The Battle of Uhud – Part 5
وَبَرَكَاتُهُ اللهِ وَرَحْمَةُ عَلَيْكُمْ السَّلاَمُ
From the first half of Uhud, another interesting incident is that of Quzmaan. Quzmaan was of the hypocrites, and so when Abdullah ibn Ubay returned with his posse he also initially went back with him. However he was a known warrior, and so when he returned the Muslims ladies began to mock and incite him that what kind of a man was he that he would run away from this battle? And so he began to feel ashamed, so much so that he once again put on his armour, took up his sword and returned to Uhud to prove his manhood.
Of course, his intention was impure, yet still he put up a great fight and was an extremely devastating force against the mushrikoon forces. So much so, in fact, that a sahaba went back to the prophet and said to him, ‘O Rasulallah, Quzmaan is fighting an amazing battle.’
But the prophet simply said, ‘He will be in the fire.’
At this, the sahaba narrates that he ‘got a shock as he had never gotten before.’ How could this man, who was fighting such and intense and brave battle, be for the fire of hell? And so he decided to follow him to see what he did.
Eventually in the battle Quzmaan was hit by an arrow and he began wailing in pain. Until – not being able bear the pain any more – he took his sword, turned it to face himself, placed the handle on the ground and point on his belly, and jumped on his own blade. Now of course, this was not something any of the sahaba ever did – it is un-Islamic and unmanly, especially when you compare the pain that some of the other sahaba put up with and how they dealt with it (remember the story of Mu'adh ibn Amr ibn Al-Jamuḥ (RA), who ripped his own arm off when it got in his way at Badr?). And so the sahaba who had been following him returned to the prophet and informed him what had happened. At this, the prophet said, ‘Sometimes Allah helps this religion through an evil man.’
And the final incident from the first part of the battle is that of Mukhayriq. Mukhayriq was a rabbi from one of the Jewish tribes of Medina, and as we remember according to the treaty of Medina the Jewish tribes were obligated to help the Muslims when the city was under threat. However tensions were such that the prophet did not even approach the Jewish tribes, as he knew that almost certainly they would refuse to help. Now Mukhayriq was the only one who felt bound by the treaty, and he kept inciting and telling the tribes that they had the obligation to help the Muslims. And he kept trying to warn them, however the tribes continued to dismiss and belittle him until finally it was the Saturday, and they made the excuse that it was their Sabbath and could not help him even if they wanted to. In disgust, Muskayriq cursed them by saying, ‘May you have no Sabbath,’ and declared that if he died any of his property would go to Muhammad ﷺ, before putting on his armour, taking up his sword and heading for the battle. And he also fought – not out of deen, but out of loyalty to the treaty – and died defending the Muslims and the city, and the prophet praised him similarly to how he praised Mut’im ibn Adi after the battle of Badr.
Moving on to the second part of Uhud, after the Muslim’s initial charge the mushrikoon army had been forced to retreat and scatter. And when this happened, the Muslim army began to celebrate and became complacent in their victory. So much so, in fact, that the sahaba put down their weapons and began to run between the battlefield and the camp to gather up the ghaneema which the fleeing army had left behind. Now as we know any ghaneema that they collected would end up being distributed amongst the entire army anyway, however not all of the rules for the distribution had been revealed at this point, and although much had been sent down at Badr only a small portion of the army at Uhud had actually been present at Badr and so not all of the sahaba were aware of the rulings. And so when they saw the loot they became distracted, which was the primary reason that led to the disaster that followed.
Remember the 50 archers which the prophet had placed on Al-Jabil Al-Aynayn? When the mushrikoon army had been initially defeated and were nowhere to be seen, the prophet still did not call them down off of the mountain because in his eyes that battle was not completely over. And so they remained there, waiting and waiting, and they watched the other sahaba on the battlefield rushing around and collecting the war booty and they began to feel neglected. And this was where Shaitaan got to them. Allah tells us in the Quran, that they began to dispute amongst themselves about whether to leave the post and go down to the battlefield or to stay until the prophet called them. And famously during this debate Abdullah in Jubair (RA) declared, ‘Have you forgotten what the prophet told you? “Stay where you are until my command comes to you.” By Allah, I will not move my place until the command comes to me.’ Yet despite this, eventually 40 of the archers were convinced to leave the mountain and desert their posts, leaving behind only 10 to remain.
Now as we know, Khalid ibn Walid (RA) had been commanding the right side of the mushrikoon army – which was the side closer to Al-Jabil Al-Aynayn – before they had been forced to retreat. However he did not retreat like a coward running for his life, rather he continued to watch the battlefield and since he was closer to the mountain he noticed the 40 archers leave. And so immediately, like the military genius he was, he seized the opportunity and quickly rallied together what part of his army that he could. Now here a difference of opinion arises on exactly what route he took, since there are no exact narrations on this, but the opinion of many medieval scholars is that he then took his army all the way around the mountain range of Uhud to attack the Muslims from the other side. However when you look at the size of Uhud then this makes no sense at all as this would have taken far too long. Instead, the almost certainly more logical idea is that he instead simply went around the other side of Al-Jabil Al-Aynayn, and there was a long drainage ditch in which he hid his army so that they would not be seen by the remaining archers. And he managed to sneak up on the archers and kill them before they could alert the prophet, and so came as a surprise upon the Muslim army.
Red is the often proposed route that many say Khalid ibn Walid took to flank the Muslims, all the way around Uhud. However blue is the more likely route around Al-Jabil Al-Aynayn (in green) that he probably actually took.
And then he attacked. The Muslims were spread thin, split up between the camp which was closer to Uhud and the battlefield which was on the left of Al-Jabil Al-Aynayn, and Khalid came from the right of Al-Jabil Al-Aynayn directly in between the two locations. And the first person to see Khalid – and this shows that he was still on high alert – was in fact the prophet himself, who was at the camp with only one or two sahaba still with him. And as soon as he noticed what was happening, the prophet made the sacrifice of revealing his location to the enemy by shouting at the top of his lungs to his army, ‘O Muslims, behind you! Take your precautions, they are coming from behind!’
And from here on out total pandemonium ensued – some of the Muslims were not able to regroup and were left in small pockets, and many of them were without weapon as they had laid down their arms to collect the ghaneema. And so when they saw the surprise attack, they did exactly what the mushrikoon had done a little while earlier and turned around and began to flee. As for the sahaba who were closer to the ranks of Khalid ibn Al-Walid, there was so much confusion and Shaitaan was also playing his tricks, that some of the Muslims confused other groups of Muslims as the enemy and even ended up killing some of their own.
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 047
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 048