badr Battle. So when Quraish marched to Uhud, Jubair said to me: 'If you kill Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad, stealthily you shall be manumitted.' "
"So I marched with the people to Uhud." He used to describe himself as, "I am a picaro good at spearing." "So when the two parties fought, I set out seeking Hamzah. I saw him amidst people fighting. He was like a white and black striped camel, striking severely with his sword and no one could stand on his way. By Allâh! When I was getting ready and trying to seize the fit opportunity to spear him, hiding sometimes behind a tree or a rock hoping that he might draw nearer and be within range — at that moment I caught sight of Siba' bin 'Abd Al-'Uzza going closer towards him. When Hamzah observed him, he said: 'Come on! O son of the 'clitoris-cutter.' — for his mother used to be a circumciser. Then he struck one strong stroke that could hardly miss his head."
Wahshi said: "Then I balanced my spear and shook it till I was content with it, then I speared him and it went down into his stomach and issued out between his legs. He attempted moving towards me but he was overcome by his wound. I left him there with the spear in his entrails till he died. Then I came to him, pulled out my spear and returned to the encampment place. I stayed there and did not go out, for he was the only one I sought. I only killed him to free myself. So as soon as I got back to Makkah, I became a free man." [Ibn Hisham 2/69-72; Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/583]
Bringing the Situation under Control
Although the death of Asad (Lion) of Allâh and His Messenger — Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib — was a great loss, the Muslims maintained full control over the whole situation on the battlefield. On that day, Abu Bakr, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, 'Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-'Awwam, Mus'ab bin 'Umair, Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh, 'Abdullah bin Jahsh, Sa'd bin Ar-Rabî' and Anas bin An-Nadr and others — all of them fought so fiercely, effectively and efficiently that they broke the strong will of the idolaters and scattered them.
From his Wife's lap to Sword-fights and Sorrows
One of the brave adventurers of that day was Hanzala Al-Ghaseel — He was Hanzala bin Abu 'Amir. Abu 'Amir was the very monk that was nicknamed 'Al-Fâsiq' (i.e. the dissolute, evildoer). He is the very one that we have recently mentioned. Hanzala, who was newly married, left his wife's bed for Al-Jihâd (Fight in the cause of Allâh). He set out the moment he heard of the call to Al-Jihâd. When he faced the idolaters on the battlefield, he made his way through their ranks till he reached their leader Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb and had almost killed him, if he had not been ordained to be a martyr. For at that moment he was seen by Shaddad bin Al-Aswad who struck him to death.
The Contribution of the Archers Squad to the Battle
The archers squad whom the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] located on the Archers Mountain, had the upper hand in administering the war activities to go in favour of the Muslim army. The Makkan horsemen — commanded by Khalid bin Al-Waleed, supported by Abu 'Amir Al-Fâsiq — had for three times attacked the left wing of the Muslim army with the aim of crushing it and then infiltrating into the rear to create a sort of confusion and disorder in the ranks of the Muslims and subsequently inflict heavy defeat on them. But thanks to the dexterity and great efforts of the archers, the three assaults were thwarted.[Fath Al-Bari 7/346]
War activities went on and on fierecly with the Muslims in full command of the whole military developments until the idolaters finally staggered and retreated, leaving all motives of alleged pride, and affected dignity in oblivion, and their standard trodden by the feet of the fighters with none ever courageous enough to approach it. It seemed as if the three thousand idolaters had been fighting thirty thousand Muslims and not merely several hundreds.
Ibn Ishaq said: "Then Allâh sent down His Help unto the Muslims and verified His Promise to them. They chased the idolaters and evacuated them from their camp. No doubt it was a certain defeat." In a version by 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubair that his father had said: "By Allâh, I was watching the servants of Hind bint 'Utbah and her women friends fleeing with their garments gathered up. No one was there to prevent us from capturing them."[Ibn Hisham 2/77]
In another version by Al-Barâ' bin 'Azib — mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhâri — he said: "When we fought them, they fled, and their women could be seen fleeing in the mountains with their anklets and legs revealed."[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/579] The Muslims pursued the enemies putting them to sword and collecting the spoils.
The Archers' Fatal Mistake
While the small army of Islam were recording the second absolute and clear victory over the Makkans — which was no less in splendour and glory than the first one at Badr — the majority of the archers on the mountainside committed a fatal mistake that turned the whole situation upside down, and constituted a source of heavy losses amongst the Muslims. It has almost brought about the murder of the Prophet [pbuh], and left a very bad impression on the fame and dignity they deservedly earned at Badr Battle.
We have already spoken about the positive orders given to the archers to hold on to their position whatever the course of the main engagement. In spite of those strict orders, and their leader's — 'Abdullah bin Jubair — warning, forty archers deserted their posts, enticed by the too soon roar of victory as well as worldly avarice for the spoils of war.[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/426] The others, however, nine in number and 'Abdullah, their leader, decided to abide by the Prophet [pbuh]'s order and stay where they were until they were given leave or killed to the last. Consequently the cleft was left inadequately defended .
The shrewd Khalid bin Al-Waleed seized this golden opportunity to turn swiftly round to the rear of the Muslim army and encompass them. Exterminating Ibn Jubair and his group, they fell promptly upon the rear of the Muslims and his horsemen uttered a shout that signalled the new military developments. The polytheists returned once again to counterattack the Muslims. An idolist woman — called 'Umra bint 'Alqama Al-Harithiyah — rushed to the lying-on-earth standard, picked it up and hoisted it. The idolaters gathered together around the standard and called out unto one another till they encircled the Muslims and stoodfast to fight again.
The Muslims consequently got entrapped between two millstones.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was then among a small group of fighters — nine in number at the rear of the army[Sahih Muslim 2/107], watching the engagement and braving the Muslim fighters. Khalid and his men took him by utter surprise, and obliged him to follow either of two options:
To flee for his life and abandon his army to its doomed end, orTo 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 encompassed army.
The genius of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], his peerless and matchless courage made him opt for the second course. He raised his voice calling out unto his Companions: "Slaves of Allâh." He did that though he knew that his loud voice would be heard by the idolaters before it was heard by the Muslims. He called out unto them risking his life in this delicate situation.
The idolaters, indeed, recognized him and reached his position even before the other Muslims could do so.
The encompassment of the Muslims revealed three categories of people: The first group were those who were only interested in themselves and they went so mad that they fled. They left the battlefield and did not know what happened to the others. Some of this group fled as far as Madinah. Some others went up the mountain.
The second Muslim group were those who returned to the battle, but mixed with the idolaters in such a way that they could not recognize one another. Consequently some of them were killed by mistake. On the authority of Al-Bukhari, he states that 'Aishah [R] said: "When it was Uhud Battle, the idolaters were utterly defeated. Satan then called out: 'O slaves of Allâh. Beware 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: "O servants of Allâh! Beware! This is my father. This is my father." 'Aishah [R] said: "But they did not part with him till he was killed." Hudhaifah then said: "May Allâh forgive you." And 'Urwa said: "By Allâh, from that time on Hudhaifah has always been blessed and wealthy till he died."[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/539, 2/581; Fath Al-Bari 7/351, 362, 363] That was because he forgave them and refused to take any blood-money for his father's murder but recommended that it be spent in charity.
This Muslim group suffered from great bewilderment, and disorder prevailed among them. A lot of them got lost and did not know where to go. At this awkward time they heard someone calling: "Muhammad is killed." This news made them even more bewildered and almost out of sense. Their morale broke down, or almost did in a great number of individuals. Some of them stopped fighting, slackened, and cast down their weapons. Others thought of getting in touch with 'Abdullah bin Ubai — the head of the hypocrites — and seeking his assistance to fetch them a security pledge from Abu Sufyan.
Anas bin An-Nadr passed by those people who were shuddering of fear and panic, and inquired: "What are you waiting for?" They said: "The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] has been killed." "What do you live for after Muhammad [pbuh]? Come on and die for what the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] has died for." Then he said: "O Allâh I apologize for what these people (i.e. the Muslims) have done; and I swear disavowal of what the idolaters have perpetrated." Then he moved on till he was encountered by Sa'd bin Mu'adh who asked him: "Where to, Abu 'Umar?" Anas replied: "Ah, how fine the scent of the Paradise is! I smell it here in Uhud." He went on and fought against the idolaters till he was killed. Nobody but his sister could recognize his dead body. It had been cut and stabbed by over eighty swords, arrows or spears. It was by the tip of his finger that she — after the battle — recognized him.[Za'd Al Ma'ad 2/93, 96; Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/579]
Thabit bin Ad-Dahdah called unto his people saying:
"O kinfolk of Helpers, if Muhammad [pbuh] were killed, Allâh is Everlasting and He never dies. Fight in defence of your Faith. Allâh will help you and so you will be victorious." A group of Helpers joined him and all set out and attacked a battalion of Khalid's horsemen. He kept on fighting till he and his friends were killed.[Ibn Hisham 2/81]
An Emigrant passed by a Helper who was besmeared by blood. He said: "O fellow! Have you heard of Muhammad [pbuh]'s murder?" The Helper answered: "If Muhammad [pbuh] were killed, then he must have completed the delivery of the Message. So fight in defence of your religion!"[Za'd Al Ma'ad 2/96]
With such boldness and encouragement, the Muslims soon recovered their spirits, came round to senses and desisted the idea of surrender or contacting the hypocrite 'Abdullah bin Ubai. They took up arms and resumed the fight attempting to make way to the headquarters, particularly after the news of the Prophet [pbuh]'s death had been falsified. The glad tidings nerved them, and helped them to manage quite successfully the break of the military blockade, and concentrate their forces in an immune place to resume a relentless and fierce fight against the polytheists.
The third group of Muslims were those who cared for nothing except the Prophet [pbuh]. At the head of them were notable Companions like Abu Bakr, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, 'Ali bin Abi Talib and others ÑÖì Çááå Úäåã, who hastened to protect the Prophet [pbuh] through unrivalled devotion.
As those groups of Muslims were receiving the blows of the idolaters and resisting instantly, the fight flared up around the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], who had only nine people around him. We have already mentioned that when the idolaters started their encompassment there were only nine persons around the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]; and that as soon as he called out unto the Muslims: "Come on! I am the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]," the idolaters heard his voice and recognized him. So they turned back and attacked him with all their power before any of his Companions ran to his aid.
A violent raging struggle broke out between the nine Muslims and the idolaters during which peerless sort of love, self-sacrifice, bravery and heroism were revealed.
Muslim, on the authority of Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] along with seven Helpers and two Emigrants, was confined to a trap when the idolaters attacked him. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] then said: " He who 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 the idolaters in defence of the Prophet [pbuh] till he was killed. Then they attacked the Messenger [pbuh] again. The same process was repeated again and again till all the seven Helpers were killed. Then the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said to his two Quraishite Companions: "We have not done justice to our Companions."[Sahih Muslim 2/107]
The last of those seven Helpers was 'Amara bin Yazeed bin As-Sakan, who kept on fighting till his wounds neutralized him and he fell dead.[Ibn Hisham 2/81]
The Most Awkward Hour in the Messenger's Life
After the fall of Ibn Sakan, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] remained alone with only those two Quraishites. In a version by Abu 'Uthman — authorized in As-Sahihain— he said: "At that time, there were none with the Prophet [pbuh] except Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas.[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/527, 2/581] That was the most awkward and dangerous hour for the Prophet [pbuh], but it was a golden opportunity for the idolaters who promptly took advantage of it. They concentrated their attack on the Prophet [pbuh] and looked forward to killing him.
'Utbah bin Abi Waqqas pelted him with stones. One of the stones fell on his face. His lower right incisor Ruba'iya (i.e. the tooth that is between a canine and a front tooth) was injured. His lower lip was wounded. He was also attacked by 'Abdullah bin Shihab Az-Zuhri who cleaved his forehead. 'Abdullah bin Qami'a (Qami'a means 'a humiliated woman'), who was an obstinate strong horseman, struck him violently on his shoulder with his sword; and that stroke hurt the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] for over a month — though it was not strong enough to break his two armours. He dealt a heavy blow on his cheek. It was so strong that two rings of his iron-ringed helmet penetrated into his holy cheek. "Take this stroke from me, I am Ibn Qami'a." He said while striking the Messenger with his sword. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] replied — while he was wiping the blood flowing on his face: "I implore Allâh to humiliate you."[Fath Al-Bari 7/373, 366] (i.e. Aqma'aka Allâh). In Al-Bukhâri it is stated his incisor broke, his head was cleaved, and that he started wiping the blood off it and saying: "(I wonder) how can people who cut the face of their Prophet [pbuh] and break the incisor of his — he who calls them to worship Allâh. How can such people thrive or be successful?" About that incident, Allâh, Glory is to Him, sent down a Qur'ânic verse saying:
"Not for you (O Muhammad [pbuh] but for Allâh) is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the Zâlimûn (polytheists, disobedients, and wrong-doers)." [Al-Qur'an 3:128] [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/582; Sahih Muslim 2/108]
At-Tabarani states that the Prophet [pbuh] said: "Allâh's Wrath is great on those who besmear the face of His Messenger," observed silence for a short while and then resumed saying:
"O Allâh, forgive my people for they have no knowledge." [Fath Al-Bari 7/373]
In Sahih Muslim it is stated that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said:
"My Lord, forgive my people for they have no knowledge." [Sahih Muslim 2/108]
In Ash-Shifa — a book by 'Ayad Al-Qadi — it is related that the Prophet [pbuh] said:
"O Allâh, guide my people for they have no knowledge." [Ash-Shifa 1/81]
It is quite certain that killing the Prophet [pbuh] was their primary aim, but the two Quraishites — Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas and Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh, who showed great and rare courage and fought so fiercely and boldly that — though they were only two — were able to stop the idolaters short of realizing their aim. They were of the best skillful Arab archers and kept on militating in defence of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] till the whole squad of idolaters was driven off him [pbuh].
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] emptied his quiver of arrows and said to Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas: "Shoot, an arrow Sa'd. May my father and mother be sacrified for you.[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/407, 2/580, 581]" The Prophet [pbuh] had never gathered his parents except in the case of Sa'd — a privilege granted to him for his efficiency.[ibid 1/407, 2/580,581]
In a version by Jabir — authorized by An-Nasa'i — concerning the attitude of Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh towards the gathering of idolaters around the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] — when there were only some Helpers with him — Jabir said: "When the idolaters reached him, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: 'Who will suffice us their evils (i.e. fight them back)?' Talha said: 'I will.'" Then Jabir mentioned the advance of the Helpers to fight and how they were killed one after the other in a similar way to Muslim's narration — "When all the Helpers were killed, Talha proceeded forward to fight as much as the other eleven ones did till his hand was hurt and his fingers were cut off. So he said: 'Be they cut off!' The Prophet [pbuh] said: 'If you had said: In the Name of Allâh, the angels would have raised you up before the people's very eyes.'" Then he said: "Allâh drove the idolaters off them."[Fath-al-Bari 7/361; An-Nasa'i 2/52,53] In Al-Ikleel — a book by Hakim — it is stated that Talha had sustained thirty-nine or thirty-five wounds, and his fingers (i.e. the forefinger and the one next to it — got paralyzed.[ibid 7/361]
In a version by Qais bin Abi Hâzim — authorized by Al-Bukhari, he said: "I saw the hand of Talha paralyzed. That was because he protected the Prophet [pbuh] with it in Uhud Battle."[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/527, 2/581]
At-Tirmidhi stated that the Prophet [pbuh] then said about Talha: "He who desires to see a martyr walking on the ground, let him look at Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh."[Mishkat 2/566; Ibn Hisham 2/86]
Abu Da'ûd At-Tayalisi on the authority of 'Aishah [R], said: "Whenever Uhud Day (i.e. battle) was mentioned, Abu Bakr used to say: 'That was Talha's day (i.e. battle)'.[Fath Al-Bari 7/361] Abu Bakr recited a verse of poetry about him: 'O Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh! Paradise is due to you as water-springs are due to deer to drink out of.' [Mukhtasar Tareekh Damishq, 7/82] At the awkward and most delicate circumstances, Allâh, Glory is to Him, sent down His invisible Help. In a version by Sa'd — cleared and authorized in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim — he said: "I saw the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] on Uhud Day with two men — dressed in white defending him fiercely — I have never seen similar to them neither before Uhud nor after it." In another version: "He means to say that they were Gabriel and Michael".[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/580]
All those events happened in no time. If the Prophet [pbuh]'s elite Companions had realized the grave situation immediately, they would have rushed on the spot and would not have left him sustain these wounds. Unfortunately, they got there after the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] had been wounded and six of the Helpers killed, the seventh was staggering under the brunt of wounds and desperately militating in defence of the Prophet [pbuh]. However as soon as they arrived they encircled the Messenger with their bodies and weapons and were alert enough to prevent the enemies from reaching him. The first one who returned to give help, was his cavemate Abu Bakr As-Siddiq [R].
In a version by 'Aishah [R] recorded in Ibn Hibban's Sahih, she narrated that Abu Bakr had said:
"When it was Uhud Day and at the time that the Prophet [pbuh] was left behind, I was the first to go back and see him. Before him I saw a man fighting to shield him from the enemies. I said to myself: 'I wish he were Talha. Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you. (O Allâh) Let him be Talha! Let my parents be sacrificed for you!' On the way, I was overtaken by Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, who was then moving as swiftly as a bird. We both rushed to dress the Prophet [pbuh]'s wounds. There we found Talha suffering from serious wounds before the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]. The Prophet [pbuh] said: 'See to your brother. His deed entitled him for an abode in Paradise.' I noticed that two rings of the iron-ringed helmet had penetrated his cheek. So I set out to take them out; but Abu 'Ubaidah demanded: 'By Allâh, O Abu Bakr — I beseech you, let me do it myself.' Fearing to hurt the Prophet [pbuh] he started pulling one of the two rings out very slowly and carefully with his mouth. Then he pulled the arrow out by his mouth, too. Consequently, his front tooth fell. Then I proceeded to pull the second out; but Abu 'Ubaidah besought me to leave it: 'O, Abu Bakr, I adjure you by Allâh to let me do it.' He pulled the second ring very slowly and carefully with his mouth — till it came out. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: 'See to your brother. He has proved to be worthy of being housed in Paradise.' We approached Talha to cure him but found out that he had had some ten sword-strokes in his body. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/95] (This showed how efficiently Talha had fought and struggled on that day)."
At those awkward moments of that day, a group of Muslim heroes gathered around the Prophet [pbuh] forming a shield to protect him from the idolaters. Some of them were Abu Dujana, Mus'ab bin 'Umair, 'Ali bin Abi Talib, Sahl bin Haneef, Malik bin — Sinan the father of Abu Sa'îd Al-Khudri, Umm'Amara, Nusaiba bint Ka'b Al-Mâziniya, Qatada bin An-Nu'man, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, Hatib bin Abi Balta'a and Abu Talha.
The number of idolaters was steadily increasing; and their attacks, naturally, got severer. Their press had increased to an extent that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] fell into one of the holes dug and designed by Abu 'Amir Al-Fasiq to be used as traps. His knee scratched and 'Ali helped him by grasping his hand up. Talha bin 'Ubaidullâh took him in his lap till he could stand upright. Nafi' bin Jubair said: I heard an Emigrant say: "I have witnessed Uhud Battle and watched how arrows had been hurled from all directions at the Prophet [pbuh]. None of them however hit him. 'Abdullah, bin Shihab Az-Zuhri said: 'Guide me to Muhammad [pbuh]! By Allâh, If I didn't kill him, I would not hope to live.' Although the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was next to him, alone — but he did not observe him. Safwan, a co-polytheist of his, blamed him (for not translating his words into deeds), but 'Abdullah swore that he did not see him (the Prophet [pbuh]) and added that he might be immune to our attempts on his life. He also said that four of them pledged to make a fresh attempt and kill him, but also to no avail. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/97]
The Muslims showed unprecedented rare heroism and marvellous sacrifices. Abu Talha — for instance — shielded the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] by his body and used his chest to protect him against the enemy arrows. Anas related that on Uhud Day when people dispersed off the Prophet [pbuh], Abu Talhah was a skillful sort of archer who would pull arrows so much that he broke two or three bows that day. When a man passed along with a quiver full of arrows, the Prophet [pbuh] would say: "Spread the arrows to Abu Talhah!" Then when the Prophet [pbuh] watched people shooting, Abu Talhah would say: "I sacrifice my father and mother for your safety. Do not go too close lest an arrow of theirs should hit you. I would rather die than see you hurt."[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/581]
Abu Dujana stood before the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and used to protect him from the arrows by his back. Hatib bin Balta'a followed 'Utbah bin Abi Waqqas — who broke the honourable incisor (of the Prophet [pbuh]) — struck him with the sword, cracked his head and took his mare and sword. Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas was so keen to kill his brother 'Utbah, but he could not; however, Hatib could.
Sahl bin Haneef — a hero archer — who had pledged to die in the cause of Allâh, also played a prominent part in Uhud hostilities.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] himself was involved in shooting arrows. In a version by Qatadah bin An-Nu'man that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] shot so many arrows that the two ends of his bow were flattened. So Qatadah bin An-Nu'man took it to remain with him for good. On that day his eye was so hurt that it fell down onto his cheek; but the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] reput it in its socket with his hand and it became the better and the more sharp-sighted of the two.
On that day 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf kept on fighting till his mouth was hurt and got broken. He sustained over twenty wounds, some in his leg, and that lamed him.
Malik bin Sinan, the father of Abi Sa'eed Al-Khudri sucked the blood out of the Prophet [pbuh]'s cheek till he cleaned it. The Prophet [pbuh] said: "Spit it!". But Malik said: "By Allâh, I will never spit it". Then he set out to fight. The Prophet [pbuh] then said: "He who wants to see a man of the people of Paradise, let him look at this one." No sooner had he resumed fighting than he was martyred in the thick of the battle.
Umm 'Amarah participated in the fight too. She encountered Ibn Qami'a 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 armours. She, however, went on striking until her wounds counted twelve.
Mus'ab bin 'Umair, in his turn, fought fiercely and violently defending the Prophet [pbuh] against the attacks of Ibn Qami'a and his fellows. He was carrying the standard with his right hand. In the process of fighting, it was cut off, so he grabbed the standard in his left hand till this was also amputated so he knelt down and shielded it with his chest and neck. Ibn Qami'a then killed him, mistaking him for the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] on account of resemblance in appearance. Only then did Ibn Qami'a shout 'Muhammad [pbuh] has been killed.'[Ibn Hisham 2/73; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/97]
No sooner had Ibn Qami'a uttered that ominous sentence than consternation spread among Muhammad [pbuh]'s followers, and their morale was drastically reduced. Consequently, confusion and a miserable state of disorder prevailed amongst them. Whilst the rumours managed to adversely act amongst the Muslims, it alleviated the sharp impact of the assaults of the polytheists who came to believe that they did really achieve their final objective and so they turned towards mutilating the dead bodies.
When Mus'ab was killed, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] delivered the standard to 'Ali bin Abi Talib. 'Ali, in conjunction with the other Companions, went on fighting bravely and set marvellous examples of heroism, courage and endurance in both defence and attack.
Then the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] made his way to his encircled army. Ka'b bin Malik, who was the first one to recognize the approaching Prophet [pbuh], shouted as loudly as he could: "O folks of Muslims, be cherished! The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] is here." But the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] signed to him to stop lest his position should be located by the idolaters. Upon hearing the shout, the Muslims immediately raced towards the source of the shout which brought about thirty Companions to gather around the Prophet [pbuh]. With this assembled number of his Companions, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] started drawing a planned withdrawal to the hillocks nearby.
Hostilities of the enemy grew fiercer than ever with the aim of foiling the plan of withdrawal of the Muslims. Their attempts however proved to be fruitless due to the heroic steadfastness of the lions of Islam.
'Uthman bin 'Abdullah bin Al-Mugheerah — one of the enemy horsemen — progressed towards the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] while saying: "Either I kill him (i.e. Muhammad [pbuh]) or I will be killed." The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] moved to encounter him but his mare tripped into some holes. So Al-Harith bin As-Simma combated with the enemy, and struck him on his leg so he went lame, then he finished him off, took his arm and overtook the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh].
But later on another Makkan horseman, called 'Abdullah bin Jabir, attacked Al-Harith bin As-Simma, and struck him on the shoulder with his sword and he was carried to the camp of the Muslims suffering from serious wounds. Anyway that very idolater did not escape death, for Abu Dujana — the red head-banded hero and adventurer — struck him heavily and cut his head off.
During this bitter fight, a desire to sleep overwhelmed the Muslims — that was a security and tranquillity to help His slave Muslims as the Qur'ân spoke in this context. Abu Talhah said: "I was one of those who were possessed by a desire to sleep on Uhud Day. On that day my sword fell off my hand several times. Again and again it fell down and again and again I picked it up."[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/582]
In a regular withdrawal and with great bravery and boldness, the Muslims finally retreated to the cover of Mountain Uhud. Then, the rest of the army followed them to that safe position. In this manner, the genius of Muhammad [pbuh] foiled that of Khalid bin Al-Waleed.
Ibn Ishaq related that: "When the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was going up the hillock, he was followed by Ubai bin Khalaf who was saying: 'Where is Muhammad [pbuh]? Either I kill him or I will be killed.' The Companions of Muhammad [pbuh] said: 'O Messenger of Allâh, do you mind if one of us combats with him?' But the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: 'Leave him!' So when he drew nearer, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] took the spear from Al-Harith bin As-Simma. He shivered violently in such a way that made all of them scatter in all directions violently and impulsively. Then he faced him, observed his clavicle through a gap between the wide opening of the armour and the part of his neck enclosed by. He speared him in that spot. The effect of the stroke was so strong that it made him roll off his horse over and over. When he returned to Quraish, they found that he had only had a small scratch in his neck. So when blood became congested he said: 'By Allâh, Muhammad has killed me.' Hearing him say so, they said: 'By Allâh you are afraid to death. By Allâh, you are possessed by a devil.' He replied: 'He had already told me when we were in Makkah: 'I will kill you.' By Allâh, had he spate on me, he would have killed me.' Eventually, the enemy of Allâh breathed his last at a place called Sarif, while they were taking him back to Makkah."[Ibn Hisham 2/84; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/97] In a version by Abul-Aswad, on the authority of 'Urwa: He was lowing like a bull and saying: "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if (the pain) I am suffering from now were distributed among the people of Al-Majaz, it would cause them to die."[Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.250]
During the withdrawal of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] up to the cover of the mountain, a big rock blocked his way. The Prophet [pbuh] tried to mount it, but having worn a short heavy armour, and being seriously wounded — he could not ascend it. Readily enough Talha sat in a position that enabled the Prophet [pbuh] to stand on his back. Then he lifted him up till he stood on it. The Prophet [pbuh] then said: "Talha, after this job, is eligible for the Garden (Paradise)."[Ibn Hisham 2/86]
When the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] settled down in his head quarters in the hillock, the idolaters started their last attack upon the Muslims. Ibn Ishaq related that: "While the Prophet [pbuh] was on the way to the hillock, a group of Quraishite elite ascended the mountain. They were led by Khalid bin Al-Waleed and Abu Sufyan. So the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] implored his Lord saying: 'O Allâh, they (i.e. the idolaters) should not be higher (i.e. in position or in power) than us (i.e. the Muslims). Therefore 'Umar bin Al-Khattab and some of the Emigrants fought the idolaters till they drove them down the mountain.[Ibn Hisham 2/86]
In Al-Maghazi — a book by Al-Umawi — it is stated that the idolaters went up the mountain. So the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said to Sa'd: "Drive them off." "How can I drive them off by myself (i.e. without anyone to assist)." But the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] repeated the phrase three times. Sa'd then took an arrow out of his quiver, shot it at one of them and killed him. He said: "Then I took another one I know (to be good) and I shot with it another man. Then I took a third I know and killed a third one. Consequently they climbed down the mountain. I said to myself, 'this must be a blessed arrow.' I put it in my quiver." He kept it with him till he died. His children kept it with them ever after. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/95]
Mutilation of the Martyrs
That was the last attack made by the idolaters against the Prophet [pbuh]. Being almost certain of his death, the idolaters returned to their camp and started preparations to go back to Makkah. Some of them involved themselves in mutilating the killed Muslims, and so did their women. Women and men cut off the ears, the noses, the genitals of the martyrs. They even cut open their bellies. Hind bin 'Utbah — for instance — ripped open the liver of Hamzah and chewed it; but finding it unpleasant, she spat it out. She even made the ears and noses of Muslims into anklets and necklaces. [Ibn Hisham 2/90]
Two incidents occurred during the last hours of the fight. Which revealed for certain how far the Muslims were ready to fight and sacrifice in the way of Allâh:
Ka'b bin Malik said: I was one of those Muslims who fought in Uhud and witnessed the polytheists' act of barbarity in mutilating the dead bodies, but I passed them because I couldn't stand it. Then I saw an armed stout idolater pass through the Muslims and say: "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 till I stood behind him. Comparing both of them, I found that the disbeliever was better than the other in arms and figure. I kept on watching them till they were engaged in single combat. The Muslim thrust at the disbeliever with his sword that went down his hip and split it into two. When the Muslim unveiled his face, he said: "What about that, Ka'b. I am Abu Dujana." [Al-Bidaya wan Nihaya 4/17]Some Muslim women came to the battlefield when the fight was over. Anas said: I saw 'Aishah bint Abu Bakr [R] with Umm Sulaim. Their garments were gathered up so I could see their anklets. They carried water bags on their shoulders and emptied them into the mouths of people. [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/403, 2/581] Then they would go back to fill them and come back to do the same. 'Umar said: "Umm Saleet used to carry water bags to us on Uhud Day." [ibid 1/401]
When Umm Aiman, who was one of those Muslim women who saw the defeated Muslim fighters entering Madinah, she started throwing dust at their faces rebukingly saying: "Here is a spinning wheel, take it! and give up carrying swords." Then she raced to the battlefield. There she watered the wounded. Hibban bin Al-'Arqa shot an arrow at her, she fell down and her clothes were lifted up. Seeing that, the enemy of Allâh, burst into laughter. That sight upset the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], so he gave Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas an arrow lacking an arrow-head and said "Shoot it". Sa'd shot it, it pierced the idolater's throat. He fell down and some parts of his body were revealed. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] then laughed so much that his molars could be seen. Sa'd avenged her and Allâh responded to her supplication. [As-Seerat Al-Halabiyah 2/22]
As soon as the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] reached the defile, 'Ali bin Abu Talib went out and filled his water container with water from Al-Mihras. 'Al-Mihras' is said to be hollow (concaved) rock containing plenty of water. It was also said that it is a water spring in Uhud mountain. Anyway, 'Ali brought that water to the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] to drink. Finding that it smelt bad he refused to drink it, but only washed the blood off his face and poured some of it over his head saying: Allâh's Wrath is great on those who besmeared His Messenger's face with blood. [Ibn Hisham 2/85]
Sahl said: "By Allâh, I know who washed the wound of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and who poured out water for him and what (substances) his wound was treated with: His daughter Fatimah washed it, whereas 'Ali poured water out of the container. When Fatimah realized that water increased the flow of blood, she took a piece of straw mat, burnt it a little and stuck it to the wound so blood ceased flowing." [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/584]
Muhammad bin Maslamah brought him fresh water to drink. The Prophet [pbuh] drank and supplicated Allâh to provide him with good things. [As-Seerat Al-Halabiyah 2/30] Owing to the wounds and their bad effects on his body, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] led his followers in prayer in a sitting posture and so did the Muslims. [Ibn Hisham 2/87]
When the preparations of the idolaters for departure came to an end, Abu Sufyan went up the mountain and called out: "Is Muhammad [pbuh] 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 asked again: "Is 'Umar bin Al-Khattab among you?" They did not answer him; for the Prophet [pbuh] 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 talking, so he said, "O enemy of Allâh, those whom you have just mentioned, I tell you that they are still alive. Allâh has maintained what you hate." Abu Sufyan answered: "The mutilation of your killed is something I did not order it; but it did not displease me." Then he shouted: "Hubal (an idol), let it be sublime!" The Prophet [pbuh] said: "Why do you not reply?" "What shall we say?" They asked him. "Say: Allâh is more Sublime and Exalted and Mightier as well."
He said: "Al-'Uzza (i.e. an idol) is ours but you have no 'Uzza." "Why do you not reply?" The Prophet [pbuh] said. "What shall we say?" They inquired. He said: "Say Allâh is our Protector, but you have no protector."
Abu Sufyan said: "Well deeds! Today is a vengeance for Badr Day. This for that. War is attended with alternate success." 'Umar's reply was: "No. They are not the same. Our killed men are housed in Paradise; but yours are in Fire."
Then Abu Sufyan said: "Come on, 'Umar!" The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: "Go and see what the matter is." He went there. Abu Sufyan asked him: "I beseech you by Allâh's Name to tell me the truth: Have we killed Muhammad [pbuh]?" 'Umar said: "O Allâh, 'No' and now he is listening to you words." He said: "For me, you are more truthful than Ibn Qami'a, and even more reliable." [Ibn Hisham 2/93,94; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/94; Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/579]
Ibn Ishaq said: When Abu Sufyan and those who were with him were leaving he called out notifying: "We will meet again at Badr next year." The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said to one of his men: "Say: 'Yes, it is an appointment for both of us.'" [Ibn Hisham 2/94]
Later on, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] dispatched 'Ali bin Abi Talib to trace them out. He said to him: "Pursue them and see what they are going to do, and what they aim at. If they dismount horses and ride on camels' back, this means that they are heading for Makkah; but if they ride horses and lead camels unmounted, they are leaving for Madinah. By the One, in Whose Hand my soul is, if they attacked Madinah I would march to them there and I would fight them." 'Ali said: "I went out and traced them to see what they were up to. I saw them mounting camels and leaving the horses unmounted. They were heading for Makkah." [Ibn Hisham 2/94]
After the departure of the Quraishites, people went out to check the identity of the killed and the wounded. Zaid bin Thabit said: "The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] sent me on Uhud Day to seek Sa'd bin Ar-Rabî' and said: "When you see him, say: 'peace be upon you from me.' and say to him 'the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] says: How do you feel?'" Zaid said: "I started wandering about checking the killed till I came across Sa'd when he was dying — with about seventy strokes or stabs of a sword, a spear and an arrow in his body.So I said: "O Sa'd, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] sends you his greetings. and says 'peace be upon you, tell me how do you feel?'" Sa'd said: "And let peace be upon the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], too. Tell him, I smell the scent of the Paradise. And tell the Helpers, my people, 'you shall not be excused before Allâh if the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] is hurt and your eyes are blinking' (i.e. you are still alive and not dead)." Then he died. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/96]
They came across Al-Usairim — 'Amr bin Thabit, whom they had already urged to embrace Islam but refused. They saw him among the wounded on the verge of close death. "What has he come here for? We have parted with him and he was still too obdurate to accept Islam as his religion". They asked him: "What made you come here? Is 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 Allâh and in His Messenger. I have fought with the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] till I have got what you see," and then he immediately died. They told the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] about him. Hearing that, he said: "He is one of the inhabitants of Paradise." "Although he had not offered one single prayer," narrated Abu Hurairah. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/94; Ibn Hisham 2/90]
Qazman, who was found among the wounded, fought heroically, and killed seven or eight idolaters. He was weakened by the wounds he had sustained, they carried him to the habitation of Bani Zufr. The Muslims gave him glad tidings of the Paradise. But he said: "By Allâh I have fought out of a zeal to my people. Had it not been for that I would have never fought." When his wounds worsened he committed suicide. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] had already said whenever he was mentioned to him: "He is an inhabitant of Fire." [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/97; Ibn Hisham 2/88] This is the end of those who fight for a national cause or in a way other than that of raising up the Word of Allâh, though they fought under the banner of Islam or even in the army of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] or of his Companions.
Contrary to Qazman there was a Jew of Bani Tha'labah among the killed. He said to his people, "O folk people of Jews! By Allâh you have already known that it is imperative to support Muhammad [pbuh]." They said: "Today is Saturday." He said: "There is no Saturday for you." He took his sword and the war equipment and said: "If I were killed, my property should be put at Muhammad [pbuh]'s disposal". Then next morning he kept on fighting till he was killed. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said about him, "Mukhaireeq is the best Jew." [Ibn Hisham 2/88,89]
Burial of the Martyrs
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] supervised the martyrs' burial and said: "I bear witness that anyone who is wounded in the way of Allâh, Allâh will resurrect him with his wound bleeding a liquid which is blood-like in colour but musk-like in scent." [Ibn Hisham 2/98]
Some of the Companions carried their men killed in the war to Madinah, but the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] ordered that they should be sent back in order to be buried where they were killed. He ordered that they should not be washed but buried as they were after stripping them off their armours and leather clothes. He used to bury every two or three martyrs together in one grave and even join two men in one garment while saying: "Who is the more learned of the Qur'ân?" and he would commit him to earth first. He would say: "I bear witness to those on the Day of Resurrection." He buried both 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Haram and 'Amr bin Al-Jamuh in one grave due to the affection they used to possess to each other. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/98; Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/584]
They missed the coffin of Hanzalah, they sought it and found that it was on a spot nearby with water dripping off it. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] told his Companions that the angels were washing him and said: "Ask his wife". They asked her and she confirmed that he had been in a state of ceremonial impurity. That was why Hanzalah was called 'Ghaseel Al-Malâ'ikah' (i.e. the one washed by the angels). [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/94]
When the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] saw how his uncle and foster brother, Hamzah, was mutilated, he was extremely grieved. When his aunt Safiyah came to see her brother Hamzah, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] ordered her son Az-Zubair to dismiss her in order not to see what happened to her brother. She refused and said, "But why should I go away. I have been informed that they have mutilated him. But so long as it is in the way of Allâh, whatever happens to him satisfies us. I say: Allâh is Sufficient and I will be patient if Allâh wills." She approached, looked at him and supplicated Allâh for him and said: "To Allâh we all belong and to Him we will verily return." and she implored Allâh to forgive him. Then the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] ordered that he should be buried with 'Abdullah bin Jahsh — who was his nephew as well as his foster brother.
Ibn Mas'ud said: We have never seen the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] weeping so much as he was for Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib. He directed him towards Al-Qiblah, then he stood at his funeral and sobbed his heart out. [Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.255]
The sight of the martyrs was extremely horrible and heart-breaking. Describing Hamzah's funeral, Khabbab said: "No shroud long enough was available for Hamzah except a white-darkish garment. When they covered his head with it, it was too short to cover his feet. Similarly if they covered his feet his head would be revealed. Finally they covered his head with it and put some plant called 'Al-Idhkhir' to cover his feet." [Mishkat 1/140]
Al-Imam Ahmad reported that when it was Uhud Day and the time that the idolaters returned, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said:
"Istawoo (i.e. form rows as for prayer) so that I offer thanks and praise to my Lord, the Great and the All-Mighty."
So they stood in rows behind him. Then he said:
"O Allâh, no one can withhold what You permit or permit what You withhold. No one can guide whom You decree to go astray or make go astray the one whom You guide. No one can grant provisions 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. O Allâh, spread onto all of us Your Mercy, Your Grace, and Provisions."
"O Allâh, I implore You to grant me permanent bliss that neither changes nor vanishes. O Allâh, You Alone we seek for Help at hardships. You Alone we resort to for security on a day of terror. O Allâh, to You Alone I resort to protect us from the evils of Your grants (i.e. the evils they may lead us to) and from the evils of Your deprivation. O Allâh, make us love Faith and make it pleasant and beloved wholeheartedly by us! Make disbelief, ungodliness and disobedience detestable to us. Let us be among those who are rightly guided. O Allâh, 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 ones. O Allâh, make Your enmity befall the disbelievers, who belie Your Messenger and divert from Your righteous way. O Allâh, let Your wrath, Your chastisement and Your enmity befall the disbelievers, and those on whom You sent down the Book. Let them be afflicted with war decreed by You. O Allâh, the Author of Truth." [Musnad Imam Ahmad 3/424]
After committing all the martyrs to earth, and after offering praise and supplication to Allâh, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] went back to Madinah.
On his way back, matchless examples of love and devotion were revealed by the truthful women believers; in no way less great than the men's heroic deeds in the fight.
Hamnah bint Jahsh met the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] on the way back, and he announced the death of her brother — 'Abdullah bin Jahsh — to her. She said: "To Allâh we belong and to Him we will verily return. I ask Allâh's forgiveness." Then he announced the death of her maternal uncle Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib. She said: "To Allâh we belong and to Him we will verily return. I ask Allâh's forgiveness." But when he announced the death of her husband Mus'ab bin 'Umair to her, she shouted and woed. Seeing her doing so, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: "The woman's husband is extremely dear to her." [Ibn Hisham 2/98]
He passed by a woman of Bani Dinar whose husband, father and brother were all killed at Uhud. When their death announced, she said: "How is the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] ?" They said: "Well indeed. O mother of so... Thanks for Allâh; 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." [Ibn Hisham 2/99]
Umm Sa'd bin Mu'adh came running to see the Prophet [pbuh]. At that time her son was holding the rein of his mare. Seeing his mother, he said to the Prophet [pbuh]: "O Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]. This is my mother." The Prophet [pbuh] said: "She is welcome"; and he stopped and waited for her. When she drew near, he consoled her, for her killed son 'Amr bin Mu'adh. But she said: "So long as I see you are safe, my misfortune will certainly go into oblivion." Then the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] supplicated Allâh for the relatives of those who were killed at Uhud and said: "Cheer up! Umm Sa'd and bear good tidings to their kindred that all their people killed in the battle are comrades in Paradise and they are intercessors for all their kinsfolk." She replied, "O Messenger of Allâh, we are satisfied. Who would cry on them after this cheerful news?" Then she resumed saying: "O Messenger of Allâh, invoke Allâh (for those who stayed behind)" He said: "O Allâh keep sorrow off their hearts! And console them with their misfortunes. Compensate those who stayed behind with goodness and welfare." [As-Seerat Al-Halabiyah 2/47]
In the evening of that day — i.e. Saturday, the seventh of Shawwal, 3rd year A.H. — the Messenger arrived in Madinah. As soon as he reached his house, he handed his sword to his daughter Fatimah and said: "O daughter, wash the blood off this sword. By Allâh it has been helpful to me today." 'Ali bin Abi Talib handed her his sword and said: "And wash the blood of this sword too. By Allâh, it has been helpful to me today." So the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] said: "Sahl bin Haneef and Abu Dujana have been as courageous as you are in the fight." [Ibn Hisham 2/100]
Most of the narrations confirmed that seventy Muslims were killed and most of them, sixty-five, Helpers; forty-one of whom were from Khazraj and twenty-four from Aws. This, besides one Jew and four Emigrants.
As for the polytheists, twenty-two of them were killed, but some versions speak of thirty-seven; after all, Allâh knows best. [Ibn Hisham 2/122-129; Fath Al-Bari 7/351]
On Saturday night, the eighth of Shawwal, and after their return from Uhud, the Muslims spent that night in an emergency case — though they were dead-beat, extremely exhausted. They stayed on the alert, and spent that night guarding the outlets and inlets of Madinah. They were specially busy guarding their general leader, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] for fear that some suspects could commit an unexpected folly.
Hamrâ' Al-Asad Invasion
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] on his part, spent the night pondering over the situation. He feared that the idolaters might think — while they were still on their way to Makkah — of reversing their way and diverting to Madinah after they had realized that they had availed nothing of that victory. They might regret and decide to invade Madinah as a compensation. Therefore the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was determined to go out in pursuit of the Makkan army.
The Prophet [pbuh] called out unto people and ordered them to march to encounter the enemy of Islam. That was on Sunday morning — next day to Uhud — the eighth of Shawwal. He said: "Nobody will march to the fight except those who have already participated in Uhud fight." 'Abdullah bin Ubai said: "I will march out with you." "No," said the Prophet [pbuh].
Whilst the Muslims were suffering a lot from painful pains and deep anxiety, they responded to his call positively. Jabir bin 'Abdullah implored the Prophet [pbuh] to allow him join them in that fresh invasion on account that he always had a liking to witness all the battles that the Prophet [pbuh] was involved in. He had not participated in Uhud because his father asked him to stay in Madinah with his sisters . And he was granted his wish.
The Muslims marched out until they reached a place called Hamra' Al-Asad — about eight miles from Madinah. He encamped there. In that place Ma'bad bin Abi Ma'bad came to the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and professed Islam. Some people said that he remained an idolater; he simply desired to give the Messenger some advice out of abidance by a covenant between Khuza'ah (his tribe) and Bani Hashim. He said "O Muhammad [pbuh]! By Allâh, we feel great sorrow for what had happened to you and to your Companions. We really hope you will not suffer again." So, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] suggested that he overtake Abu Sufyan and discourage him from pursuing his evil intentions.
The Messenger's fears of a possible return of the idolaters proved to be absolutely true. For no sooner had the idolaters dismounted and encamped at Ar-Rawhâ' — a place thirty-six miles from Madinah, than they started reproaching one another. A group of them said to another one: "You did nothing. You broke down their force but you left them. There are still some distinguished men among them who will probably gather people up to fight you again. So let us go back and annihilate them and crush down their forces."
It was in fact a hasty decision taken by shallow-minded people who misjudged the potential power and morale on both parties, that is why an eminent leader of Quraish, Safwan bin Omaiyah, tried to dissuade his people from pursuing that venture, saying: "O people. Do not do such a thing! For I fear that he will gather up those who had stayed behind and did not share in Uhud. Go back home as winners. For I am not sure of what turn will the consequences take if you get involved in such a fight. It might be to your prejudice in the final place." Notwithstanding that weighty argument, the majority of the polytheists were determined to embark on that risky undertaking.
Ma'bad bin Abu Ma'bad meanwhile arrived on the scene and tried to exaggerate the danger awaiting them in order to thwart their plan, he said: "Muhammad [pbuh] has marched to meet you with a large host of fighters, I have never seen something similar to it before. He has mustered all the troops who have tarried and did not share in Uhud. They surely regret what they have missed and want to compensate for it now. Their hearts are filled with hate and resentment." Abu Sufyan said: "Woe to you! What do you suggest?" He said: "By Allâh, I see that you would not leave till he comes and you see the heads of their horses; or till the vanguard of his army turns up to you from behind that hill."
Abu Sufyan said: "By Allâh, we have reached a common consent to crush down the Muslims and their power." The man, once more with an implied warning, advised him to stop it.
In the light of this news, the resolution and determination of the Makkan army failed and panic and terror took firm hold of them. They consequently deemed it safest to complete there withdrawal back to Makkah. They, however, as an alternative, started a hostile nerve propaganda aiming at dissuading the Muslims army from pursuing them. A caravan belonging to 'Abd Qais happened to pass by towards Madinah. Abu Sufyan, in the context of his propaganda, asked them to communicate a message to Muhammad [pbuh] to the effect that the Makkans had rallied their ranks to annihilate the Messenger and his Companions, in return 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 the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] at Hamrâ' Al-Asad, but to no effect, on the contrary, Abu Sufyan's words augmented them in Faith. Allâh says:
"... And they said: 'Allâh (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us). So they turned with Grace and Bounty from Allâh. No harm touched them; and they followed the good Pleasure of Allâh. And Allâh is the Owner of Great Bounty." [Al-Qur'an 3:173,174]
After the arrival of the caravan on Sunday, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] stayed at Hamrâ' Al-Asad for three days — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — 9-11 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 [pbuh] had been gracious enough to release him on condition that he would not involve himself in war against the Muslims again. Abu 'Azza did not keep his promise and took part in Uhud hostilities on the side of the polytheists. Here again he implored Muhammad [pbuh] for pardon but the latter told him that a believer wouldn't be taken twice in the same snare. He then 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-Mugheerah bin Abi Al-'As, was sentenced to death too. This spy was the grandfather of 'Abdul Malik bin Marwan on his mother side. When the idolaters went back after Uhud, Mu'awiyah came to his paternal cousin 'Uthman bin 'Affan ÑÖì Çááå Úäå. 'Uthman gave him shelter — after securing the Prophet [pbuh]'s permission — on condition that if he was caught there after three days, he would be killed. But he did not comply with it, so when the Muslim army left Madinah, he stayed there for more than three days during which he was spying for Quraish. So when the army returned, Mu'awiyah fled out of Madinah. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], on this account, ordered Zaid bin Harithah and 'Ammar bin Yasir to pursue him and kill him. So he was killed. [Ibn Hisham 2/60-129; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/91-108; Fath Al-Bari 7/345-377; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.242-275]
Undoubtedly, the invasion of Hamrâ' Al-Asad is not a separate invasion, but rather a part, or more specifically, a sequel to Uhud.
That was Uhud Invasion with all its stages and details. It has for long been discussed by scholars and men of research. Was it a defeat or not? Doubtlessly, the military superiority in the second phase of the battle was in favour of the polytheists who could successfully direct the steering mechanism of hostilities and inflict heavy losses in lives on the Muslims. Admittedly, a part of the believers were clearly defeated, but this could never be considered a Makkan victory.
The Makkan army failed to occupy the camp of the Muslims. The greater bulk of the Madinese army, chaos and confusion notwithstanding, did not take to escape, on the contrary they showed matchless and heroic resistance and managed to gather themselves again around their headquarters fighting bravely and courageously. They, moreover, did not allow the Makkans to run after them in pursuit. Neither Muslim captives were taken nor spoils were 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 did. Madinah itself, 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 therein.
These suggestive details in fact support our argument that the event of Uhud was just a precious occasion on which the Makkans managed only to inflict heavy losses on the Muslims but failed to achieve their ultimate goals of annihilating the Muslim army in the process of their encompassment operation. 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 Hamrâ' Al-Asad is interesting in this regard. It is a curious sight indeed of a victorious army in retreat for fear of disgrace and defeat, and the crestfallen and crippled group of Muslims in pursuit.
Uhud Battle in the final judgement was just one phase of military activities in the whole process of war between two hostile parties each of whom earned their legitimate portion of both success and failure and then desisted further engagement but without cowardly escape or resigned surrender. In this sense, this battle could be rightly regarded as an inseparable war.
In this context, Allâh 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 Allâh (for the reward, i.e. Paradise) that for which they hope not." [Al-Qur'an 4:104]
The verse explicitly identifies both attitudes as regards losses and hardships as identical. Both parties concluded the war operations and went back neither victorious nor vanquished.
The Observations of the Noble Qur'ân on the Battle of Uhud
Some Qur'ânic verses were revealed to shed light on the most decisive phases of the battle successively, adduce quite clearly the cause that led to that heavy loss, and illustrate the vulnerable areas that were still persisting in the souls of some believers as regards their duties in forging a decisive attitude with respect to the noble objectives for which the Muslim Community, was created and was supposed to accomplish.
The Noble Qur'ân also spoke about the attitude of the pretenders to Faith and made clear the hostility and hatred that they harboured against Allâh and His Messenger. The Words of Allâh managed as well to erase all traces of ambiguities and insinuations, raised by the hypocrites and their allies, the Jews — the authors of conspiracy and intrigue hatching — and which were still in active operation in the hearts of some weak-of-heart Muslims.
The laudable judgement and long-sought objectives that were attributable to the battle of Uhud, were also another topic for the Noble Qur'ân to dwell on at length. Sixty verses relevant to the battle were revealed giving full account of the first phase of the battle:
"And (remember) when you (Muhammad [pbuh]) left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud)." [Al-Qur'an 3:121]
And to end in a comprehensive commentary on its results and moralities:
"Allâh will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allâh disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (unseen), but Allâh chooses of His Messengers whom He pleases. So believe in Allâh and His Messengers. And if you believe and fear Allâh, then for you there is a great reward." [Al-Qur'an 3:179]
Lessons and Moralities
Ibn Al-Qaiyim has made a pointed reference to the battle of Uhud and given full elucidation of the Divine benefits and moralities that resulted from it. Some Muslim scholars, on the authority of Ibn Hajar, said: The reverse in Uhud resulted from the neglect on the part of the archers of the explicit command of the Prophet [pbuh], and leaving the spot which they were ordered to safeguard to the end. In other words, the success of the Muslims depends upon their obedience to the Prophet [pbuh]. As long as they carry out his behests, Allâh will help them in facing all kinds of odds. But when they will set aside his commands in their pursuit of worldly riches, they are bound to come to grief. Another relevant issue of great significance says that it is customary for Prophets to be tried with different adversities; nevertheless, the final outcome is positively in their favour. Should the Muslims be victorious all the time, great many pretenders to Faith will enter the fold of Islam, and consequently the clear line of demarcation between true believers and hypocrites will become blurred. Contrarily, if the Muslims were to be defeated all the time, the final objective of the ministry of Prophets will not be effected. It is wise then to combine both success and failure so that sifting between true Muslims and hypocrites could be realized.
In the aftermath of the battle of Uhud, the hypocrites disclosed their real intentions in words and in deeds, consequently, the Muslims got to realize the existence of those wicked elements working secretly in their own homeland; and of course there would be appropriate measures to be taken in due course of time.
A third point in this context refers to purposeful deferment of victory in some areas in order to check the pride of the soul and teach the believers how to observe full patience in times of adversity. Trials and tests are provided by Allâh in order that the true believers could deservedly occupy their abode in the blessed Hereafter. Martyrdom, the highest ranks that the true friends of Allâh could occupy, is provided by Allâh to function as a passport, granted by the Lord, leading to Paradise. In brief, fight in the cause of Allâh is a golden opportunity for the true believers to have their sins effaced, and a Divinely-devised event for the disbelievers and enemies of Allâh to face destruction and annihilation in recompense for their disbelief, tyranny and transgression. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/99-108]