The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets – Chapter VIII

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Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) was one of the sons of the Promised Messiah(as). Born on April 20, 1893 he passed his matriculation in 1910 with distinction, and according to the wishes of the Promised Messiah(as), attained an MA in Arabic in 1916. A great religious scholar and prolific writer, his books and speeches are easily understandable by the average reader. Some of his important works include Siratul Mahdi (Life of the Mahdi), Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya (The Ahmadiyya community), Tabligh-e-Hidayat (Propagation of Guidance), Kalimutal Fasl (The Decisive Word) and Hamara Khuda (Our God). He also contributed countless articles to magazines and periodicals of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, such as the daily Al-Fazl, and was Editor of The Review of Religions for many years. Sirat Khatamun Nabiyyin is his magnum opus; an outstanding biography of the Holy Prophet(saw), which includes insightful analysis and commentary on various aspects of his life. For the first time this book has been translated into English. The English rendering, “The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets,” will be serialised in various parts in The Review of Religions.

life-and-character
Battle of Uhud – Shawwal 3 A.H. (March 624 A.D.)

As a result of the Battle of Badr, the grievous mourning which broke out in Makkah has already been alluded to in the events of the battle mentioned previously. The chieftains of the Quraish had taken vows that they would not rest until they had avenged those who had fallen at Badr. Moreover, their passion for revenge had been further inflamed by the secret incitement of the treacherous Jews of Madinah. As such, after the Battle of Badr the Quraish of Makkah began to severely incite the other tribes against the Muslims and even themselves, constantly laying in ambush so that whenever an opportunity presented itself, they could attack the Muslims and crush them. The repeated mobilisation of the Banu Sulaim and Banu Ghatafan with the motive of attacking Madinah, which has already been discussed above, was primarily a result of the incitement of the Quraish of Makkah. Even the Ghazwah of Sawiq, where Abu Sufyan had proposed to attack Madinah at night, was also a link in this very chain. By the Grace of God, since the Quraish were made to incur humiliation in this Ghazwah, their passion for revenge was further ignited. In order to keep their dignity before the rest of Arabia, although they proclaimed that their vow had been fulfilled, in their hearts they knew that the Ghazwah of Sawiq had embossed another blemish of disgrace upon their foreheads. Hence, after this they began to prepare for war with even greater zeal and fury. As such, the Battle of Uhud which we are about to mention now, was the outcome of this very preparation.

The revenues generated by the trade caravan which has been mentioned in the events of the Battle of Badr, amounted to 50,000 dinars.1 This amount was still secure in Darun-Nadwah according to the decision of the chieftains of Makkah, in order to prepare for an attack against the Muslims.2 Now, this money was brought out and preparation for war began with full force and effort.3 Had it not been for the vigilance and precautionary measures of the Holy Prophetsa, the Muslims would not have even known of this preparation and the disbelieving army would have reached the very doorsteps of the Muslims. In other words, the Holy Prophetsa had emphatically instructed his paternal uncle, ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib, who in his heart was with the Holy Prophetsa, to remain in Madinah, and he would inform the Holy Prophetsa of the movements of the Quraish.4 As such, on this occasion as well, ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib dispatched a swift rider from the Banu Ghifar towards Madinah, promising him a hefty reward and thus informing the Holy Prophetsa of this motive of the Quraish, by means of a letter.5 Furthermore, he strictly emphasised to this emissary that he should convey this letter to the Holy Prophetsa within three days. Incidentally, when the emissary reached Madinah, the Holy Prophetsa had gone to Quba’, which was situated on the outskirts of Madinah. The emissary pursued the Holy Prophetsa to Quba’ and presented this closed letter to him. The Holy Prophetsa immediately handed this letter to his personal scribe Ubaiyy bin Ka‘b Ansarira and instructed him to read out the letter. When Ubaiyyra read out the letter, it contained the horrific news that a fierce army of the Quraish was approaching from Makkah. Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophetsa strictly instructed Ubaiyy bin Ka‘bra to keep the contents of the letter confidential.6 Thereafter, upon returning to Madinah, the Holy Prophetsa dispatched two Companions on the road to Makkah, in order to obtain intelligence with regards to the army of the Quraish. It was perhaps on this occasion that in order to gauge the number and strength of the Muslims, the Holy Prophetsa instructed that a census of the entire Muslim population be conducted. Thus, the census was conducted and it was ascertained that a total of 1,500 Muslims lived in Madinah at the time. Under the circumstances of that era, this figure was considered to be a substantial one. In the zeal of their joy, some Companions went so far as to say, “Now that our number has reached 1,500, do we have anything to fear?” However, one Companion from among these very people said, “After this we were confronted with such trying times that on various occasions we were even compelled to offer our Salat in hiding.”7 On another occasion as well, the Holy Prophetsa instructed that a census be conducted and at that time, the figure obtained was between 600 and 700.8

Perhaps toward the end of Ramadan 3 A.H., or the beginning of Shawwal, the army of the Quraish set out from Makkah. Many champions from other tribes of Arabia were also a part of the army.9 Abu Sufyan was the commander of the army. This was an army of 3,000 men, among whom 700 warriors were clad in armour. There was also ample means of conveyance; 200 horses and 3,000 camels.10 Equipment of war was also more than adequate. Some women also rode along, of whom Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan; the wives of Ikramah bin Abu Jahl, Safwan bin Umaiyyah, Khalid bin Walid, ‘Amr bin Al-‘As; and the idolatrous mother of Mus‘ab bin ‘Umairra are especially worthy of mention. 11 According to the ancient custom of Arabia, these women had brought along their musical instruments, so that they could sing motivational couplets and beat their drums, in order to rouse the spirits of their men.

After a journey of about ten or eleven days, this army of the Quraish reached close to Madinah, circled to the north of Madinah and stopped near the mount of Uhud. The lush, green field of ‘Arid was situated nearby, where the animals of Madinah would graze and some farming also took place here. Before anything else, the Quraish raided this pasture and wreaked havoc in it to their hearts’ content. 12 When the Holy Prophetsa received news from his informants that the army of the Quraish had reached nearby, he sent a Companion named Habbab bin Mundhirra to obtain information as to the enemy’s number and strength.13

Moreover, the Holy Prophetsa also emphasised that if the strength of the enemy was greater than their own and the Muslims were in a state of danger, Habbabra should not announce this news openly upon his return in the gathering; rather, he should convey this news privately,
so that no one was disheartened. Habbabra quietly left and returned with great skill in a short period of time submitting his report to the Holy Prophetsa.14 It was now Thursday and news of the arrival of the army of the Quraish had spread throughout Madinah. Their raid on ‘Arid had also become widely known. Although the masses had not been given detailed knowledge with respect to the army of the disbelievers, even so, this night in Madinah was one of great fear and danger. Select Companions guarded the home of the Holy Prophetsa all night long.15 The following day was a Friday. The Holy Prophetsa gathered the Muslims and sought their counsel with regards to this attack of the Quraish; whether they should remain in Madinah, or set out to fight the enemy.16 ‘Abdullah bin Ubaiyy bin Sulul, who was actually a hypocrite, but after the Battle of Badr had become a Muslim at the outset, was also a part of this consultative meeting and this was the first occasion upon which the Holy Prophetsa invited him to participate in consultation. Prior to beginning, the Holy Prophetsa mentioned the attack of the Quraish and their deadly intentions. Then, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Last night in my dream, I saw a cow and I also saw that the tip of my sword had broken.17 Then, I saw the cow being slaughtered and I also saw that I had placed my hand in a secure and strong coat of mail.”18 It has also been related in one narration that the Holy Prophetsa said, “I saw as if I was mounted on the back of a ram.”19 The Companions inquired, “O Messenger of Allah! How have you interpreted this dream?” The Holy Prophetsa responded:

“I have understood the slaughtering of the cow to infer that some of my Companions shall be martyred and it seems as if the breaking of the tip of my sword is an indication towards the martyrdom of someone from among my relatives,20 or perhaps I shall myself suffer an injury in this campaign.21 As for placing my hand in a coat of mail, I have understood this to infer that in order to fend off this attack, it is more appropriate for us to remain in  Madinah.”22

The Holy Prophetsa interpreted the dream of himself being mounted on a ram to symbolise the leader of the army of the Quraish, i.e., its flag-bearer – who would, God-willing, be slain at the hands of the Muslims.23 After this, the Holy Prophetsa sought the counsel of his Companions, as to what should be done in the current state of affairs. Upon weighing the pros and cons of the situation at hand and perhaps being somewhat swayed by the dream of the Holy Prophetsa, some of the prominent Companions submitted the opinion that it was more appropriate to remain in Madinah and fight. ‘Abdullah bin Ubaiyy bin Sulul, chief of the hypocrites, proposed the same. The Holy Prophetsa also preferred this proposal and said, “It seems more beneficial for us to stay in Madinah and fight them.” However, a majority of the Companions and especially those young men who had not participated in the Battle of Badr, who were restless to receive an opportunity to serve the religion by means of their own martyrdom, very forcefully insisted that they should go forth from the city and fight in an open field.24 This group presented their opinion with such persistence that upon witnessing their zeal, the Holy Prophetsa accepted their proposal and decided that the Muslims would fight the disbelievers in an open field. After the Friday Prayer, the Holy Prophetsa publicly urged the Muslims to attain spiritual reward through Jihad in the cause of Allah, by participating in this Ghazwah. Thereafter, the Holy Prophetsa retired to his residence, where he tied his turban, put on his equipment and took his arms with the assistance of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat ‘Umarra, and came out in the name of Allah. However, during this time, due to the admonishment of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adhra, chief of the Aus tribe and other prominent Companions, the party of young men began to realise their mistake; in that they should not have insisted upon their own opinion in opposition to the view of God’s Messenger and most of them were now inclined towards remorse. When these people saw the Holy Prophetsa coming with his arms, clad in double the armour, and his helmet, etc., their regret grew even more. They almost unanimously submitted:

“O Messenger of Allah! We have committed a mistake in insisting upon our own view over your own. You should employ whatever strategy you deem most appropriate. God-Willing, it shall be most blessed.”

The Holy Prophetsa said,

“It does not befit a Prophet of God to put on his arms and then lay them down before God issues forth a verdict.”25 So go forth now, in the name of Allah and if you are steadfast, then be certain that the succour of Allah the Exalted shall be with you.”26

After this, the Holy Prophetsa instructed that three flags be prepared for the Muslim army. The flag of the Aus tribe was entrusted to Usaid bin Al-Hudairra, the flag of the Khazraj tribe was entrusted to Habbab bin Mundhirra and the flag of the Muhajirin was entrusted to Hazrat ‘Alira. Then, after appointing ‘Abdullah bin Ummi Maktumra as the Imamus-Salat in Madinah and observing ‘Asr Salat, the Holy Prophetsa set out from Madinah with a large community of the Companions. The chieftains of the Aus and Khazraj tribe, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adhra and Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadahra proceeded along, running slowly, just ahead of the mount of the Holy Prophetsa, and the rest of the Companions moved forward positioned
to the right, left and behind the Holy Prophetsa.27 The mountain of Uhud is situated approximately three miles to the north of Madinah. At the half-way mark, at a place known as ‘Shaikhain,’ the Holy Prophetsa halted and ordered the inspection of the Muslim army. Minors who had come along in their eagerness to participate in Jihad were sent back.28 Accordingly, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umarra, Usamah bin Zaidra and Abu Sa‘id Khudrira, among others, were all sent back. Rafi‘ bin Khadijra was also the same age as these children, but possessed great skill in archery. Due to this quality of his, his father interceded on his behalf before the Holy Prophetsa so that he may be permitted to participate in this Jihad. When the Holy Prophetsa lifted his sights towards Rafi‘, he took a firm stance at attention in the likeness of warriors, so that he could appear strong and tall. As such, this plan succeeded and the Holy Prophetsa granted him permission to ride along. Upon this, another child by the name of Samrah bin Jandabra who had been ordered to return, went to his father and said, “If Rafi‘ has been granted permission, then I should be permitted as well, because I am stronger than Rafi‘ and can put him down in a bout of wrestling.” The father was overjoyed at the sincerity of his son; both father and son presented themselves before the Holy Prophetsa and the father presented the desire of his son. The Holy Prophetsa smiled and said, “Alright then, let Rafi‘ra and Samrahra wrestle one another, so that we may determine who is the stronger of the two.” Thus, the competition took place; Samrahra took hold of Rafi‘ra and threw him to the ground in an instant. The Holy Prophetsa granted Samrahra permission to come along as well and this innocent child was delighted.29 Now that evening had arrived, Bilalra called the Adhan and all of the Companions offered their Salat behind the Holy Prophetsa. Then, the Muslims set up camp for the night at this very place. The Holy Prophetsa appointed Muhammad bin Maslamahra to arrange security for the night; alongside a group of fifty Companions he circled the Muslim army and stood guard all night long.30

 

ENDNOTES

1. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 267, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
2. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 267, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
3. * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, pp. 267-268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
* As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 521-522, Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
4. Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani, Volume 2, pp. 330-331, Babu Ghazwati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
5. * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
* As-Siratul-Halabiyyah (Insanul-‘Uyuni Fi Siratil-Amini Wal-Ma’mun), By ‘Allamah Abul-Farj Nuruddin ‘Ali bin Ibrahim bin Ahmad Al-Halabiyy, Volume 2, p. 296, Babu Dhikri Maghazihisa / Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2002)
6. Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani, Volume 2, p. 392, Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
7. * Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-Jihadi Was-Siyar, Babu Kitabatil-Imamin-Nas, Hadith No. 3060
* Fathul-Bari Sharhu Ṣahihil-Bukhari, By Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hajar Al-‘Asqalani, Volume 6, p. 219, Kitabul-Jihadi Was-Siyar, Babu Kitabatil-Imamin-Nas, Hadith No. 3060, Qadimi Kutb Khanah, Aram Bagh, Karachi
8. Sahihul-Muslim, Kitabul-Iman, Babu Jawazil-Istasrari Bil-Imani Lil-Kha’ifi, Hadith No. 377
9. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 521, Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
10. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
11. * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
* As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 522, Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
12. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
13. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
14. Kitabul-Maghazi, By Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad bin ‘Umar bin Waqidil-Waqidi, Volume 1, pp. 191-192, Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, (2004)
15. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
16. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-I‘tiṣami Bil-Kitabi Was-Sunnati, Babu Qaulillahi Ta‘ala Wa Amruhum Shura Bainahum…..
17. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-Maghazi, Babu Man Qutila Minal-Muslimina Yaumal-Uhud, Hadith No. 4081
18. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 522-523, Ghazwatu Uhudin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
19. Ibni Hisham
20. Ibni Sa’d
21. Ibni Hisham
22. Ibni Sa’d
23. Ibni Sa’d
24. Zarqani, Ibni Sa’d
25. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-I‘tisami Bil-Kitabi Was-Sunnati, Babu Qaulillahi Ta‘ala Wa Amruhum Shura Bainahum…..
26. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
27. *At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, pp. 268-269, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
* Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition(2002)
28. * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 268, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
* Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 64, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thalithatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Uhud, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
29. *As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p. 524, Ghazwatu Uhud,Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
* Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 64, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thalithatu Minal-Hijrah / Ghazwatu Uhud, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
30. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 2, p. 269, Ghazwatu Rasulillahisa Uhudan, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut,

 

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