Battles in the Quran: Battle of Uhud

The Battle of Uhud, the second major battle in Islam, took place in Shawwal 3 AH near Uhud mountain, just outside the city of Madinah. The Makkans wanted revenge for their defeat a year earlier at Badr.

How did the Battle of Uhud take place?

Following their defeat at the Battle of Badr the previous year, the polytheists of Makkah wanted to once again try and crush the messenger of Allah’s newly built society.

In 3 AH they marched with 3000 well-armed men towards Madinah once more.  When this news reached the Prophet (SAW), he held consultations with the Muslims regarding the expected attack.

‘And (remember) when you, (O Muhammad), left your family in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud) – and Allah is Hearing and Knowing – ‘When two parties among you were about to lose courage, but Allah was their ally, and upon Allah the believers should rely.’

Quran [3:121-122]
Map of the Battle of Uhud
Map of the Battle of Uhud

What happened in the Battle of Uhud?

The Quraish of Makkah marched with 3000 men and hundreds of cavalry, being led by Abu Sufyan. They outnumbered the Muslim army and on paper, looked like they would easily attain a victory.

The Muslim army of 1000 men left for Uhud, situated 5km north of Madinah.  But about 300 of these men, led by Abdullah ibn Ubay turned back and left the Muslim army to fight alone.  Yet the Muslims remained enthusiastic and ready to defend the truth.  Rasulullah (SAW) camped with the Uhud Mountain behind them and assigned 50 archers to man a mountain pass which could be used to stage an attack.

It was 15 Shawwal 3 AH when the two armies met. Initially, the Muslims quickly beat off the Meccans and most of their flag bearers fell, seeing this, most of the archers believed the victory was sealed and came down from the mountain pass, leaving it unguarded.

picture of Mount Uhud
Mount Uhud

Battle of Uhud, change of fortune

This was a direct breach of Muhammed’s SAW orders as they were commanded to stay on top of the mountain pass no matter what. Yet, due to excitement of early victory and success, out of the 50 archers who were placed atop the mountain pass, 40 left their positions to go collect the war booty along with the rest of the army.

There were only 10 archers remaining who obeyed the command completely, however, it wasn’t enough. Khalid bin Walid, who at the time was a commander of a portion of the polytheists army of Makkah, saw this opening, and being the tactful war genius that he was, charged and killed the 10 remaining archers.

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This weakened the Muslim army significantly and became the major turning point of this battle. Khalid bin Walid attacked the rear of the army and this resulted in many sahaba being martyred, including Hadhrat Hamza RA, the beloved uncle of the Prophet SAW. 

Protection of Nabi SAW during the battle

With this sudden change of events, the Muslim army was left confused and this led to so many soldiers retreating and turning their backs to the enemy. Only a handful of the most steadfast and courageous companions remained, putting their own lives on the line to make sure Nabi SAW was not hurt.

Unfortunately, an arrow had struck Muhammed SAW and He fell to the ground. News quickly spread that Muhammed was dead and the Muslims had been defeated. The morale of the few Muslims remaining rapidly depreciated and hope was dwindling.

Then, more news was shouted that Prophet Muhammed SAW was still alive and he had just been injured. This allowed the Muslims to regain their bravery and strength and hope, and continued fighting for their purpose.

How did the Uhud battle end?

The Prophet (SAW) and the Muslims managed to regroup and frustrated the Meccan army’s attempts at full victory, who eventually withdrew and failed to take Madinah city.  About 70 Muslims died on the battlefield that day, but the Prophet never lost his fortitude and patience.

And that He might make evident those who are hypocrites. For it was said to them, ‘Come, fight in the way of Allah or (at least) defend.’ They said, ‘If we had known (there would be) fighting, we would have followed you.’ They were nearer to disbelief that day than to faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allah is most Knowing of what they conceal.’

Quran [3:167]

What was the main cause of the Battle of Uhud?

The main cause of the Battle of Uhud was the polytheists and kuffar of Makkah wanting to destroy Muhammed SAW and the Muslims even after they had migrated from their home and left for Madinah. It was the hatred of the Meccans that caused so many people to lose their lives.

Who killed Hamza (RA) in the Battle of Uhud?

The wife of Abu Sufyan, Hind bint Utbah, ordered Wahshi, a slave of one of the disbelievers of Makkah, to kill either one of 3 people in the battle: Muhammed PBUH, Ali ibn Abi Talib RA (the cousin of Prophet SAW), or Hamza ibn Abdu l Muttalib (the uncle of Prophet SAW), then she would buy his freedom.

Wahshi analyzed the best option and chose Hamza RA. It is said that he hid behind rocks and trees slowly approaching Hadhrat Hamza and once he was within range, he threw his spear. He was skilled in throwing javelins and spears and he didn’t miss his target.

Read now  Battles in the Quran: The Battle of Badr

Wahshi was set free after the battle for successfully completing his orders. He later accepted Islam by the grace of Allah.

Lessons from the battle of Uhud

  1. We will encounter losses and defeats, but we have to continue fighting for what we care about and ask for the help of Allah.
  2. If we encounter a loss then evaluate what went wrong and learn from your mistakes (the Muslims never lost a battle after this for decades).
  3. Muslims won’t always be victorious.
  4. Follow the commands and order of Muhammed SAW as they will lead you to success
  5. Disobedience and greed will turn you away from the correct path and the end result will be defeat
Mount Uhud behind Masjid - e - Nabawi
Mount Uhud behind Masjid – e – Nabawi

Stories of the Sahaba during Uhud battle

Below are a few hadith which explain and show us the faith and steadfastness of the companions of the Prophet PBUH. We should admire their courage and love for Islam and we should pray to be like them.

Ibn Jahsh (Radhiyallaho anho) and Sa’d (Radhiyallaho anho) prayed for each other: On the eve of Uhud, Abdullah bin Jahsh (Radhiyallaho anho) said to Sa’d bin Abi Waqqaas (Radhiyallaho anho): “0, Sa’d! come, let us pray together. Let each pray to Allah for the grant of his sole desire, and the other would say Ameen to it. This way, the prayers are more likely to be answered by Allah.”

Sa’d (Radhiyallaho anho) agreed, and they both went to a corner to pray. Sa’d (Radhiyallaho anho) was first to pray, saying: “0, Allah, when the battle rages tomorrow, let me face a very strong and fierce enemy. Let him attack me with might and main, and let me repulse him with all my strength. Then 0, Allah, let me be triumphant by killing him for your sake, and allow me to have his possessions as booty.”

Abdullah (Radhiyallaho anho) said: “Ameen .” Then Abdullah (Radhiyallaho anho) started his prayer, saying: “0, Allah, let me face one of the toughest fighters among the enemy tomorrow. Let him attack me with full fury and let me attack him with my full strength. Then let him have the upper hand and kill me. He may cut my nose and ears from my body. And when I appear before You on the day of Judgement, You may ask me, how did you lose your nose and ears, 0, Abdullah. To which I may reply, ‘These were lost in the way of Allah al)d His Prophet (SAW): Then You will say, ‘Yes! surely these were lost in My way.’

Sa’d (RA) said: “Ameen.”

On the battlefield next day, both of the Sahaba saw their prayers answered exactly as they had asked. Sa’d (RA) says: “Abdullah’s prayer was better than mine. In the evening, I noticed his ears and nose strung in a thread.” .

[Taken from Fadhail-e-A’mal]

This story on the one hand depicts great chivalry and valor on the part of Sahaba. Even though they were anxious to face the brave and the strong amongst the enemy, it shows their devotion and love for Allah. Abdullah RA wishes Allah to confirm on the Day of Judgement that his sacrifice was really for Allah’s cause. What an excellent wish!

Read now  Battles in the Quran: The Battle of Badr

Ali (RA) in battle

Hadhrat Ali’s(RA) valor in Uhud:

Neglect of the Prophet’s orders changed the victory at Uhud into a defeat.

He RA says:

“We were surrounded by the enemy” and I could not see the Prophet SAW. I first searched for him among the living and then among the dead, but I could not find him. I said to myself, ‘It is impossible for him to fly from the battle-field. It seems that Allah is angry with us due to our sins, and He has lifted him up to the heavens. There is no way left for me except to jump into the enemy lines and fight till I am killed.’ I therefore attacked the ‘enemy, clearing them with my sword till caught sight of the Prophet SAW I was very happy and was sure that Allah had been protecting him through His angels. I approached him and stood by his side.

Meanwhile an enemy contingent advanced to attack the Prophet SAW. He said to me; ‘Ali go and check them: I fought and repulsed them single-handed, killing quite a few of them.’

After this, yet another group came to attack him. He again called out, ‘Ali go and check them.’ I fought with that group again single-handed and put them to their heels.'” It was on this occasion that Hadhrat Jibrail AS came and praised Hadhrat Ali RA for his valor and his devotion to the Prophet. The Prophet SAW said: “Ali belongs to me and I belong to him.”

At this, Hadhrat Jibrail AS remarked: “I belong to you both.”

Look at the valor of Hadhrat Ali RA. He jumps into the enemy lines singlehanded, when he is unable to find Nabi SAW.

Source: Fazail e A’maal