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The Battle of Uhud


category: History & Biographies


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"As for those who heard the call of Allah and His Messenger after the harm befell them (in the fight); for such of them as do right and ward off (evil), there is great reward,

"Those unto whom men said: Lo! the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them, (the threat of danger) but increased the faith of them and they cried; Allah is sufficient for us! Most excellent is He in whom we trust!

"So they returned with grace and favor from Allah, and no harm touched. They followed the good pleasure of Allah and Allah is of infinite bounty.

"It is only the devil who would make (men) fear his partisans. Fear them not; Fear Me, if you are true believers." [Qur'an 3:172-75]


The battle of Uhud was no doubt a temporary defeat for the Muslims. But it cannot be considered a decisive victory of the Pagans, especially that they failed to take full advantage of their initial triumph in it and withdrew from the encounter at an untimely moment while they could have turned their preliminary success to a decisive victory. The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) managed to leave the battleground with relatively minimal losses not exceeding 10% of his forces. However, his army learned useful lessons which proved to be very productive and decisive in the following days.


1. It was made clear that victory in the battle was not dependent on the number of soldiers available. The Muslims triumphed in Badr and failed in Uhud, in spite of the fact that the proportion of the pagan army supremacy was almost the same in both battles.

2. Another essential was also clarified and that was the importance of purifying the ranks from hypocrites and people with weak faith. The withdrawal of Abdullah Ibn Abi Salul was a lesson that could not be forgotten by Muslims in the distant future. Thus we will realize that Abu Bakr did not anymore allow apostates after the passing away of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to take part in any armed conquest.

3. The battle taught the Muslims that the laws of life are fixed: When they applied the fundamentals which lead to victory, they attain victory; when they do not take these keys seriously, they lose. This is one of God's laws in the universe, and it is a fixed law.

4. It also taught the Muslims the importance of military discipline and abiding to the instructions of the leader under all circumstances. It was made clear to the Muslims that the first reason of their defeat was the laxity of the archers in executing the orders. This deprived the rear side of the Muslim army from protection and enabled Khaled ibn al Walid and company to encircle them.

Many Quranic verses were revealed concerning the battle of Uhud including the lessons that can be drawn from it. (See for example Al-Imran: 121 - 122, 152).


In the third year after Hijrah, the tribes of ‘Adal and Qara sent an embassador to the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) asking for scholars who could be sent to teach them the rudiments of faith. The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) sent six of his companions who included ‘Asim b. Thabith, Khubayb b. ‘Adiy and Zayd b. Dathinna. When this party reached Ar-Raji,a place between ‘Usfan and Makkah, the two tribes treacherously fell on them. The Muslims took out their swords to fight against them but the assailants swore by God that they would not kill them. Three of the six Muslims replied that they could not accept any undertaking given by the pagans; so they fought and were killed. The remaining three, Zayd, Khubayb and ‘Abdallah b. Tariq surrendered. The last companion temporarily escaped during the return trip, but was later killed by one of the polytheists, while the remaining two were sold to the Quraish. Hujayr b. Abu Ihab bought Khubayb to vindicate his father Ihab and Zayd was purchased by Safawan b. Umayya to avenge the loss of Umayya b. Khalaf.

When Zayd was taken out for execution, a number of the Quraish including Abu Sufyan gathered to witness the barbaric spectacle. Abu Sufyan asked Zayd, "Verily, for God's sake, O Zayd, don't you wish that Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had now been in your place and you with your family?" "By God," replied Zayd, "I don't wish Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to be hurt even by a thorn while I should be in sweet repose with my family." Thereupon Abu Sufyan remarked: "I have never seen any man so much adored as Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is held by his companions." Zayd was killed after that. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 169-76, Bukhari, Kitab Ul-Maghazi).

Then they brought Khubayb to crucify him. He asked his executioners to allow him to offer two rak'ats of prayer. Having performed the prayers in complete tranquility, Khubayb said to them, "Were it not that you would think I only extended my prayer out of fear of death, I would have prolonged my prayer." Then he recited these verses:

"I fear not which side I fall apart; It's all for God who will bless the limbs that had taken part." Khubayb was striken dead with the song of love on his lips. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 174, Ibn Kathir, Vol. III, p. 123-25).


Another act of treachery took place shortly thereafter. A tribal chief, ‘Amir b. Malik, was interested to have the doctrines of Islam explained to his people. The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) sent 70 persons, some of whom were his eminent companions, but when they reached the place called Bi'r Ma'una, the tribesmen of Banu Sulayman, Usayya, Ri'l and Dhakwan ambushed the delegation. The Muslims fought bravely and all but one was killed. K'ab b. Zayd returned to tell the story. He died in the Battle of the Trenches. (Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 186).


One of the Muslims who was killed treacherously on this occasion was Haram b. Milhan. The words uttered by him at the time of his death brought about the conversion of his killer Jabbar b. Salma to Islam. Jabbar used to relate later on that what led him to accept Islam was that he attacked a man with his spear and when the man saw the tip of his spear coming out if his chest, he heard him crying, "By the Lord of K'abah, I have succeeded!" Jabbar further says that he wondered what sort of success it was. Had he not killed the man? Jabbar enquired from others who told him that the man had meant martyrdom and thus he was convinced that his victim had truly been successful. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 187)


The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) approached Banu an-Nadir to demand a contribution to be paid as blood money to Bani ‘Amir since two men had been killed invadvertently by the lone survivor of Bi'r Man'ua. Banu An-Nadir, being one of the two influential tribes of the Jews that settled in Madeenah was in alliance with Bani ‘Amir and was thus liable to pay such. They feigned willingness to accept the demand with pleasure, but busied themselves plotting against the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). While the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was asked to make himself comfortable by the side of a wall in one of their houses, they couselled one another, saying; "Never would we get such a golden chance. If one of us drops a rock on him from the top of the house, we shall all get rid of him." Abu Bakr, ‘Ali and ‘Umar and a few more companions were with the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) on this occasion.

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