The Biography of

Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

Compiled and presented by

Lesson 17

The Battle of Uhud

The inhabitants of Makkah could not forgive themselves for the defeat at Badr. Their notable leaders and chiefs had been killed. It was bewildering to accept the fact that the most feared and powerful Quraish of Arabia were humiliated by a handful of ill-equipped men led by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.

Hindah, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, had lost her father, Utbah, and brother, Shaiba, in the battle of Badr. She compelled Abu Sufyaan, the only leader of any repute of the Quraish, to take revenge. They decided to prepare another powerful expedition that would avenge their dead.

Elaborate preparations were made. The enormous profit gained in the last trading caravan under Abu Sufyaan was used for the war effort. Poets were sent to the Jews, Christians and other Arab tribes to incite support for the Quraish. Blood was the only revenge for blood to the pagan Arabs.

In the middle of Shawwaal 3 A.H three thousand well-trained and well-equipped warriors left Makkah. They had two hundred horses and three thousand camels. Abi Rabi’a was appointed as the general of the army. The women’s thirst for revenge was equally fierce and Hindah joined them determined to stop any Quraishi warrior who might be tempted to run away. They incited them with strong words :

"If you fight (bravely), we will embrace
And unfold mats to welcome you.
But if you flee from the battlefield, we leave you,
Desert you and no more love you." (1)

The scouts of the Muslims reported to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam about the Quraishi army at Uhud. The Muslims posted guards on the boundaries of Madinah and around Masjid-un-Nabawi. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam held consultations with the Sahabah Radhi Allahu Anhum. Many of the older Sahabah Radhi Allahu Anhum and the hypocrites were in favour of defending Madinah from within. But the younger Muslims and those who did not take part in Badr were determined to fight the enemy on the battlefield of Uhud. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam agreed to go out to meet the enemy. Hurried preparations were made and one thousand Muslims rallied around the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.

Before the Muslims could reach Uhud, Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool returned to Madinah with three hundred of his followers saying: “Muhammad listens to the chatter of good for nothing fools and rejects the good advice I gave him. Why go to face certain death?” The real reason for this late rebellion was to create confusion in the Muslim camp and to break their high morale. The Muslim army was now reduced to seven hundred men.

Enthusiasm of the Muslim youth

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam sent back two boys, Samura Ibn Jundub and Rafi Ibn Khadij, as they were only fifteen years of age. Rafi was allowed to join the troops later as his father convinced the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam that he was a good archer. Samura now felt sad. He pleaded that he could throw Rafi down in a wrestling bout. When Samura defeated Rafi in the wrestling bout held to test his claim he was also allowed to join the Muslims in battle. (2)

Click here for a special supplement on 'The youth in Islam.'

Preparation for the battle

On reaching Uhud the Muslims took their position at the foothills of the mountain opposite the enemy camp. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam noticed an opening in the mountain behind them. He appointed a batch of fifty archers to take up their positions on the Ainain Hill. These archers, under Abdullah Ibn Jubair Radhi Allahu Anhu, were entrusted with the task of protecting the passage between Uhud and Ainain from being penetrated by the enemy from behind the main Muslim army. They were given strict orders by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam not to leave the pass whatever the circumstances. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam arranged the rest of the Muslims in battle formation.

Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu is killed

The battle began with the traditional single combats and the general battle commenced thereafter. In the ferocious fighting that followed, Hamza's Radhi Allahu Anhu sword flashed in such frenzy that he alone accounted for the death of many of the Quraish. Wishing to avenge the death of his uncle, Tahaimah, who was killed at Badr by Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu, Zubair Ibn Mut'am promised to free his Abyssinian slave, Wahshi, if he succeeded in killing Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu. Hindah, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, offered Wahshi her valuable necklace if he succeeded in disposing of Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu. Wahshi, skilled at throwing the Abyssinian spear, from a hidden spot hurled his spear at Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu from behind and the brave Muslim warrior was martyred instantly. Hindah presented Wahshi with her necklace and he won his freedom from Zubair Ibn Mut'am. Hindah, burning with hatred and malice then ripped open Hamza's Radhi Allahu Anhu body and, cutting out his liver, chewed on it. Other Quraishi women, following her example, similarly mutilated the bodies of some martyred Muslims in a barbaric manner.

Muslim victory

The victory of Badr was repeated yet again. A number of the Quraishi leaders fell in succession and the army took to its heals. Allah had once again assisted the Muslims.

Tables turn on the Muslims

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. Sensing victory, many of them left their post and joined the Muslims in collecting the spoils. Abdullah Ibn Jubair Radhi Allahu Anhu 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.

Khalid Ibn Walid, a skilled and shrewd officer of the right flank of the Quraishi army, was quick to notice the unguarded pass vacated by the archers. He charged at the unsuspecting Muslims from the rear while the enemy who had taken flight regained their confidence and returned to surround the Muslims. (3)


      Battlefield of Uhud        

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was hit by a stone and fell onto his side. His front teeth were smashed and his lip was injured. With blood running down his face he remarked : "How can a people prosper who have stained their prophet's face with blood because he summoned them to their Lord."

The faithful rallied around the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and many were martyred in their effort to protect him by forming a human shield around him. Mus'ab Ibn Umair Radhi Allahu Anhu, the standard flag bearer of the Muslims, was martyred by Amr Ibn Qamee'ah. Someone suddenly shouted out : "I have slain Muhammad!". On hearing this many Muslims began to lose hope.

Muslims regain confidence

Ka'b Ibn Malik Radhi Allahu Anhu recognised the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam in person and shouted: "O Muslims! O brothers! Good news! Look at the Prophet 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 news had come. They had been summoned with renewed courage and cut a bloody path through the enemy ranks. The Quraish were forced to flee once again.

Before retiring with his army, Abu Sufyaan drew near to the slopes of Mount Uhud and called out to the Muslims : “Is Muhammad with you?” Hearing no answer he joyfully concluded that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was dead. He shouted as loudly as he could: “Surely, war is a game of chance. This day has avenged the day of Badr. Hubal is victorious. He is the mightiest”.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ordered Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu to reply : “Allah is the Most High and the Most Majestic! Our martyrs are in paradise while your dead are in hell”. Abu Sufyaan begged Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu to inform him if they had killed the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu replied: “No, by my faith! He is listening to you as you speak”. Disappointed, Abu Sufyaan retreated with the remainder of the army giving the Muslims a parting promise that they would face the Muslims the following year at Badr.

The love and bravery of the Sahabah

Two rings of a metal chain strap of the helmet worn by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam were driven into his cheek during the battle. Abu Ubaidah Radhi Allahu Anhu by biting the rings managed to drag them out. In the process Abu Ubaydah Radhi Allahu Anhu lost two teeth. Abu Dujana Radhi Allahu Anhu acted as a human shield to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and many arrows were stuck in his back. Qatadah Radhi Allahu Anhu got a blow on his face and one of his eyes came out of its socket. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam restored it into place with his own hand and it healed so well that its sight was better than the other eye.

Ten of the Sahabah gave their life, one by one, is his defence. Anas Ibn Nazr Radhi Allahu Anhu fought so bravely that seventy wounds were counted on his body after the battle. His body could not be recognised except for a special mark on his finger which his sister knew.

Fatima Radhi Allahu Anha washed the blood from the face of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Aisha and Umm Sulaim Radi Allahu Anhuma brought drinking water on their backs for the wounded.

Burial of the martyrs

Reassured as to the enemy’s intentions the Muslims busied themselves with the burial of the martyrs. First of all, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam sought to find the body of his uncle Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu. It was discovered in a section of hollow ground, the belly ripped open and ears and nose cut off. He was moved with the sight of his uncle who had always been a source of strength to him.

All the bodies of the martyrs were gathered. Sixty five Ansaar and five Muhajireen had lost their lives. Without being given ghusl (bath), the funeral Salaah was offered and they were buried. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam directed to shroud the martyrs in pairs and ordered that the corpse of that martyr be lowered first into the grave who had learnt more of the Quran. While the martyrs were being buried, he said, "I shall be a witness for them on the day of resurrection."

Faith of a Muslim woman

Sana bint Abdul Muttalib was the sister of Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu. When she came forward to see her brother, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam asked her son, Zubair Ibn al-Awwam Radhi Allahu Anhu, to send her back so that she might not see her brother's mutilated body. Accordingly, Zubair said to her : "Mother, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam wants you to go back." She replied : "Why? I know that my brother's body has been mutilated but it was for the sake of Allah. I hope for a noble return from Him and I shall be patient, if Allah wills." She went to see her brother and prayed for him.

True honour - Wealth or martyrdom?

The flag bearer of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam on the day of Uhud was Mus'ab Ibn Umayr Radhi Allahu Anhu. Before his conversion to Islam he was one of the best dressed youth of the Quraish and brought up in the lap of luxury. When he was slain in the battle of Uhud, only a piece of coarse cloth could be found as a shroud for his burial. The cloth was so small that when his head was covered his feet appeared and when his feet were covered his head was exposed. Finally, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said : "Cover his head and put some leaves over his feet."'

Unparalleled love for the Prophet

One devoted Ansaar woman hastened to Uhud in search of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. On the way she was told of the martyrdom of her father, her brother and her husband. But her only concern was for the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. She kept on repeating the question: “How is the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam?” 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”. (4)

Quraish pursued to Hamraa ul-Asad

The Makkan army had departed from Uhud but they had not gone far away when the people were heard complaining against one another and accusing their leaders for withdrawing without pressing home their advantage. On the other hand, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam decided the very next day to set out in pursuit of the retreating enemy. It was the time when most of the Muslims were tired and wounded, but the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam sent a messenger to announce that everybody who had been present in the battle of Uhud should get ready to pursue the enemy. Nobody protested. Every Muslim who had fought at Uhud the day before followed the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam on his way out of Madinah. The Muslims waited at Hamra-ul-Asad, about thirteen kilometres from Madinah, where they remained from Monday to Wednesday. They returned when there was no more a possibility of the enemy's return.


Lessons to learn

  • The importance of the battle of Uhud in the history of Islam can be deduced from the fact that Allah revealed sixty verses of the Quran relevant to the battle.
  • In the battle of Uhud the Muslims suffered grievous losses due to a misunderstanding on the part of some of the archers placed on the Ainain Hill. It was a fatal mistake for which the Muslims had to pay dearly. They learnt their lesson and, in future, the Muslims submitted entirely to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. The Quranic verses that were revealed pointed out this vulnerable area that had existed in some of the Muslims.
  • The battle taught the Muslims that it is important for followers to obey their leader in matters in which the leader has insight. Another example of this was the treaty of Hudaibiyah. It was apparently biased against the Muslims but the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam acceptance proved good in the end because he knew what was in the best interests of the Muslims.
  • The initial defeat of the Muslims taught them that it is common for Allah to try Muslims with adversity. However, victory is sure to come to those who remain firm in the defence of the truth. In addition, difficulties, trials and hardships are a means of purifying the Muslim ranks of hypocrites and cowards.
  • A temporary defeat also serves to check the pride that might develop due to victory and to teach the believers to observe patience in times of adversity.
  • The dutiful defence and loyalty of the Sahabah during the battle showed their deep love for the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Their devotion and obedience to him was further proven from their acceptance to pursue the enemy immediately after they had returned from Uhud and many of them were tired and wounded.
  • Allah used the battle of Uhud to expose the treacherous nature of Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool and his hypocrite followers. It happened at a critical time in the march of Islam.
  • The Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam military genius was again exposed in the position the Muslims occupied on the battlefield, how he used the rocky mountainside as a shield for the army and how he closed off the only possible means of an attack from behind.
  • The Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam courage and bravery was exposed at various times during this battle. At the beginning when three hundred of the hypocrites deserted him he did not turn back. In the course of the battle when many of the Muslims wanted to flee he stood firm and called them back. These incidents also showed his forbearance.
  • The mutilation of the bodies of the Muslims showed that the enemies of Islam have a fierce animal-like hatred for the Muslims. Mutilation in wars of the modern age reveal the very same hatred for Muslims.



(1) Mubarakpuri, Safi-ur-Rahman, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, Riyadh, 2000, p. 257

(2) Nadwi, Syed Ab al-Hasan Ali, Muhammad Rasulullah, Lucknow, 1982, p. 217

(3) Nadwi, Syed Ab al-Hasan Ali, Muhammad Rasulullah, Lucknow, 1982, p. 219

(4) Nadwi, Syed Ab al-Hasan Ali, Muhammad Rasulullah, Lucknow, 1982, p. 226




Dua before entering the toilet

Meaning : O Allah, I seek Your protection from the

male and female devil.


When entering the toilet one should step in with the left foot.