25. The Danger of Disobedience

“I have just received wonderful news from your land,” said the King. The Musims were confused. The King continued, “God has given Prophet Muhammad (s) victory over the unbelievers of Quraish.” Then he began to name the evil men of Quraish who had been killed and the names of those who had been taken captive. He told them that the battle took place near the spring of Badr. And that the Muslims were happy and safe. “But why are you in rags and sitting on the bare ground?” they asked. He told them that in the teachings of Prophet Isa (as), one must be humble when one was blessed with good news.

In Mecca, Quraish first cried for their dead, then quickly feelings of anger and revenge arose. They went to Abu Sufyan and told him they didn’t want any profit from the caravan he saved. They told him to use all the money to buy weapons and prepare a great army to fight Muhammad (s). It took a year of preparation, and they convinced smaller tribes around Mecca to join them. The caravan had a thousand camels and had made a profit of 50,000 dinars. This was all turned into gold to prepare an army of 3000 men, 3000 camels, and 200 horses. Women joined to sing and recite poetry reminding the men of the people that had died that they must avenge. Al-Abbas, the Prophet’s Uncle, sent word to Prophet Muhammad (s) that an army was marching toward Medina.

When word reached Prophet Muhammad (s), he preferred to stay in Medina and defend it, but the Muslims who had not participated in Badr wanted to go out to meet the enemy before it reached the city. And so, they took off in an army of one thousand men. No sooner were they on their way, than Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salool decided to return to Medina, taking with him one third of the army! Most of those who left were hypocrites like him, pretending to be Muslim.

When the Muslims reached the mountain of Uhud they set up camp. Prophet Muhammad (s) chose 50 men to stand on top of a hill and told them not to leave until he said so. From their position on the hill, they could shoot arrows at the horsemen so that the frightened horses would run away.

It was a severe and heroic battle. Both sides were determined to win. Quraish wanted revenge from certain people. A man promised freedom to his Ethiopian slave Wahshi if he would kill Hamza, the Prophet’s beloved uncle. Wahshi says, “I was a skilled spear fighter with an aim that never missed. I wanted my freedom. They pointed Hamza out to me, and I followed his every move. When I had my chance, I aimed and hurled my spear at him.”

The Muslims were brave and strong in their wish to defend Islam and the Messenger (s). It was not long before they won the battle and the army of Quraish withdrew, defeated. The archers on the hill saw the enemy leave. They saw the Muslims taking the swords and horses that were left behind. They wanted their share too, so they decided to go down and do the same. Their leader reminded them that Prophet Muhammad (s) asked them not to go down until he gave them permission to do so. “But the war is over,” they told him. “Look at the people collecting what was left behind.” And so the archers quickly went down.

 Suddenly, the quiet was broken. Seeing the archers leave the hill, Khalid bin Waleed led the enemy’s army back from around the mountain and attacked!

The Muslims had scattered all around. The handful of archers that stayed on the hill shot their arrows, but they were quickly killed. Quraish had a second chance in the battle, and they were fighting ferociously. The Muslims were bewildered and taken by surprise. Some of them ran away. Some started fighting in confusion, not knowing if they were attacking the enemy or each other. Some stood in a daze. Suddenly a voice called out, “We have killed Muhammad!”