The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud

 Part I: In the Time of the Prophet (SAWS)

 

Page: 3

"I have 50 members of my clan with me", he said to Abu Sufyan. "I have much influence with my clan, the Aws. I propose that before the battle begins I be permitted to address the Aws among the Muslims, and I have no doubt that they will all desert Muhammad and come over to my side." 1 Abu Sufyan gladly accepted the arrangement. The Aws were one of the two major tribes of Madinah and would comprise more than a third of the Muslim army.

Parleys were begun with neighbouring tribes, and strong contingents were received from the Kinana and the Thaqeef. Early in March 625, the assembly of the expedition began at Makkah. At this time Abbas, uncle of the Prophet, wrote to him from Makkah to inform him of the preparations being made against him.

In the second week of March, the Quraish set out from Makkah with an army of 3,000 men, of whom 700 were armoured. They had 3,000 camels and 200 horses. With the army went 15 Quraish women in litters, whose task it was to remind the Quraish of the comrades who had fallen at Badr and to strengthen their spirits. Among these women was Hind, who acted as their leader, and the role came naturally to her. Others were the wife of Ikrimah, the wife of Amr bin Al Aas and the sister of Khalid. One of the women, whom we shall hear of again later, was Amrah bint Alqama, and there were also some songstresses who carried tambourines and drums.

As the expedition moved towards Madinah, one of the leaders of the Quraish, Jubair bin Mut'im, spoke to his slave, who was known as the Savage-Wahshi bin Harb. "If you kill Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad, in revenge for the killing of my uncle at Badr, I shall free you." 2 The Savage liked the prospect. He was a huge, black Abyssinian slave who always fought with a javelin from his native Africa. He was an expert with this weapon and had never been known to miss.

After travelling a little further, the Savage saw one of the litter-carrying camels move up beside him. From the litter Hind looked out and spoke to the Savage. "O Father of Blackness!" she addressed him. "Heal, and seek your reward." 3 She promised him that if he would kill Hamza in revenge for his killing her father, she would give him all the ornaments that she was wearing.

The Savage looked greedily at her ornaments-her necklace, her bracelets, the rings that she wore on her fingers. They all looked very expensive and his eyes glittered at the prospect of acquiring them.

The Holy Prophet had been warned by Abbas of the Quraish preparations before they left Makkah. While they were on their way, he continued to receive information of their progress from friendly tribes. On March 20, the Quraish arrived near Madinah and camped a few miles away, in a wooded area west of Mount Uhud. On this very day the Prophet sent two scouts to observe the Quraish, and these scouts returned to give their exact strength.

On March 21, the Prophet left Madinah with 1,000 men, of whom 100 were armoured. The Muslims had two horses, of which one was the Prophet's. They camped for the night near a small black hillock called Shaikhan, a little over a mile north of Madinah.

The following morning, before the march was resumed, the Hypocrites, numbering 300 under the leadership of Abdullah bin Ubayy, left the Prophet on the plea that fighting the Quraish outside Madinah had no prospect of success, and that they would not take part in an operation which in their view was doomed to failure. The Hypocrites returned to Madinah. The Prophet was now left with 700 men; and with this strength he marched from the camp. The Prophet had not actually intended to fight outside Madinah. It had been his wish that the Muslims should await the arrival of the Quraish on their home ground and fight the battle in Madinah; but most of the Muslims had insisted that they go out to meet the Quraish, and so the Prophet, submitting to their demand, had marched out to give battle to the Quraish outside Madinah. But although he was going out to meet his enemy in the open, he would nevertheless fight the battle on ground of his own choice. He moved to the foot of Mount Uhud and deployed for battle.

1. Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 161
2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, pp. 61-2.
3. Ibid.