The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)

Friday Sermon Summary 15th December 2023: ‘Life of the Holy Prophet (sa) – Commencement of the Battle of Uhud & Prayers for Palestine’

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that he had been mentioning incidents from the life of the Holy Prophet (sa) pertaining to the Battle of Uhud.

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad

The Military Prowess of the Holy Prophet (sa)

His Holiness (aba) said that when the Muslims reached Uhud, the mountain was to their rear in order to keep them protected from being attacked from behind. However, there was also a hill from where the enemy could have attacked. Hence, the Holy Prophet (sa) stationed 50 archers on that hill. Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed them not to leave their station under any circumstances, until they received direct orders from the Holy Prophet (sa). No matter if the Muslims were losing the battle, or were victorious, they were not to leave their appointed station unless expressly commanded so by the Holy Prophet (sa). 

His Holiness (aba) quoted various historians, who lauded the military prowess of the Holy Prophet (sa) and how this strategy was extremely astute in protecting the Muslim on all fronts. His Holiness quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes:

‘Putting his trust in God, the Holy Prophet (sa) marched forward and setup camp on a plain at the foot of mount Uhud, in such a manner that the mountain range fell behind the Muslims, and Madinah was positioned in front of them, as it were. In this manner, the Holy Prophet (sa) managed to secure the rear of the army. There was a mountain pass in the valley to the rear from where an attack could be made. Thus, the plan which was devised by the Holy Prophet (sa) in order to secure it was that he positioned fifty archers from among his companions at this location under the command of Abdullah bin Jubair (ra), and emphatically instructed them not to leave this place under any circumstances, and that they should continue to shower the enemy with arrows. The Holy Prophet (sa) was so greatly concerned for the security of this mountain pass that he repeatedly instructed Abdullah bin Jubair (ra):

“Look here, this mountain pass should not be left empty under any circumstances. Even if you see that we have become victorious, and the enemy has fled in defeat, do not leave this place; and if you see that the Muslims have been defeated, and the enemy has prevailed upon us, do not move from this place.”

This instruction was so emphatic that in one narration, the following words have been related:

“Even if you see that vultures are tearing away at our remains, do not budge from this place until you receive an order to leave.”’

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 327-328)

His Holiness (aba) said that after appointed the 50 archers, the Holy Prophet (sa) began arranging the army ranks and assigning duties. The Muslim position as compared to the enemy was very weak, in terms of numbers, weapons and means. In fact, for every one Muslim there were four Makkan soldiers. The Makkans were far better equipped and armed than the Muslims. The Makkans had ten rows of soldiers whereas the Muslims only had two rows and then the 50 archers on the mount. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes,

‘After completely fortifying his rear, the Holy Prophet (sa) began to arrange the Muslim army in battle array, and appointed separate commanders for the various sections of the army. On this occasion, the Holy Prophet (sa) received news that the flag of the army of the Quraish was in the hands of Talhah. Talhah was from that dynasty, who under the administration of Qusayy bin Kilab, the paramount ancestor of the Quraish, held the right of standard-bearing in representation of the Quraish during wars. Upon becoming aware of this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “We are more worthy of demonstrating national loyalty,” and then, the Holy Prophet (sa) took the flag of the Muhajirin from Hazrat Ali (ra) and entrusted it to Mus‘ab bin Umair (ra), who was also a member of the very same dynasty to which Talhah belonged.

On the opposing end, the army of the Quraish had also aligned in the battle array. Abu Sufyan was the commander in chief of the army. Khalid bin Walid was the commander of the right-wing and Ikramah bin Abu Jahl commanded the left flank. The archers were lead by Abdullah bin Rabi‘ah. The women were positioned behind the army, and while beating their drums, they sang couplets to rouse the martial spirit of their men.’

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol 2, pp. 328)

Commencement of the Battle of Uhud

His Holiness (aba) said that then the battle commenced. The first to advance from the Quraish was Abu Amir, whereas his son Hazrat Hanzalah (ra) was fighting on the Muslim side. He sought permission from the Holy Prophet (sa) to kill his father in battle, however the Holy Prophet (sa) did not allow it. Even in this time of war, the Holy Prophet (sa) taught to maintain control over one’s emotions. His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes:

‘The first to advance from the army of the Quraish was Abu Amir and his followers (who has already been mentioned above). He was from the Aus tribe and used to reside in Madinah, and was known by the name of Rahib.’ Shortly after the arrival of the Holy Prophet (sa) to Madinah, this individual became full of malice and jealousy, and left for Makkah with a few supporters, and continuously incited the Quraish of Makkah against the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Muslims. Now, in the Battle of Uhud, he came forth in war against the Muslims as a supporter of the Quraish. It is astonishing to note that Hanzalah, the son of Abu Amir was a very faithful Muslim, who was a part of the Muslim army on the occasion of this war, and was martyred fighting valiantly. Since Abu Amir was from among the influential people of the Aus tribe, he was confident that after coming before the people of Madinah following such a long period of separation, they would immediately abandon Muhammad (sa) and join him. It was in this hope that Abu Amir advanced along with his followers before anyone else, and exclaimed in a loud voice, “O People of the Aus tribe! It is I, Abu Amir.” The Ansar called out in a single voice, “Be gone you wicked man! May you never receive the delight of your eyes.” With this they showered him with stones and Abu Amir along with his followers lost their senses and fled back to where they had come from. Upon witnessing this sight, Talhah, the flag-bearer of the Quraish very vehemently marched forward and called for a dual in a very arrogant tone. Hazrat Ali (ra) advanced to confront him and cut him down in two or four blows. After this, Uthman, the brother of Talhah came forward; and from the opposing front, Hamzah (ra) stepped forward to challenge him and put him to the ground. Upon witnessing this sight, the disbelievers became furious and launched an all out attack. Calling out slogans of God’s Greatness, the Muslims also marched forward, and both armies fiercely collided with one another…

Therefore, after the flag-bearer of the Quraish had been slain, both armies collided with one another and brutal carnage ensued, and for a period in time, this killing and bloodshed continued. At last, slowly but surely, the army of the Quraish began to lose their footing in the face of the Muslim army.

The renowned British historian, Sir William Muir writes:

“Pressed by the fierce ardour of the Muslims, the Meccan army began to waver. Their horse sought repeatedly to turn the left flank of Muhammad; but they were each time forced back by the galling archery of the little band which Muhammad had posted there. The same daring contempt of danger was displayed as at Badr. The Meccan ranks might be seen to quiver as Abu Dujanah, distinguished by a red kerchief round his helmet, swept along the enemy’s ranks, and with a sword given him by Muhammad, dealt death on every hand. Hamza, conspicuous from his waving ostrich feather; Ali, known by his long white plume, and Az-Zubair, by his bright yellow turban, like heroes of the Iliad, – carried confusion wherever they appeared. Such were the scenes in which were reared the great leaders of the Muslim conquests.”

Hence, battle was waged, and fierce indeed it was, and for quite a while, victory remained obscure. Eventually, however, by the Grace of God, the Quraish began to lose footing, and signs of confusion and disarray began to prevail throughout the army. The flag-bearers of the Quraish were slain one after the other, and about nine of them took up the national flag in turns, but one by one, all of them were cut down at the hands of the Muslims. Finally, an Abyssinian slave of Talhah whose name was Sawab, courageously advanced and took hold of the flag, but he too was met by a Muslim, who stepped forward, and severing both his hands with a single blow, mixed the flag of the Quraish to dust. However, Sawab was a brave and passionate man – he dived to the ground along with it, and attempted to raise the flag with the support of his chest, but that Muslim who knew well the worth and value of a downcast flag, struck his sword from above and finished Sawab there and then. After this, not a single individual from the Quraish could muster the courage and strength to take up the flag. On the opposing end, upon orders from the Holy Prophet (sa),whilst calling out slogans of God’s Greatness, the Muslims waged another fierce onslaught. Piercing through and scattering the odd enemy ranks which had remained, they reached the opposite end of the army where the women of the Quraish were positioned. Absolute chaos broke out within the Makkan army, and in no time, the field was more or less cleared; so much so that the Muslims were put to such ease that they became occupied in gathering spoils of war.’

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 329-332)

Doing Justice to the Sword of the Holy Prophet (sa)

His Holiness (aba) said that on the day of Uhud, the Holy Prophet (sa) held a sword and asked who would take it. All the Companions expressed their willingness. The Holy Prophet (sa) again asked, saying who would do justice to it? Upon this the Companions became silent, however, Hazrat Abu Dujanah (ra) spoke up and said he would do justice to it. Thereafter, he wreaked great havoc against the enemy using that very sword, thereby doing justice to it. In another narration, it is recorded that Hazrat Abu Dujanah (ra) asked what it meant to do justice to the sword, upon which the Holy Prophet (sa) said that it meant not to kill any Muslim by it and to not turn away when facing the enemy. It was then that Hazrat Abu Dujanah (ra) said that he would do justice to the sword. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes:

‘Upon witnessing this sight, the disbelievers became furious and launched an all out attack. Calling out slogans of God’s Greatness, the Muslims also marched forward, and both armies fiercely collided with one another. It was perhaps on this occasion that the Holy Prophet (sa) took his sword in hand and said, “Who shall take this sword and do justice to it?” Many companions extended their hands in the desire of this honour, which included Hazrat Umar (ra) and Zubair (ra), and in light of various narrations, even Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hazrat Ali (ra). The Holy Prophet (sa), however, restrained his hand and continued to say, “Is there anyone to do this sword justice?” Finally, Abu Dujanah Ansari (ra) extended his hand and submitted, “O Messenger of Allah! Grant me this honour.” The Holy Prophet (sa) endowed the sword upon him, and with this sword in hand, Abu Dujanah (ra) strutted forward, marching proudly towards the disbelievers. The Holy Prophet (sa) addressed the Companions saying, “Allah greatly abhors this gait, but not on an occasion like this.” Zubair (ra), who was most desirous of receiving the sword of the Holy Prophet (sa), and who felt that he was more deserving due to his being a close relative of the Holy Prophet (sa) began to toss and turn in anxiety. He thought to himself why had not the Holy Prophet (sa) entrusted this sword to him, but endowed it to Abu Dujanah (ra) instead. In order to alleviate his own distress, in his heart he vowed to remain close to Abu Dujanah (ra) in the field of battle, so that he could witness how this sword was put to use. As such, he relates:

“Abu Dujanah (ra) tied a red cloth on his head, and taking this sword in hand, whilst softly humming songs of God’s Praise, he penetrated the idolatrous ranks. I saw that wherever he would turn, it was as if he would go about scattering death, and I did not see a single man who came before him and was then spared. This was to such an extent that cutting his way through the army of the Quraish, he emerged from the opposite corner of the army, where the women of the Quraish were standing. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, who was encouraging her men with great zeal and commotion came before him. Abu Dujanah (ra) raised his sword upon her and Hind shrieked in a loud voice, appealing to her men for assistance, but no one came to her aid. However, then I saw that Abu Dujanah (ra) lowered his sword on his own accord and moved away from that place.

Zubair (ra) relates:

“On this occasion, I inquired of Abu Dujanah, ‘What happened? First you raised your sword, but then lowered it.’ He responded, ‘My heart could not come to terms with the fact that I should use the sword of the Holy Prophet (sa) against a woman; and then such a woman, who at the time had no male protector.’” Zubair (ra) relates, “It was then that I understood how Abu Dujanah (ra) in fact did justice to the sword of the Holy Prophet (sa) and that I could perhaps not have done the same, and thus, the misgiving in my heart was dispelled.”’

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 329-331)

An Example of Islam’s Rules of War

His Holiness (aba) said that this was a reflection of Islam’s teachings about the rules of war. In fact, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) explained that Hazrat Abu Dujanah (ra) made this decision not to attack the women because the Holy Prophet (sa) had instilled in his followers to honour and respect women under all circumstances. Hence, this was also part of the rules of war taught by the Holy Prophet (sa).

His Holiness (aba) said that he would continue narrating these incidents in the future.

Mubarak Mosque

Prayers for Palestine

His Holiness (aba) urged continuous prayers for the Palestinians. The cruelties are exceeding all bounds and increasing by the day. May Allah bring the oppressors to task and create ease for the oppressed Palestinians. May he grant the Muslim countries reason and understanding that they must unite as one voice so that they may be those who strive to uphold the rights of their Muslim brethren. 

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions