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The Battle of Uhud

The battle of Uhud took place only one year after Badr, in the third year of Hijra, in the month of Shawwal.

After the Battle of Badr, the Quraish felt humiliated and disdained among the Arabs. They recognized the fast growing power of Islam among the people, and therefore began gathering their men and leaders in order to take revenge by attacking and destroying the Muslims in Madinah. The polytheists were blinded by the wealth of Abu Sufyan who after his escape from the Muslims on the day of Badr, had vowed to spend this wealth on nothing except for fighting Muhammad.Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib the Prophet's uncle who was still in Mecca having learnt about the real intention of the Quraish, wrote a letter to the Prophet informing him about the Polytheists' plans for attacking Madinah. On receiving the letter, the Prophet informed his companions of its contents. And it happened that the Prophet of Allah had a dream, which he explained as follows: one of his companions will be killed; one of his household will be wounded and the 'diri' al-Haseen' is Madinah.

Then the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) began to consult his companions and in the end they all agreed to fight the polytheists outside Madinah without letting the city to be a field for fighting; therefore the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) wore his war dress and went with his companions but later on, his companions regretted and asked him to return for Madinah and fight the enemy from there as he (s.a.w.) suggested at first but the Prophet of Allah refused that.

With one thousand fighters the Prophet marched to Uhud outside Madinah to meet the attacking force of three thousands polytheists led by the arch-enemy of Islam, Abu Sufyan. He gave the banner of the Muhajirin to his valiant cousin and son in-law Imam Ali (a.s.) and the banner of the Ansar to Sa'id bin Ubadah.

However, the actual number of fighting men of the Prophet were only seven hundred, because when the Muslims began to leave Madinah, the three hundred hypocrites and plotters, who existed in the army of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) under the leadership of Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salalul withdrew themselves from the army. 69

The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) arranged the Muslims in battle-ranks, positioning fifty archers of the Ansar over the hill pass in order to deter the enemy from ambushing the Muslims from behind. He put one of them as their leader and advised them not to leave their position at any cost. Soon the fighting started and after a pitched battle the Muslims put the polytheists to flight. Some of the companions of the Prophet began to plunder the well stocked camp of the infidels and when the men at the mountain-pass saw their greed gave away and they said: Those men will take (all) the spoils if we stay (here). They asked their leader: We want to take part in the plunder like the others. He replied: The Prophet of Allah has ordered us not to leave this position.

He ordered you to do that without knowing that the matter would come to what we now see, they bluntly told him and went off towards the booty leaving him behind. He remained in his position till he was martyred.

The polytheists led by Khalid bin Walid, seeing the hill-pass undefended, attacked the Muslims from behind catching by surprise the majority of companions of the Prophet who were occupied the grab for the spoils. The Prophet was left only with a small troop of his devout companions such as Imam Ali (a.s.), his uncle Hamzah and Mus'ab bin Umair, who nevertheless they continued to bravely fighting the polytheists. The Prophet of Allah was overcome by faintness as a result of a wound which he received, while his uncle Hamzah bin Abdul-Muttalib was martyred by a man called 'Wahishi' (savage) the slave of Abu Sufyan.

Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan who was encouraging the polytheists to attack the Muslims, with her lusty songs, ordered Hamzah's stomach to be split open, and chewed his liver like a blood-thirsty bitch. She even cut off his nose and ears and wore them around her neck in savage exultation.

Despite the Prophet's call to stay firm in the battlefield most of his companions fled the scene, leaving him alone with Imam Ali (a.s.) and a few other, like Abu Dajjassa.

Indeed the main reason for the Muslim's set back in this battle is their disobedience of the orders of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) because had they obeyed him and fought the polytheists in Madinah as suggested before, and if the men at the mountain-pass had not disobeyed his orders, they would surely have become victorious.

After this set back, on the second day, the Muslims were ordered the Muslims to go out and fight the Quraish in spite of their sufferings from the wounds lest the polytheists again attack them. Therefore, the Muslims responded and the Prophet of Allah gave Imam Ali (a.s.) the banner of the Muhajirin. They reached a place called 'Hamra' al-Asad' wishing to fight the polytheist and also prove to the people that they are still strong and able to attack the enemy, but seeing that Abu Sufyan and his army had returned to Mecca, the Prophet of Allah and his companions also returned to Madinah.

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69. Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyya (Life of the Prophet), Ibn Hisham, vol. 3, p. 68.

Adapted from the book: "Muhammad; The Messenger of Allah"