The remarkable circumstances, which led to the victory of Badr, and
results, which followed from it, made a deep impression on the minds of
the Muslims; the angels of the heaven had battled on their side against
their enemies. The division of the spoils created some dissension between
the Muslim warriors. For the moment, the Prophet divided it equally among
all. Subsequently, a Qur'an revelation laid down a rule for future
division of the spoils. According to this rule, a fifth was reserved for
the public treasury for the support of the poor and indigent, while the
distribution of the remaining four fifths was left to the discretion of
the Chief of the State.
The next battle between the Quraish and the Muslims was the battle of
Uhud, a hill about four miles to the north of Medina. The idolaters, to
revenge their loss at Badr, made tremendous preparations for a new attack
upon the Muslims. They collected an army of three thousand strong men, of
whom seven hundred were armed with coats of mail, and two hundred horses.
These forces advanced under the conduct of Abu Sufyan and encamped at a
village six miles from Medina, where they gave themselves up to spoiling
the fields and flocks of the Medinites. The Prophet, being much inferior
to his enemies in number, at first determined to keep himself within the
town and to receive them there; but afterwards, the advice of some of his
companions prevailing he marched out against them at the head of one
thousand men, of whom one hundred were armed with coats of mail; but he
had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole army. With these
forces he halted at Mount Uhud. He was soon abandoned by Abdullah Ibn
Ubai, the leader of the Hypocrites, with three hundred of his followers.
Thus, the small force of the Prophet was reduced to seven hundred.
At Mount Uhud the Muslim troops passed the night, and in the morning,
after offering their prayers, they advanced into the plain. The Prophet
contrived to have the hill at his back, and, the better to secure his men
from being surrounded, he placed fifty archers on the height in the rear,
behind the troops, and gave them strict orders not to leave their posts
whatever might happen. When they came to engage, the Prophet had
superiority at first. But afterward, his archers left their position for
the sake of plunder, thus allowing the enemy to attack the Muslims in the
fear and surround them. The Prophet lost the day and very nearly lost his
life. He was struck down by a shower of stones and wounded in the face by
two arrows, and one of his front teeth was broken. Of the Muslims, seventy
men were killed, among whom was the Prophet's uncle Hamza. Of the
infidels, twenty-two men were lost.
The Quraish were too exhausted to follow up their advantage, either by
attacking Medina or by driving the Muslims from the heights of Uhud. They
retreated from the Medinite territories after barbarously mutilating the
corpses of their dead enemies.
Almighty Allah said: So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor
be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true)
believers. If a wound (and killing ) has touched you, be sure a similar
wound (and killing) has touched the others. And so are the days (good and
not so good), We give to men by turns, that Allah may test those who
believe, and that He may take martyrs from among you. And Allah likes not
the Zalimeen (polytheists and wrongdoers).
And that Allah may test (or purify) the believers (from sins) and
destroy the disbeliveers. Do you think that you will enter Paradise before
Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those
who are patient? You did indeed wish for death (Ash-shahadah- martyrdom)
before you met it. Now you have seen it openly with your own eyes." (Ch
Allah the Exalted also said: We shall cast terror into the hearts of
those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah for
which He has sent no authority; their abode will be the Fire and how evil
is the abode of the Zalimeen (polytheists and wrong-doers). And Allah did
indeed fulfil His Promise to you when you were killing them (your enemy)
with His Permission; until (the moment) you lost your courage and fell to
disputing about the order, and disobeyed after He showed you (of the
booty) which you love. Among you are some that desire this world and some
that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from them (your enemy),
and He might test you. But surely, He forgave you, and Allah is most
Gracious to the believers.
And remember when you ran away (dreadfully) without even a casting a
side-glance at anyone, and the Messenger (Muhammad) was in your rear
calling you back. There did Allah give you one distress after another by
way of requital to teach you not to grieve for that which had escaped you,
nor that which had befallen you. And Allah is Well Aware of all that you
Then after the distress, He sent down security for you. Slumber
overtook a party of you, while another party was thinking about themselves
(as how to save their ownselves, ignoring the others and the Prophet) and
thought wrongly of Allah - the thought of ignorance. They said, "Have we
any part in the affair?" Say you (O Muhammad): "Indeed the affair belongs
wholly to Allah." They hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to
you, saying: "If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would
have been killed here." Say: "Even if you had remained in your homes,
those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the
place of their death," but that Allah might test what is in your breasts;
and to Mahis (to test, to purify, to get rid of) that which was in your
hearts (sins), and Allah is All Knower of what is in (your) breasts." (Ch
Narrated Al-Baraa' Ibn Azib: "The Prophet appointed Abdullah Ibn
Jubair as the commander of the infantry men (archers) who were fifty on
the day (of the battle) of Uhud. He instructed them: 'Stick to your place,
and don't leave it even if you see birds snatching us, till I send for
you; and if you see that we have defeated the infidels and made them flee,
even then you should not leave your place till I send for you.' Then the
infidels were defeated. By Allah I saw the women fleeing lifting up their
clothes revealing their leg bangles and their legs. So, the companions of
Abdullah Ibn Jubair said: "The booty! O people, the booty! Your companions
have become victorious, what are you waiting for now?" Abdullah Ibn Jubair
said: "Have you forgotten what Allah's Messenger said to you?" They
replied: "By Allah! We will go to the people (the enemy) and collect our
share from the war booty." But when they went to them, they were forced to
turn back defeated. At that time Allah's Messenger in their rear was
calling them back. Only twelve men remained with the Prophet, and the
infidels martyred seventy men from us.
"The Prophet and his companions caused the Pagans to lose one hundred
and forty men, seventy of whom were captured and seventy were killed. Then
Abu Sufyan asked three times: 'Is Muhammad present among these people?'
The Prophet ordered his companions not to answer him. Then he asked three
times: 'Is Ibn Abu Quhafa present amongst these people?' He asked again
three times: 'Is Ibn Al Khattab present among these people?' He then
returned to his companions and said: 'As for these (men), they have been
killed.' 'Umar could not control himself and said to Abu Sufyan: ' You
told a lie, by Allah! O enemy of Allah! All those you have mentioned are
alive, and the thing which will make you unhappy is still there.' Abu
Sufyan said: 'Our victory today compensates for yours in the Battle of
Badr, and in war (the victory) is always undecided and is shared in turns
by the belligerents. You will find some of your killed men mutilated, but
I did not urge my men to do so, yet I do not feel sorry for their deed.'
After that he started reciting cheerfully: 'O Hubal, be superior!' On that
the Prophet said (to his companions): 'Why don't you answer hiback?' They
said: 'O Allah's Messenger! What shall we say?' He said: 'Say, Allah is
Higher and more Sublime.' Then Abu Sufyan said: 'We have the idol of
Al-Uzza, and you have no 'Uzza.' The Prophet said (to his companions):
'Why don't you answer him back?' They asked: 'O Allah's Messenger! What
shall we say?' He said: 'Say Allah is our Helper and you have no helper.'"
(Sahih Al Bukhari)
The moral effect of this disastrous battle was such as to encourage
some neighboring nomad tribes to make forays upon the Medinte territories,
but most of these were repelled.
The Jews also were not slow to involve in trouble the Prophet and his
followers. They tried to create disaffection among his people and
slandered him and his adherents. They mispronounced the words of the
Qur'an so as to give them an offensive meaning. They also caused their
poets, who were superior in culture and intelligence, to use their
influence to sow sedition among the Muslims. One of their distinguished
poets, called Ka'b, of the Bani An-Nadir, spared no efforts in publicly
deploring the ill success of the idolaters after their defect at Badr.
By his satires against the Prophet and his disciples, and his elegies
on the Meccans who had fallen at Badr, Ka'b succeeded in exciting the
Quraish to that frenzy of vengeance which broke out at Uhud. He then
returned to Medina, where he continued to attack the Prophet and the
Muslims, men and women, in terms of the most obscene character. Though he
belonged to the tribe of Bani An Nadir, which had entered into the compact
with the Muslims and pledged itself both for the internal and external
safety of the State, he openly directed his acts against the commonwealth
of which he was a member.
Another Jew, Sallam by name, of the same tribe, behaved equally
fiercely and bitterly against the Muslims. He lived with a party of his
tribe at Khaibar, a village five days' journey northwest of Medina. He
made every effort to excite the neighboring Arab tribes against the
Muslims. The Muslim commonwealth with the object of securing safety among
the community, passed a sentence of outlawry upon Ka'b and Sallam.
The members of another Jewish tribe, namely Bani Qainuqa', were
sentenced to expulsion from the Medinite territory for having openly and
knowingly infringed the terms of the compact. It was necessary to put an
end to their hostile actions of the sake of maintaining peace and
security. The Prophet had to go to their headquarters, where he required
them to enter definitively into the Muslim commonwealth by embracing Islam
or to leave Medina. To this they replied in the most offensive terms: "You
have had a quarrel with men ignorant of the art of war. If you are
desirous of having any dealings with us, we shall show you that we are
men." They then shut themselves up in their fortress and set the Prophet
and his authority at defiance. The Muslims decided to reduce them and laid
siege to their fortress without loss of time. After fifteen days they
surrendered. Though the Muslims at first intended to inflict some severe
punishment on them, they contented themselves by banishing the Bani
The Bani An-Nadir had now behaved in the same way as Bani Qainuqa'.
The had likewise, knowingly and publicly, disregarded the terms of the
Charter. The Prophet sent them a message similar to that which was sent to
their brethren, the Qainuqa'. Then, relying on the assistance of the
Hypocrites' party, returned for a defiant reply. After a siege of fifteen
days, they sued for terms. The Muslims renewed their previous offer, and
the Jews of An Nadir chose to execute Medina. They were allowed to take
with them all their movable property, with the exception of their arms.
Before leaving Medina, they destroyed all their dwellings in immovable
property and arms which they could not carry away with them were
distributed by the Prophet with the consent of the Ansar and the
Emigrants. A principle was henceforth adopted that any acquisition not
made in actual warfare should belong to that state and that its disposal
should be left to the discretion of the ruling authorities.
Almighty Allah said: (And there is also a share in this booty) for the
poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property,
seeking Bounties from Allah and to please Him. And helping Allah (helping
His Religion) and His Messenger (Muhammad). Such are indeed the truthful
(to what we say); and those who, before them, had homes (in Al Madina) and
had adopted the Faith, love, those who emigrate to them, and have no
jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given (from the
booty of Bani An Nadir), and give them (emigrants) preference over
themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved
from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful." (Ch
The expulsion of the Bani An-Nadir took place in the fourth year of
the hijrah. The remaining portion of this year and the early part of the
next were passed in repressing the hostile attempts of the nomadic tribes
against the Muslims and inflicting punishment for various murderous forays
on the Medinite territories. Of this nature was the expedition against the
Christian Arabs of Dumat Al Jandal (a place about seven days' journey to
the south of Damascus), who had stopped the Medinites traffic with Syria
and even threatened a raid upon Medina. These marauders, however, fled on
the approach of the Muslims, and the Prophet returned to Medina after
concluding a treaty with a neighboring chief, to whom he granted
permission of pasturage in the Medinite territories.
In the same year, the enemies of Islam made every possible attempt to
stir up the tribes against the Muslims. The Jews also took an active, if
hidden, part in those intrigues. An army of ten thousand well-equipped
men, marched towards Medina under the command of Abu Sufyan. They encamped
near Mount Uhud, a few miles from the city. The Muslims could gather only
an army of three thousand men. Seeing their inferiority in numbers on the
one hand, and the turbulence of the Hypocrites within the town on the
other, they preferred to remain on the defensive. They dug a deep moat
round the unprotected quarters of Medina and encamped outside the city
with a trench in front of them. They relied for safety of the other side
upon their allies, the Quaraiza, who possessed several fortresses at a
short distance towards the south and were bound by the compact to assist
the Muslim s against any raiders. These Jews, however, were induced by the
idolaters to violate their pledge and to join the Quraish. As these Jews
were acquainted with the Hypocrites within the walls of the city were
waiting for an opportunity to play their part, the situation of the
Muslims was most dangerous.
The siege had already lasted for twenty days. The enemy made great
efforts to cross the trench, but every attempt was fiercely repulsed by
the small Muslim force. Disunion was now rife in the midst of the
besieging army. Their horses were perishing fast, and provisions were
becoming less every day. During the night, a storm of wind and rain caused
their tents to be overthrown and their lights extinguished. Abu Sufyan and
the majority of his army fled, and the rest took refuge with the Quraiza.
The Muslims, though they were satisfied with the failure of their enemies,
could not help thinking that the victory was unsatisfactory so long as the
Quraiza, who had violated their sworn pledge, remained so near. The Jews
might at any time surprise Medina from their side. The Muslims felt it
their duty to demand an explanation of the violation of the pledge. This
was utterly refused. Consequently, the Jews were besieged and compelled to
surrender at discretion. They only asked that their punishment should be
left to the judgment of Sa'd Ibn Mu'adh, the prince of the tribe of Aws.
This chief, who was a fierce soldier, had been wounded in the attack, and,
indeed, died of his wounds the following day. Infuriated by the
treacherous conduct of the Bani Quraiza, he gave judgment that the
fighting men should be to death and that the women and children should
become the slaves of the Muslims. The sentence was carried into execution.
It was about this time that the Prophet granted tot he monks of the
Monastry of St. Catherine, near Mount Sinai, his liberal charter by which
they secured for the Christians noble and generous privileges and
immunities. He undertook himself and enjoined his followers, to protect
the Christians, to defend their churches and the residences of their
priests and to guard them from all injuries. They were not to be unfairly
taxed; no bishop was to be driven out of his diocese; nor Christian was to
be forced to reject his religion; no monk was to be expelled from his
Monastry; no pilgrim was to be stopped from his pilgrimage; nor were the
Christian churches to be pulled down for the sake of building mosques or
houses for the Muslims. Christian women married to Muslims were to enjoy
their own religion and not to be subjected to compulsion or annoyance of
any kind. If the Christians should stand in need of assistance for the
repair of their churches or monasteries, or any other matter pertaining to
their religion, the Muslims were to assist them. This was not to be
considered as supporting their religion, but as simply rendering them
assistance in special circumstances. Should the Muslims be engaged in
hostilities with outside Christians, no Christian resident among the
Muslims should be treated with contempt on account of his creed. The
Prophet declared that any Muslim violating any clause of the charter
should be regarded as a transgressor of Allah's commandments, a violator
of His testament and neglectful of His faith.
Six years had already elapsed since the Prophet and his Meccan
followers had fled from their birthplace. Their hearts began to yearn for
their homes and for their Sacred House the Ka'ba. As the season of the
pilgrimage approached, the Prophet announced his intention to visit the
holy center, and numerous voices of his disciples responded to the call.
Preparations were soon made for the journey to Mecca. The Prophet,
accompanied by seven or eight hundred Muslims, Emigrants and Ansars, all
totally unarmed, set out on the pilgrimage. The Quraish, who were still
full of animosity towards the Muslims, gathered a large army to prevent
them from entering Mecca and maltreated the envoy whom the Prophet had
sent to ask permission to visit the holy places. After much difficulty, a
treaty was concluded by which it was agreed that all hostilities should
cease for ten years; that anyone coming from the Quraish to the Prophet
without the permission of the guardian or chief should be given back to
the idolaters; that any Muslim persons going over to the Meccans should
not be surrendered; that any tribe desirous of entering into alliance,
either with the Quraish or with the Muslims, should be at liberty to do so
without disputes; that the Muslims should go back to Medina on the present
occasion and stop advancing further; that they should be permitted in the
following year to visit Mecca and to remain there for three days with the
arms they used on journeys, namely, their scimitars in sheaths.
The Treaty of Hudaibiya thus ended, the Prophet returned with his
people to Medina.
About this time it was revealed to the Prophet that his mission should
be universal. He dispatched several envoys to invite the neighboring
sovereigns to Islam. The embassy to the king of Persia, Chosroes Parvis,
was received with disdain and contumely. He was haughtily amazed at the
boldness of the Mecca fugitive in addressing him on terms of equality. He
was so enraged that he tore up into pieces the Prophet's letter of
invitation to Islam and dismissed the envoy from his presence with great
contempt. When the Prophet received information on this treatment, he
calmly observed: "Thus will the Empire of Chosroes be torn to pieces."
The embassy to Heraclitus, the Emperor of the Romans, was received
much more politely and reverentially. He treated the ambassador with great
respect and sent the Prophet a gracious reply to his message.
Another envoy was sent to an Arab price of the Ghassanite tribe, a
Christian feudatory of Heraclius. This prince, instead of receiving the
envoy with any respect, cruelly murdered him. This act caused great
consternation among the Muslims, who considered it as an outrage of
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb informed me that
Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a
caravan from Quraish. They were merchants doing business in Sham (Syria,
Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan) at the time when Allah's Messenger had a
truce with Abu Sufyan and Quraish infidels. So Abu Sufyan and his
companions went to Heraclius at Ilya (Jerusalem).
Heraclitus called them in the court and he had all the senior Roman
dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating
Heraclius's question, said to them: "Who among you is closely related to
that man who claims to be a Prophet?" Abu Sufyan replied: "I am the
nearest relative to him (amongst the group)."
Heraclius said: "Bring him (Abu Sufyan) close to me and make his
companions stand behind him." Abu Sufyan added: "Heraclius told his
translator to tell my companions that he wanted to put some questions to
me regarding that man (The Prophet) and if I told a lie they (my
companions) should contradict me. By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my
companions labeling me a liar, I would have not have spoken the truth
about the Prophet." Abu Sufyan's narration continues:
"The first question he asked me about him was;
What is his family status among you?"
"I replied: "He belongs to a good noble family amongst us."
Heraclius further asked: "Has anybody among you ever claimed the same
(to be a Prophet) before him?"
I replied: "No."
He said: "Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?"
I replied: "No."
Heraclius asked: "Do the nobles or the poor follow him?"
I replied: "It is the poor who follow him."
He said: "Are his followers increasing or decreasing (day by day)?"
I replied: "They are increasing."
He then asked: "Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion
become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?"
I replied: "No."
Heraclius said: "Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his
claim (to be a Prophet)?"
I replied: "No."
Hereaclius said: "Does he break his promises?"
I replied: "No. We are at truce with him but we do not know what he
will do in it." I could not find opportunity to say anything against him
Heraclius asked: "Have you ever had a war with him?"
I replied: "Yes."
Then he said: "What was the outcome of the battles?"
I replied: "Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we."
Heraclius said: "What does he order you to do?"
I said: "He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to
worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors
had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to
keep good relations with our kith and kin."
Heraclius asked the translator to convey to me the following: "I asked
you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble
family. In fact, all the Messengers come from noble families among their
respective peoples. I questioned you whether anybody else among you
claimed such a thing; your reply was in the negative. If the answer had
been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following
the previous man's statement. Then I asked you whether anyone of his
ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been
in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back
his ancestral kingdom. I further asked whether he was ever accused of
telling lies before he said what he said and your reply was in the
negative. So I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others
could ever tell a lie about Allah. I then asked you whether the rich
people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who
followed him. And, in fact, all the Messengers have been followed by this
veryclass of people. Then I asked you whether his followers were
increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing, and, in
fact, this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects.
I further asked you whether there was anybody, who, after embracing his
religion, became displeased and discarded his religion. You reply was in
the negative, and, in fact this is (the sign of) true faith, when its
delight enters the hearts and mixes with them completely. I asked you
whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative, and likewise
the Messengers never betray. Then I asked you what he ordered you to do.
You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not
to worship anything along with Him, and forbade you to worship idols, and
ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste. If what you have
said is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet and I
knew it (from the scriptures) that he was going to appear but I did not
know that he would be from you, and if I could reach him definitely, I
would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly
wash his feet."
Heraclius then asked for the letter addressed by Allah's Messenger
which had been delivered by Dihya to the Governor of Busra, who forwarded
it to Heraclius to read. The contents of the letter were as follows: "In
the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. (This letter is) from
Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger to Heraclius the ruler of
Byzantine. Peace be upon him who follows the right path. Furthermore, I
invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and
Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam,
you will be committing a sin by misguiding your subjects.
And I recite to you Allah's Statement: SAY (O Muhammad): 'O People of
the Scripture (Jews & Christians): Come to a word that is just between
us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no
partners with Him and that none of us shall take others as lords besides
Allah.' Then, if they turn away, say: 'Bear witness that we are Muslims.'
Abu Sufyan then added: When Heraclius had finished his speech and had
read the letter, there was a great hue and cry in the Royal Court. So we
turned out of the court. I told my companions that the question of
Ibn-Abi-Kabsha (the Prophet Muhammad) had become so prominent that even
the King of Bani Al-Asfar (Byzantine) was afraid of him. Then I started to
become sure that he (the Prophet) would be the conqueror in the near
future till I embraced Islam (Allah guided me to it).
The sub narrator added that Ibn An-Natur was the Governor of Ilya
(Jerusalem) and Heraclius was the head of the Christians of Sham. Ibn
An-Natur narrated that once while Heraclius was visiting Ilya (Jerusalem),
he got up in the morning with a sad mood. Some of his priests asked him
why he as in that mood. Hreaclius was a foreteller and an astrologer. He
replied: "At night when I looked at the stars, I saw that the leader of
those who practice circumcision had appeared (become the conqueror). Who
are they who practice circumcision?" The people replied: "Except the Jews,
nobody practices circumcision, so you should not be afraid of them (Jews).
Just Issue orders to kill very Jew present in the country.'
While they were discussing it, a messenger sent by the king of Ghassan
to convey the news of Allah's Messenger to Heraclius was brought in.
Having heard the news, he (Heraclius) ordered the people to go and see
whether the messenger of Ghassan was circumcised. The people, after seeing
him, told Heraclius that he was circumcised. Heraclius then asked him
about the Arabs. The messenger replied: "Arabs also practice
After hearing that Heraclius remarked that sovereignty of the Arabs
had appeared. Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was
as good as Heraclius in knowledge. Heraclius then left for Homs (a town in
Syria) and stayed there till he received the reply of his letter from his
friend, who agreed with him in his opinion about the emergence of the
Prophet and the fact that he was a Prophet. On that, Heraclius invited all
the heads of the Byzantines to assemble in his palace at Homs. When they
assembled, he ordered that all the doors of his palace be closed. Then he
came out and said: "O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you
seek right guidance and want your empire to remain, then give a pledge of
allegiance to this Prophet (embrace Islam)."
(on hearing the views of Heraclius) the people ran towards the gates
of the palace like onagers but found the doors closed. Heraclius realized
their hatred towards Islam and when he lost the hope of their embracing
Islam, he ordered that they should be brought back in audience.
(When they returned) he said: "What was already said was just to test
the strength of your conviction and I have seen it." The people prostrated
before him and became pleased with him, and this was the end of
Heraclius's story (in connection with his faith). (Sahih Al-Bukhari)