Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Masjid Shaikhain

Masjid Shaikhain marks the spot where the Prophet (s.a.w.) prayed salah on the eve of the battle of Uhud on the 14th Sha’ban 3AH (625 CE). The preparations for the battle were made here.

- After performing the Jumma (Friday) prayer, the Prophet (s.a.w.) set off for Uhud and performed Asar, Maghrib, Isha, stayed the night and performed Fajr here.

- During this period all the Muslim inhabitants of Madinah were called here including the women and elderly. The Prophet (s.a.w.) planned the battle, inspected the troops and selected those to participate. Several tender-aged boys had come out with the army with the zeal to fight for Islam but the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered them back.

- Among the boys was Rafe’ (r.a.). His father Khudaij (r.a.) said to the Prophet (s.a.w.), “O Prophet of Allah! My son Rafe’ is a very good archer.” Rafe’ too, stood on his toes to show himself taller than he actually was. The Prophet (s.a.w.) permitted him to stay on. Samrah-bin-Jundub (r.a.) learnt about this, he complained to his step-father Murrah-bin-Sanan (r.a.) saying,“The Prophet (s.a.w.) has permitted Rafe’ and ejected me, while I am sure to beat him in a wrestling contest and, therefore, I was more deserving of the Prophet’s favour.” This was reported to the Prophet (s.a.w.), who allowed Samrah to prove his claim by wrestling with Rafe’. Samrah did actually beat Rafe’ in the bout and he too was permitted to stay in the army. A few more boys made similar efforts to stay on, and some of them did succeed.

- There was a great setback to the Muslims when in the morning Abdullah bin Ubai, the leader of the hypocrites, broke away with his three hundred followers pretending that since his opinion of fighting inside Madinah was not accepted, he and his men would not take part in the battle. This reduced the Muslim army from around one thousand to a mere seven hundred to face a Quraysh army of three thousand. Surprised and alarmed, other tribes reacted badly to the news and also considered retreating but the counsel of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Allah (swt)’s grace renewed their resolve and shortly before dawn they made their way towards Uhud.

- Narrated Zaid bin Thabit (r.a.): When the Prophet (s.a.w.) went out for Uhud, some of his companions (hypocrites) returned (home). A party of the believers remarked that they would kill those (hypocrites) who had returned, but another party said that they would not kill them. So, this Divine Inspiration was revealed (in the Holy Quran):

"Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties concerning the hypocrites.“ [4:88]

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, "Madinah expels the bad persons from it, as fire expels the impurities of iron." [Bukhari]

Mount Uhud and site of battle

This is a section of Mount Uhud, in front of which the second battle in Islam (the Battle of Uhud) took place in 3 AH. Of this mountain the Prophet (s.a.w.) declared, “This mountain loves us and we love it.” [Muslim]

- After the humiliating defeat in the Battle of Badr a year earlier, the Quraysh of Makkah made preparations to muster a great army to fight the Muslims again and take revenge. They assembled an army of 3000 soldiers with 300 camels, 200 horses and 700 coats of mail. Wives and daughters of slained chiefs in Badr accompanied the army to see with their own eyes the spectacle of the killers being killed. Hind, the daughter of Utbah was the leader of the womens section and her husband Abu Sufyan was the commander-in-chief of the Makkan army. Both were not Muslims at the time but bitter enemies of Islam. The left and right flanks were commanded by Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl and Khalid bin Waleed respectively. Amr ibn al-As was named the commander of cavalry and his task was to co-ordinate attack between the cavalry wings. (All three subsequently became Muslims and become great generals of Islam).

- The Prophet (s.a.w.) left Madinah for the valley of Mount Uhud with a Muslim army of only 700 and drew up his troops for battle. Zubair bin al-Awwam (r.a.) was the commander of the right wing and Mundhir bin Amr (r.a.) was given the left wing of the army. Hamza (r.a.), the uncle of the Prophet (s.a.w.) was made the advance guard, Mus’ab bin Umair (r.a.) was chosen as the standard-bearer of Islam and Abu Dujanah (r.a.) was fortunate enough to receive the Prophet’s sword (which was known as Zulfikar).

- Before the battle, the Prophet (s.a.w.) had put 50 archers under Abdullah bin Jubair (r.a.) at a mountainside and ordered them strictly to stay there until further orders, whatever may be the condition. They were to obstruct the enemy if they attacked the Muslims from the rear.

- The two armies set upon each other and a fierce battle ensued. The Muslim soldiers concentrated their attack on the eleven standard bearers of the pagans until they were all wiped out. As the enemy standards sank to the ground, the Muslim soldiers hurled themselves against the enemy. Abu Dujanah (r.a.) and Hamza (r.a.), fought with great fearlessness, and their heroic feats on the battlefield were to become legendary in Muslim military history.

- Tragically, Hamza (r.a.), the Lion of Allah, was martyred in the same battle he had dominated. He was killed by the javelin of Wahshi bin Harb, an Abyssinian slave, who with that successful throw earned his freedom from his master, Jubayr bin Mutim.

- Despite the loss of Hamza (r.a.), the Muslims managed to overcome the unbelievers who, faced with yet another defeat, began to flee. The pagan women also scattered as some of the Muslim soldiers gave chase.

- It was at this point of perceived victory that events began unravelling. The archers who had been entrusted with the safety of their brothers in faith disobeyed the Prophet’s clear orders and deserted their stations, thinking that the battle was over. Forty of the rearguards descended the mountain and left the Muslims vulnerable to a counter attack by the enemy.

- Khalid bin Waleed saw the sudden vacuum created by the disappearance of the rearguard and his cavalrymen attacked the Muslims from behind, killing many in the process. When the Muslims saw themselves surrounded, they were overtaken by panic and disorder and failed to map out a cohesive plan.

- The enemy fought their way close to the Prophet (s.a.w.) who was hit with a rock and fell on his side. One of his lower right teeth was broken, his lower lip was cut, and his helmet was damaged. As an enemy soldier thrust his sword at the Prophet (s.a.w.), he caught his bone below the eye, and two rings from the Prophet’s helmet pierced his face. The blood ran down his face and he wiped it away, saying, “How can a people prosper who have stained their Prophet's face with blood while he summoned them to their Lord!”

- Mus’ab bin Umair (r.a.), was targeted by the enemy as he was the Muslims standard-bearer and he was killed. Since Mus’ab (r.a.) resembled the Prophet (s.a.w.) to a great extent, his killer, Abdullah bin Qam’a, thought he had slain the Prophet (s.a.w.) and jubilantly shouted out that he had killed Muhammad.

- Rumours of the death of the Prophet (s.a.w.) filtered through the Muslims, plummeting their morale. Grief stricken and lost, some of them simply abandoned the field, while others were infused with resolve and rallied saying, “Come, let us die for what the Prophet (s.a.w.) gave his life.”

- The crisis receded only when Ka’b bin Malik (r.a.) caught a glimpse of the Prophet (s.a.w.), making his way to join the besieged Muslims. K’ab recognised the Prophet’s eyes although his face was covered with the helmet. He cried loudly, “ O Muslims, rejoice! Here is the Prophet”.

- Ka’b’s words galvanised the remaining Muslims, and they streamed to the Prophet’s side. Within a short time thirty Companions assembled around him. The Prophet (s.a.w.) decided against further combat, wisely choosing to retreat. He made his way through the rows and successfully led his troops towards the mountain pass.

- By retreating, the Prophet (s.a.w.) managed to save his army from further losses; losses that had come about from simple disobedience of his orders. Disobedience had changed the Muslim victory into catastrophe, but with Allah’s help the Muslims were pulled back from the edge of disaster.

Jabal Rahmah

This small mountain in front of Mount Uhud is where the Prophet (s.a.w.) had positioned archers during the Battle of Uhud with the strict instructions not to move. It was the desertion of their posts by many of the archers on thinking the battle was over that led to a reversal of fortune for the Muslims in the war.

- The Prophet (s.a.w.) appointed 50 archers under the command of Abdullah bin Jubair (r.a.) and said to him, “Drive off the horses from us, lest we should be attacked from the rear. Whether we win or lose the battle stand steadily at your position. See that we are not attacked from your side.”

- Seeing that the battle was going in the favour of the Muslims and the polytheists were retreating created a zest and fervour among the Muslim archers hearts to chase the escaping enemy and to collect the booty left behind. Many began to leave their position. Abdullah bin Jubair (r.a.) tried his utmost to check them by reminding them of the Prophet’s command and solicited them to stay on, but no more than ten persons would listen to him, arguing that the orders given by the Prophet (s.a.w.) were only for the duration of the actual fight. The enemy cavalry then noticed the unguarded pass in the rear, made a flank movement, forced a passage through it, and fell right on the rear of the Muslims, who were pre-occupied with the booty. Abdullah bin Jubair (r.a.) was martyred on the spot. This sudden attack by the polytheists created a temporary confusion in the Muslim ranks and they stopped chasing the Makkan army. The chaotic condition of the Muslim ranks emboldened Ikramah bin Abi Jahl and Abu Sufyan to stop fleeing and they gathered their soldiers together to launch another attack on the Muslims while they were in the state of turmoil. This sudden onslaught only added to the trouble and losses in the Muslim ranks.

- It was in this state of affairs that Anas bin Nadhr (r.a.) saw Sa’ad bin Ma’az (r.a.) passing in front of him. He shouted to him: “O,Sa’ad! Where are you going? By Allah! I smell the fragrance of Paradise coming from Mount Uhud.” Saying this, he threw himself into the very thick of the enemy, and fought tooth and nail till he met his martyrdom. After the battle, it was found that his body had been mauled and mutilated to such an extent that only his sister could identify him, and that barely from the finger tips. No less than eighty wounds of arrows and swords were counted on his body.

- To be cheated of victory over the Quraysh when it was within grasp was a great disappointment to the Prophet (s.a.w.) especially as the archers had disobeyed a direct instruction . At this bitter moment, the holy verses of the Quran came down to console and guide him with the following words:

“By the mercy of Allah you have softened towards them. Had you been rough, hard-hearted, they would have dispersed away from you. So pardon them, ask forgiveness for them and consult them in affairs. Once you make a decision, then trust in Allah. Allah loves those who trust in Him.”[2:159]

The Qur’an ordered him to forgive them, as Allah in His mercy forgives the erring, and not only was he to forgive them, but to call them to him and consult them in affairs, thus restoring their self-respect.

Cave of Uhud

This naturally formed cave, on the side of Mount Uhud facing Masjid-e-Nabwi is where the Prophet (s.a.w.) took refuge after being wounded during the Battle of Uhud. He was carried there on the back of Talha (r.a.).

Masjid Fas'ah

These are the demolished remains of a masjid (mosque) at the foot of the mountain below the cave of Uhud. On the day of the Battle of Uhud the Prophet (s.a.w.) offered the Zuhar prayer here.

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