How Muslims Lost Ground
Several flag bearers of the Quraysh fell dead one after another, but each time a valiant person from their rank picked it up and raised it high. When a person from the Quraysh called Sawaab took the flag in his hands, he was attacked in such a way that he lost both hands. But he could not bear to see the flag falling; he threw himself down to the ground and supported the flag by his chest. These were his last words: “I have fulfilled my duty.” The flag lay fallen this way for a while. Seeing it, a brave woman from the Quraysh, ‘Amra bint ‘Alqama, advanced and raised it high. The Quraysh assembled again and decided to remain steadfast in the battle. (Seerat Ibn Katheer, 3: 43, Tabri, 3: 65, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 78.)
Abu ‘Aamir was fighting from the side of the disbelievers, but his son Hazrat Hanzala had accepted Islam and was a soldier in the Muslim army. Hanzala asked the Prophet (PBUH) for permission to challenge his father in the battlefield, but the merciful Prophet (PBUH) did not allow a son to raise his sword against his father. Hazrat Hanzala then attacked Abu Sufyan, the commander of the Quraysh, and was about to put him to death when Shaddad bin Al-Aswad suddenly appeared from the side, took Hazrat Hanzala’s sword on his shield, and killed him. In general, the Muslims were prevailing. ( Mustadrak Haakim,3: 225, Tabri, 3: 69.) The Qurayshi women who were singing war songs to encourage their soldiers stepped back in confusion and the disheartened soldiers of the Quraysh started retreating.
But then the Muslims began to collect the booty. The archers posted to guard the Muslim army from behind also ran down to join in collecting the booty. Although ‘Abdullah bin Jubayr, the leader of the archers, tried to stop them from leaving the post, they did not listen to him. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Ghazwae Uhud.) Finding that the Muslim army was unprotected from behind, Khalid attacked from that side. ‘Abdullah bin Jubayr and a few of his soldiers who had stayed with him, fought valiantly, but all of them lost their lives. As there was no hurdle now for Khalid and his soldiers, he and his horsemen launched a fierce attack on the Muslims. The Muslims were engaged in collecting the booty while the cavalry of the Quraysh fell upon them from behind. In confusion, the Muslims were struck with the swords of the Muslims. ( Tabri 3: 63, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 78. ) Ibn Qam`iya killed Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr who resembled the Prophet (PBUH) very much. (Tabri, 3: 66, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 73.)The thrust of the disbelievers was so strong that most of the Companions were forced to leave their positions. The disbelievers surrounded the Prophet (PBUH) and injured him. He received injuries in the face: two pointed pieces of his helmet (Mighfar) pierced in his face and his tooth from the bottom row was broken (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi.) He was attacked from all sides. He fell into a ditch. Hazrat ‘Ali held him by hand and Hazrat Talha picked him up in his lap. (Zadul Ma’ad, 3: 197, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 80.)
In this state of confusion the rumor spread that the Prophet (PBUH) was martyred. The news stunned the Muslims, and they stood in shock wherever they were (Tabri, 3: 68. )Hazrat Anas saw a group of Muslims who had laid their arms aside and were sitting aside in sadness. He asked them what they were doing there. They replied that the Prophet (PBUH) was martyred. Hazrat Anas® told them, “Then what will you do by staying alive? Rise and lay your lives for the mission for which the Prophet (PBUH) has sacrificed his life.” Then, pointing at them, he prayed, “O Allah! I detach myself from this act of theirs, and dissociate myself from the deeds of the polytheists.” He then advanced toward the battlefield. On the way he met S’ad bin Mu’az and told him, “S’ad! I smell the fragrance of paradise from the other side of the Mount Uhud.” Saying this, he attacked the disbelievers fiercely and was martyred. He had received more than eighty wounds at his body due to which it was difficult to identify him. His sister identified him with the help of a mark on his finger. (PBUH) During the battle a Muhajir passed by an Ansari who was lying injured on the ground drenched in blood. The Muhajir told him that the Prophet (PBUH) was martyred. Hearing it, the Ansari responded, “If he met martyrdom, he reached his goal. You should also lay your life for your religion.” (Seerat Ibn Katheer, 3: 61.)
Companions’ Steadfastness and Love for the Prophet
The distinguished Companions did not yield. They kept on fighting, but their eyes were searching the Prophet (PBUH) in the battlefield. First of all Ka’ab bin Maalik saw the Prophet (PBUH) As the Prophet (PBUH) was wearing an iron helmet (Mighfar) due to which his face was covered, Ka’ab recognized him by his eyes. He immediately called out aloud, “O Muslims! The Prophet (PBUH) is here.” Hearing it, the Companions rushed in that direction.(Tabri, 3: 67, Seerat Ibn Katheer, 3: 68.)The disbelievers also concentrated in that area and tried to reach the Prophet (PBUH) marching toward him in groups, one after another. Hazrat Talha fought with them single-handed and pushed them back. The enemies shot volleys of arrows. Hazrat Abu Dujana shielded the Prophet (PBUH) with his body. Arrows were piercing into his back, but he took them patiently to protect the Prophet (PBUH) from injury. (Tabri, 3: 66.)
At one point the disbelievers launched a very serious attack on the Prophet (PBUH) The Prophet (PBUH) asked aloud, “Who will push them back and win paradise?” There were seven Ansar around him at that time. Valiantly, they faced the advancing enemies and laid their lives, one after another, but they did not let any disbeliever come close to the Prophet (PBUH) ( Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Jihad was Siyar, Bab Ghazwae Uhud. ) Hazrat Talha shielded the Prophet (PBUH) with his hand and took the arrows shot at the Prophet (PBUH) on his hand, due to which his hand became numb. ( Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi. ) While the disbelievers were shooting arrows at the Prophet (PBUH) he was uttering these memorable words: “O Lord! Forgive my people, for they don’t realize” (what they are doing).” (Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Jihad was Siyar, Bab Ghazwae Uhud.)
Hazrat Talha kept on fighting till he succumbed to injuries and fell down. When the Companions returned to the Prophet (PBUH) he asked them to look for Talha who was in serious condition. The Companions found that he had received ten injuries, or more. Hazrat ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Awf had also received more than twenty wounds in the battle. (Mustadrak Haakim, 3: 348, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 83.)Hazrat Abu Talha who was a famous archer had shot arrows in such a large number that two or three bows had broken down in his hands. He had covered the face of the Prophet (PBUH) with his shield. Whenever the Prophet (pbuh) looked out at the enemies from behind the shield, he told him, “Don’t raise your head. An arrow may hit you. My chest is here to receive arrows at it for you.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Gazwae Uhud, Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Jihad was Siyar, Bab Ghazwatun Nisa` ma’a Rijaal. ) S’ad bin Waqqas was also a famous archer. The Prophet(PBUH) gave him his quiver and said, “May my parents be a sacrifice for you! Keep on shooting arrows.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Ghazwae Uhud. )At another critical juncture when the enemies posed a serious threat to the Prophet (PBUH),he asked, “Who is ready to sacrifice his life for me?” Zeyad bin Sakan advanced with five men from Ansar, each of whom sacrificed his life to protect him. Hazrat Zeyad was picked up and brought to the Prophet (PBUH) in the last moments of his life. He put his head on the feet of the Prophet (PBUH) and breathed his last. (Tabri, 3: 65-66, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2 81.)
A Muslim was eating dates to satisfy his hunger while the battle was going on. He asked the Prophet (PBUH),“If I am killed, where shall I be, O Prophet of Allah (PBUH)?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “In paradise.” Full of enthusiasm, he charged the disbelievers and laid his life fighting with them. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Ghazwae Uhud. )In the midst of action, when at one point only a few Companions were with the Prophet (PBUH) Umme ‘Omara, a lady, came forward and shielded the Prophet (PBUH) from the front. She defended the Prophet (pbuh) from the enemies with her sword and arrows. When Ibn Qami`a reached close to the Prophet (pbuh), she stepped forward to stop him. He struck her with a sword, which injured her in the shoulder and left a deep scar there. She also hit him with a sword, but as he was wearing two armors, he remained unhurt. (Seerat Ibn Katheer, 3: 67, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 81-82.)
Fully covered with armor, Ubay bin Khalaf advanced toward the Prophet (pbuh). He was saying that he was doomed if the Prophet (pbuh) was not put to death in the battle. In Makkah he had pledged that he would kill the Prophet (PBUH) As only his collarbone was exposed under the armor he was wearing, the Prophet (PBUH) struck him with a lance at it. He fell off the horse and started yelling in pain like an ox. His associates picked him up and consoled him by saying that the wound he had received was a mere scratch. But he kept on wailing and replied that in Makkah the Prophet (PBUH) had told him that he would kill him. He complained that his wound was giving him so much pain that if it were distributed over the people of the village of Zulmajaaz, all of them would get killed due to its intensity. Ubay bin Khalaf died at Rabegh while he was on the way to Makkah. (Tabri, 3: 67, Seerat Ibn Katheer, 3: 69, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 84.)
The Companions gathered around the Prophet (pbuh) from all sides. A pointed edge of the iron head cover that he was wearing had pierced in his face. Hazrat Abu Bakr says that he wanted to pull it out, but Abu ‘Ubayda requested him on oath that he be given the chance to do the job. He started pulling it out slowly with his teeth so that it did not hurt the Prophet (PBUH) .The sharp edge of the iron head cover came out, but with it also came out the tooth of Abu ‘Ubayda. Abu Bakr then came forward to pull out the second edge of the chain, but Abu ‘Ubayda held him back on oath again and he pulled out the second pointed edge from the face of the Prophet (PBUH) the same way, in which effort he lost another tooth. (Mustadrak Haakim, 3: 29, Kitabul Maghazi as Siyar. )Maalik bin Sanaan Ansari sucked the blood from the face of the Prophet (PBUH).The Prophet (pbuh) asked him to spit it out, but he refused. When they proceeded from that place, the Prophet (PBUH) commented, “If anybody wishes to see a resident of paradise, he may see him.” (Mustadrak Haakim, 3: 65, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 2: 80.)
The rumor of the Prophet’s death had reached Madinah. The loving people of the city became restless and rushed toward the battlefield. When Hazrat Fatma Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH),saw him, his face was still bleeding. Hazrat ‘Ali® brought some water and Hazrat Fatma washed the wound, but the bleeding did not stop. She then burned a piece of mat and put the ashes over the wound. The bleeding stopped immediately. ( Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab ma Asaban Nabi minal Jarah Yaumul Uhud. Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Jihad was Siyar, Bab Ghazwae Uhud. ) He wanted to climb over a rock, but he could not due to weakness. Hazrat Talha sat down and offered his body as stepping stone for him to climb the rock. (Mustadrak Haakim, 3: 28, Kitabul Maghazi was Siyar. )When the time of Salah approached, the Prophet (PBUH) offered prayers in sitting posture. (Zadul Ma’ad, 3: 197, Seerat Ibn Hisham, 7: 86-87.)
In this very battle (in which the Prophet, pbuh, had himself received several injuries), the Companions requested him to pray for the destruction of the polytheists. But the Prophet (pbuh) replied,
“I have not been sent to curse people. I have been sent to call them toward Allah and be a source of blessings for them. ‘O Allah! Bless my people with guidance, for they don’t know me.’” (Rahmatullil-‘Aalameen, 1: 111, reference Ash-Shifa` by Qazi ‘Ayaaz, p. 47.)
The Prophet (PBUH) climbed a hill with his Companions to avoid the enemies. Abu Sufyan saw them and tried to go after them. But as Hazrat ‘Umar and some other Companions threw stones on Abu Sufyan and his soldiers, they gave up the chase. ( Seeart Ibn Katheer, 3: 45. ) Abu Sufyan climbed another adjacent hill and called out if the Prophet (pbuh) was around and listening. The Prophet (PBUH) forbade his Companions to reply. Abu Sufyan then called out the names of Hazrat Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. When none of them replied, he commented, “So all of them are killed.” Hazrat ‘Umar could not resist replying, “O enemy of Allah! We all are alive.” Abu Sufyan shouted,
- “May Hebal remain exalted!”
- The Companions called back,
- “Allah is exalted and great!”
- Abu Sufyan shouted,
“We have ‘Uzza to support us while you do not have one like ‘Uzza!”
The Companions called back, “Allah is our Lord and you don’t have a lord!”
Abu Sufyan said, “Today is the day of revenge for Badr. Our soldiers have mutilated the dead on your side by chopping off their nose and ears. I had not commanded them to do so, but when I learned about it, I did not feel sorry about it either.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Maghazi, Bab Ghazwae Uhud.)
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