Feb 14, 2013

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Seerah Series part 7: Battle of Uhud

Seerah Series part 7: Battle of Uhud

THE BATTLE OF UHUD:
REVENGE:
When their heroes were defeated on the Day of Badr and the remnants of the army returned to Makkah, it was a terrible blow for the Quraysh. Men who had lost their fathers, sons and brothers approached Abu Sufyan and others who had valuable merchandise in that caravan. They wanted the profits to be used for lighting the Muslims again. The merchants agreed to their request. The Quraysh decided to conduct a new war. Poets spurred the people on with their militant verses and provoked fanatical zeal in readiness for battle.

A well-equipped Quraysh army set out from Makkah in the middle of Shawwal 3 A.H. The leaders accompanied by their wives advanced until they set up camp at the gates of Madinah. The Quraysh had mustered three thousand soldiers.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah thought that the Muslims should stay in the city and fight only if the enemy came into Madinah. Abdullah ibn Ubayy agreed with him but some of the Muslim men who had missed lighting at Badr said, ‘Messenger of Allah, lead us out to face our enemies so that they will not think us cowards and weaklings.’

They kept urging on the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah until he went into his house and put on his armour. Then those who had suggested going out of the city regretted their insistence and said, ‘We have persuaded you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, for which we had no right. If you wish, stay and may Allah bless you .’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then said, ‘It is not fitting that a Prophet who has put on his armour should put it aside until he has fought.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went out with a thousand of his Companions. When he was at ash-Shawt between Madinah and Uhud, Abdullah ibn Ubayy withdrew with a third of the men, saying, ‘He has obeyed them and rebelled against me.’

IN BATTLE POSITION:
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, now with seven hundred men, reached the gorge of Uhud, a mountain about three kilometres from Madinah, he took up his position saying, ‘None of you should start fighting until we give the order.’

He prepared for battle. He put Abdullah ibn Jubayr in charge of the fifty archers, instructing them,‘Keep the cavalry away from us with arrows so that they do not come up from our rear whether the battle is going for us or against us.’

He commanded them to hold their position and not to leave it, even if they saw birds snatching the army away. He put on two coats of armour and gave the banner to Mus’ab ibn Umayr (may Allah be pleased with him).

ANOTHER RACE FOR JIHAD:
On the day Of Uhud the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent back a group of boys because they were too young. They included Samurah ibn Jundub and Rafi’ ibn Khadij who were only fifteen years old. The father of Rafi’ interceded, saying to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah that his son Rafi’ was a good shot, so the Prophet allowed the boy to go.

Samurah ibn Jundud who was the same age as Rafi’ was presented to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who sent him back because he was too young. Samurah said, ‘You gave permission to Rafi’ but you sent me back. If I were to wrestle with him, I would throw him.

They wrestled and Samurah threw Rafi’ so he was given permission as well. Consequently he was able to fight in the Battle of Uhud.

THE BATTLE:
The two sides faced each other and closed in. Hind bint Utbah stood among the women beating on drums behind the men to urge them on. A fierce battle was soon in progress. Abu Dujanah fought with the sword of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. He fought until he was deep in the enemy’s ranks and killed all those in his path.

Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib fought fiercely, killing many Qurayshi heroes. No one could stand against him until Wahshi, the slave of Jubayr ibn Mut’im, waited for him in ambush. He was expert at throwing the javelin and seldom missed his mark. Jubayr had promised him that he would set him free if he killed Hamzah. He had killed his uncle Tu’aymah in the Battle of Badr. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan who was thirsting for revenge, also encouraged him to kill Hamzah. Wahshi attacked Hamzah with his spear, striking him so hard that it pierced the lower part of his body. Hamzah fell, a martyr.

Mus’ab ibn Umayr fought in front of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah until he was killed.

THE MUSLIMS’ VICTORY:
Allah Almighty sent down His help for the Muslims. He confirmed His promise until the idol-worshippers were cut off from their camp and were clearly defeated. The women turned in flight.

When the Muslim archers saw that the idol-worshippers had been routed and had turned in flight to the point that they caught up with their women, they themselves left their post. They headed for the camp, certain of victory, crying, ‘People! Booty! Booty!’

Their commander reminded them of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s order not to leave their post, but they did not listen. They assumed that the idol-worshippers would not come back and so they left the Muslim army unprotected. Then, the cavalry of idol-worshippers suddenly attacked from the rear. A shout went up, ‘Muhammad has been killed!’ Though the Muslims turned back straightaway, the idol-worshippers seized the opportunity to counter-attack.

It was a day on which all the Muslims were sorely tested. The enemy fought their way close to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who was hit with a rock. He fell on his side, one of his front teeth was smashed, his face was scratched and his lip cut. The blood ran down his face and he wiped it away, saying, ‘How can a people prosper who have stained their Prophet’s face with blood while he summoned them to their Lord!’

In the confusion, many of the Muslims did not know where the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was. Ali ibn Abi Talib took his hand and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah helped him to his feet. Malik ibn Sinan, very upset, licked away the blood from his face.

The Muslims, though not put to flight, were out-manoeuvred and forced to resume the fight.

The Muslims suffered greatly from this reversal. The archers’ behaviour led to the martyrdom of many strong and dedicated Companions.

The archers’ failure to hold to the instructions of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his orders not to leave their specified position is referred to in the Qur’an:

Allah was true in His promise towards you when you blasted them by His leave; until you lost heart and quarrelled about the matter and were rebellious, after He had shown you that you longed for. Some of you there are that desire this world, and some of you there are desire the Next World. Then He turned you from them, that He might try you, and He has pardoned you and Allah is bounteous to the believers.‘(3: 152)

WONDERS OF LOVE AND SACRIFICE:
During the battle, two links from the metal chainstrap of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s helmet had been forced into his cheek. Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah removed one link from his face and a front tooth fell out; he pulled out another link and a second tooth fell out. Thus he lost both of his front teeth. Abu Dujanah had positioned himself as a shield for the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Countless arrows stuck in his back while he was leaning over him. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas shot arrows in defence of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who was handing him the arrows, saying, ‘Shoot, may my father and mother be your ransom.

When the eye of Qatadah ibn an-Nu’man was injured it fell out of its socket on to his cheek. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah put it back in and it was subsequently his best and sharpest eye. The frenzied idol-worshippers had surged towards the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, trying to achieve something Allah had not willed. Ten Companions who were protecting him were killed. Talhah ibn Ubaydullah shielded the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah from arrows with his bare hand. His fingers bled profusely and his hand became paralysed. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah wanted to climb a rock he was unable to do so because of his wounds and weakness. Talhah squatted down so that he could use him as a step. The time for the noon-prayer came and he led them in the prayer sitting down because of his wounds.

When the Muslims had been dispersed, Anas ibn an-Nadr, the uncle of Anas ibn Malik, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s servant, continued to fight on. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh asked him, ‘Where are you going, Abu Umar!’

‘Towards the scent of the Garden of Paradise, Sa’d, he replied. ‘I smell it near Uhud!’

He came upon some men of the Muhajirun and Ansar who were sitting down looking gloomy, and asked them, ‘Why are you sitting here!’

‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has been killed,’ they said.

‘Then what use is life after him Get up and die as the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah died.

Then he went forward and fought the enemy until he was killed.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘We found seventy wounds on him that day. Only his sister could recognise him, and she recognised him by his fingertips.
Ziyad ibn as-Sakan fought alongside five of the Ansar in front of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah; they were killed one by one. Ziyad fought until he was badly wounded. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Bring him to me.’ He used his foot as a support for Ziyad’s head. Ziyad died with his cheek on the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s foot.

Amr ibn al-Jamuh was very lame and had four young sons who used to go on expeditions with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. When they went to Uhud, he wanted to accompany the Prophet. His sons said to him, ‘Allah has given you a dispensation. You stay and we will fight in your place for Allah has removed the obligation of jihad from you.

Amr came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and said,

‘These sons of mine prevent me from doing jihad with you. By Allah, I hope that I will be martyred and then I will walk in the Garden of Paradise with this lameness of mine.

The Prophet replied, ‘Allah has removed the duty of jihad from you.
He asked his sons, What harm is there in letting him go!’ Amr went with the army and was indeed blessed with martyrdom at Uhud.

Zayd ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘On the day of Uhud, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent me to look for Sa’d ibn ar-Rabi’. “if you see him,” he said, “Greet him from me and tell him, ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah says to you, “How do you feel?” ‘

‘I began to go among the slain and I came to him when he was breathing his last. He had seventy wounds spear wounds, sword-wounds and arrow wounds. I said, “Sa’d! The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sends you his greeting and says to you, ‘How do you feel?‘ ” He said, “And peace be upon the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Say to him, ‘Messenger of Allah, I can smell the scent of the Garden.’ Tell my people the Ansar, ‘You have no excuse with Allah if anything happens to your Prophet while you still breathe.’ ” He died straight after saying that.’

Abdullah ibn Jahsh said on that day, ‘O Allah, I swear to you that if I meet the enemy tomorrow and they kill me and then split my stomach open and cut off my nose and my ears and You ask me what all that was for, I will say, “For you, my Lord.” ‘

THE AFTERMATH OF BATTLE:
When the Muslims realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was still alive, they rushed up to one another and advanced towards the gorge. Ubayy ibn Khalaf caught up with him, saying, ‘O Muhammad ! I will not be spared if you are spared!’ The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, however, said to his Companions, ‘Leave him alone.’ When he came closer, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah took a spear from one of his Companions, faced Ubayy and struck him in the neck causing him to sway and fall from his horse.

Ali ibn Abi Talib filled his shield with water and Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet, washed the blood from his face. When Fatimah saw that the water only increased the blood flow, she burnt a piece of matting and dressed the wound with the ashes until the bleeding stopped .

A’ishah bint Abi Bakr and Umm Sulaym carried water in leather bags on their backs. They poured it into the mouths of the wounded. Repeatedly they went back for more water which Umm Sulayt drew for them.

Hind bint Utbah and the Quraysh women with her began to mutilate the bodies of the slain Muslims and cut off their ears and noses. She cut out Hamzah’s liver and chewed it, but could not swallow it and spat it out.

When Abu Sufyan wanted to leave, he went to the top of the mountain and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘The luck of war alternates. One wins today, the other tomorrow. Show your superiority, Hubal !’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Get up, Umar and tell him, “Allah is the most High and Majestic. We are not the same. Our dead are in the Garden of Paradise and your dead are in the Fire!” ‘

Abu Sufyan retorted, ‘We have Uzza and you do not have Uzza!’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Tell him, “Allah is our Protector and you have no protector!” ‘

Before Abu Sufyan left, he cried out, ‘Your rendezvous is Badr next year.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked a Companion to say, ‘Yes, it is an appointment between us.’

The Muslims searched for their dead and buried them. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah grieved for Hamzah who was his uncle as well as his foster brother and who had always supported him.

A BELIEVING WOMAN’S BRAVERY:
Safiyyah bint Abdul-Muttalib came to look at Hamzah. She was his full sister. However, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told her son, az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam to send her back. ‘She must not see what has happened to her brother.’

Az-Zubayr said to her, ‘Mother, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah orders you to go back.’

She asked, ‘Why I have heard that my brother has been mutilated and that it was for the sake of Allah. I assume he will be rewarded. I shall be patient if Allah is willing.

She then went to see her brother and prayed for him, saying, ‘To Allah we belong and to Him we return,’ and begged forgiveness for him. Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah commanded that he be buried at Uhud.

THE MARTYRS ARE BURIED:
Mus’ab ibn Umayr, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s standard-bearer, was one of the wealthiest young men of the Quraysh before becoming a Muslim. Only a small piece of cloth could be found for his shroud. When his head was covered, his feet showed and when his feet were covered, his head was exposed. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah advised,‘Cover his head and put idhkhir, herbs, on his feet.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah put two of the dead of Uhud in a single shroud and asked, ‘Which of them knew the most Qur’an?’

The one who was pointed out was put into the grave first. ‘I will be a witness for them on the Day of Resurrection,’ said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.

He ordered that they be buried still covered with blood, in the condition that they had fallen. They were not prayed for, neither were they washed.

A WOMAN’S JOY:
As they returned to Madinah, the Muslims passed by a woman of the Banu Dinar. She had lost her husband, brother and father in the battle. When she learnt of their deaths she only said,‘What has happened to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah?’

The Muslims Said, ‘He is well, Umm so-and-so!’ She praised Allah and requested them, ‘Point him out to me so that I can see him.

When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was pointed out to her she said to him,‘Now that you are safe every misfortune is gone.

THE MUSLIMS’ DESPERATE STRUGGLE:
The idol-worshippers criticised one another and their leaders, saying, ‘You did not do anything. You have merely scratched the surface. You left without wiping them out.

The Muslims were still exhausted and many were wounded. The day after Uhud, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s crier announced that they should pursue the enemy. No one should leave except those who had fought the day before. All the Muslims went out with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. None stayed behind. They reached Hamra’ al-Asad about eight miles from Madinah where they camped for three days – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – and then returned to Madinah when there were no signs of the
enemy returning.

Seventy Muslims were martyred in the Battle of Uhud, most of them Ansar (may Allah be pleased with them). Twenty-two idol-worshippers were killed.

DOUBLE-CROSSED:
In 3 A.H., some of the ‘Adal and al-Qarah asked for Muslims to teach them the faith. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent six of his Companions including ‘Asim ibn Thabit, Khubayb ibn Adi and Zayd ibn al-Dathinah. However the tribesmen double-crossed them and killed four.

When he was captured, Zayd was taken for execution and a group of Quraysh which included Abu Sufyan ibn Harb gathered round. Abu Sufyan called out, ‘I ask you by Allah, Zayd, don’t you wish that Muhammad was with us now in your place so that we might cut off his head, and that you were with your family?’

Zayd replied, ‘By Allah, I don’t wish Muhammad to be hurt even by a thorn when I should be safe with my family.’
Abu Sufyan said, ‘I have never seen a man so loved as Muhammad’s Companions love Muhammad.’
Then Zayd was killed.
When Khubayb was about to be executed he asked,
‘Could you let me pray two rak’ats?’
‘Go ahead,’ his captors replied.
He performed serenely two rak’ats and then turned and said to the people, ‘By Allah, if it were not that you would think that I prolonged it out of fear of death, I would have prayed more.’
He then recited these two verses of poetry:
I do not care if I am killed as a Muslim,
Whatever death I suffer is for the sake of Allah. It is all for Allah and if He wishes
He will bless the limbs which are torn apart.

AN AMBUSH:
‘Air ibn Malik asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to send a group of his Companions to teach his tribe about Islam. Seventy of the best Muslims were sent. When they reached Bi’r Ma’unah they dismounted, but the tribes of the Banu Sulaym of ‘Usayyah, Ri’l and Dhakwan ambushed them by surrounding them with their camels. When they saw what was happening, the Muslims drew their swords and fought bravely, but they were all killed except Ka’b ibn Zayd. He survived until the battle of the Ditch where he, too, was martyred.

INFLUENTIAL LAST WORDS:
When Haram ibn Milhan was killed by Jabbar ibn Sulma, his killer became a Muslim when he heard what Haram had uttered as he was dying. Jabbar explained, ‘Part of the reason I became a Muslim was that on that day when I stabbed one of their men between the shoulders with a spear and saw its point come out of his chest, I heard him say, “I have won, by the Lord of the Ka’bah!” I said to myself, “What has he won! Haven’t I killed the man?” I enquired from others and they told me that he meant martyrdom. “He has won, by Allah!” I replied that was the reason I became a Muslim.’

THE BANU’N-NADIR ARE BANISHED:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah approached the Banu’n-Nadir, a large tribe of Jews, to ask for their help in paying the blood-money of two men of the Banu ‘Air who had been killed. An alliance had been made between the Banu’n-Nadir and the Banu ‘Air. Although they promised to co-operate with him, they were really plotting to assassinate him. While the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was sitting by the wall of one of their houses, they discussed what to do next. ‘You will never have such a good opportunity as this again. Who will go up to the top of this house and throw a rock down onto him and rid us of him!’

With the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was a group of his Companions including Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali.

Allah informed His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) about the treacherous plan. He went straight back to Madinah and ordered the Muslims to prepare for war against the Banu’n-Nadir. Then he led them to the enemy fortress. It was in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal in 4 A.H.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah laid siege to the Jews for six nights, casting terror into their hearts. They then asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah if he would banish them from the city and spare their lives on condition that they take with them all their belongings on their camels, except their weapons. The offer was accepted and they left Madinah after destroying their houses, taking whatever their camels could carry.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah divided what property was left among the first Muhajirun.

THE DHAT AR-RIQA’ EXPEDITION:
In 4 A.H. the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah decided to make a raid into Najd, advancing with his Companions until he reached Nakhl. They had only one camel between six of them so their feet became raw from walking. They tore their clothes into strips to bandage their feet and toes. This expedition was called Ghazwah Dhat ar-Riqa, the expedition of Rags.

Though the two sides approached each other, no fighting ensued as they were too wary of each other. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah led the Prayer of Fear on this occasion.

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