1 December 2023
Muhammadsa: The Great Exemplar
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
I will mention accounts relating to the expeditions of the Holy Prophetsa to highlight various aspects of his character and morals during those circumstances. During the Battle of Badr, we have already learnt of how he afforded ease to the captives. The prisoners themselves attested to the fact that because the Holy Prophetsa instructed to treat the prisoners well, the companions would give them better food than what they would eat themselves.
Furthermore, we also find that when it came to the release of these prisoners, they were released on very simple conditions. For those prisoners who could read and write, their ransom was to simply teach the Muslims how to read and write. All of this was because the Holy Prophetsa did not have any personal animosity towards anyone. That is, he did not harbour any feelings of personal enmity towards them in his heart. Rather, it was a war against those who wished to eradicate the religion of Allah the Almighty.
On the side of the opponents, there were some who were compelled to take part in the battle due to their circumstances. There are such examples whereby they did not actually wish to fight against the Muslims but were compelled to do so. The Holy Prophetsa would also treat them with great kindness. Many of those people would go on to become Muslims. The Holy Prophetsa also established principles and rules of war and formed treaties, which he implemented and upheld to the highest degree. Contrary to the current world, wherein countless rules and restrictions are made but not followed; in fact, they show double standards.
The life of the Holy Prophetsa was a living embodiment of the commandments of the Holy Quran, in which the fundamental principles of establishing justice, equity and peace are mentioned. Allah the Almighty says at one place:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّـٰمِينَ لِلّٰهِ شُهَدَآءَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوۡمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْ ۚ ٱعۡدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقۡرَبُ
لِلتَّقۡوَىٰ ۖ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللّٰهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللّٰهَ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ
“O ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do.” (Ch. 5: V.9)
Hence, the character of the Holy Prophetsa encompassed every aspect of this teaching and set the highest principles thereof. As I mentioned, in terms of the conduct of the Holy Prophetsa and his example during these expeditions, I will relate some accounts of other expeditions aside from the Battle of Badr. These include Saraya, i.e., expeditions in which the Holy Prophetsa dispatched an army during his lifetime under the leadership and command of someone other than him.
In any case, as these are detailed historical accounts, it may take a few sermons to cover this aspect as well. Today, I will mention about the Battle of Uhud. As is proven from the events that transpired, this war was also initiated by the opponents due to their fierce enmity. As a result, the Muslims were compelled to set out for battle. In further details, it is recorded that this expedition took place one year after the Battle of Badr, on a Saturday in Shawwal, 3 AH Historians and biographers agree on the fact that the Battle of Uhud took place in the 3rd year after migration. However, there is a fringe opinion that this battle took place in the 4th year after migration.
There are various narrations about the date of Shawwal, where the majority mention it to be the 7th, while others mention the 15th. Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham, Ibn Hazm, Ibn Khayat and Tabari, etc., have only narrated the sayings in which the 15th Shawwal is mentioned.
The Holy Prophetsa departed from Medina on a Friday, after the Asr prayer, and reached the battlefield of Uhud before midday on Saturday. Uhud is the name of a mountain and is situated approximately 3 miles from Medina. (Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, p. 456, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022; As-sirat Al-Halabiyyah, Urdu Translation, Vol. 2, p. 132, Dar-ul-Isha’at Karachi)
Mount Uhud is approximately 4 kilometres to the north of Masjid al-Nabawi. It is said that today the population of Medina has reached the foot of this mountain, and has, in fact spread around it. Mount Uhud is part of the holy vicinity. Uhud is positioned east to west, and spans approximately 6 km across. The rocks have a reddish complexion. (Shawqi Abu Khalil, Atlas Sirat-i-Nabwisa [Darussalam], p. 245; Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 2, p. 31, Punjab University Lahore)
In his book ‘The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets’, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has noted the date of the Battle of Uhud as 15 Shawwal, 3 AH, Saturday 31st March 624 CE. (The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets, Vol. 2, p. 326)Further details are that the cause of this battle was that when the Quraish were dealt a crushing defeat in the Battle of Badr, the prominent members of the Quraish, such as Abdullah bin Abi Rabi’ah, Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Umayyah, Aswad bin Muttalib, Jubair bin Mut’im, Harith bin Hisham, Huwaitib bin Abd al-Uzza, and other leaders of the Quraish – who had goods in the trade caravan that became the cause of the Battle of Badr – all went to Abu Sufyan. This trade wealth was brought to Mecca and placed in Dar al-Nadwah, as was the custom. However, they did not receive their wealth, because, by the time Abu Sufyan brought it, the Meccans had departed for the Battle of Badr.
A short while after the Battle of Badr, these people returned and said to Abu Sufyan, “Muhammadsa has killed so many of our people; therefore, use this trade wealth for preparations to wage war against him. Perhaps we may be successful in avenging our fallen.” They further said, “We are happy and prepared to use the profit of this trade to assemble an army against Muhammadsa.” Hearing this, Abu Sufyan responded, “I accept this proposal, and the Banu Abd Manaf are also with me.”
Thereafter, they placed the profit of this trade aside, which amounted to 50,000 dinars, and the actual amount [spent] was returned to its owners. In one narration it is mentioned that the profit put aside was 25,000 dinars. (As-sirat Al-Halabiyyah, Urdu Translation, Vol. 2, pp. 133-134, Dar-ul-Isha’at Karachi; Sirat Encyclopaedia, vol. 6, p. 145, Darussalam)
In any case, the profit was given for the war preparations.
In this regard, Allah Almighty revealed the verse:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٰلَهُمۡ لِيَصُدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللّٰهِ ۚ
فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ حَسۡرَةٗ ثُمَّ يُغۡلَبُونَ ۗ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ يُحۡشَرُونَ
“Surely, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to turn men away from the way of Allah. They will surely continue to spend it; but then shall it become a source of regret for them, and then shall they be overcome. And the disbelievers shall be gathered unto Hell.” (Ch. 8: V.37) (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 182)
Aside from this major reason, there were other factors that can be considered to have led to this battle taking place. As was mentioned in the previous sermon, it was impossible for the Meccans to go to Syria after the Battle of Badr, because the trade route between Mecca and Syria passed through the outskirts of Medina, and had been blocked by the Muslims. Additionally, as a result of their previous persecution and oppression, it had become extremely dangerous for them and their caravans to pass through, which for the Quraish, was an economic catastrophe. Thus, the blocking of the trade route, defeats in the battles and expeditions, killings of the chiefs of Quraish at Badr, and 70 idolaters being held captive, were all humiliations to their reputation and economic status. They wanted to take revenge in order to wipe this away, restore their economic credibility, and so that the declining political and religious standing of the Quraish of Mecca may be re-established. (Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, p. 434, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022)
On the other hand, the Quraish of Mecca faced two further embarrassing humiliations after the Battle of Badr, due to which Abu Sufyan and the other Meccans increased further in their anger and resentment. This made them take an oath to prepare a well-equipped army in order to exact revenge against the Muslims.
Thus, an author describes one of the reasons for the Battle of Uhud as being the failure of the Quraish in the various missions, and as a result, their enmity, grief, and zeal for revenge increased greatly. He writes that Abu Sufyan, who never set foot in the battlefield at Badr because he brought their trade caravan back to Mecca via a safe route, had to face constant taunts from the people of Mecca. He swore to take revenge against the Muslims and convinced the Quraish that he would go to Medina and wage a great war against them. In order to fulfil this promise, Abu Sufyan even assembled an army of 200 men, and they even reached Medina. However, they did not have the courage to start an outright battle, so they cut down some trees, set fire to some fields, and killed two people on the outskirts of Medina before fleeing. This battle was called the Battle of Sawiq. I have also mentioned this in previous sermons. Abu Sufyan’s intention was for the Meccans to no longer taunt him over the fact that he left his tribe in the plains of Badr and returned. However, after this unsuccessful mission, the people began to mock Abu Sufyan over this childish act. Therefore, in order to satisfy his ego, Abu Sufyan started to make efforts towards a full-scale war against the Muslims.
As I have mentioned in previous sermons regarding the defeat at Qaradah, after the unsuccessful mission against Medina, the Meccans sent a large trade caravan on a different route to Syria via Iraq. This caravan was carrying jewellery made of gold, items of silver and other goods, the value of which was estimated to be 100,000 dirhams. When this caravan was reaching the spring of Qaradah, Hazrat Zaid bin Harithahra stopped this caravan of the Quraish within the borders of Medina. Taking all this wealth of the Quraish, he returned to Medina. After the worst defeat during the Battle of Badr, this incident at Qaradah was a crushing humiliation for the Quraish. That is to say, it was close to Medina at the time. Thus, their thirst for revenge grew two-fold. This incident was one of the reasons for the Battle of Uhud. As it were, there were many reasons that caused the disbelievers to prepare for war. (Ghazwat Aur Sarayah, Allama Muhammad Azhar Fareed, pp. 156-157, Fareediyyah Printing Press, Sahiwal)
For this purpose, the Quraish invited the tribes in the surrounding areas to participate, the details of which are as follows:
When they had gathered enough provisions for a decisive war against the Holy Prophetsa, they began preparations for the next course of action. The Quraish were already prepared for war, but they devised different strategies in an attempt to make the neighbouring tribes join in. For some tribes, certain individuals were sent, whereas for others they, would send a delegation. They would entice some tribes through greed and for others they would impassion their honour for their area. To achieve, this they sent Amr bin Al-‘Aas, Hubaiarah bin Abi Wahb, Abdullah bin Ziba’ra, Musafih bin Abd Manaf and Abu Uzza Jumahi. Abu Uzza Jumahi was the very same person whom the Holy Prophetsa set free from the captives of Badr. At the time, he said: “O Muhammadsa! I have five daughters and besides me, they have nobody else to support them. Please forgive me.” The Holy Prophetsa not only forgave him but he did not take any ransom from him either. This was the noble example of the Holy Prophetsa. At the time, he made an oath that he would never fight against the Holy Prophetsa again, nor would he assist anyone against him. However, close to the Battle of Uhud, Safwan bin Umayyah promised him gifts and rewards, owing to which he broke his oath and began inciting the Arabs to war using provocative poetry. Poets [in those days] would go around and incite the tribes. They would remind them of olden times in order to provoke them and then invite them to join them. Many people from the Kinanah tribe and the people of Tahamah agreed to join them. They convinced them that they were ready to launch a night raid on the state of Medina. They were not only ready to do so but they actively participated. (Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1984], pp. 110-111; Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, p. 436, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022)
Hazrat Abbasra informed the Holy Prophetsa about the war preparations being made by the disbelievers. The details of this are as follows:
The Holy Prophetsa learnt about the Quraish’s preparations for war and their overzealous activities from his uncle, Hazrat Abbasra, who was in Mecca. Hazrat Abbasra informed the Holy Prophetsa through a letter that he sent through a man from the Banu Ghifar. He paid the man to take the letter on the condition that he travel continuously for three days to reach Medina and deliver it to him by hand. Thus, he travelled continuously for three days and nights to reach Medina and delivered the letter. At the time, the Holy Prophetsa was in Quba. When he delivered the letter, the Holy Prophetsa opened the seal and asked Ubayy bin Ka’b to read out the letter. Ubayy bin Ka’b read the letter to the Holy Prophetsa upon which the Holy Prophetsa asked him to keep the contents of the letter a secret. (‘Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 296)
In one narration, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophetsa went to the house of Sa’d bin Rabi’ and informed him about the contents of Hazrat Abbas’sra letter. The Holy Prophetsa then said “I am hopeful of a good outcome, but keep this information a secret.” When the Holy Prophetsa departed from Sa’d’s house, his wife came and asked what the Holy Prophetsa had said. She was listening in to the conversation from inside. Sa’d said: “What does it have to do with you?” She said: “I heard everything.” When she relayed everything she heard to Sa’d, he exclaimed: “Good grief! I did not think that you would be listening to our conversation.” He took his wife to see the Holy Prophetsa and explained what had happened. He then said: “O Messengersa of Allah! I was worried lest word get out to the people and you think that I disclosed your secret that you entrusted to me.” In reply, the Holy Prophetsa said: “Okay, she is absolved for this.” He must have cautioned her [not to disclose the information]. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], pp. 182-183)
While the Holy Prophetsa was taking precautionary measures, at the same time, Jews and hypocrites in Medina made it known that the Holy Prophetsa did not receive any good news. The enemies and hypocrites gained another opportunity to taunt and show their intentions. They added false information to the rumour and publicised it widely. They tried their utmost to instil fear in the followers of Islam. This news spread to the outskirts of Medina and everyone was on alert. All around, there was talk of the idolaters of Mecca coming to wage war again. (Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, p. 443, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022)
Allama ibn Abd al-Barr states that Hazrat Abbasra would write down news about the idolaters and send it to the Holy Prophetsa. The remaining Muslims in Mecca considered Abbasra for their help and support. Abbasra wished to migrate to the Holy Prophetsa, however, he wrote to Abbasra stating that it was better that he remained in Mecca. Hazrat Abbasra would send detailed reports to the Holy Prophetsa. In one of his letters, he wrote: “The army of the Quraish has departed and is heading towards you. In the time it takes for them to reach you, make arrangements to the best of your abilities. The army consists of 3000 men. The vanguard is a cavalry unit of 200 men. In total, there are 700 men clad in armour and 3000 camels. They are bringing all their weapons with them.” (Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah, Muhammad Salabi (translation), Vol. 2, p. 561 [Dar al-Salam])
Whilst mentioning about the information passed on by Hazrat Abbasra, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes in “The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets”:
“The revenues generated by the trade caravan, which has been mentioned in the events of the Battle of Badr, amounted to 50,000 dinars. This amount was still secure in Dar al-Nadwah according to the decision of the chieftains of Mecca, in order to prepare for an attack against the Muslims. Now, this money was brought out and preparation for war began with full force and effort. Had it not been for the vigilance and precautionary measures of the Holy Prophetsa, the Muslims would not have even known of this preparation and the disbelieving army would have reached the very doorsteps of the Muslims. In other words, the Holy Prophetsa had emphatically instructed his paternal uncle, ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib, who in his heart, was with the Holy Prophetsa, to remain in Medina, and he would inform the Holy Prophetsa of the movements of the Quraish. As such, on this occasion as well, ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib dispatched a swift rider from the Banu Ghifar, towards Medina, promising him a hefty reward, and thus, informed the Holy Prophetsa of this motive of the Quraish by means of a letter. Furthermore, he strictly emphasised to this emissary that he should convey this letter to the Holy Prophetsa within three days. Incidentally, when the emissary reached Medina, the Holy Prophetsa had gone to Quba’, (which was situated on the outskirts of Medina). The emissary pursued the Holy Prophetsa to Quba’ and presented this closed letter to him. The Holy Prophetsa immediately handed this letter to his personal scribe Ubayy bin Ka‘b Ansarira, and instructed him to read out the letter. When Ubayyra read out the letter, it contained the horrific news that a fierce army of the Quraish was approaching from Mecca. Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophetsa strictly instructed Ubayy bin Ka‘bra to keep the contents of the letter confidential.” (The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets, Vol. 2, pp. 320-321)
Nonetheless, this army departed. Further details about it are that the Quraish army departed from Mecca on 5th Shawwal. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993), 183)
In this battle, their commander-in-chief was Abu Sufyan. Khalid bin Walid was commanding the cavalry unit and the flag bearers were the Banu Abd al-Dar tribe. Carrying their shields and spears, 3000 warriors laced in armour, bow and arrow in hand and thirsty for revenge, set out from Mecca, heading towards Medina to fight against the Holy Prophetsa. Among them, 2900 were members of the Quraish, their slaves, as well as other tribes and 100 men were from the Kinanah tribe. 700 men were clad in armour; the cavalry unit consisted of 200 men; and there were 3000 camels, as mentioned previously, and this was aside from the camels that would be slaughtered for consumption en route. They would beat the drum as they went along and they had alcohol in vast quantities. (Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, p. 441, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022; Ghazwah Uhud, Muhammad Ahmad Bashamil, p. 75)
Then, it is written in one book of history that the Quraish tried to take Hazrat Abbasra along with them to the battle; however, Abbasra excused himself, citing the Quraish’s carelessness with him during the Battle of Badr, due to which he was captured and no one helped free him. (‘Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 296)
Driven by a passion for revenge, many women insisted to join the men in battle. Upon this, someone said during a consultative meeting, “As we embark we are covering our heads with our shrouds. If we are unable to avenge our dead, then we will not return alive. Hence, having the women’s support will be beneficial for us. They will incite our passion and encourage us to keep moving forward by reminding us of the incidents that took place at Badr”
Naufal bin Mu’awiyyah al-Du’ali said, “These women are our honour and if we are defeated then their dishonour will result in our dignity being mixed to dust.” When both opinions had been presented, Abu Sufyan’s wife, Hind, was also present and said, “O people! Do not fear that you will not return alive. You were able to return safely from Badr and you were able to see your women. Do not stop us from joining you in this war. You made this mistake at Badr by making your women return. If these women had been with you during the incident of Badr, they would have incited your honour and spurred you on. Alas! Our beloved ones were killed at the hands of our enemy in Badr.” (Hayat-e-Muhammad, Muhammad Hussein Haykal, p. 379, Maktabah Book Corner, Jhelum)
The chieftains of the Quraish agreed with Hind and agreed to let the women accompany the army. It is recorded that the women who accompanied the army numbered 15. (Ghazwah Uhud, Muhammad Ahmad Bashamil, p. 76)
They included Abu Sufyan’s own wife, Hind bint Utbah. Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl also took along his wife, Umm Hakim bint Harith bin Hisham. Harith bin Hisham took his wife Fatimah bint Walid and Safwan bin Umayyah took his wife Barzah bint Mas’ud, who was the mother of Abdullah bin Safwan. Ibn Ishaq states that Amr bin Al-Aas set out with his wife, Rayta bint Munabbeh’. Talhah bin Abu Talhah took his wife Sulafah bint Sa’d, who was the mother of Talhah’s sons Musafih, Jalas, and Kilab, all of whom were killed on the day of Uhud. Khunas bint Malik, who was from the Banu Malik tribe, accompanied her son, Aziz bin Umair. She was the mother of Hazrat Mus’ab bin Umairra. Amrah bint Alqamah, who was from the Banu Harith tribe also accompanied the army. When Hind bint Utbah would go to meet with Wahshi or when Wahshi would go to meet her during the battle, she would say to him, “Abu Dasmah (this was Wahshi’s appellation), do something that will comfort our hearts.” Wahshi, who was an African slave, had a spear, which rarely let him down and would kill anyone it struck. Wahshi was Jubair bin Mut’im’s slave; he called Wahshi and said, “You should also go with the army and if you kill or strike Hamzah then I will free you, because he killed my paternal uncle Tu’aimah bin Adi.” This army set up camp across from Medina in the middle of Uhud in Sabkha, at the Ainain Mountain on the corner of the Qanat valley. Sabkha is near the Ainain Mountain in Medina and is near Jurf, which is three miles north of Medina. Ainain is a mountain in Uhud. There is a valley between that and Uhud, and Qanat is one of the three prominent valleys between Medina and Uhud; this is where it is located. (Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah], p. 522; Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-i-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], pp. 84, 146, 216 and 239; Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 296)
Regarding the details of the battle, it is further written that Hazrat Abbasra informed the Holy Prophetsa about the Quriash army and Amr bin Salim informed the Holy Prophetsa about the disbelievers leaving Mecca. Abu Sufyan was incensed when he learned of this. What happened was that Amr bin Salim, along with a few of his comrades, separated from the Quraish army at Dhi Tuwa and swiftly reached Medina and informed the Holy Prophetsa about the Quraish’s advancements. On the way back, this group, led by Amr bin Salim, got ahead of Abu Sufyan’s army at night in Abwah. In other words, that’s where the army was when they crossed it.
In the morning, Abu Sufyan set out back towards Mecca. Along the way, Abu Sufyan was informed that Amr bin Salim and some of his comrades had set off towards Mecca in the evening. Abu Sufyan worriedly said, “I swear by God that he is certainly returning after having informed Muhammadsa about our advancement. He has told him everything about us (i.e., the Holy Prophetsa) and has already alerted him. Now the Muslims will have secured themselves in their forts even before our arrival. This way, we will not be able to inflict any harm upon them nor will we succeed in our objective.” Safwan bin Umayyah immediately said, “If they do not come out of their fortresses into the battlefield to fight us, then there is no need to worry; we will cut down the date orchards of the Aus and Khazraj, which they will never be able to recover from. They will have lost all their wealth and sustenance and if they leave their fortresses and come out into the desert to fight, there will wtill be no cause for worry. We far outnumber them and there is no comparison between our weaponry and theirs. They do not have horses, whereas we have many horses. We have the power to inflict loss of life and wealth in battle, whereas they cannot fight with us in this manner.” (Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, pp. 443-444, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022)
He was expressing his own views. In any case, as they advanced towards Medina, when the Quraish encamped in Abwah, Hind bint Utbah said to Abu Sufyan, “You should dig up the grave of Muhammad’ssa mother because her grave is in Abwah. If he captures any of your men, then you can send a limb of her body as ransom for every captive.” This was her strange satanic suggestion. Abu Sufyan presented this idea to the Quraish saying that this was a suggestion that had been presented, to which the Quraish responded, “Do not open this door; otherwise, the Banu Bakr will dig up our people’s graves.” (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 183)
They suggested that this was a very dangerous idea and not to accept it.
In any case, they slaughtered camels wherever they set up camp. The women would incite them through reciting poetry and presenting goblets full of alcohol and they would eulogise the deceased upon which they would wail. They would also strike fear in others and incite them towards revenge. (Dairah-e-Ma’arif, Sirat Muhammad Rasool Allah, Vol. 6, p. 441, Bazam Iqbal Lahore, 2022)
This caravan of the disbelievers continued forward in this manner, while on the other side, the Muslims were also making preparations. In this regard, it is written that the Holy Prophetsa sent Fazalah’s sons Anas and Monas on a Thursday night in the first ten days of Shawwal to gather information. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993)] p. 183)
It was perhaps at this time that the Holy Prophetsa instructed for a census to be conducted of all the Muslim residents in Medina in order to ascertain the Muslim’s numbers and strength. Hence, the census was conducted and it was determined that at that point, there was a total of 1,500 Muslims living there. According to the conditions at that time, this was considered a significant number. Hence, some Companions were so happy that some even wondered, seeing as their numbers had reached 1,500, if there was a need to fear anyone. However, a Companion from among them said that after that, they faced such severe difficulties that at times they would have to offer prayers in secret. Once, before this, the Holy Prophetsa had a census conducted of the Muslims, the results of which showed that there were between six to seven hundred Muslims at the time. (The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets, Vol. 2, p. 321)
In any case, the two Companions who the Holy Prophetsa sent to gather information came across the Quraish in Aqiq and then returned to the Holy Prophetsa and informed him about the army of the disbelievers. There are many valleys in the Arabian Peninsula named Aqiq, most prominent among which is Medina’s Valley of Aqiq. This spans from Medina’s South West to its North East and it is joined with all of Medina’s valleys. (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-i-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], p. 204)
In any case, those two came and informed that the army of the disbelievers had left their camels and their horses at a field in Uraiz. Uraiz is a date orchard that is also three miles from Medina. (Sirat Encyclopaedia, Vol. 6, pp. 65-66)
They did not leave any greenery there, as everything had been grazed. The disbelievers reached the valley of Qanat on Wednesday and their camels grazed in the valley’s greenery on Thursday and Friday. They did not leave any greenery behind. Then, the Holy Prophetsa also sent Habab bin Mundhir towards them. He saw them and returned and relayed his estimate of their numbers and equipment, upon which the Holy Prophetsa said, “Do not tell anyone about their condition. حَسْبُنَا اللّٰهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيْلُ۔ اَللّٰهُمَّ بِكَ أَجُوْلُ وَبِك أَصُوْلُ Allah is sufficient for us and is the Best of Protectors. O Allah, I make rounds with You and I wage an attack with You by my side.”
Due to the threat of an attack at night by the disbelievers, the chieftains of the Aus and Khazraj, Hazrat Sa’d bin Mu’azra, Hazrat Usaid bin Khuzairra and Hazrat Sa’d bin Ubadahra, clad themselves in their armour and on Friday night stood by the door of the Holy Prophetsa in the mosque and also made rounds of Medina until the morning. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], pp. 183-184; Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 297)
Before the Muslims departed from Medina, the army of the disbelievers encamped in the salty and murky valley of Qanat. (Ghazwah Uhud, Muhammad Ahmad Bashamil, p. 97)
There were luscious date orchards in the east, west and south of Medina and to pass through them and attack a city or town was very difficult, because an army could only advance one by one through those orchards. In this way, the attackers would easily be killed. An attack was only possible from the northern side. Hence, the Quraish encamped to the northern and western sides. The residents were not concentrated in one area; rather, they were spread out between the mountains in a vast area of cities and towns. Some tribes had created dwellings on their lands and orchards and they had also built many two-story towers. Whenever there was a threat, the children and women would be taken to the upper level of those towers. After tending to their families, they would fight against the attackers. (Ghazwat al-Nabi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, pp. 63-64)
Another historian writes that the enemy army placed a blockade in the night between the Muslim army and Medina, where the hypocrites, the Jews, those exempt from battle, women and children were. (Ghazwah Uhud, Muhammad Ahmad Bashamil, p. 99)
Mentioning further details about this, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra writes:
“Perhaps towards the end of Ramadan,3 AH, or the beginning of Shawwal, the army of the Quraish set out from Mecca. Many champions from other tribes of Arabia were also a part of the army. Abu Sufyan was the commander of the army. This was an army of 3,000 men, among whom 700 warriors were clad in armour. There were also ample means of conveyance; 200 horses and 3,000 camels. Equipment of war was also more than adequate. Some women also rode along, of whom Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan; the wives of Ikramah bin Abu Jahl; Safwan bin Umayyah, and others were present […] According to the ancient custom of Arabia, these women had brought along their musical instruments, so that they could sing motivational couplets and beat their drums, in order to rouse the spirits of their men. After a journey of about ten or eleven days, this army of the Quraish reached close to Medina, circled to the north of Medina and stopped near the mount of Uhud. The lush green field of Uraiz was situated nearby, where the animals of Medina would graze and some farming took place here as well. Before anything else, the Quraish raided this pasture and wreaked havoc in it to their hearts’ content When the Holy Prophetsa received news from his informants that the army of the Quraish had reached nearby, he sent a Companion named Habab bin Mundhirra to obtain information as to the enemy’s number and strength. Moreover, the Holy Prophetsa also emphasised that if the strength of the enemy was greater than their own and the Muslims were in a state of danger, (as mentioned previously) Hababra should not announce this news openly upon his return in the gathering; rather, he should convey this news privately, so that no one was disheartened. Hababra quietly left and returned with great skill in a short period of time, submitting his report to the Holy Prophetsa. News of the arrival of the army of the Quraish had spread throughout Medina. Their raid on ‘Uraiz had also become widely known. Although the masses had not been given detailed knowledge with respect to the army of the disbelievers, even so, this night in Medina was one of great fear and danger. Select Companions guarded the home of the Holy Prophetsa all night long.” (The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets, Vol. 2, pp. 321-322)
While a consultation was being taken in preparation for the Battle of Uhud, the Holy Prophetsa stated, “Last night I saw a dream that a cow was being slaughtered. I also saw that that there was an indent in the blade of my sword, Dhul Fiqar. (According to one narration, it is reported that the Holy Prophetsa stated that the handle of his sword had broken and in another narration, it is reported that he said that a crack had appeared near the handle of his sword, Dhul Fiqar.) Both aspects point towards a misfortune. I then saw that I had placed my hand in a secure and strong chain mail.”
According to another narration, it is reported that the Holy Prophetsa stated that he was wearing a strong chain mail and was mounted on a ram.
The companions asked the Holy Prophetsa how he had interpreted this dream. The Holy Prophetsa stated, “As for the cow, this indicates that some of my companions will be martyred.” According to another narration, the Holy Prophetsa stated, “The slaughtering of the cow indicates that some of us will attain martyrdom. And as for my sword being broken, it signifies that someone from among my household or family shall be killed.” According to another narration, it is reported as follows, “The indents in the blade of my sword mean that none of you shall have to face this loss.” It means that no none from outside of his family. The word “falool” has been used here, which means for the blade of the sword to become blunt or a crack to appear in the handle of the sword or for it to break. This indicated that two incidents would take place. [The Holy Prophetsa continued,] “The strong chain mail refers to Medina and the ram signifies that I shall kill the supporters of the enemy.”
In any case, the Holy Prophetsa sought counsel on this matter. Ibn Utbah, Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa’d, etc. stated that the Holy Prophetsa saw this dream on Friday night. The next morning, he went to the companions and praised and glorified Allah the Almighty, then related his dream and stated, “If you agree, then we should remain in Medina and send our women and children to the fortress. If the enemy camps outside [of Medina] they will be in a very unfavourable area, and if they enter our city, then we shall fight them in the streets, and we know the area better than them. We can also throw stones and attack them from the hillocks.”
Through the construction of buildings, Medina was fortified from all sides and was like a fortress. The prominent Muhajir and Ansar companions were also of the same opinion that was proposed by the Holy Prophetsa and Abdullah bin Ubay also gave the same proposal. However, a party of Muslims, who mainly who comprised of young companions and could not take part in the Battle of Badr and were desirous of martyrdom and wanted to fight against the enemy, stated, “O Messengersa of Allah! Take us to fight the enemy outside of Medina, lest they think that we have become scared.”
Abdullah bin Ubay stated, “O Messengersa of Allah! Remain in Medina; do not leave Medina. By Allah, whenever we have fought against the enemy outside of Medina, we have always suffered defeat. And whenever we fought inside Medina, we were victorious.” (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], pp. 297-298; Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 185)
Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib, Sa’d bin Ubadah and Numan bin Malik stated, “O Messengersa of Allah! If we do not leave Medina, then the enemy shall think that we have become scared and, hence, are not leaving Medina. Therefore, they will draw strength from this. On the occasion of Badr, Allah the Almighty granted you victory against them when you were only 300 men, whereas now we are in greater number.”
Iyas bin Aus bin Ateeq stated that he desired for the Banu Abdal Ash’al to fulfil the dream of the Holy Prophetsa wherein a cow was being slaughtered. Besides him, others also stated that this would be one of two positive outcomes; either they would attain victory or embrace martyrdom. They also vowed that the Arabs would not be able to enter their homes. Hazrat Hamzara stated, “I swear by Him Who has revealed the Book to you, I will not eat today until I go out and fight against the enemy with my sword.” Subsequently, he continued to remain in a state of fasting throughout Friday and Saturday and he was still in a state of observing the fast when he embraced martyrdom. (Al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1984], p. 194)
Nauman bin Malik stated, “O Messengersa of Allah! Do not deprive us of paradise. I swear by Him, in Whose hands is my life, I shall certainly enter paradise.” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “How so?” He responded, “Because I love Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa.” In another narration, it is mentioned that he said, “I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammadsa is indeed the Messenger of Allah and I shall not flee on the day of battle.” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “You have indeed spoken the truth.” He also attained martyrdom during this battle. Malik bin Sinan Khudri, Iyas bin Ateeq and another group of people insisted on leaving [Medina] for battle. (Mustafa ‘Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 186)
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra has written the details of this account in The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets as follows:
“The Holy Prophetsa gathered the Muslims and sought their counsel with regards to this attack of the Quraish; whether they should remain in Medina, or set out to fight the enemy. Prior to beginning, the Holy Prophetsa mentioned the attack of the Quraish and their deadly intentions.” Then, the Holy Prophetsa mentioned his dream which has already been narrated. The companions enquired about the interpretation of the dream and the Holy Prophetsa stated:
“‘I have understood the slaughtering of the cow to infer that some of my companions shall be martyred, and it seems as if the breaking of the tip of my sword is an indication towards the martyrdom of someone from among my relatives, or perhaps I shall myself suffer an injury in this campaign. As for placing my hand in a coat of mail, I have understood this to infer that in order to fend off this attack, it is more appropriate for us to remain in Medina.’
“The Holy Prophetsa interpreted the dream of himself being mounted on a ram to symbolise the leader of the army of the Quraish, i.e., its flag-bearer – who would, God-willing, be slain at the hands of the Muslims. After this, the Holy Prophetsa sought the counsel of his Companions, as to what should be done in the current state of affairs.”
As mentioned earlier, the companions put forth the suggestion to remain in Medina and fight, perhaps being influenced by the dream of the Holy Prophetsa or by just assessing the circumstances of the time.
“The Holy Prophetsa also preferred this proposal. […] However, a majority of the companions, many of whom were young men and had not participated in the Battle of Badr, and were restless to receive an opportunity to serve the religion by means of their own martyrdom, very forcefully insisted that they should go forth from the city and fight in an open field. This group presented their opinion with such persistence that, upon witnessing their zeal, the Holy Prophetsa accepted their proposal and decided that the Muslims would fight the disbelievers in an open field. After the Friday Prayer, the Holy Prophetsa publicly urged the Muslims to attain spiritual reward through Jihad in the cause of Allah by participating in this expedition.” (The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets, Vol. 2, pp. 322-324)
I shall – God willing – continue to narrate these details in the future.
Continue praying for the Palestinians. After the pause in fighting, indiscriminate bombardment will resume upon them once again, as a result of which more innocent people will be martyred. What will be the extent of this cruelty? Only Allah knows best. The intentions of the major powers with regard to the future of the Palestinians are very dangerous. Therefore, we must pray immensely for them, that Allah the Almighty bestows His mercy and grace upon them.
(Official Urdu transcript published in the Daily Al Fazl International, 22 December 2023, pp. 2-7. Translated by The Review of Religions.)