Muhammad, the Apostle of God, though safe under the protection of his uncle, Abu Talib, was not immune from harassment by the polytheists. Whenever they found an opportunity to pester him, they didn't miss it. On one occasion Abu Jahl found him alone, and used much vulgar and offensive language toward him. The same evening when his uncle, Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib, came home from a hunting expedition, his slave-girl recounted to him the tale of Abu Jahl's gratuitous insolence toward Muhammad and the latter's forbearance, of which she had been an eye-witness.
Hamza was a warrior, a hunter and a sportsman, and was little interested in the day-to-day affairs of the city. But Abu Jahl's conduct toward his nephew so roused his anger that he seized his bow, and went into the assembly of the Quraysh where he (Abu Jahl) was reviewing the events of the day to his compeers. Hamza struck him on his head with his bow, causing it to bleed, and said: "I too have become a Muslim."
This was a challenge to Abu Jahl but he figured that silence was the better part of valor, and did not tangle with Hamza, even restraining his friends who wished to rise in his defense.
Muhammad's uncle, Hamza, a man of his own age, was reputed to be the strongest and most active of the Quraysh, their champion in war and sports. He spent most of his time hunting in the hills. One day when he returned from the chase with his bow swinging from his shoulder, his slave-girl told him how Abu Jahl had heaped abuse on his nephew's head.
Hamza found himself at the end of all patience. He liked Muhammad, although he did not understand him (sic). He went on the run to the mosque, where he saw Abu Jahl sitting among his friends. He lifted his heavy bow and gave a great bang on his head with it. ‘Will you insult him when I join his religion?' he shouted, flexing his great muscles under the noses of the Quraysh.
Hamza became a Muslim, and this put teeth into the faith. Some of the Quraysh were more careful about calling Muhammad a poet. (Muhammad, the Messenger of God, 1975)
Hamza became a devout Muslim and a champion of Islam. He was the comrade-in-arms of his other nephew, Ali, and it were both of them who killed most of the leaders of the Quraysh in the battle of Badr, to be fought a few years later.
In the battle of Uhud, Hamza killed the second standard-bearer of the pagans, and when they charged the Muslim line, he plunged into their midst. He was hacking his way through their ranks when he was struck by a javelin hurled by Wahshi, an Abyssinian slave. Wahshi was engaged for this very purpose, by Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan and the mother of Muawiya, and by another idolater of Makkah. Hamza fell on the ground and died immediately.
After the rout of the Muslims that day, Hinda and the other harpies from Makkah, mutilated the bodies of the slain Muslims. She cut open Hamza's abdomen, plucked out his liver, and chewed it up. She also cut his nose, ears, hands and feet, strung them into a "necklace," and entered Makkah wearing it as a trophy of war.
Muhammad Mustafa was deeply aggrieved at the death and at the mutilation of the body of such a stalwart of Islam as Hamza. He bestowed upon him the titles of the "Lion of God," and the "Chief of the Martyrs."
Hamza accepted Islam in the fifth year of the Proclamation.