The defeat at Badr was a humiliation which the Quraishites pride could not leave unavenged. Revenge was, therefore, the catchword all over Makkah. The Makkans even forbade lamenting over their murdered people, or ransoming their people who were captives at battle of Badr, lest the Muslims should realize the grave degree of sadness and feeling of tragedy they were experiencing. In the wake of Badr event, Quraish was in common consent and started fresh preparations to launch an overall war against the Muslims in order to restore their wounded prestige and pride. The most enthusiastic polytheists desiring to go into a new battle were ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Umaiyah, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Rabi’ah. They were determined to crush the commonwealth of Islam once and for all. Messengers were sent to all the tribes to make common cause against the rising Faith. As a consequence of this, they managed to enlist the support of any who wanted to fight against the Muslims among the tribe of Kinanah, the people of Tihamah and the people living in suburbs. It was also decided that the profits of the escaped caravan headed by Abu Sufyan, which amounted to 1000 camels and 50 thousand dinars, should be devoted for providing equipment to the army. It was about this that Allâh revealed:
“Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allâh, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them.
Then they will be overcome.” [8:36] They also devised other ways of recruitment including hiring poets to persuade the tribes into fighting the Muslims. Safwan bin Umaiyah allured Abu ‘Azzah, the poet to work in this context in return for riches after the war or supporting his daughters if killed. Incidentally, this poet was a prisoner of war (in the context
of the Badr events) in the hands of the Muslims, and the Prophetﷺ was gracious enough to release him unransomed provided he would not engage in fight against him. Abu Sufyan nursed the most enmity against Muslims because of his losses in As-Saweeq invasion, and of Quraish’s losses by the platoon of Zaid bin Harithah
The Army of the Quraish prepares
In the light of these successive failures, Quraish increased and accelerated their preparations for a decisive battle with the Muslims. At the turn of the year, everything was ready for the move. The Makkans also decided to take their women along with them for they might arouse them to fight manfully. Thus a group of three thousand pitched warriors, of whom seven hundred were mailed soldiers and two hundred well-mounted cavalry with three thousand camels and fifteen women marched towards Madinah. The general leader was Abu Sufyan bin Harb, the cavalry was under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Walid, assisted by “Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, and Bani ‘Abdud-Dar were entrusted with the flag.
The Mobilization of the Makkan Army
After the preparations were complete, the Makkan army began its way toward Madinah. Old deep-seated hatred enveloped the whole process forewarning a bitter and bloody fighting.
The Prophet’s Survey discovers the Movements of the Enemy
Meanwhile Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib, was closely watching the military movements and preparations for war, and these were all included in an urgent message sent by him to Prophet ﷺwho received it while he was in Quba’ Mosque. Ubai bin Ka’b read the letter to the Prophet ﷺ, who asked him to be secretive about its
serious contents. He hurried back to Madinah, convened a meeting with the Helpers and Emigrants and consulted with them over the measures that should be taken.
The Muslims prepare for Imminent Danger
The whole of Madinah was put on the alert and all men were heavily armed even during prayer in anticipation of any emergency. A group of Helpers volunteered to guard the Prophetﷺ fort and kept watchful eye all night at his door, among whom there were Sa’d bin Mu’adh, Usaid bin Hudair and Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah . Lest they should be taken by surprise, armed groups of the Madinese began to police the entrances and roads leading to the city. To check the movements of the polytheists, Muslim platoons began to patrol the routes for any probable enemy raids.
The Makkan Army’s Approach to Madinah
The Makkan army, on the other hand, continued the march along the usual western road. On reaching Al-Abwa’, Hind bint ‘Utbah. Abu Sufyan’s wife, suggested that they dig up the grave of the Prophet’sﷺ mother, but the leaders of the army refused to do so for fear of the consequent results. The army then followed Wadi-ul’Aqeeq and turned right to encamp themselves at a place called ‘Ainain near Uhud Mountain. That was on Friday, 6th Shawwal. 3 AH ,
A Consultation Assembly for a Defense Plan
The scouting party of Madinah conveyed the news of the Makkan army step by step. Then Allâh’s Messengerﷺ things held a head military consultation assembly to exchange views about the situation. He told them about a dream he had. He said:
“By Allâh, I have dreamt of – I pray Allâh to be a dream of bounty – cows slaughtered and that there was a groove at the pointed top of my sword, and that I had inserted my hand into an immune armor.”
The interpretation of the cows’ was that some of his men were killed, and the groove at the pointed top of my sword’ was that a member of his House would be hurt. As for ‘the armor’ it was Madinah. Then he offered a suggestion that his Companions should not go out of Madinah and that they should encamp themselves within the city. He was of the opinion that the enemies should be left in the open to exhaust themselves and thus the Muslims would not risk a battle. But if they thought of attacking Madinah, Muslim men would be ready to fight them at the mouths of lanes; whereas Muslim women would help from over the house roofs. ‘Abdullah bin Ubai Ibn Salul – the head of the hypocrites; who attended the meeting as a chief of Al-Khazraj – supported the Prophet’s plan. As a matter of fact his agreement was not based on the righteousness of the plan but rather on personal benefit. He did not want to fight. On the contrary he secretly aimed at being far away from the fight. However it was Allâh’s Will that he should be disclosed and disgraced in public – for the first time. It was His Will that the curtain behind which the hypocrites’ disbelief was concealed should be uncovered and pulled down. Allâh’s Will enabled the Muslims to recognize the reality of those snakes that were creeping within their garments and inside the sleeves of their clothes. Thanks to Allâh they recognized them in one of the most critical times of their lives. Some of the best honorable Companions, who had missed Al-Jihad in Badr Battle, suggested that the Prophetﷺ should go out of Madinah and urged him to accept their point of view. One of them said: “O Messenger of Allâh, for a long time we have been looking forward to this day, and we have prayed Allâh to make such a day draw near. Thanks to Allâh it is time to fight. So let us go out and fight our enemies lest they should think that we have lost heart and do not dare to fight them.” Hazrat Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo the paternal uncle of the Prophet ﷺwho had already covered the ornaments of his sword with idolaters’ blood in Badr Battle, was head of those eager people who urged him to go out and meet the disbelievers. He said to the Prophetﷺ “By Allâh.
Who has sent the Book down unto you, I will not taste food till i fight them with my sword outside Madinah.” After weighing carefully the pros and cons of the issue, it was decided that the enemy should be resisted outside the city at Uhud.
Dividing the Islamic Army into Troops and Departure to the Battlefield
Ascending the pulpit at the Friday congregational prayer, the Prophet ﷺ urged the people in his sermon to fight courageously. He told them that if they remained steadfast they will be helped. Then he commanded his men to make ready for the battle, and they rejoiced. He led the Afternoon prayer with crowds of people. Then he entered his house accompanied by his two friends Abu Bakr and ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo. They helped him dress and wear his head cloth. He armed himself and wore two sets of armor, one over the other. He wore his sword and went out to meet people. The people were waiting impatiently for him. Sa’d bin Mu’adh and Usaid bin Hudair to blamed the people for imposing their view on the Prophetﷺ They said: “You have forced Allâh’s Messenger retning to fight the enemy outside Madinah.” Therefore they were determined to leave the whole matter to the Prophetﷺ When the Prophet ﷺcame out, they said: “O Messengerﷺ of Allâh, we should have not disagreed with you. So. you are free to do what you desire. If you prefer to stay inside Madinah, we will stay with you.” Upon this Allâh’s Messengerﷺ remarked:
“It does not suit a Prophetﷺ that once he had put on armor. he should take it off, until Allâh has decided between him and the enemy
The Prophetﷺ divided his army into 3 battalions: Al-Muhajireen battalion, under the command of Mus’ab bin ‘Umair Al-‘Abdari Al-Ansari-Aws battalion was commanded by Usaid bin Hudair inte Al-Ansari-Khazraj battalion with Al-Hubab bin Al-Mundhir Radiallahu anhoo to lead it. The army consisted of one thousand fighters; a hundred of them armored; and no horsemen.” He appointed Ibn Umm Maktum to lead the people in prayer in Madinah. Departure was announced and the army moved northwards with the two Sa’ds, who were armored, running in front of the army. Upon passing along Al-Wada’ mountain path he saw a well-armed battalion, that was detached from the main body of the army. The Prophet ﷺ inquired who they were and he was told that they were Jews and were allies of Al-Khazraj. They told him that they wanted to contribute to the fight against the idolaters. “Have they embraced Islam?” The Prophetﷺ asked. “No,” they said. So he refused admitting them and said that he would not seek the assistance of disbelievers against the idolaters.
Parading the Army
As soon as he reached a location called Ash-Shaikhan, he paraded his arıy. He dismissed those whom he considered to be disabled or too young to stand the fight. Among them were ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, Usamah bin Zaid, Usaid bin Zuhair. Zaid bin Thabit, Zaid bin Arqam, ‘Arabah bin Aws. ‘Amr bin Hazm. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, Zaid bin Harithah Al-Ansari, Sa’d bin Habtah and Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib, but a Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari pointed out that he had shared in the fight that day. Allah’s Messenger ﷺallowed both Rafi’ bin Khadij and Samurah
bin Jundub to join the army – though they were too young. The former proved to be skillful at shooting arrows; the latter wrestled the former and beat him. The admission of Rafi’ made Samurah say: “I am stronger than him, I can overcome him.” When the Prophet ﷺ heard this saying he ordered them to wrestle. They did. Samurah won so he was also admitted.
Passing the Night between Uhud and Madinah
As night fell upon them there, they performed both the Evening and the Night prayers and spent the night there as well. Fifty people were chosen to guard and patrol the camp. Muhammad bin Maslamah Al-Ansari Radiallahu anhoo the hero of the brigade of Ka’b bin AlAshraf, was in charge of the guards. Whereas Dhakwan bin ‘Abd Qais undertook the responsibility of guarding the Prophetﷺ in particular.
The Rebellion of ‘Abdullah bin Ubai and his Followers
At the end of the night and just before it was daybreak, the Prophetﷺ moved and when he got to Ash-Shawt, he observed the Morning prayer. There he was close enough to the enemy that they could see one another. It was there that ‘Abdullah bin Ubai – the hypocrite – rebelled against the Muslims. One-third of the army withdrew with him – that is to say three hundred fighters. He said, “We do not know why we shall kill ourselves.” He claimed that his withdrawal was no more than showing protest against Allâh’s Messenger ﷺthan who had already refused his opinion and accepted that of the others. Undoubtedly that was not the real cause of his separation. If it had been the refusal of his opinion – as the hypocrite claimed there would have no sense whatsoever for his joining the Prophetic army. If it had been so, he would have refused to go out with the army from the very beginning of the march. As a matter of fact, the real purpose of this rebellion, withdrawal and detachment – at this delicate and awkward position and time was to produce panic, confusion of mind, and disorder in the
Muslim army who were within the sight and hear range of the enemy who were also looking forward to seeing more and more conflicts on the side of the Muslims, like themselves. They also aimed at breaking the high morale of the believers. That would accelerate
in their opinion the breakdown and consequently the death of Prophet ﷺ and his faithful Companions and Islam as a whole. The way would then be clear for the reclaim of presidency, which that hypocrite had lost on the advent of Islam into Madinah. Short of Allâh’s Care, the hypocrite’s plot would have been successful. Banu Harithah of Al-Aws and Banu Salamah of AlKhazraj were partially impressed by the hypocrite’s behavior. Both of them were overwhelmed by confusion and they had almost started to withdraw, but Allâh’s Care saved them from that disgrace. Allâh says:
“When two parties from among you were about to lose their heart, but Allâh was their Wali (Supporter and Protector).
And in Allâh should the believers put their trust.” (3:122] *Abdullah bin Haram the father of Jabir bin ‘Abdullah attempted to stop their withdrawal. He reminded the hypocrites of their duty at this delicate and awkward condition, but in vain. He followed them, criticized them and advised them to go back saying: “Come and fight in the way of Allâh or at least be defenders.” They said: “If we had known that you would really fight, we would have not gone back.” Having despaired of them. he addressed them saying: “May Allâh cast you away, you enemies of Allah. Allâh will certainly suffice His Prophetﷺ.” Allâh says about those hypocrites:
“And that He might test the hypocrites, it was said to them: Come, fight in the way of Allâh or (at least) defend yourselves.’ They said: ‘Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you. They were that day, nearer to disbelief than to Faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allah has full knowledge of what they conceal.” 13:167)
The Remainder of the Islamic Army is on the move to Uhud
With the remainder of fighters, Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ removed towards the enemy. After the rebellion and withdrawal of the hypocrites, the number of soldiers was reduced to seven hundred only. The camp of idolaters was situated in such a place that the many roads leading to Uhud were almost blocked by them. So Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ said to his men: “Which man of you can lead us to where the people (i.e., the idolaters) are, along a short track that does not pass by them?” Abu Khaithamah is said: “O Messenger of Allâh, I am the man you need.” Then he chose a short track that led to Uhud passing by Harrah Bani Harithah and their farms. leaving the idolaters’ army westwards. On their way they passed by the field of Marba’ bin Qaizi, who was a blind hypocrite. When Marba’ felt and realized that they were the Prophetic army, he started throwing earth at their faces so they rushed to kill him, but the Prophet saﷺid:
“Do not kill him. He is blind in heart and eyes.” Allâh’s Messengerﷺ went along till they climbed down the hillock of Uhud at the slope of the valley. He camped there with his army facing Madinah while their backs were to the hills of the Uhud mountain. So the army of the enemy stood as a barrier between the Muslims and Madinah.
The Defense Plan
Allâh’s Messenger ﷺmobilized his army. He arranged them into two rows to prepare them for fight. He selected fifty skillful archers that formed a squad and made them under the command of ‘Abdullah bin Jubair bin An-Nu’man Al-Ansari Al-Awsi Al-Badri, He issued his orders to them to stay where they were mountain (side) at the south bank of the Qanat valley, south east of Muslims camp at about one hundred and fifty meters from the Islamic army. Later on this mountain was called the Mountain of Archers. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ clarified the mission of this squad in words he directed to them. He said to their leader:
“Drive off the horses from us by means of arrows, lest they should attack us from behind (the rear). Whether we win the battle or lose it, stand steadily in your position and
mind that we are not attacked from your side.”[!] He added:
“Defend our backs! If you see us slain, do not come to assist us; and if you see that we have acquired booty, do not share
in that with us. In a version by Al-Bukhari, the Prophetﷺ said:
“If you see us snatched into pieces by birds, do not leave this position of yours till I send for you. And if you see that we have defeated the enemy and trodden on them do not
desert your position till I send for you. With the assignment of this squad and locating it on the mountainside and the issuance of those strict military orders. Allâh’s Messenger ﷺblocked the only way that might lead the idolaters stealthily to the rear of Muslim ranks and might even enable them to surround them by forming a circle, The assignments of posts and responsibilities for the rest of the army were performed by the Prophet ﷺare as follows: On the right wing, he appointed Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr version
. On the left he appointed Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwames
, and made Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad his assistant and supporter. It was also Az-Zubair’s responsibility to stop Khalid bin Al-Walid’s horsemen. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ selected the top and the most courageous group to be in the front line of the army. They were notable for their readiness, alertness and bravery and estimated to be equal to thousands of men. It was a wise and carefully-laid plan which revealed the high skills of military leadership that the Prophet possessed. No other leader could have drawn a more accurate or wise plan. Although he approached the site later than the enemy, he managed to occupy better positions. He made the rocky mountainside to function as shield for the army’s rear and right side. He was able, by blocking the only critical gap on the side, to provide additional maximum protection for the rear as well as the left wing. For fear of possible defeat, and to deter the Muslims from fleeing, in which case they would fall easy prisoners in the hands of the enemy. he chose a high place for the military camp. Moreover a strategic site of this sort would surely inflict heavy losses on the polytheists if they thought of approaching or occupying his positions. In a further step, he reduced the enemy to a narrow scope of choice when they were cornered for encampment in geographically low positions that would avail them nothing of the benefits of any possible victory; at the same
time they would not be able to escape the pursuit of the Muslims in case victory sided with the latter. To make up for the quantitative shortage in fighting personnel, he chose a picked body of fighters to stand at the front. The army of the Prophet ﷺmention was thus fully mobilized on the moming of Saturday, Shawwal 7th, 3 A.H.