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A General Account of the Prophet's Battles

A general account of the Prophet's battles in which he himself participated, and for which he sent detachments. the main events of his life until he departed this World, the Signs of His Prophethood Which Occurred During That Time, and Proofs of His Veracity and Apostleship.

Biographers of the Prophet and Qur'an commentators have reported that the number of the battles: which the Messenger of Allah himself led was twenty‑six. As for the detachments which he sent out for battle but in which he himself did not take part, they were thirty‑six. In nine of his battles, he himself took part in the fighting. These were: Badr, Uhud, al‑Khandaq (the Trench), the battle against the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah, al‑Mustaliq, Khaybar, al‑Fath (the Conquest of Mecca), Hunayn and the battle of at‑Ta'if.

The first detachment which the Prophet dispatched, consisting of thirty horsemen, was led by Hamzah ibn `Abdu'l‑Muttalib. The men travelled until they reached the coast of the land of Juhaynah (a tribe), where they encountered Abu Jahl ibn Hisham with one hundred and thirty horsemen of the Associators. A man called Majdi ibn `Amr al‑Juhani came between the two groups, which then separated without any outbreak of fighting.

The first engagement which the Messenger of Allah led took place in Safar, the second month of the year 2/623, twelve months after he arrived in Medina. He set out to attack the Quraysh and the tribe of Banu Damrah but re­turned without encountering the enemy, having reached al‑Abwa' (a mountain between Mecca and Medina). He remained in Medina the rest of Safar and half of Rabi `u 'l-Awwal (that is, the following month).

During this time, he dispatched `Ubaydah ibn al‑Harith with sixty horsemen of the Immigrants; not even one of the Ansar was among them. The first war standard which the Messenger of Allah raised was also in that battle. He also met the Associators in battle at a spring called Ahya. They exchanged arrows, the Associators being led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. The Messenger of Allah also undertook another raid during the next month of Rabi `u 'l-Akhir. He set out seeking the men of Quraysh, going as far as Buwat (a mountain range of Juhaynah a few dozen miles from Medina), but he encoun­tered no hostilities.

After this, the Prophet led an engagement known as Ghazwatu'l-`Ushayrah (a place between Mecca and Medina) at the valley of Yanbu'. He also sought the men of Quraysh, staying the rest of the month of Jumada'l‑Ula and a few days of Jumada'l‑Akhirah. There he made a peace agree­ment with the tribe of Banu Mudlij and their allies of the tribe of Banu Damrah.

It is related. on the authority of `Ammar ibn Yasir who said: “I was with 'Ali, as we were companions during the raid of al‑`Ushayrah. 'Ali said to me: `Would you like, O Abu Yaqzan, that we go and see the men of Banu Mudlij working in their orchards near a spring of water belonging to them?'

We went and observed them for a while until we were overcome by sleep. Then we went to a but made of palm branches, in a barren spot, where we slept. We did not wake up until the Messenger of Allah nudged us with his foot. We sat up startled and covered with the soil of that barren place. Seeing `Ali thus, the Prophet called him, `O Abu Turab (man of the soil or dust)!' He then asked, `Shall I tell you who is the most miserable of humankind?' `Yes, O Apostle of Allah', we said. He went on: `They are the Uhaymar of Thamud who slew the she‑camel,1 and he who shall smite you, O 'Ali, here (and he placed his hand upon his head) until this (and he placed his hand upon his beard) shall be soaked with blood!' ”

The Messenger of Allah returned from al‑`Ushayrah to Medina, where he remained not more than ten nights before a man called Kurz ibn Jabir al‑Fihri led an assault on a suburb of Medina. The Messenger of Allah went out after him until he reached a valley called Safwan near Badr. This was the first battle of Badr. The bearer of the Prophet's banner was 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, and his representative in Medina was Zayd ibn al‑Harithah. Kurz, however, escaped, and the Messenger of Allah returned to Medina. He remained at home for the months of Jumada, Rajab and Sha'ban. During this period he dispatched Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas with eight men, but they encountered no hostilities.

After that the Messenger of Allah dispatched `Abdullah ibn Jahsh to a place called Nakhlah (on the road to Mecca), ordering him to remain there until he returned with news of the Quraysh. But he did not command him to fight, because it was the sacred month (that is, Rajab). He handed him a letter and told him: “Set out with your Companions until you have travelled a journey of two days; then open your letter and see what it says, and execute my command.” After having travelled for two days he opened the letter, which said: “Continue on until you arrive at Nakhlah. Bring us back whatever news of the Quraysh may reach you.”

`Abdullah exclaimed before his Companions, after having read the letter, “I hear and obey! Let any one of you desiring martyrdom set out with me.” The people accompanied him until they reached Nakhlah. A man called `Amr ibn al­-Hadrami passed by them with al‑Hakam ibn Kaysan, and `Uthman and al‑Mughirah ‑ the two sons of `Abdullah ‑carrying goods which they had bought in at‑Ta'if: raisins and condiments. When the people saw them, Waqid ibn `Abdillah came forth and stood before them. He had pre­viously cut his hair (which was a sign of entering into, or being released from, the state of consecration). Thus `Amr and his Companions said to one another: “These men are here to perform the lesser pilgrimage; you have nothing to fear from them.”

The Companions of the Apostle of Allah consulted among themselves ‑ it being the last day of Rajab ‑ saying: “If you kill them, you would have killed during a sacred month. Yet if you were to let them go, they would enter Mecca tonight and would be well protected against you.” They thus agreed to kill them. Waqid ibn `Abdillah shot `Amr ibn al‑Hadrami with an arrow and killed him. `Uth­man ibn `Abdillah and al‑Hakam ibn Kaysan requested and obtained a pact of security. As for al‑Mughirah, he escaped, and they were unable to capture him.

`Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his Companions brought the camels and the two captives to the Apostle of Allah. He said to them: “By Allah, I did not command you to engage in any fighting during the sacred month! ” He then withheld the two captives and the camel loads, and did not touch them. The people themselves were filled with remorse. This is because they thought that they would perish with their transgression. The people of Quraysh also reproached the Muslims saying: “Muhammad has violated the sanctity of the sacred month.” Allah, therefore, sent down the verse:

They ask you concerning the sacred month, shall there be fighting in it? . . . (Qur'an 2:217) .

When this verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah accepted the goods and the ransom of the two captives. The Muslims said: “We can never hope for the reward in the hereafter for this battle, but only for the material reward of the booty.” Thus Allah sent down to console them:

Those who have accepted faith and have migrated. . . until He says: such are those who hope in Allah's mercy ( Qur'an 2 218 ) .

This event took place two months before the Battle of Badr.

The Great Battle Of Badr

The Battle of Badr took place as the Messenger of Allah learnt that Abu Sufyan ibn Harb with a caravan of forty horsemen of the Quraysh carrying goods from Syria was returning to Mecca. The Messenger of Allah went out to meet them with three hundred and some men. The majority of his Companions, however, went out on foot, having only one horse and eighty camels. It is reported that the horse belonged to al‑Miqdad (a well‑known Companion). Men took turns riding the few camels available. The Messenger of Allah himself shared one camel with Marthad ibn Abi Marthad al‑Ghanawi.

This great battle took place in the month of Ramadan 2 /624. When the Prophet left Medina, Abu Sufyan, having heard the news, directed the caravan to travel along the coast to Mecca to seek help from the people of Quraysh. About one thousand men from the various clans of Quraysh responded to his call and went out with him. They had with them two hundred horses. They were also accompanied by young maidens singing poems to the accompaniment of tambourines denigrating the Muslims. al‑Akhnas ibn Shurayq ath‑Thaqafi who was an ally of the Quraysh, turned back along the way taking with him Banu Zuhrah. So the Quraysh were left with nine hundred and ninety fighters, among them al‑`Abbas (the Prophet's uncle), `Aqil (son of Abu Talib ), and Nawfal ibn al‑Harith ibn `Abdi 'l‑Muttalib. These, how­ever, went out under duress. The most honoured elders of the Quraysh were al‑`Abbas ibn `Abdi'l-Muttalib, `Utbah ibn Rabi'ah, Tu'aymah ibn `Adiyy, Abu'l-Bakhtari ibn Hisham, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, Hakim ibn Hizam, an‑Nadr ibn al‑Harith ibn Kaladah, Abu Jahl ibn Hisham and Suhayl ibn `Amr.

When the Prophet reached Badr, a well so called after a man of the tribe of Ghifar by that name, he learnt of the escape of the caravan and the coming of the army of Quraysh. He thus consulted with his Companions as to whether they should encounter them or turn back, and they all said, “We leave the decision to you. If you so wish, we shall confront the people! ” He confronted the people of Quraysh at the well of Badr on the seventeenth of Ramadan. The Apostle raised a white standard which was carried by Mus'ab ibn `Umayr. His banner was entrusted to `Ali.

Allah strengthened the Muslims with five thousand angels. Moreover, He made the Muslims look many more than their actual number to the rejecters of faith, and diminished the number of the Associators in the eyes of the people of faith. This He did in order that they might not lose heart. The Messenger of Allah took a handful of dust and threw it at them exclaiming: “Let these faces be disgraced!” There was not one among them but that he was preoccupied with rubbing his eyes.

Allah caused approximately seventy of the Associators to be slain and the same number to be captured. Among these were al‑`Abbas ibn `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib, `Aqil ibn Abi Talib and Nawfal ibn al‑Harith, all of whom accepted Islam. Two others `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt and an‑Nadr ibn al‑Harith, the Mess­enger of Allah had slain in a nearby spot called as‑Safra'. He said to al‑`Abbas, “Ransom yourself, your two nephews `Aqil and Nawfal, your ally `Utbah ibn `Amr and the man of the tribe of al‑Harith ibn Fihr, for you are a man of great wealth. al ‑`Abbas answered, “I was a Muslim, but the people coerced me! ” The Prophet answered: “Allah knows best your Islam; if it were true, He shall reward you for it. As for your mani­fest action, it was against us.” al ‑`Abbas retorted: “I have no wealth! ”

The Prophet asked, “Where is the wealth which you entrusted to Umm al‑Fadl in Mecca, when no one was with you? You then said to her, `If I shall be slain on this journey, this wealth shall be given to my sons al‑Fadl, `Abdullah and Qutham.' ” al‑`Abbas exclaimed with amaze­ment: “O Apostle of Allah, I now know that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah ! For this is something which no one else besides me and Umm al‑Fadl knew! Calculate then, O Apostle of Allah, the amount of wealth which falls to you as booty from me. I had with me twenty ounces (of precious metal).” The Messenger of Allah said: “May that which Allah has granted us through you be never exhausted!” al ‑`Abbas then ransomed himself with one hundred ounces and each of the others with forty.

'Ali slew among the Associators in the Battle of Badr al‑Walid ibn `Utbah ibn Rabi`ah, who was a brave warrior. He also killed al‑`As ibn Said ibn al‑`As ibn Umayyah, the father of Said ibn al‑`As and Tu'aymah ibn `Adiyy ibn Nawfal, whom he pierced with a spear. As he did so, `Ali exclaimed: “By Allah, this man shall never contend with us concerning Allah after today!”

'Ali also killed Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid, who before the hijrah had tied Abu Bakr and Talhah together with a rope and tortured them for a whole day. Nawfal was the paternal uncle of az‑Zubayr ibn al­`Awwam (the well‑known Companion and relative of the Prophet). When the fighting abated, the Prophet rose and exclaimed: “Praise be to Allah Who answered my prayers concerning him.”
Jabir (ibn `Abdillah al‑Ansari, a notable Companion and supporter of `Ali and his descendants) related on the auth­ority of `Ali that he said: “I marvelled at the bravery of the people on the day of Badr. No sooner had I slain al‑Walid ibn `Utbah then Hanzalah ibn Abi Sufyan rushed at me. As he drew close to me, I struck him with my sword so that his eyes ran down on his face and he fell dead on the ground. The people who were with Hanzalah were also killed. They were Zam'ah ibn al‑Aswad, al‑Harith ibn Zam'ah, `Umayr ibn `Uthman, Ka'b ibn Taym, the uncle of Talhah ibn `Ubay­dillah, and `Uthman and Malik, who were the brothers of Talhah. They had with them thirty‑six men.”

Hamzah ibn `Abdi 'l-Muttalib killed Shaybah ibn Rabi `ah ibn `Abd Shams and al‑Aswad ibn `Abd al‑Aswad al‑Makh­zumi. `Amr ibn al‑Jamuh killed Abu Jahl ibn Hisham. He struck him with his sword on his leg and severed it. Then `Abdullah ibn Mas'ud came and slew him with his sword, and carried his head to the Apostle of Allah, saying: “I found him breathing his last, and I recognized him. I then placed my foot on his neck, and said: `Has Allah not now disgraced you, O enemy of Allah?' He answered: `You little shepherd! You have now reached high status.' ” Ibn Mas'ud continued: “I then cut off his head and brought it to the Messenger of Allah and said: `This is the head of the enemy of Allah, Abu Jahl.' ” Also, `Ammar ibn Yasir killed Umay­yah ibn Khalaf.

The Messenger of Allah ordered that those who were slain of the Quraysh be thrown in the well of Badr. He then stood over them and called out to them one by one by their names and the names of their fathers. He then exclaimed: “We have indeed found what our Lord had promised us to be true! Have you too found what your Lord had promised you to be true? ” The Prophet then said to his Companions: “They hear as you hear, but they have been prevented from uttering a response.”
Fourteen men among the Muslims were martyred in the Battle of Badr. Among them were `Ubaydah ibn al‑Harith ibn `Abdi 'l-Muttalib, Dhu'sh‑Shimalayn `Amr ibn Nadlah, the ally of Banu Zuhrah, Mihja` (ibn Salih) (The client of `Umar (ibn al‑Khattab) was also killed by an arrow; he was the first martyr of the Muslims. (ed.)), `Umayr ibn Abi Waqas and Safwan ibn Abi 'l-Bayda'. All these were of the Immigrants; the rest were of the Ansar.

The Messenger of Allah returned to Medina where he rested only for seven nights before he himself led a detach­ment against the tribe of Banu Sulaym. When he arrived at one of their water springs called al‑Kudr, he remained for three nights before returning to Medina. This mission met with no resistance.

The Prophet remained in Medina the rest of Shawwal and Dhu'l-Qi'dah (the tenth and eleventh month, which are sacred months during which no fighting is allowed). During this respite, the Prophet ransomed most of the Muslims captured by the men of Quraysh during the Battle of Badr.
The next military engagement of the Muslims with the people of Quraysh was known as the Battle of Suwayq. This was provoked by Abu Sufyan who had vowed after the defeat of Badr that he would never perform the ritual wash­ing (after sexual intercourse) until he had waged war against Muhammad.

He therefore set out with a hundred horsemen of the Quraysh in order to fulfill his vow. When he was a short distance from Medina, he went by night to the quarter of the tribe of Banu 'n‑Nadir, and knocked at the door of Huyayy ibn Akhtab, who refused to let him in. He thus left him and went to Sallam ibn Mishkam, who was the chief of Banu'n‑Nadir. He requested and was granted permission to enter, and thus went in and spoke secretly to him.

Abu Sufyan returned next morning to his men and sent a few men as raiders to Medina. They came to a spot called al‑`Arid, where they came upon a man of the Ansar and his ally, both of whom they killed, and then ran away. The men of Medina also vowed revenge. The Messenger of Allah went out after them until he reached Qarqaratu'l-Kudr near the quarter of the tribe of Sulaym, about eight miles from Medina. The Prophet, however, returned without overtaking Abu Sufyan. The Muslims found some provisions which Abu Sufyan and his men had left on the road in order that they might lighten their load and thus run more swiftly to safety. The Muslims asked the Apostle of Allah when they returned to Medina: “O Apostle of Allah, do we deserve to consider this a battle (that is, an act of jihad in Allah's way)?” “Yes”, he replied.

The Raid of Dhu Amarr

This was followed by the raid of Dhu Amarr, which the Prophet undertook after remaining in Medina for the months of Dhu 'l-Hijjah and Muharram (the last and first months of the Muslim calendar, which are also sacred months). He set out on this mission after hearing that a group of men of the tribe of Ghatafan had assembled to launch a raid against the suburbs of Medina. They were led by a man called Du'thur ibn al‑Harith ibn Muharib. The Prophet set out with four hundred and fifty men with a number of horses. But these Bedouins fled before him to neighbouring moun­tain peaks. The Prophet then encamped with his men in the spot of Dhu Amarr. It rained heavily while they were in that place. The Messenger of Allah went out to answer the call of nature across the valley from the camp. He took off his clothes and hung them on a tree to dry out, having been soaked by the rain. He lay down under the tree, while the Bedouins watched intently his every movement.

One of the men said to Du'thur, who was their chief and the bravest man among them: “See now, Muhammad has given you control! He has separated himself from his Companions, so that if he were to cry out for help, they would not hear him. Go and kill him!” He thus chose a sharp sword and hastened until he stood at the head of the Apostle of Allah with his sword outstretched. He then exclaimed: “O Muham­mad, who shall protect you against me today?” “Allah”, he answered. Gabriel struck the man in the chest so that he fell back, dropping the sword from his hand. The Messenger of Allah took up the sword and, standing at the man's head, asked: “Who shall protect you against me now?” The Bedouin replied: “No one! But I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah! By Allah, I shall never again join any group against you! ” The Messenger of Allah returned his sword to him. The man turned to go, but then turned back and said: “By Allah, you are a better man than me!” The Messenger of Allah replied: “I am indeed worthy of that.”

When the man returned to his people, they questioned him: “Where is all your talk now ‑ he was unprotected before you, and you had a sword in your hand!” He replied: “By Allah, this was the case! But I saw a bright and tall man who struck me in the chest, and I fell flat on my back. I knew that he was an angel. Thus I bore witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah ! By Allah, I shall never add to the number of any group that would assemble against him.” The man then began to invite his own people to Islam. Then Allah sent down the verse:

O you who have faith, remember the bounty of Allah towards you, when some people intended to stretch out their hands against you; yet He restrained their hands from harming you (Qur'an 5 :111).

The Raid Of Al‑Qaradah

This was followed by the raid of al‑Qaradah. The Messen­ger of Allah sent Zayd ibn al‑Harithah with a detachment, six months after his return to Medina from Badr. At the well called al‑Qaradah, Zayd and his men came upon a caravan of the Quraysh led by Abu Sufyan, who had much silver. After the Battle of Badr, the Quraysh (of Mecca) did not feel safe taking their usual route to Syria. They therefore travelled the Iraq road, having hired as a guide a man of the tribe of Bakr ibn Wail called Furat ibn Hayyan. Zayd ibn al‑Harithah was able to capture the caravan, but the men eluded him and escaped. According to the report of al‑Waqidi,2 the caravan was led by Safwan ibn Umayyah. The Muslims captured one or two men, whom they brought with the caravan to the Messenger of Allah. Furat was himself a captive. But he ac­cepted Islam, and was thus spared.

The reprisal against the tribe of Banu Qaynuqa` for this action took place on Saturday, in mid‑Shawwal, twenty months after the Migration. The Messenger of Allah assem­bled the people of the tribe in their market and warned them saying: “Beware lest Allah afflict you with the same punishments as those with which He afflicted the people of Quraysh! Enter into Islam, for you know well the grace with which Allah has favored me, and you recognize my characteristics, which are in your scriptures.” They answered: “O Muhammad, be not deceived by the fact that you met your own people in battle and defeated them. Yet if we were to wage war against you, you would, by Allah, know that we are not like them! ” They nearly came to blows. It was concerning the people of Qaynuqa` that the verse:

There was a sign for you (the Muslims) in the two groups which encountered one another: the one fighting in the way of Allah, the other rejecting faith . . . (Qur'an. 3:13) , was sent down.

It is reported that the Messenger of Allah besieged them for six days until finally they surrendered to him. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy came to him and interceded on their behalf saying: “O Apostle of Allah, these are my allies and clients who have defended me against the black and the red (that is, against all kinds of people). They were three hundred armoured soldiers and four hundred without armour. Would you now cut them down all in one morning? By Allah, I can then find no security; rather I dread the turns of for­tunes!” The people of Banu Qaynuqa` were allies of the Khazraj tribe only, and not of the Aws. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy persisted in his entreaties until the Prophet relented and granted him their blood. But seeing the humiliation which they had suffered, the people of Banu Qaynuqa` left Medina altogether and settled in Adhri'at in Syria. Then Allah sent down concerning `Abdullah ibn Ubayy and others of the Khazraj tribe:

O you who have faith, take not the Jews or the Christians as patrons . . . (Qur'an. 5 : 51‑ 52) .

The Battle Of Uhud

Then the Battle of Uhud followed, a year after that of Badr. The leader of the Associators in that battle was Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. The Companions of the Apostle of Allah were on that day seven hundred and the Associators numbered two thousand.

The Messenger of Allah set out for the battle after con­sulting with his Companions. Although his own opinion was that the men should engage in street fighting, while those who were not strong enough for fighting should shoot arrows from the rooftops, yet they insisted on going out to meet the Quraysh in the battle. But on the way they changed their minds and asked to turn back. He refused saying: It is not fit for a prophet to turn back once he has decided to set out to engage a group in the battle.”

They were actually a thousand men. On the way, however, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy deserted with a third of the men. They said in justification of their decision, “By Allah, we know not for what are we going to kill ourselves, while the enemy are his own people! ” The men of Banu Harithah and Banu Salmah likewise were at the point of deserting. However, Allah, be He exalted, restrained them, as He says:

When two groups of you had nearly lost heart; yet Allah was their Master . . . ( Qur'an. 3 :123 ) .

The Messenger of Allah woke up next morning ready for fighting. He charged 'Ali with the banner of the Immigrants, and that of the Ansar, Sa'd ibn `Ubadah. The Messenger of Allah joined the banner of the Ansar. He then went to inspect the archers, who were fifty men led by `Abdullah ibn Jubayr. He admonished them and reminded them of their duty saying: “Fear Allah and be steadfast. Even if you see us snatched by wild birds, do not leave your spot until I send you a word.” The Prophet then stood at the top c: the valley. At first the Associators were clearly defeated, so that the Muslims slew them with the sword.

The archers under the leadership of `Abdullah ibn Jubayr, seeing this, cried out, `The booty! Your people have van­quished the enemy; what are you waiting for!” `Abdullah said to them, “Have you forgotten the words of the Messen­ger of Allah? As for me, I shall never abandon the spot which the Apostle of Allah assigned to me.” But they disregarded his command and disobeyed him, when they saw what they had desired. They thus hastened to the spoils of war. Khalid ibn al‑Walid, who lay in ambush with other men of the Associators, rushed out at them, and Khalid came to `Abdullah and killed him.

The Muslims were put to the sword as men rushed at them from behind. Satan cried out, “Muhammad has been slain!” In the meantime, the Messenger of Allah called out to them as they turned back, “O people, I am the Apostle of Allah! Allah has promised me victory; why are you fleeing?” They heard the voice, but did not turn around. The outcry of Satan went on until it was heard in the houses of‑Medina. Thus Fatimah raised the wail; nor was there any Hashimite or Qurayshite woman but that she placed her hand upon her head, wailing.

It is related on the authority of the sixth lmam Ja'far as‑Sadiq that as people deserted the Apostle of Allah, he was filled with rage. Whenever he became angry, sweat dripped from his face and forehead like pearls. He looked around, and there was `Ali by his side. He asked him: “Why did you not run to the sons of your father?” 'Ali answered: “O Apostle of Allah, should I reject faith after I have become a Muslim! Rather, I shall stay with you and endure your fate.” “If it be so”, the Prophet said, “then spare me the evil of these men! ” 'Ali rushed out at them, and as he struck the first man he encountered, Gabriel exclaimed: “This ‑is indeed true consolation, O Muhammad! ” “He is of me, and I am of him”, said the Apostle of Allah. Gabriel added ” I too am of you.”
A group of men then turned to the Messenger of Allah and gathered around him. Seventy men of the Muslims were slain. Of these, four were of the Immigrants: Hamzah ibn `Abdi 'l-Muttalib, `Abdullah ibn Jahsh, Mus'ab ibn `Umayr and Shammas ibn `Uthman ibn ash‑Sharid; the rest were of the Ansar.

It is reported that at that time Ubayy ibn Khalaf came on his horse to the battlefield saying: “So this is the son of Abu Kabshah (meaning the Prophet)! Turn back with your own misdeeds! May you never be saved, even if you are spared (this time).” The Messenger of Allah was standing between al‑Harith ibn as‑Simmah and Sahl ibn Hunayf, leaning upon them. Ubayy rushed to attack him, but Mus`ab ibn `Umayr shielded him with his body. Ubayy thus stabbed Mus'ab and killed him. The Messenger of Allah then took a lance which was in the hand of Sahl ibn Hunayf and struck Ubayy with it above the collar of his armour. Ubayy fell over his horse embracing it, and ran to his camp lowing like a bull.

Abu Sufyan said to him: “Woe to you, what is it that frightens you? It is only a scratch; it is nothing! ” He answered: “Woe to you O son of Harb, do you know who stabbed me? It was Muhammad who stabbed me! He said to me in Mecca, `I shall kill you'. I thus knew that he would be the one to kill me. By Allah, if all the people of the Hijaz were to suffer what I am suffering, it would finish them all! ” The accursed man continued to moan until he went to the Fire.

It is reported in the book of Aban ibn `Uthman3 that when Fatimah and Safiyyah (the Prophet's paternal aunt) came to the Messenger of Allah, he said to `All, “As for my aunt, keep her away from me, but let Fatimah come.” When Fatimah came close to the Apostle of Allah and saw that he had been wounded in the face, and that blood was gushing out of his mouth, she began to wipe away the blood, weeping and saying: “May Allah's wrath rage against those who caused the face of the Messenger of Allah to bleed!” The Messenger of Allah took in his hand the blood that ran down his face and threw it up in the air, and not one drop returned to earth. The sixth Imam as‑Sadiq is said to have declared: “By Allah, if one drop of that blood had come down to the ground, severe punishment would have come down to earth.”

Aban ibn `Uthman said: “This was told to me on his authority by as‑Sabbah ibn Suyyabah. I asked him, “Were his upper interior teeth broken, as these people claim?' He replied: `No, by Allah, Allah always protected him from all disfigurement. It was rather that he was wounded in the face.' I asked: `What about the cave on Mount Uhud to which they claim that the Apostle of Allah fled?' He answered: `By Allah, he did not move from his spot.' ”

Someone said to the Prophet, “Would you not invoke Allah against them?” He said: “O Allah, guide my people aright, for they do not know.” Ibn Qami'ah threw a stone at the Messenger of Allah which hit him on the palm so that the sword fell from his hand. The man exclaimed: “Take it from me, for I am the son of Qami'ah ! ” The Messenger of Allah replied: “May Allah humiliate and bring you low!” `Utbah ibn Abi Waqqas struck the Prophet with a sword so that blood gushed out of his mouth, and `Abdullah ibn Shihab threw a stone at him, hitting him on the wrist. No one of these died a natural death. As for Ibn Qami'ah, a ram came to him while he was sleeping in Najd and struck its horns in his stomach. The man cried out with pain until the ram penetrated him with its horns to the neck.

Wahshi (the man who killed Hamzah) reported: “Jubayr ibn Mut'im, whose slave I was, said to me, `All you know that `Ali killed my uncle Tu'aymah in the Battle of Badr. If you therefore kill Muhammad, Muhammad's uncle, or Muhammad's cousin, you shall be free.' I thus went with the army of Quraysh to Uhud with a lance, only seeking freedom. I wished for nothing else, nor did I wish to kill Muhammad. I said to myself, `Perhaps I will meet with 'Ali or Hamzah at whom I would throw my lance', I never missed in throwing lances, an art I learnt in Abyssinia. Hamzah used to rush out on his attacks, after which he would return to his spot.” Abu `Abdillah (the sixth Imam) reported that Wahshi struck Hamzah in the chest. He fell, and the men rushed at him and killed him. Wahshi went to Hamzah and splitting his stomach, took his liver and ran with it to Hind daughter of `Utbah (and wife of Abu Sufyan), who took it and began to chew it. But the flesh became as hard as a knee bone, so that she spat it out.

It is reported that al‑Halls ibn `Alqamah saw Abu Sufyan on a horse stabbing Hamzah's corpse in the mouth with a spear. al‑Halls exclaimed: “O people of Ban& Kinanah, look at this man who claims to be the chief of Quraysh ‑ look at what he is doing to his cousin who has become dead flesh!” Abu Sufyan repeated as he did so, “Taste death, you rebel! ” He then said to al‑Hails: “You are right; it is a grave fault which I have committed. Keep it a secret.”

Abu Sufyan stood up and called out to some of the Muslims: “Is Ibn Abi Kabshah (that is, the Prophet) still alive? As for ( `Ail) ibn Abi Talib, we see him still standing in his spot.” 'Ali replied: “Yes, by Him Who sent him with the truth, he hears your words!” Abu Sufyan said: “In this battle with you, some mutilation has taken place. By Allah, I neither ordered it nor did I prevent it. Our next appointment with you shall be the time of Badr, next year.” The Messenger of Allah said to `Ali, “Say yes.” “Yes,” `Ali repeated. Abu Sufyan then said to `Ali: “Ibn Qami'ah told me that he had killed Muhammad. But you are more truth­ful and righteous in my sight.” He then went back to his Companions and said: “Take the night as your camel (that is, travel without stopping) and depart.”

The Messenger of Allah then called `Ali and said to him, “Follow them. See where they are going. If you see them riding their horses and leading the camels, it means that they will go to Medina. But if they are riding their camels and leading the horses, that means that they are going to Mecca.” It is also reported that the Prophet sent Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, who returned and said: “I saw the horses beating around with their tails tied behind and being led by camels, and the men all riding on camels” (i.e., readying for travel and not for war). The Muslims were glad to see their enemies gone, and scattered about to look for their dead.

Every corpse was mutilated except that of Hanzalah ibn Abi `Amir whose father was with the Associators; thus he was spared for him. They found Hamzah with his stomach split open, his nose and ears cut off and his liver taken away. When the Messenger of Allah saw him in this condition, he was choked with tears and said: “I shall mutilate seventy men of Quraysh ! ” But Allah sent down:

If you punish, then punish in the same manner as you were punished (Qur'an. 16:126) .

The Prophet then said: “I would rather be patient.” He then asked: “Who is that man whom the angels are washing on the side of the mountain?” They answered: “Here is his wife”, and she said: “He left the house impure through sexual intercourse.” This was Hanzalah ibn Abi `Amir, who was known thereafter as `the washed one'.

Aban reported further on the authority of Abu Ja'far (the fifth Imam, Muhammad al‑Baqir ‑ a. s.) who said: “A man called Quzman ibn al‑Harith al‑`Absi (the Hypocrite concerning whom the Messenger of Allah said, `Allah shall strengthen this religion with a reprobate man') was men­tioned to the Apostle of Allah, who said, `He is of the people of the Fire.' Someone came to the Messenger of Allah and told him that Quzman was martyred. He observed: `Allah does whatever He wills.' Again, someone came and told him that Quzman had killed himself. The Prophet exclaimed: `I bear witness that I am the Apostle of Allah.' ”

It is reported that Quzman fought valiantly and killed six or seven of the Associators. When he was finally incapaci­tated by his wounds, he was carried to the quarter of the tribe of Zafar. The Muslims said to him: “Be of good cheer, O Quzman for you have done well today! ” He replied: “Of what do you bring me such glad tidings? By Allah I did not fight except for the sake of my people's noble genealogies; had it not been for this, I would have never fought! ” Thus, when his wounds had become too painful to bear, he took a sharp arrow from his quiver with which he killed himself.

It is also reported that a woman of the Banu'n‑Najjar whose father, husband and brother were killed with the Apostle of Allah, approached the Messenger of Allah while the Muslims stood all around him. She asked a man: “Can I greet the Messenger of Allah and gaze upon him?” “Yes”, he answered. The people made room for her, and she came close to him and said: “Every calamity is light since you have returned safe and sound;” having said this, she went away.

After burying the dead, the Messenger returned to Medina. As he passed the quarters of the `Abdu'l-Ashhal and Zafar tribes, he heard the women mourning their dead. The eyes of the Messenger of Allah were filled with tears. He wept saying: “But there are no women mourning for Hamzah today! ” When Sa'd ibn Mu'adh and Usayd ibn Hudayr heard this, they said: “Let no woman mourn over her loved one until Fatimah comes and aids her.” Thus when the Messenger of Allah heard the wail raised for Hamzah, as he stood by Fatimah at the door of the Mosque he addressed the women saying: “Return, may Allah have mercy upon you. You have indeed consoled us with your grief.”

The Battle Of Hamra'u'l-Asad

The Battle of hamra'u'l‑Asad (a place about eight miles distance from Medina) took place immediately after that of Uhud. Aban ibn `Uthman reported that the day after the Battle of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah called upon the Muslims to prepare for battle. They all responded, even though they had suffered much pain and many wounds in the previous battle. 'Ali preceded him with the banner of the Immigrants until they reached Hamra'u'l-Asad. But they all returned to Medina without fighting. These were :

Those who answered the call of Allah after they had been afflicted with wounds (Qur'an. 3:172) .

Abu Sufyan departed and came to a place called ar­-Rawhd', where he remained intending to return and again attack the Messenger of Allah. He said: “Now that we have killed their great warriors, if we return we shall be able to exterminate them!” He met a man called Ma'bad al‑Khuza'i, whom he asked: “What news have you, O Ma'bad?” He answered: “By Allah, I left Muhammad and his people burning with the passion of war against you! 'Ali ibn Abi Talib has come leading the men. All those who deserted him before have now rejoined his forces. This has inspired me to compose some verses.” Abu Sufyan asked: “What did you recite?” “I recited: ”, Ma'bad answered.

My mount came, nigh collapsing from all the clamor,
When the ground was covered with flocks of warring vultures.
You shall fight with noble lions, not cowards,

  • 1. See Qur'an 7:73 ‑ 78; .54:23 ‑ 31 and 91:11‑15.
  • 2. Al‑Waqidi, Muhammad ibn `Umar ibn Waqid, Kitabu 'l-Maghazi, ed. B. Marsten Jones, 3 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), vol. 1, pp. 197‑8.
  • 3. Aban ibn `Uthman (commonly known as “al‑Ahmar”), was a traditionist contemporary with the sixth and seventh Imams and resident in Kufah and Basrah. See as‑Sayyid Abu 'l-Qasim al‑Musawi al‑Khui, Mu'jam Rijali 'l-Hadith, 23 vols., 3rd ed. (Beirut, 1403/1983), vol. 1, pp. 157 ‑ 64; al‑A'lam, 10 vols. 3rd ed. (Beirut, 1389/1969), vol. 1, p. 21.

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