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The Second Battle in History of Islam - Ghazwah Uhud (Battle of Uhud)

When the self-claimed heroes of Makkah’s non-believers were defeated on the Day of Badr, it was a terrible blow for the Quraish. Men who had lost their fathers, sons and brothers approached Abu Sufyan and they all decided to conduct a new war against Muslims. A well-equipped Quraish army set out from Makkah in Shawwal 3 A.H (625 C.E.). They all advanced until they set up camp at the gates of Madinah. Their army comprised of three thousand strong men, of whom seven hundred were armed with coats of mail, and two hundred horses.

These forces advanced under the command of Abu Sufyan and after ten days of journey, they encamped at a village six miles from Medinah (Dhil-Halifah near Uhud). The Prophet (S.A.W.), 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 but he (S.A.W.) had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole army. With these forces, he halted at Mount Uhud (about four miles from North of Madinah). He was soon abandoned by Abdullah Ibn Ubayy, the leader of the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites), with three hundred of his followers. Thus, the small force of the Prophet (S.A.W.) 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. The Prophet (S.A.W.) 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 (S.A.W.) had superiority at first. But afterward, his archers left their position for the sake of booty thus allowing the enemy to attack the Muslims in the rear and surround them. The Prophet (S.A.W.) very nearly lost his life. He (S.A.W.) was struck down by a shower of stones and wounded in the face by two arrows and one of his front teeth was broken. Of the Muslims, seventy men were killed (forty Muhajireen and thirty Ansaar), among whom was the Prophet's (S.A.W.) uncle Hamza (R.A.). Of the infidels, twenty-two men were lost. 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.

Allah's Message to the Believers at the Battle of Uhud

Almighty Allah said: 

“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 Zalimeen (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 martyrdom (Ash-shahadah) before you met it. Now you have seen it openly with your own eyes.”

(Surah Al-Imran: 139-143)

Allah's Message to the Cowards

Allah the Exalted also said: 

“We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah for which He had sent no authority their abode will be the Fire and how evil is the abode of the Zalimeen (polytheists and wrong-doers). 

And Allah did indeed fulfill 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), that 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 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 for 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) and thought wrongly of Allah - the thought of ignorance. They said, "Have we any part in the affair?" Say you (0 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) breasts. "

(Surah Al-Imran: 151-154)

Prophet Mohammad’s (S.A.W.) Orders His Army:

Following is the entire Hadith which is narrated by Al-Baraa bin Azib (R.A.) about the events of Battle of Uhud: (Sahih Bukhari: 3039)

The Prophet (S.A.W.) appointed Abdullah Ibn Jubair (R.A.) as the commander of the infantry men (archers) who were fifty on the day (of the battle) of Uhud. He (S.A.W.) 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 (R.A.) said:

“The booty! O people, the booty! Your companions have become victorious, what are you waiting for now?”
Abdullah Ibn Jubair (R.A.) said: “Have you forgotten what Allah's Messenger said to you?”
They replied: “By Allah! We will go to the people (i.e. 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 (S.A.W.) in their rear was calling them back. Only twelve men remained with the Prophet (S.A.W.), and the infidels martyred seventy men from us.

On the day (Battle of Badr), The Prophet (S.A.W.) and his companions caused the Pagans to lose one hundred forty men, seventy of whom were captured and seventy were killed.

Then Abu Sufyan asked three times: “Is Muhammad present among these people?”

The Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered his companions (R.A.) not to answer him.

Then he asked three times: “Is Ibn Abu Quhafa (Abu Bakr Siddiq) present amongst these people?"
He asked again three times: “Is Ibn Al-Khattab present amongst these people?”
He then returned to his companions and said: “As for these (men), they have been killed.”
Umar (R.A.) could not control himself and said (to Abu Sufyan): “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 Sufyan said: “Our victory today compensates for yours in the Battle of Badr, 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 (S.A.W.) said (to his companions): “Why don't you answer him back?”
They said: “O Allah's Messenger! What shall we say?”
He (S.A.W.) said: “Say, Allah is Higher and more Sublime.”
(Then) Abu Sufyan said: “We have the (idol) Al-Uzza, and you have no 'Uzza.”
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: (to his companions): “'Why don't you answer him back?”
They asked: “O Allah's Messenger! What shall we say?”
He (S.A.W.) said: “Say Allah is our Helper and you have no helper."

Various Disbelievers Slander Islam:

The moral effect of this disastrous battle was such as to encourage some neighboring nomad tribes to make forays upon the Medinite territories, but most of these were repelled.

The Jews also were not slow to involve in trouble the Prophet (S.A.W.) and his followers. They tried to create disaffection among his people and slandered him and his adherents. They mispronounced the words of the Quran so as to give them an offensive meaning. They also caused their poets, who were superior in culture and intelligence, to use their influence to sow sedition among the Muslims. One of their distinguished poets, called Kaab, of the Bani An-Nadir, spared no efforts in publicly deploring the ill- success of the idolaters after their defeat at Badr.

By his satires against the Prophet (S.A.W.) and his disciples, and his elegies on the Makkans who had fallen at Badr, Kaab succeeded in exciting the Quraish to that frenzy of vengeance which broke out at Uhud. He then returned to Medinah, where he continued to attack the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Muslims, men and women, in terms of the most obscene character. Though he belonged to the tribe of Bani An-Nadir, which had entered into the compact with the Muslims and pledged itself both for the internal and external safety of the State, he openly directed his acts against the commonwealth of which he was a member.

Another Jew, Sallam by name, of the same tribe, behaved equally fiercely and bitterly against the Muslims. He lived with a party of his tribe at Khaibar, a village five days journey northwest of Medinah. He made every effort to excite the neighboring Arab tribes against the Muslims. The Muslim commonwealth with the object of securing safety among the community, passed a sentence of outlawry upon Kaab and Sallam. 

Blocking Attacks After the Battle of Uhud

The expulsion of the Bani An-Nadir took place in the fourth year of the hijrah. The remaining portion of this year and the early part of the next were passed in repressing the hostile attempts of the nomadic tribes against the Muslims and inflicting punishment for various murderous forays on the Madinite territories. Of this nature was the expedition against the Christian Arabs of Dumat Al-Jandal (a place about seven days journey to the south of Damsacus), who had stopped the Medinite traffic with Syria and even threatened a raid upon Medinah. These marauders, however, fled on the approach of the Muslims, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) returned to Medinah after concluding a treaty with a neighboring chief, to whom he granted permission of pasturage in the Medinite territories.

The Aftermath and Lessons Learned

Seventy prominent early Muslims were killed in the Battle of Uhud, including our Prophet’s beloved uncle Hamza bin Abdul Mutallib. Martyrs of Uhud were buried on the battlefield, which is now marked as the graveyard of Uhud. The Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) was also injured in the fighting.

The Battle of Uhud taught the Muslims important lessons about greed, military discipline, and humility. After their previous success at the Battle of Badr, many had thought that victory was guaranteed and a sign of Allah's favor. A verse of the Quran was revealed soon after the battle. Allah describes the battle as both a punishment and a test of their steadfastness.

"And Allah had certainly fulfilled His promise to you when you were killing the enemy by His permission until [the time] when you lost courage and fell to disputing about the order [given by the Prophet] and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you love. Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter. Then he turned you back from them [defeated] that He might test you. And He has already forgiven you, and Allah is the possessor of bounty for the believers." (Surah Al-Imran: 3:152)

However, the Makkan victory was not complete. They were not able to achieve their ultimate aim, which was to destroy the Muslims once and for all. Rather than feeling demoralized, the Muslims found inspiration in the Quran and reinforced their commitment. The two armies would meet again at the Battle of the Trench two years later.

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