REVENGE ---- A BINDING OBLIGATION
The news of the disaster at Badr in which a number of noble men from the tribes of Quraish had fallen and the return of the survivors to Mecca in a complete state of confusion and disorder, was met with a lukewarm reception and despair that completely bewildered the Quraish. It had proved an unimaginable catastrophe for them. All those whose fathers, sons or brothers had been killed at Badr, met Abu Sufyan and others who had merchandise in the caravan which was brought back safely to Mecca. It was agreed to set aside the profits of the caravan in order to support in preparing themselves for a new war against the Muslims. The poets, as usual, began inciting the people with their songs of vengeance. To the pagan Arabs, the shedding of the blood of their tribesmen necessitated an effort to avenge those killed in order to vindicate their loss and honour.
A well-equipped army set out from Mecca to fight the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with them) in the middle of Shawwal, 3 A.H.(After Hijrah: the Muslims began their calendar after the famous Hijrah from Mecca to Medina, hence everything that happened after that time is dated as After Hijrah) The Quraish had mustered an army of three thousand soldiers consisting of their own warriors and others from surrounding tribes that agreed to join them. Their women went with them riding their own camels in order to stir their valour and prevent them from retreat. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 60-62). The noble men of Quraish also took their wives with them. The army advanced in small staggard groups and camped near the gates of Medina. The Prophet s (peace be upon him) plan was to remain in the city, leaving the invaders alone and to fight only when they decided to swarm it. He did not favor going out of the city to face the enemy in the battlefield. Abdullah b. Ubayy, too, agreed with the Prophet (peace be upon him), but some of the Muslims who had somehow missed the opportunity of engaging the enemy at Badr were more enthuasiastic. They said, O Prophet of Allah, let us go forth and smite our foes, otherwise they would think that we fear to leave the city and face them. While they kept on urging the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this way, he went into his house and put on his coat of armour. The young men who had been keen on meeting the enemy outside the city admonished themselves for their over-eagerness in light of the Prophet s (peace be upon him) reluctance. Realizing their hastiness, they begged the Prophet (peace be upon him) to follow his first counsel for they may have been mistaken in persuading him against his will. If you wish to remain inside the city, they said, We will not oppose you.
However, the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) replied, It befits not a Prophet , when once he had put on the armour, to take it off until he has fought (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 63).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then marched out with a thousand strong army, yet, he had not gone far away when Abdullah b. Ubayy withdrew with a third of the armys men. Abdullah said to his comrades, He disregarded my advice, but accepted theirs. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 63).
THE PROPHET (peace be upon him) TAKES POSITIONS
The Prophet (peace be upon him) marched into the gorge of mount Uhud, about three kilometers to the north of Madinah and positioned himself with the mountain to his back. (7) He also instructed his men. Let none of you fight until I give you the word.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then drew up his troops for battle, which numbered 700 men all in all. On the adjoining mountain he established 50 archers under Abdullah b. Jubayr and instructed them to keep the enemy cavalry away, for, he said, in no case should they be allowed to come on the Muslims from the rear whether the Muslims won the day or lost it. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 66) Abandon not your position", he commanded them sternly, Even if the birds snatch up these men. (Zad al-Maad, Vol. I, p. 349 and Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Section Battle of Uhad.)
THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE YOUNGSTERS
The Prophet (peace be upon him) had sent back two boys, Samura b. Jundub and Rafi b. Khadij, as they were both fifteen years of age. Rafi was later allowed by the Prophet (peace be upon him)to join the troops on the recommendation of his father that he was a good archer. When Samuras turn came and he was asked to go back, he pleaded with the Prophet (peace be upon him) that since he had allowed Rafi to join the army although he was stronger than him, he must also be permitted to go. Thereupon the two boys were told to wrestle with each other in which Samura defeated Rafi, thus, he was also sanctioned to take part in the battle. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 66).
THE FIRST PHASE OF ACTION
The battle began and each side hurled itself against the other, while a group of women, headed by the bloodthirsty Hind, rattled their tambourines while singing in order to urge the Quraish troops to deeds of valor. A general engagement ensued and the battle turned hot. Abu Dujana fought with the Prophet s (peace be upon him) sword, killing everybody who came up against him and advanced deep into the enemys ranks. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 67-68).
HAMZA AND MUSAB B. UMAYR KILLED (May Allah be pleased with themaa)
Hamza (radiallahu 'anhu) fought gallantly and killed a number of notable Quraish leaders. Nobody was able to bear his dashing charge, however, Wahshi, the slave of Jubayr B. Mutim, was watching the movements of Hamza (radiallahu 'anhu), for he had been promised freedom by his master on the condition that he killed him. Jubayrs uncle Tuayma had been killed by Hamza (radiallahu 'anhu) at Badr, while Hind had also urged Jubayr to get Hamza killed by Wahsi. At last Wahshi got his chance and plunged at Hamza (radiallahu 'anhu) while he was preoccupied in a fight with another soldier. Wahshi, an expert javelin thrower, launched his bow and arrow at Hamza (radiallahu 'anhu), piercing the lower part of his body. Hamza (radiallahu 'anhu) shivered, then he collapsed and dropped dead. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 70-72. Washi later narrated the event as related in the Sahih Al-Bukhaari, Section: Battle of Uhad).
Meanwhile, Musab b. Umayr (radiallahu 'anhu) had relegated himself in the defense of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and exhibited singular courage in the thick of the battle by managing to keep the attacking infidels at bay. He fell at last, while nobly discharging the duty he owed to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 73)
VICTORY OF THE MUSLIMS
Allah fulfilled the promise He had made to the Muslims. The history of Badr was repeated once again; a number of the Quraish nobles fell in succession and their troops took to their heels. The Muslims found Hind and her companions abandoning their songs and running away, while tucking up their garments. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 73)
THE TABLE TURNS ON THE MUSLIMS
The Quraish had suffered an obvious rout. The ignominious retreat of the enemy troops and their women accompanying them taking to their heels made the archers certain of their victory. Uttering shouts of glee, they deserted their posts to despoil the enemy camp. Abdullah b. Jubyr, the leader of the archers, reminded his men of the command given by the Prophet (peace be upon him), but none of them were prepared to listen to him, except for a handful. So certain were they of their victory that return of the enemy, which was running for their lives, seemed inconceivable to them. Then, the situation changed. No longer obstructed by the potential flurry of arrows, the Meccan cavalry found its way to the unprotected rear of the Muslim army. (Zad al-Maad, Vol. I, p. 350).
The standard bearers of the Quraish had been killed; their standard was lying in the dust and nobody dared come near it. Suddenly, the Quraish came smashing through the Muslims rear and someone called out: Ha, Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been killed. The Muslim troops, bounded upon the fugitives, turned back to face the enemy from the rear; the decamping Quraish soldiers were emboldened and returned to resume their attack on the Muslims. The situation now became extremely critical for the Muslims with the enemy being bent upon taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded to it.
The surprise and confusion overcoming the Muslims was as shocking as the two-pronged attack by the Meccans was violent. The Quraishs troops led by Abdullah b. Qumiyah and Utbah b. Abi Waqqas, made a bold charge and reached close to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Muslim troops began to waiver, several were honoured with martyrdom; and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was hit with a stone. He fell on his side, while one of his front teeth was smashed, his face was swollen and his lips were injured. The blood which was running down his face was wiped by the Prophet , while he said, How can a people prosper who have stained their Prophet s face with blood while he only summoned them to the worship of their Lord? (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 78-80)
The majority of the Muslim soldiers had been scattered and nobody knew where the Prophet (peace be upon him) was. Ali took hold of the Prophet s (peace be upon him) hand while Talha b. Ubaydullah lifted him up until the Prophet (peace be upon him) got on his feet. Malik b. Sinan was so carried away that he even licked the blood flowing from the Prophet s (peace be upon him) face.
The Muslims had actually neither fled away nor had they been completely defeated. The flanks of their army had folded up so they were forced to retreat in order to regroup and reinforce their strength for a similar situation. It was, no doubt, a day of test and trial for the Muslims in which they lost a number of their gallant warriors and virtuous comrades of the Prophet (peace be upon him), but all this had come to pass because of the mistake of the archers who had exposed the Muslim flank. They had disobeyed the Prophet (peace be upon him) by abandoning the post on which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had stationed them.
After this Allah revealed to them the following verses concerning the event:
Allah verily made good His promise unto you when you routed them by His leave, until (the moment) when your courage failed you and you disagreed about the order and you disobeyed, after He had shown you that for which you longed. Some of you desired this world and some of you the Hereafter. Therefore He made you flee from them, that He might try you. Yet now He has forgiven you. Allah is a Lord of kindness to the believers.
THE LOVING COMPANIONS (radiallahu 'anhu)
The battle of Uhud also affirmed worthiness of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the ardent affection of the companions for him. Two rings from the metal chain strap of the helmet worn by the Prophet (peace be upon him), had been embedded into his cheek. Abu Ubayda b. Al-Jarrah pulled out one of the rings and one of his front teeth dropped out; he pulled out another ring and another tooth fell down; Abu Dujana leaned over the Prophet (peace be upon him) to shield him from arrows until many were stuck in his back. Sad b. Abi Waqqas stood by the Prophet (peace be upon him) shooting arrows in his defense, while the Prophet handed him the arrows one by one, saying, Shoot, may my father and my mother be ransomed for you. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 80-82: Bukhari).
Qataba b. al-Numan received a blow on his face which made one of his eyes popped out of its socket. The Prophet (peace be upon him) restored it back in its place with his own hand and it was so completely healed that it even became more functional than his other eye. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 82).
The blood-crazy infidels surged toward the Prophet (peace be upon him); they were ready to die a hundred times in order to kill him, but God had willed it otherwise. Ten of his companions laid down their lives, one by one, defending him. Talaha b. Ubaydullah protected the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the arrows shot by the enemy with his hands, until his fingers bled profusely and his hands were paralyzed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to climb up the mountain. He tried but could not do so due to the weakness caused by his injuries. Talha b. Ubaydullah squatted beneath him and helped him to climb up the rock. The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed the noon-prayer on the rock sitting, because of the wounds he had received. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 67; Zad al-Ma;ad, Vol. I, p 350).
When the Muslims had been taken by surprise and dispersed by the enemy, with horsemen prodding them from one side and the foot-soldiers on the other, Anas b. An-Nadri (8) continued to fight valiantly; advancing far into ranks. Saad b. Muad happened to pass by him and asked him, Where do you intend to go? Anas b. an-Nadri replied, Sad, I smell the fragrance of Paradise near the hill of Uhud. (Zad al-Maad, Vol. I, p. 350).
Anas b. An-Nadri passed by a few of the Ansaar and Muhaajirun who were sitting dispondently. He asked them, what makes you sit there?
Alas! The Prophet of God has gone to glory, they replied. Then whats the use of living after him? Answered Anas b. An-Nadr, Come, let us die for what the Prophet offered his life for. Anas then advanced to charge at the enemy and died fighting like a hero. His nephew, Anas b. Malik, later on counted seventy wounds, which his uncle had received that day. Actually, it was difficult to recognize the corpse of Anas b. An-Nadr but his sister identified him by a special mark on the tip of one of his fingers. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 83)
Ziyad b. As-Sakan and five others of the Ansaar were holding the enemy back from the Prophet (peace be upon him). The friends of Ziyad fought and died, one by one and Ziyad became disabled by numerous wounds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked certain persons to bring Ziyad near him and made his foot a support for Ziyads head. Ziyad died in that condition keeping his cheeks on the Prophet s foot. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 83).
Amr b. al-Jamuh had a lame leg. He had four sons, all of them were young and sturdy and each was anxious to partake in the battle. On the day of Uhud Amr b. al-Jamuh expressed his desire to go to the battle field, but his sons advised him to remain at home, saying that God has excused him. He called upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) and told him that his sons wanted to prevent him from taking part in the Jihad.(9) Yet, by God, I wish to be slain so that I may stroll lamely in the Paradise, said Amr b. al-Jamuh. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, God has not made Jihad incumbent on you; and to his sons he said, What is the problem if you allow him to go? Amr b. al-Jamuh went with the army and was killed in the battle. (Zad al-Maad, Vol. p. 353)
Zayd b. Thabit relates that on the day of Uhud, the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him to look for Sad b. ar-Rabi and ask the same person, after conveying his greetings to him, how he felt at the moment. Zayd searched for Sad b. ar-Rabi and found him lying wounded among the slain ones breathing his last. Zayd counted seventy cuts from swords, arrows and javelins on his body. Zayd conveyed the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Sad b. ar-RabI to which he replied, Convey my greetings to the Prophet and tell him that I smell the fragrance of the Paradise. And tell my people, continued Sad b. ar-RabI, you would have no excuse before God if the enemy lays its hand on the Prophet while you are still alive and breathing. Sad had hardly finished his message when he relinquished his life. (Zad al-Maad, Vol. p. 353).
Before departing for the battle of Uhud, Abdullah b. Jahsh had thus implored God, Upon Thy Word, O God, tomorrow I shall fight the enemy. They may slay me, then rip up my belly and cut off my nose and ears. Then Thou shouldest ask me: what for I had it happened? And I would give the reply: for thee, My Lord. (Zad al-Maad, Vol. p. 353).
MUSLIMS REGAIN CONFIDENCE
A renewed vigor was thrust into the Muslims when they found that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was still alive. Many of them gathered round him and took him towards a secluded, narrow valley. Ubayy b. Khalaf who caught up with the Prophet s (peace be upon him) party said, Muhammad, if you escape, I will be doomed. The Prophet (peace be upon him), however, asked his companions to leave him alone, but when Ubayy insisted on coming near the Prophet (peace be upon him), he took the lance from one of his companions. Then, turning to face him, the Prophet (peace be upon him), using the sphere, struck the neck of Ubayy b. Khalaf who fell from his way going head over heels. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 84)
On reaching the mouth of the secluded, narrow valley, Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) brought water in his shield and Fatimah (radiallahu 'anhu) washed the blood from the Prophet s (peace be upon him) face. When his wounds continued bleeding, 'Ali (radiallahu 'anhu) burnt a piece of mat and dressed the wounds of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with its ash and the bleeding stopped. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 85, Al-Bukhaari and Muslim, Section, Battle of Uhud).
'Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) brought drinking water in leather bags for the wounded (Al-Bukhaari, Section, Battle of Uhud) while Umm Sulaym drew water for them. (Al-Bukhaari, Section, Umm Salit).
Hind b. Utbah and the women with her mutilated the dead bodies of Muslims and cut off their ears and noses. Hind cut out Hamzas liver and chewed it, but when she could not swallow it, she threw it away. (Ibn Hisham , Vol. II, p. 91)
Before ordering his army to retire Abu Sufyan ascended a hillock and shouted. Victory in war goes by turns: one wins today and the other tomorrow - Glory be to Hubal. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told Umar to get up and say in reply, God is the Highest and Most Majestic; None exists besides him. Our dead are in paradise and yours in Hell. (Ibn Hisham , Vol. II, p. 93)
Abu Sufayan came out with the reply, We have the idol Uzza while you have none. The Prophet (peace be upon him) again directed his companions to say in reply: Allah is our protector, but you have none. (Al-Bukhaari, Section, Battle of Uhud).
Before Abu Sufyan departed, he called out, We shall meet again at Badr next year. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked a companion to say, Yes, it is an appointment between us. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 94).
The people searched for their dead in order to give them a proper burial. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was visibly moved by the death of Hamza, his uncle and foster-brother who had always been a source of strength to him.
THE EXEMPLARY ENDURANCE
Safia bint Abdul Muttalib was the full sister of Hamza. When she came forward to see her brother, the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked her son, Zubair b. al-Awwan to send her back so that she might not see her brothers dead body, which had been mutilated. Accordingly Zubair said to her, Mother, the Prophet wants you to go back. She replied, Why? I know that my brother has been mutilated but it was for the sake of God. I hope for a goodly return from Him and shall be patient, if God wills. She went to see her brother and prayed for him. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered that he should be buried in Uhud, where his grave still exists up to this day. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 97).
BURIAL OF MUSAB B. UMAYR (radiallahu 'anhu)
The standard bearer of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the day of Uhud was Musab b. Umayr (radiallahu 'anhu). Before his conversion to Islam, he was one of the best-dressed youngmen of Quraish brought up in the course of luxury. Only a piece of rough cloth could be found as a shroud for his burial when he was slain in the battle of Uhud. The garment was so small that when his head was covered, his feet appeared and when his feet were wrapped his head was exposed; so the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, Cover his head and put some brush over his feet.(Al-Bukhaari, Chapter, Battle of Uhud).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) directed the martyrs to be shrouded in pairs and ordered the lowering of the corpse of that martyr first in the grave who had memorized more of the Quran. While the martyrs were being buried, he said, I shall be a witness unto them on the Day of Resurrection. He also ordered to them to be buried in the condition in which they had died.(10)
LOVING REGARD FOR THE Prophet (peace be upon him)
On their way back to their homes certain Muslims passed by a woman whose husband, brother and father had been killed at Uhud. When she was told of their death she asked, Tell me first about the Prophet ? The people replied, Thanks God, the Prophet is safe. But she was not satisfied and asked whether she could see the Prophet (peace be upon him) herself. When the people brought her to the Prophet (peace be upon him) she said, Now that you are safe, every adversity is gone. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 99).
DEVOTION AND FAITHFULNESS
The Meccan army had departed from Uhud but they had not gone far away when the people were heard complaining against one another and accusing their leaders of withdrawing without pressing home their advantage. On the other hand, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided the very next day, which was Sunday, to move out in pursuit of the retreating enemy. It was the time when most of the Muslims were tired and wounded, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent a person to announce that everybody who had been present in the battle of Uhud should get ready to pursue the enemy. None demurred, none protested; every Muslim who had fought at Uhud the day before followed the Prophet (peace be upon him) on his way out of Madinah in spite of his fatigue and wounds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) camped with his followers at Hamra al-Asad, about 13 kilometers from Madina, where he remained from Monday until Wednesday. The Prophet (peace be upon him) and the rest returned when there was no more possibility of the enemys resurgence. (Ibn Kathir. Vo. II, p. 97). The dutiful compliance to the Prophet s (peace be upon him) command by his companions at this difficult hour exhibited their love for him, which was felt all too deeply and has been mentioned by God through the following verses of the Quran:
As for those who heard the call of Allah and His Messenger after the harm befell them (in the fight); for such of them as do right and ward off (evil), there is great reward,
Those unto whom men said: Lo! the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them, (the threat of danger) but increased the faith of them and they cried; Allah is sufficient for us! Most excellent is He in whom we trust!
So they returned with grace and favor from Allah, and no harm touched. They followed the good pleasure of Allah and Allah is of infinite bounty.
It is only the devil who would make (men) fear his partisans. Fear them not; Fear Me, if you are true believers" [Qur'aan 3:172-75]