Battle Of Uhud
When the Quraish of Mecca suffered a terrible defeat and their leaders, like Abu Jahl were killed, there arose among them a passion for revenge. Thus, the very next year of Badr, the infidels of Quraish marched to Medina in a state of great preparedness. From here, the Holy Prophet (S) took with himself the Emigrants (Muhajireen) and Helpers (Ansar) from Medina and came out to confront them. The armies of Islam and the Quraish faced each other besides Mount Uhud. Abu Sufyan was the leader of infidel army, because his sons and relatives were put to sword by Ali (a.s.) in the Battle of Badr; that is why he arranged the battalions painstakingly.
The Quraish women also accompanied their army, playing instruments of war music and singing war songs to instigate the Quraish army and to encourage it to take the revenge of those slain in Badr. The chief of these female Satans was Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan about whom Hakim Sinai had written a Persian couplet. When the battle began, the Islamic army had the upper hand but they soon busied themselves in collecting war booty.1
The Muslims had forgotten the instructions of the Holy Prophet (S). That is, he had instructed fifty archers to remain at the mouth of the valley, but when the booty was being gathered, they left their positions and jumped into the field to collect their share of booty fearing that they would be deprived of it. Quraish saw these changed circumstances and they collected their remaining men and launched a fresh attack on the Islamic army. The army of Muslims was taken by surprise and most of them fled the battlefield including Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, such that there was no sign of them. (We shall discuss in detail the flight of these three later in this book).
Only the Emigrants of Bani Hashim, who were the relatives of the Prophet, remained firm on the battlefield. In the same way, the Helpers also remained rooted there and continued to encourage each other. The writer of Madarijun Nubuwwah, Shaykh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlavi, writes: “When the Muslims suffered defeat, they left the Prophet alone and fled from the battlefield. (What a faith these people had!). At that moment, the Prophet became angry and perspiration flowed from his forehead. When he looked besides him, he saw Ali (a.s.) firm at his position. He asked Ali (a.s.) why he had not fled with his brothers? Ali (a.s.) replied: “There cannot be disbelief after belief. Indeed, I am having the power with you.”2
This shows that in the view of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), deserting Holy Prophet (S) in the battlefield was equal to disbelief. According to the writer, it seems appropriate to ask how can those who flee from the Holy Prophet (S) in such circumstances be considered believers? To call them of perfect faith is to degrade faith itself. Anyway, at that time, a group of infidels attacked the Holy Prophet (S). The Prophet asked Ali (a.s.) to defend him from the attackers, and serve him as it was wont to serve.
Since it was the time to serve as per the command of the Holy Prophet (S), Ali (a.s.) turned to the attackers and dispersed them in a swift manner sending an infidel to Hell. After this, the praised traditionalist says that when Ali (a.s.) performed this feat, the Holy Prophet (S) said regarding Ali (a.s.): “Indeed, he is from me and I am from him.” And Jibraeel (a.s.) said: “I am from both of you.”3 The writer further says that an unseen voice was heard: ‘Laa Fatha illa Ali, Laa Sayf illa Zulfiqar’ (There is no victor except Ali (a.s.) and there is no sword except Zulfiqar).4
He also writes that the following supplication: Naade A’liyyan Maz’harul Ajaaibi Tajidho Aunallaka Finnawaaibi Kulli Hammin wa Ghammin Sayanjali. Bi A’liyyin, bi A’liyyin, bi A’liyyin, bi A’liyyin.5 [Call Ali, the one who shows extraordinary wonders of God. You shall find him a helper in every difficulty and calamity. By Ali! By Ali! By Ali!] was revealed in the Battle of Uhud. The statement of the traditionist shows that these four sentences are revealed words and they were not the words of a human being, they are the words of Allah, which were revealed for Ali (a.s.).
Glory be to Allah, what a pure personality Ali (a.s.) had, and how he was the true helper of Islam and one who risked his life for the Holy Prophet (S). How he saved Islam from destruction in Badr and became the savior of Prophet’s life in Uhud. He routed the enemies of the Holy Prophet (S). O people who like the truth. Is there any other person who has such an achievement to his credit in the service of the Prophet? Is it just to consider at par a person who did not care for his life in defending the Prophet to those who were accustomed to flee from the battlefield? Shall we not consider this person fit for the successorship of the Prophet?
How can such a person be considered inferior and the one who fled be considered superior? If you consider this with justice, you would definitely agree that cowards who flee the battlefield cannot be true successors of the Messenger of Allah (S). Even though people may have accepted them as Caliphs, such people cannot be Caliphs of Prophet or be Imams.
Every just person will agree that deserting a friend in times of peril is indeed an act of cowardice. Whatever people may call such cowards is appropriate. But what could be said regarding those who left the Prophet in such circumstances? Or tried to avoid risking their lives in defense of the Messenger of Allah (S). Without doubt, these people do not deserve to be called the people of perfect faith. Over and above, Ali (a.s.) is considered inferior to these people and the distinguishing qualities and unsurpassable feats are ignored.
Books of history and biography state that 65 to 70 people from the Muslim army were martyred, out of which 61 were from the Helpers (Ansar). Only 3 or 4 Emigrants (Muhajireen) were killed and they were from the relatives of the Prophet. None of the ordinary Emigrants (Muhajireen) were injured or killed. We should understand the faith and loyalty of Emigrants (Muhajireen) from this. Leave alone common people, who can be more distinguished than the trio of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. But these too followed the laymen of Emigrants and fled the battlefield.
Apparently, it seems that except for Holy Prophet (S), the Bani Hashim and the Helpers, none of the Emigrants participated in battles. This was an account of Badr and Uhud; the same condition is seen in the later wars also. The most tragic event of this battle is the martyrdom of Mir Hamza. His martyrdom was a great tragedy for the Holy Prophet (S). He was a great supporter and helper of the army of Allah and he sacrificed his life in utmost bravery for Islam; Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.
A terrible incident is recorded in history in connection with this battle. It is that after Hamza fell, Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, cut out his liver and chewed upon it. She dismembered his ears and nose and made a garland of them and wore them around her unclean neck. This evil deed of Hind shows what type of a woman she was.
Also it shows the level of degradation of the tribe of which she was a member. This woman was from Bani Umayyah and Bani Umayyah was a tribe of Quraish notorious for cheating, murder, killing, drinking and adultery. The Holy Prophet (S) despised this clan greatly and his hatred of them continued till he passed away.
Thus, Imran Ibn Husayn has related that the Messenger of Allah (S) passed away hating three tribes: Saqif, Bani Hanifah and Bani Umayyah. Shah writes in his Sharh that the Messenger of Allah (S) had a dream in which he saw monkeys jumping on his pulpit and he explained his dream that the monkeys denoted Bani Umayyah. This indeed became a reality after he passed away from the world. Bani Umayyah became powerful by their machinations and intrigue. Shaam (Syria) came under their control and later they controlled all the Islamic lands. They continued to rule from the Prophet’s pulpit in a blatant way.
What a pity that a tribe which the Messenger of Allah (S) had weakened and routed in his lifetime, regained its strength and also became much more powerful after his death. If only this tribe had been prevented from gaining power. If this tribe had been left in its degraded state, neither Ali (a.s.) had been troubled nor the Bani Hashim subjected to mental and physical torture and neither Miqdad and other supporters of Ali (a.s.) suffered insults, nor Talha and Zubair had gone back from their allegiance, or ‘A’ysha had fought the Battle of Jamal, or ‘A’ysha had been killed by being thrown into a well, or Imam Hasan had been poisoned, nor Imam Husayn had been martyred in the desert of Karbala’, nor the sons of Imam (a.s.) had been killed in a cruel manner. Or the inmates of harem had been taken out as prisoners through the streets of Kufa and Shaam. Doubtlessly, the empowerment of Bani Umayyah was very harmful to Muslims. Bani Hashim were made to pay for the Battle of Badr and Uhud.
Here the writer wishes to ask as to who it was who injected a new life into Bani Umayyah? The reply to this question is obviously that Abu Bakr and Umar were foremost in this regard. It is also confirmed beyond any doubt that Ali (a.s.) did not let Bani Umayyah near him. Apparently, Ali (a.s.) could not have any truck with a clan that the Messenger of Allah (S) had disliked all his life. If Ali (a.s.) had done so, the blame of the tragedy of Karbala’ would have been upon Ali (a.s.), because this tragedy was the consequence of promoting Bani Umayyah.
In this battle, only thirty infidels were killed, nine of whom were their standard bearers, who fell to the sword of Zulfiqar one by one. Twelve more were slain by the Lion of Allah. As for the remaining nine, some of them were dispatched to Hell by Hamza and rest were slain by the Helpers (Ansar). The Emigrants (Muhajireen) other than Bani Hashim are not known to have killed anyone in this battle. It is obvious that when they had no interest in an armed struggle, how could they be expected to kill the infidels? They were often seen fleeing from the battlefield. Flight from the battlefield was not cowardice according to them! There is no strength and power except by Allah.
It seems that these Emigrants (Muhajireen) were having a great foresight. They neither killed nor were killed. But we should know that valor is the best quality and all the good deeds are rooted in it. It is such a quality that bestows honor upon the one who possesses it; as a companion of the Holy Prophet (S) had recited a couplet in this battle. Cowardice has degradation and there is greatness in facing the enemy, and the coward cannot survive fate by his cowardice.
It is clear for all that those who fled from the battle escaped with their lives but the steadfastness of Ali (a.s.) remained intact till the end. Ali (a.s.) says that even though he had received sixteen wounds in that battle and was feeling dizzy, “Someone used to catch hold of my hand and make me stand up again and I continued to fight in this way.”
The Holy Prophet (S) hearing this, said that it was Jibraeel who helped him thus,6 this battle was won by Ali (a.s.) and it was this same steadfastness of his regarding which the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.”7
The Holy Prophet (S) has also said similarly by which one can perceive the limits of greatness and high position of Ali (a.s.). Holy Prophet (S) addressed Ali (a.s.) and said:
“O Abul Hasan! If all the good deeds of creation and their beliefs are kept on one side of the balance and your deeds in other, yours shall be heavier. Indeed, Allah has praised your deeds. This day all angels of the sky and the curtains of the heavens were lifted and Paradise itself used to look at you with interest. And the Lord of the world was pleased by your deed. He shall reward you in such a way that even the prophets and the martyrs shall vie it.”8
People of justice should see that this one tradition has bestowed such a great status to Ali (a.s.) in comparison to all the creation of Allah. Holy Prophet (S) has said thus, but the opponents of Ali (a.s.) consider him inferior to the three Caliphs. First of all, one who flees has no right to claim preference over those who do not run away, and that also in comparison to such a valiant warrior about whom the Holy Prophet (S) has said that his deeds are heavier than deeds of all creatures together.
Those who do not pay attention to such sayings of the Holy Prophet (S) are indeed a strange kind of Muslims. Such people have regarded only the love of three Caliphs to be faith, and in this blind devotion, neither can they see the merits of Ali (a.s.) nor are they capable to take note of the sayings of Allah and the Messenger of Allah (S).
Such bigots say that the Almighty Allah has condemned in Quran those who fled from the Battle of Uhud. There is no doubt that Divine Mercy had been instrumental in this regard, but the discussion here is how this condemnation enables the fleeing people to gain a meritorious position? How could this be considered an achievement, while all that is obvious from this verse is unlimited Mercy of Allah? How can it show a praiseworthy quality of people who ran way from the battlefield? It is beyond human understanding. An absconder is an absconder forever, even though Allah has overlooked his act of escapism.
If we read this verse carefully, we shall realize that this forgiveness was for this life alone. That Allah did not make them pigs and monkeys when they deserted the Messenger of Allah (S). It certainly does not imply forgiveness of the Hereafter because the verse has ended on ‘Forgiving, Forbearing’ (Ghafoorun Haleemun). If it had denoted forgiveness of the Hereafter, Allah would have said ‘Forgiving, Merciful’ (Ghafoorun Raheemun).
Many other battles and military engagements took place after the Battle of Uhud but they are not too famous. Books of military expeditions and history indicate that even in those engagements, the sword of Ali (a.s.) was not inactive. The brave one did not fall short in helping the Holy Prophet (S) and in assisting Islam. Thus, in the Battle of Bani Nuzayr, a not so well known battle, Ali (a.s.) slew a great brave infidel. He was such a strong warrior that non-Bani Hashim Emigrants could not have faced him.
We do not know what was the use of these non-Bani Hashim Emigrants. When they did not have the capacity to fight, why they undertook the trouble of migrating to Medina? Wherever you see, you find them bolting from the battlefield. Or even if they remained afield, they did so as accompanying jesters etc. It is indeed surprising that these gentlemen could not exhibit a single act of valor in all the battles of the Prophet. On top of this, some people are not ashamed to give them preference over the Lion of Allah, Ali (a.s.).
Anyway, the Bani Nuzayr had planned to attack the Messenger of Allah (S) in the dead of the night and they had departed from their fort with this aim. His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) understood their evil intentions and went towards them without waiting for the Prophet’s command. The villain had left his high abode and was coming on to slay the Messenger of Allah (S) when Ali (a.s.) intercepted him midway and dispatched him to Hellfire within a few moments.
This incident shows that Ali (a.s.) used to help the Prophet and support Islam even without the Messenger of Allah (S) commanding him. This was the condition of his Jihad in the way of Allah. We request the people of justice to compare this with the behavior of the absconders of Uhud when the Prophet was calling out to them not to flee, but they paid no heed to his pleas.
Allamah Waqidi writes in connection with these gentlemen that on the day of Uhud, these people were fleeing to the heights of Uhud and Holy Prophet (S) was calling them: “Come here so and so, come here so and so, I am the Messenger of Allah (S).” But none of them paid any heed.9 This is also mentioned in Surah Aale Imran:
“When you ran off precipitately and did not wait for anyone, and the Apostle was calling you from your rear.”10
How beautifully Umar has described his flight to the heights of Uhud. He says: “We were jumping on the mountain like mountain goats.” It is obvious that in this jumping and prancing, how he could have heard the call of the Prophet? In any case, this clearly shows the difference between the courage and steadfastness of Ali (a.s.) and the cowardice of these people. On one side, Ali (a.s.) did not even wait for the Prophet to order him to help him and on the
But in any case, Amr Ibn Abde Wudd, Khalid bin Amr bin Abde Wudd, Akrama bin Abu Jahl, and Abdullah bin Mughaira crossed the ditch by spurring their horses.1 The infidels came to the edge of the ditch to watch. Amr Ibn Abde Wudd came to the Medinan side and challenged the forces of Islam. Since none of the Muslim soldiers accepted the challenge, they all remained quiet. Only Ali (a.s.) came out in defense of Islam. However, the Holy Prophet (S) stopped him and asked the Muslim army, if there was anyone who could accept the challenge of this infidel, but no one volunteered.
Seeing this, the Holy Prophet (S) asked what the problem was. On hearing this, Umar said: “Amr Ibn Wudd and I were together in a caravan that was going to Shaam. All of the sudden, the caravan was surrounded by a thousand bandits who began to loot the caravan. On seeing this, Amr Ibn Abde Wudd took out his sword and slew all the bandits in a few moments.” That is the
other side, Abu Bakr and Umar did not listen to the Prophet even when he called them to help him.
Glory be to Allah! What a valor of the ‘Prince of Men’ and what a tremendous strength of faith! Indeed, if the Almighty had not created Ali (a.s.), He would have had to create some other means of strengthening Islam. Apparently, it seems that much of the power that Islam achieved was to the credit of Ali (a.s.). Anyway, after these minor wars, the Battle of the Ditch (Khandaq) took place. It is also referred to as the Battle of the Clans (Ahzab). It is also as famous as the Battle of Badr and the Battle of Uhud.
- 1. Refer to Tarikh Tabari, Pg. 1394, Part III; Sirah Ibn Hisham, Part II Pg. 83; Rauzatul Ahbab; Madarijun Nubuwwah, etc.
- 2. Refer Madarijun Nubuwwah, Vol. 2, Pg. 52; Rauzatul Ahbab, Pg. 77; Rauzatul Safa, Vol. 2, Pg. 51; Marijiun Nubuwwah.
- 3. Refer Tarikh Tabari, Vol. I, Part III, Pg. 402; Kamil of Ibn Athir Vol. 2, Pg 63;
Madarijun Nubuwwah, Vol. 2, Pg. 53.
- 4. Refer Tarikh Tabari, Pg. 402; Sirah Ibn Hisham, Vol. 2, Pg. 92; Matalibus Suool, Pg. 131.
- 5. Ref. Fawate Mibandi, Pg. 412
- 6. Refer Rauzatul Safa, Vol. 2, Pg. 92; Madarijun Nubuwwah, Vol. 2, Pg. 53.
- 7. Surah Saff 61:4
- 8. Refer to Yanabiul Mawaddah, 2nd Edition, Pg. 64
- 9. Refer Maghazi of Waqidi, Pg. 234
- 10. Surah Aale Imran 3:153