Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Battle of Uhud

Description: Mistakes at Uhud lead to heavy losses of life, and a new tactic reveals victory for the Muslims.

By Al-Hussaini.

The remarkable circumstances, which led to the victory of Badar that the angels had battled on their side against their enemies and results, which followed from it, made a deep impression on the minds of the Muslims. It was a decisive battle that gained the Muslims a historic victory and dealt a heavy blow to the Polytheists Makkan and their allies.

The Alliance Against the Muslims.

The Jews who were concerned of their religio-economic entity. But both resentful parties had their were much more annoyed partner, the Hypocrites who faked Islam just to save themselves. The group here led by ‘Abdullah bin Ubai. The Bedouins living in the vicinity of Madinah, who depended their living on looting and plundering were wary of the rise of the Muslims. The whole cause of Faith was thus at stake with four furious parties laying hostilities against the new religion, Islam. This was later translated into another military action, the Uhud invasion, which left an impression on the good name and esteem that the Muslims were carefully workings to raise and preserve.

Banu Sulaim of Ghatalan was preparing and gathering troops to attack, the Muslims. The Prophet Saw heard about the plot took the preemptive initiative and attacked them on a place calls Al-Kudr, in Shawwal 2 AH, seven days after Badar. The moral effect of this disastrous battle was such as to encourage some neighboring nomad tribes to make forays upon the Medinte territories, but most of these were repelled.

While the Jews were often inclined to treacherous and betrayal attitude, they breached the covenant with Prophet SAW .They mounted intrigues and hatched the cause of divisive among the Muslims in Madinah. One Shas bin Qais plots the seeds of discord among the Aws and Khazraj and undermining the new faith as well as highlighted the culture of intertribal conflicts .The Prophet had to address the Muslims and said:

“O Muslims! By Allah! Have you entered the state of the pre-Islamic ignorance while I am still among you? After Allah guided you to Islam, honored you with it, by it He cut the fetters of ignorance from your necks, and delivered you from disbelief and united your hearts?”

The Muslims realised that it was Jews plot to disunite them. [Ibn Hisham 1/555, 556].The Jews also did not honor their debt obligation on the ground they converted to Islam, and in the case the Muslim owed the would be harassed them to pay back.

The Banu Qainuqa breached the covenant of cooperation and non-aggression by starting mocking, frightening, hurting the Muslims who frequent their bazaar. After the Badar Campaign, the Prophet SAW, went to see Banu Qainuqa and called them to enter the Muslim commonwealth by embracing Islam or simply to leave Medinah. They replied with the most offensive terms to the Prophet SAW:

“O Muhammad! Do not deceive yourself; you fought a party of the Quraish who were inexperienced at war. But if you are desirous to fight us, then know that we are entire people! And indeed you have not met up with anyone like us before; we shall show you that we are men."!”

The attitudes of Banu Qainuqa were seen as the declaration of war against the Muslims. And Allah revealed:

“Say [O Muhammad SAW] to those who disbelieve: ‘You will be defeated and gathered together to Hell, and worst indeed is that place to the rest, There has already been a Sign for you [O Jews] in the two armies that met [in the battle of Badar]: One was fighting in the cause of Allah, and as for other [they] were disbelievers. They [the believers] saw them [the disbelievers] with their eyes twice their numbers [although they were thrice their numbers]. And Allah supports with His victory that He pleases, Verily, in this are a lesson for those who understand.” [Surah Ali-‘Imram, 3: 12-13]

Ibnu Hashim reported that Banu Qainuqa mocked an Arab Muslim women at their goldsmith shop by fastened her garment and when she stood to leave it exposed her private parts that caused the serious conflicts between the Muslims and Banu Qainuqa. Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib was appointed to handle the conflicts which ended with the surrender of Banu Qainuqa. They then shut themselves up in their fortress and set the Prophet and his authority at defiance. The Muslims decided to reduce them and laid siege to their fortress without loss of time. After fifteen days they surrendered. 'Abdullah bin Ubai intercedes in the affair, but after Banu Qainuqa surrendered. They later left Madinah to settle in Greater Syria and stayed there for a while.

Abu Sufian, the head of 200 men of the Makkan Polytheist with the collaboration of Salam bin Mishkam, the chief of Bani Nadir belong to the Jews tribe, raided and looted Al-‘Uraid, a suburb of Madinah. Two Muslims were killed and their farm was destroyed. The Prophet SAW left Madinah under the charged of Abu Lubabah for a campaign to arrest Abu Suffian on Dzul-Hijjah 2 AH. Two month after Badar. But only brought their provision Saweeq which they had left. This campaign was known as Saweeq Campaign.

The Jews were full with intrigues against the Muslims. They have slandered the Prophet SAW and created disaffection among the Muslims. They mispronounced and twisted the words of the Qur’an to give them an offensive meaning. They also engaged their poets that hold superior intelligence, to use their influence to sow sedition among the Muslims. One of their distinguished poets, called Ka'ab bin Al-Ashraf, of Tai’ tribe but his mother was from the Banu An-Nadir, in southeast Madinah, spared no efforts in publicly deploring the Muslim success and theMakkans defeat at Badar. By his satires Ka’ab targeted the Prophet SAW and his disciples, and his allies on the Makkans who had fallen at Badar. He cited the Quraish to mount a vengeance against Muslims. He returned to Medinah and continued his attack against the Prophet SAW, the Muslims and defaming Muslim women. Though he belonged to the tribe of Bani An Nadir, which had entered into pact with the Muslims and pledged for the wellbeing of the State, he openly directed his acts against the commonwealth of which he was a member. Sallam bin Miskkam, of the same tribe, lived with a party of his tribe at Khaibar, situated northwest of Medinah. He made every effort to incite the neighboring Arab tribes against the Muslims. The situation became unbereable that Prophet Muhammad gathered his companions passed a sentence, outlawed Ka'ab and Sallam. When the Jews learned about the death of their tyrant Ka’ab, they realise that the Prophet SAW would never hesitate to use force. They remained silent and resigned, with faked adherence to the covenants.

Now the Prophet was free collect his thoughts on the hostile winds blowing from Makkah. The next battle between the Quraish and the Muslims was the Battle of Uhud, a hill about four miles to the north of Medinah. The idolaters, to revenge their loss at Badar, made tremendous preparations for a new attack upon the Muslims.

The Battle on Mt. Uhud

In fact, in the following year, 3rd A.H, the army of Makkan consisting three thousand men, marched to Madinah to destroy the Muslims. Seven hundred were armed with coats of mail, and two hundred horses. These forces advanced under the conduct of Abu Sufian Sakhar and encamped at a village six miles from Medinah. The Prophet SAW, being much inferior to his enemies in number, at first determined to keep himself within the town and to receive them there; but afterwards, the advice of some of his companions prevailing he marched out against them at the head of one thousand men, of whom one hundred were armed with coats of mail; but he had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole army. With these forces he halted at Mount Uhud.

The Prophet’s initial idea was only to defend the city, which was strongly supported by Abdullah Ibn Ubai, the leader of “the Hypocrites”. But the Prophet’s companions who had fought at Badar, believing that God would help them against any odds, thought it a shame that they should linger behind walls of Madinah. The Prophet SAW, approvingly, gave way to them, and set out with an army of one thousand men toward Mt. Uhud, where the enemy were encamped. But s soon by Abdullah Ibn Ubai, the leader of the Hypocrites, who were a third of the army, in retaliation abandoned the Prophet SAW. Thus, the small force of the Prophet was reduced to seven hundred.

At Mount Uhud the Muslim troops passed the night, and in the morning, after offering their prayers, they advanced into the plain. It was fully mobilized on the morning of Saturday, Shawwal 7th, 3 AH. The Prophet SAW contrived to have the hill at his back, and, the better to secure his men from being surrounded; he placed fifty archers on the height in the rear, behind the troops, and gave them strict orders not to leave their posts whatever might happen. When they came to engage, the Prophet SAW had superiority at first.

Despite the heavy odds, the battle on Mt. Uhud would have been an even greater victory than that at Badar for the Muslims, but for the disobedient of a band of fifty archers entrusted by the Prophet SAW to guard a pass against the enemy cavalry, caused the Makkans to attack them. Some forty archers seeing their comrades victorious left their strategic post, fearing to lose their share of the spoils. The cavalry of Quraish, under Khalid ibn Walid seized the opportunity; rode through the gap attacked and surrounded the overjoyed Muslims. The Prophet SAW lost the day and almost lost his life. He was struck down by a shower of stones and wounded in the face by two arrows, and one of his front teeth was broken. Someone shouted to which the Muslims rallied. Gathering round the Prophet SAW, they retreated, leaving many dead on the hillside. The Makkans conquered field, and the women of Quraish moved among the corpses, lamenting the slain from amongst their own people and mutilating the Muslim dead.

It was narrated by Al-Baraa' Ibn Azib as follows:

"The Prophet SAW appointed Abdullah Ibn Jubair as the commander of the infantry men [archers] who were fifty on the day [of the battle] of Uhud. He instructed them:

'Stick to your place, and don't leave it even if you see birds snatching us, till I send for you; and if you see that we have defeated the infidels and made them flee, even then you should not leave your place till I send for you.'

Then the infidels were defeated. By Allah I saw the women fleeing lifting up their clothes revealing their leg bangles and their legs. So, the companions of Abdullah Ibn Jubair said:

"The booty! O people, the booty! Your companions have become victorious, what are you waiting for now?" Abdullah Ibn Jubair said: "Have you forgotten what Allah's Messenger said to you?"

They replied: "By Allah! We will go to the people [the enemy] and collect our share from the war booty."

But when they went to them, they were forced to turn, back defeated. At that time Allah's Messenger in their rear was calling them back. Only twelve men remained with the Prophet SAW, and the infidels martyred seventy men from us.

"The Prophet SAW and his companions caused the Pagans to lose one hundred and forty men, seventy of whom were captured and seventy were killed”.

But the Muslim retreated to Mount Uhud and organised a counter attack against the idolaters. The Quraish were too exhausted to follow up their advantage, either by attacking Medinah or by driving the Muslims from the heights of Uhud. They retreated from the Medinite territories after barbarously mutilating the corpses of their dead enemies. Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib, the Prophet’s uncle and boyhood friend was assassinated by Wahshi bin Harb. Hindun binti ‘Utbah, Abu Sufian’s wife, who bore grudges against Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib, who had offered a reward to the man who killed him, cut Hamzah body, plucked the heart and ate it.

Before leaving Abu Sufian asked for three times: 'Is Muhammad present among these people?' The Prophet SAW ordered his companions not to answer him. Then he asked three times: 'Is Ibn Abu Quhafa [Abu Bakar] present amongst these people?' He asked again three times: 'Is Ibn Al- Khattab present among these people?' He then returned to his companions and said: 'As for these [men], they have been killed.'

'Umar could not control himself and said to Abu Sufian: ' You told a lie, by Allah! O enemy of Allah! All those you have mentioned are alive, and the thing which will make you unhappy is still there.'

Abu Sufian said: 'Our victory today compensates for yours in the Battle of Badar and in war [the victory] is always undecided and is shared in turns by the belligerents. You will find some of your killed men mutilated, but I did not urge my men to do so, yet I do not feel sorry for their deed.' After that he started reciting cheerfully: 'O Hubal, be superior!'

On that the Prophet SAW said [to his companions]: 'Why don't you answer him back?' They said: 'O Allah's Messenger! What shall we say?’ He [Prophet SAW] said: 'Say, Allah is Higher and more Magnificent.'

Then Abu Sufian said: 'We have the idol of Al-Uzza, and you have no 'Uzza.'

The Prophet SAW said [to his companions]: 'Why don't you answer him back?' They asked: 'O Allah's Messenger! What shall we say?' He [The Prophet SAW] said: 'Say Allah is our Helper and you have no helper.'" (Sahih Al Bukhari)

Allah revealed in Al-Quran:

“So do not become weak [against your enemy], nor be sad, and you will be superior [in victory] if you are indeed [true] believers. If a wound [and killing] has touched you, be sure a similar wound [and killing] has touched the others. And so are the days [good and not so good], We give to men by turns, that Allah may test those who believe, and that He may take martyrs from among you. And Allah likes not the Zalimin [polytheists and wrongdoers].

And that Allah may test [or purify] the believers [from sins] and destroy the disbelievers. Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought [in His Cause] and [also] tests those who are patient? You did indeed wish for death [Ash-shahadah- martyrdom] before you met it. Now you have seen it openly with your own eyes." [Surah Ali-Imran, 3: 139 - 143]

Allah also said: “We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah for which He has sent no authority; their abode will be the Fire and how evil is the abode of the Zalimin [polytheists and wrong-doers]. And Allah did indeed fulfil His Promise to you when you were killing them (your enemy) with His Permission; until [the moment] you lost your courage and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed after He showed you (of the booty) which you love. Among you are some that desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from them (your enemy), and He might test you. But surely, He forgave you, and Allah is most Gracious to the believers.

And remember when you ran away (dreadfully) without even a casting a side-glance at anyone, and the Messenger (Muhammad) was in your rear calling you back. There did Allah give you one distress after another by way of requital to teach you not to grieve for that which had escaped you, nor that which had befallen you. And Allah is Well Aware of all that you do.

Then after the distress, He sent down security for you. Slumber overtook a party of you, while another party was thinking about themselves [as how to save their ownselves, ignoring the others and the Prophet SAW] and thought wrongly of Allah - the thought of ignorance. They said, "Have we any part in the affair?" Say you [O Muhammad]: "Indeed the affair belongs wholly to Allah." They hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to you, saying: "If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here." Say: "Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death," but that Allah might test what is in your breasts; and to Mahis (to test, to purify, to get rid of) that which was in your hearts [sins], and Allah is All Knower of what is in [your] hearts." [Surah Ali-‘Imran, 3:151-154].

On the following day, the Prophet SAW again rallied forth with what remained of the army, that Quraish might hear that he was in the field and so might perhaps be deterred to attack the city. The Prophet SAW stratagem succeeded. This was due to the behavior of a friendly Bedouin who had met the Muslims that afterwards met the Quraish army. When questioned by Abu Sufian, the Bedouin said that Muhammad SAW was in the field, stronger than ever, and thirsting for revenge for yesterday’s affair. On that information, Abu Sufian decided to return to Makkah.

Massacre of Muslims

The reverse which they had suffered on Mt. Uhud lowered the prestige of the Muslims with the Arab tribes and also with the Jews of Madinah. Tribes which had inclined toward the Muslims now inclined toward the Quraish. The Prophet’s followers were attacked and murdered when they went abroad in little companies. Khubaib, one of his envoys, was captured by a desert tribe and sold to the Quraish, who tortured him to death in Makkah publicly.


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