The inhabitant of Makkah could not forgive themselves for the defeat at Badr. Their notable leaders and chiefs were killed. It was bewilderingfor them to accept the fact that the most feared and powerful Quraish of Arabia were humiliated by a handful of ill-equipped men led by Rasulullah . Indeed the future seemed to them bleak. Their trade caravan dared not venture on the road to Syria because of the Muslim victory at Badr. Ruin and famine stared them in the face. To guard against the expectant disaster they decided to spend the large profits made by their great caravan by arming an expedition which would avenge their dead and grant them commercial security.
Abu Soofyaan bin Harab the successor to Abu Jahl took the first step to venture again outside of Makkah. He gathered 200 men and led them out in secret in the direction of Madinah. Upon arrival in the vicinity of Madinah, they attacked a locality called Al-'Urayed at night. Only one Madinite and his gardener were in the locality at the time. They were killed and their house and orchard destroyed. Abu Soofyaan thought his vow to attack Rasulullah had now been fulfilled, and he and his men therefore left the scene quickly, fearing pursuit by the Muslims. When the Muslims were alerted, they pursued Abu Soofyaan as far as Qarqarat al Kudr. In order to hasten their flight, Abu Soofyaan and his party every now and then threw away some of their provisions of wheat and barley flour. While the Muslims followed their trail they soon realized, however, that the Makkans had escaped, and they decided to return home.
By this raid Abu Soofyaan had sought to encourage the Quraish after their defeat at Badr and to recapture its lost pride. In fact, his plan turned against him and his flight from the Muslims brought further shame to the Quraish. Because of Al Sawiq (i.e. the flour), which the men of the Quraish dropped on their path, this expedition was given the name 'Al Sawiq Campaign'.
Rasulullah was made aware by Divine revelation to what extent the kuffaar would harm his mission to spread the Commands of Allah. He ordered defensive expeditions to any point where the presence of the Quraish was made known. Among the trouble spots was Najd. Where the Bani Ghayafaan were stirring up hatred against the Muslims. In the month of Muharram 3 A.H. Rasulullah took an expedition to Najd to deal with people of Ghatafan. Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (R.A.) was oppointed the Khalifa of Madinah in the absence of Rasulullah . This expedition remained in Najd for a month and returned without any fighting.
Rasulullah took another expedition in the month of Rabi-ul-Akhir to Buhraan where Banu Saalim were making plans against the Muslims. Hazrat ibn Umme Maktoom (R.A.) was made the khalifa of Madinah. This expedition also returned without any encounter. Expeditions to both these area saw the consolidation of the Muslim power without the use of any arms.
Rasulullah also ordered the execution of Ka'ab bin Ashraf, a well known Jewish poet. He was a bitter enemy of Islam. He composed vile and indecent poems on the life of Rasulullah and poems which slandered Muslim women. He was executed on the evening of Rabi-ul-Awwal 3 A.H. He was executed by Hazrat Muhammed bin Maslamah (R.A.) and his friends.
A group of Khazraj Muslims sought the permission of Rasulullah to execute another kaafir, Abu Raf'e Sallam son of Abul Huqaiq of the Banu Nazir tribe. Detesting Rasulullah and the Muslims, he made use of every opportunity to incite the neighbouring Arab tribes such as Sulaim and the Ghatafan against them. Abu Raf'e lived in a castle near Khaibar, four or five days journey to the northwest of Madinah. Hazrat Abdullah bin Ateeq (R.A.) a brave Muslim slipped past Abu Ra'fe's well-guarded gates at night. He climbed the uppermost storey and executed the kaafir in his luxurious quarters.
The Muslims kept strict vigil on trading routes which the Quraish used. At one stage a Quraish caravan heavily laden with merchandise, headed for Iraq taking a different route. The Muslims however, intercepted them on receiving news of their presence. In the skirmish that followed, the Quraish fled leaving behind one prisoner and valuables worth 100,000 dirhams. They returned to Madinah with Far'at Ajlee, the prisoner, who later accepted Islam.
The Jewish tribes of Banu Qainuqa were goldsmiths by trade. Inspite of the 'Treaty' drawn up with them for peace, they were always arrogant and haughty. A Muslim women had gone into their market to sell milk and some Jews had insulted and humiliated her. A Muslim went to her rescue but the Jews killed him. The Muslim were so angered at this incident that Rasulullah ordered the siege of their fortress in Madinah. After 16 days the siege was lifted and the Jews surrendered and begged for mercy. Abdullah bin Sulool, the munaafiq. who was the friend of the Jews pleaded with Rasulullah that their (Jews) lives should be spared. The Banu Qainuqa were not to be trusted anymore Rasulullah ordered their banishment from Madinah. The Jews then settled at Khaibar.
In the month of Shawwaal 3 A.H. Hazrat Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib who had as yet not embraced Islam, wrote an urgent message to Rasulullah informing him of the activities of the Quraish who were bent on an attack on Madinah. Elaborate preparations were in progress; funds were collected, the profit of 50,000 dinars gained in the last trading caravan under Abu Soofyan bin Harab was being used for the war effort; poets were sent to other tribes, to Jews and Christians to enlist their support for the Quraish. Hinda the wife Abu Soofyaan, had lost her father Utba and brother Shaiba in the Battle of Badr, therefore she compelled Abu Soofyaan, the only leader of any repute of the Quraish, to take revenge.
A feverish activity was going on in Makkah. There were 3000 well trained and well equipped warriors, 700 of whom were in steel armour. They also had 200 horses and 3000 camels. Abi Rabi'a was appointed as the general. The women's thirst for revenge was equally fierce; and Hinda binte Utbah, wife of Abu Soofyaan bin Harab joined them, behind her a horde of her companions determined to stop any warrior who might be tempted to run away. In the fertile plains, north of Madinah, fellahs (agricultural labourers of Arabia) were peacefully engaged in their work of agriculture or watching over their gazing flocks, when all of a sudden the soldiers of Abu Soofyaan who had taken the greatest precautions to hide their rapid advance, marched from the ravines of the western mountains. All resistance being impossible, the ill-fated peasants fled in great haste to escape being massacred, and to warn their fellow citizens of the invasion of Allah's enemies.
The scouts of the Muslims reported to Rasulullah of the kuffaar at Uhad. The Muslims posted guards on the boundaries of Madinah and around Masjid-e-Nabawi. Rasulullah held consultation with the Sahaaba (R.A.). The Munafiqeen leader, Abdullah bin Ubay bin Sulool was also consulted as he was an experience person in warfare. Rasulullah related a dream which he interpreted as 'blood-shed and suffering for the Muslims' if they fought outside of Madinah. Many elder Sahaaba (R.A.) and the Munafiqeen were also in favour of defending Madinah from within. But the younger Muslims and the Sahaaba (R.A.) who did not take part in Badr were determined to fight the enemy at Uhad on the battlefield. Hazrat Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (R.A.) Hazrat Sa'ad bin Ubaada (R.A.) and Hazrat Naumaan bin Malik (R.A.) agreed with those who wanted to fight outside Madinah lest the enemy draw the conclusion that the Muslims were cowards. Seeing this determination, Nabi agreed to go out to meet the enemy. Hurried preparations were made and one thousand people rallied round Rasulullah . He very reluctantly gave permission to a few very young boys who were good archers to come along with the general Muslim army. Before the Muslims could reach Uhad Abdullah bin Ubay bin Sulool, the Munafiq, returned to Madinah with 300 of his followers saying:
'Muhammed listens to the chatter of good for nothing fools and rejects the good advice I gave him. Why go to face certain death?'. The army was now reduced to 700 men.
On reaching Uhad the Muslims took their position at the foothills of the mountain opposite the enemy camp. Rasulullah noticed an opening in the mountain behind them. He oppointed a batch af fifty archers to take up their position on the 'Ainain Hill, Mount Rumat. These archers under Hazrat Abdullah bin Jubair (R.A.), were entrusted with the task of protecting the passage between Uhad and 'Ainain from being penetrated by the enemy from behind the main Muslim army. They were given strict orders by Rasulullah not to leave the pass whatever the circumstances. Then Rasulullah arranged the Muslims in battle formation.
Before the commencement of the battle, among the enemy was an inhabitant of Madinah, Abu Aamir Abdullah bin Amr bin Saifi, who had converted to Christianity and was nicknamed 'Ar-Rahib' (the Monk). He came out with the intention that he could lead his fellow countrymen-the Aus tribe away from the cause of Islam
He went in front of them saying:
'O people of Aus I, Abu Aamir, a son of your soil, will you not hear me out ?'
They (people of Aus) then replied:
'May Allah refuse you all favour, oh scoundrel'. Choking with shame 'the Monk' went away in fury.
The battle began with traditional single combat. Hazrat Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (R.A.) opposed Uthman bin Abi Talha; Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (R.A.) courageously fought Talha bin Abi Talha and Hazrat Sa'ad bin Waqaas (R.A.) contested Abu Sa'ad bin Abi Talha. The three arrogant and boastful Quraishi warriors were disposed. Before the battle started the kuffar had lost 22 of their soldiers in single combats, thus giving the Muslims a moral victory.
In the ferocious battle that followed, Hazrat Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (R.A)'s sword flashed in such frenzy that he alone accounted for the death of many of the Quraish. For his bravery at Uhad, Hazrat Hamza (R.A.) was given the title of 'Asadullah' or 'Sher-e-Khuda' (Lion of Allah). Wishing to avenge his uncle Tahaimah, killed at Badr by Hazrat Hamza (R.A.) Jubair ibn Mut'am promised to free his Abyssinian slave, Wahshi, if he succeeded in killing Hazrat Hamza (R.A.). Hinda, wife of Abu Soofyaan offered Wahshi her valuable necklace if he succeeded in disposing of Hazrat Hamza (R.A.), Wahshi skilled at throwing the Abyssinian spear and rarely missed his mark, from a hidden spot hurled his spear at Hazrat Hamzah (R.A.) from behind and the brave Muslim warrior was martyred instantly. Hinda, the wife of Abu Soofyaan presented Wahshi with her necklace, and won his freedom from Jubair bin Mut'am. Hinda burning with hatred and malice then ripped open Hazrat Hamza (R.A.)'s body and cutting out his liver, chewed on it. Other kuffaar women, following her example also mutilated the bodies of some martyred Muslim in a barbarous manner.
Rasulullah offered one particular sword to any Muslim on condition that its use was confined to kill only the enemies of Allah. There was a great clamour for the sword. But Hazrat Abu Dujanah Samaak bin Gharshah (R.A.) a brave and chivalrous Muslim warrior was honoured with the sword. He had become a legend for his fighting daringness. Whenever he entered a battlefield, he was known to fall under a spell of frenzy and ecstasy and his stately figure stood out gracefully with his popular red 'Amamah' (turban). He know plunged into the fight along with other Muslims, and wrought havoc into the ranks of the kuffaar until they began to flee from the battlefield. When Hazrat Abu Dujana (R.A.) came across Hinda, lowered his sword saying:
'It is not befitting that the Divine sword of Rasulullah be raised against a mere women'.
When the Muslims saw the enemy retreating from the battlefield, they rushed forward and began collecting the war booty. The archers who were guarding the opening in the mountain pass on the 'Ainain Hill, also saw the flight of the enemy, and sensing victory, most of them left their post and joined the Muslims in collecting the spoils. Hazrat Abdullah bin Jubair(R.A.) called out to them, reminding them of their duty but to no avail. He was left alone with only ten other Muslims to continue their duty.
The joy of the Muslims was short lived as they were dumbfounded and shocked when suddenly they found themselves again in the midst of the kuffaar, fighting for their lives after what they thought was a decisive victory for the Muslims.
Khalid bin Walid, a skilled and shrewd officer of the right flank of the Quraish army was quick to notice the unguarded pass vacated by the archers earlier on. He rushed up from behind Hazrat Abdullah bin Jubair (R.A.) and martyred him and the ten archers who had remained with him. He charged at the unsuspecting Muslims while the kuffaaar who had taken flight, also returned and surrounded the Muslims and Rasulullah
The faithful rallied round Rasulullah and many were martyred in their effort to protect him by forming a human shield around him. Hazrat Mus'ab bin Umair (R.A.) the standard (flag) bearer of the Muslims resembled Rasulullah , was martyred by a crafty infidel Amr bin Qamee'ah. Thinking that he had killed Muhammed himself, returned to his comrades shouting:
'I have slain Muhammed !'.
On hearing this, some Muslims sat around in confusion. Others fought on to seek martyrdom for the sake of Allah and his Nabi . The Muslims began to lose hope. In the confusion and panic that followed, some of the people were attacking their own fellow Muslims. Hazrat Huzaifa (R.A.) witnessed the death of his own father at the hands of the Muslims.
Suddenly, among these heroes resisting with superhuman energy, Hazrat Ka'ab bin Malik (R.A.) recognized Rasulullah in person whose eyes sparkled under his helmet. 'O Muslims! O brothers!' shouted Hazrat Ka'ab bin Malik (R.A.) on top of his voice: 'Good news! Look at the Rasul of Allah! He is safe and sound'.
This cry brought fresh courage in the heart of every Muslim soldier. On all sides, the Muslims rushed to the spot from where the glad cry came. They were summoned with renewed courage and cut a bloody path through the enemy ranks as far as the ravine of 'Ainain Hill'.
The kuffaar also rushed in the same direction with the intention to kill Rasulullah . Hazrat Abu Dujana (R.A.), Hazrat Talha (R.A.) and Hazrat Sa'ad bin Waqas(R.A.), Hazart Abu Bakr(R.A.), Hazrat Omar (R.A.), Hazrat Abdur Rahmaan bin Auf (R.A.), Hazrat Zubair bin Awwam (R.A.), Hazrat Abu Ubaida (R.A.), Hazrat Hannaan bin Mundhir (R.A.), Hazrat Aasim bin Thabit (R..A.), Hazrat Harith bin Simmah (R.A.), Hazrat Suhail bin Haneef (R.A.) and Hazrat As'ad bin Huzair (R.A.) bore the brunt of the attack in trying to shield Rasulullah and many were martyred in such manner that spears protruded from their bodies.
One of the kuffaar. Abdullah bin Qumaiyyah, managed to penetrate the human shield formed by the Sahaaba (R.A.) and attacked Rasulullah with his sword. As a result, two chain links from Rasulullah 's headgear embedded into his cheeks. Another kaafir Abdullah bin Shahaab Zohri, brother of Hazrat Sa'ad bin Waqaas (R.A.), threw a stone into the face of Nabi splitting his lower lip and chipping two of his teeth.
Hazrat Abu Ubaidah (R.A.), by biting the rings on the cheek of Rasulullah broke a tooth on each link. During the thick of the battle Rasulullah was knocked down and fell into a hole that he had not noticed behind him.
Hazrat Ali (R.A.) and Hazrat Talha (R.A.) helped him out at once.
Abu Soofyan drew near to the spot within calling distance of the Muslims rallying around Rasulullah ; entrenched on the slopes of Mount Uhad, and called out to them: 'Is Muhammed with you?'. There being no answer he joyfully concluded that the Rasul was dead. Before going away, he shouted as loudly as he could: 'Assuredly, war is a game of chance. This day avengeth the day of Badr; Hoobal (i.e the idol of the kuffaar) is victorious. He is the all highest'.
At this blasphemy, Rasulullah ordered Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (R.A.) to reply. Hazrat Umar (R.A.) cried out:
'Allah is the Most High; the Most Majestic! Our martyrs are in Jannat (paradise) while your dead are in Jahannam (Hell)'. Abu Soofyaan begged Hazrat Umar (R..A.) to inform him if they had killed Rasulullah Hazrat Umar (R.A.) replied:
'No by my faith! He is even now listening to you'.
Disappointed, Abu Soofyaan retreated with the remaining of the Quraish by giving the Muslims a parting promise that they would face the Muslims the following year at Badr. Rasulullah sent Hazrat Ali (R.A.) to follow the infidels and instructed him:
'Take heed how they carry themselves. See if they ride camels and lead their horses by the bridle. That will certainly show that they have given up all hopes of battle and are going to Makkah. If, on the other hand, they mount their steeds and drive their camels before them, it is a sure sign that they are bound for madinah. with the intention of intercepting us. In that case, their is but one thing to be done: to hurl ourselves upon them without loss of time, so attack them and cut our way through'. A little while later Hazrat Ali (R.A) returned. He had seen the Quraish alight from their horses, walking along their camels and set out in the direction of Makkah.
Reassured as to the enemy's intention the Muslim busied themselves with the burial martyrs. First Rasulullah sought to find the body of his uncle Hazrat Hamza (R.A.) and discovered it in a hollow of low ground, the belly ripped open; and with ears and nose cut off. All the bodies of the martyrs were gathered; 65 Ansaar and 5 Muhajireen. Without being given ghusal (bath), the funeral salaah was offered and the martyrs buried. The martyred bodies were buried two by two or three by three in the same grave.
One devoted Ansaari women hastened to Uhad in search of Rasulullah . On the way she was told of the martyrdom of her father, a brother and her husband. But even so her only concern was for Rasulullah . She kept on repeating the question:
'How is Rasulullah ?.
She breathed a sigh of relief when she personally saw him safe and exclaimed:
'O Prophet of Allah, if you are safe, then all other sorrows are of no importance'.
The battle of Uhad was difficult for Islam as might have been feared. There were grievious losses due to misunderstanding on the part of some of the archers placed on the 'Ainain Hill'. They felt that since the Quraish had retreated and fleeing from the battlefield there was no need to remain in their post any longer. But this was a fatal mistake for which the Muslims had to pay dearly. They the Sahaaba (R.A.) learnt their lesson and in future, the Muslims submitted entirely to Rasulullah ; they were resolved to carry out his command to the letter.
The dejected and depleted Quraish army of Abu Soofyaan was on its return to Makkah. Abu Soofyan knew that the people of Makkah would be hard pressed to explain his failure. On the impulse of the moment, he decided to turn and attack Madinah. When reported of his intention reached Rasulullah set out again with the Sahaaba and waited for him at Humra-ul-Asad. The determination for the survival of Islam was so great with the Muslims, that Abu Soofyaan changed his mind and turned back from Roha and returned to Makkah without facing the Muslims.
Yet again, the Kuffar failed to exterminate Islaam.