The Prophet Muhammad: The Most Awkward Hour in the Messenger’s Life

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Monday, 19 April 2010

The Most Awkward Hour in the Messenger’s Life

The Most Awkward Hour in the Messenger’s Life:

After the fall of Ibn Sakan, the Messenger of Allâh PBUH remained alone with only those two Quraishites. In a version by Abu ‘Uthman — authorized in As-Sahihain— he said: "At that time, there were none with the Prophet PBUH except Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh and Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas.[] That was the most awkward and dangerous hour for the Prophet PBUH, but it was a golden opportunity for the idolaters who promptly took advantage of it. They concentrated their attack on the Prophet PBUH and looked forward to killing him.

‘Utbah bin Abi Waqqas pelted him with stones. One of the stones fell on his face. His lower right incisor Ruba‘iya (i.e. the tooth that is between a canine and a front tooth) was injured.

His lower lip was wounded. He was also attacked by ‘Abdullah bin Shihab Az-Zuhri who cleaved his forehead. ‘Abdullah bin Qami’a (Qami’a means ‘a humiliated woman’), who was an obstinate strong horseman, struck him violently on his shoulder with his sword; and that stroke hurt the Messenger of Allâh PBUH for over a month — though it was not strong enough to break his two armours.

He dealt a heavy blow on his cheek. It was so strong that two rings of his iron-ringed helmet penetrated into his holy cheek. "Take this stroke from me, I am Ibn Qami’a." He said while striking the Messenger with his sword. The Messenger of Allâh PBUH replied — while he was wiping the blood flowing on his face:

 "I implore Allâh to humiliate you."[] (i.e. Aqma’aka Allâh). In Al-Bukhâri it is stated his incisor broke, his head was cleaved, and that he started wiping the blood off it and saying: "(I wonder) how can people who cut the face of their Prophet PBUH and break the incisor of his — he who calls them to worship Allâh. How can such people thrive or be successful?" About that incident, Allâh, Glory is to Him, sent down a Qur’ânic verse saying:

• "Not for you (O Muhammad PBUH but for Allâh) is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the Zâlimûn (polytheists, disobedients, and wrong-doers)." [3:128][]

At-Tabarani states that the Prophet PBUH said: "Allâh’s Wrath is great on those who besmear the face of His Messenger," observed silence for a short while and then resumed saying:

• "O Allâh, forgive my people for they have no knowledge."[]

In Sahih Muslim it is stated that the Messenger of Allâh PBUH said:

• "My Lord, forgive my people for they have no knowledge."[]

In Ash-Shifa — a book by ‘Ayad Al-Qadi — it is related that the Prophet PBUH said:

• "O Allâh, guide my people for they have no knowledge."[]

It is quite certain that killing the Prophet PBUH was their primary aim, but the two Quraishites — Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas and Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh, who showed great and rare courage and fought so fiercely and boldly that — though they were only two — were able to stop the idolaters short of realizing their aim. They were of the best skillful Arab archers and kept on militating in defence of the Messenger of Allâh PBUH till the whole squad of idolaters was driven off him PBUH.

The Messenger of Allâh PBUH emptied his quiver of arrows and said to Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas: "Shoot, an arrow Sa‘d. May my father and mother be sacrified for you.[]" The Prophet PBUH had never gathered his parents except in the case of Sa‘d — a privilege granted to him for his efficiency.[]

In a version by Jabir — authorized by An-Nasa’i — concerning the attitude of Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh towards the gathering of idolaters around the Messenger of Allâh PBUH — when there were only some Helpers with him — Jabir said: "When the idolaters reached him, the Messenger of Allâh PBUH said:

 ‘Who will suffice us their evils (i.e. fight them back)?’ Talha said: ‘I will.’" Then Jabir mentioned the advance of the Helpers to fight and how they were killed one after the other in a similar way to Muslim’s narration — "When all the Helpers were killed, Talha proceeded forward to fight as much as the other eleven ones did till his hand was hurt and his fingers were cut off.

 So he said: ‘Be they cut off!’ The Prophet PBUH said: ‘If you had said: In the Name of Allâh, the angels would have raised you up before the people’s very eyes.’" Then he said: "Allâh drove the idolaters off them."[] In Al-Ikleel — a book by Hakim — it is stated that Talha had sustained thirty-nine or thirty-five wounds, and his fingers (i.e. the forefinger and the one next to it — got paralyzed.[]

In a version by Qais bin Abi Hâzim — authorized by Al-Bukhari, he said: "I saw the hand of Talha paralyzed. That was because he protected the Prophet PBUH with it in Uhud Battle."[]

At-Tirmidhi stated that the Prophet PBUH then said about Talha: "He who desires to see a martyr walking on the ground, let him look at Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh."[]

Abu Da’ûd At-Tayalisi on the authority of ‘Aishah - may ALlah be pleased with her - , said: "Whenever Uhud Day (i.e. battle) was mentioned, Abu Bakr used to say:

 ‘That was Talha’s day (i.e. battle).[] Abu Bakr recited a verse of poetry about him: ‘O Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh! Paradise is due to you as water-springs are due to deer to drink out of.’[] At the awkward and most delicate circumstances, Allâh, Glory is to Him, sent down His invisible Help. In a version by Sa‘d — cleared and authorized in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim — he said:

 "I saw the Messenger of Allâh PBUH on Uhud Day with two men — dressed in white defending him fiercely — I have never seen similar to them neither before Uhud nor after it." In another version: "He means to say that they were Gabriel and Michael".[]

All those events happened in no time. If the Prophet PBUH’s elite Companions had realized the grave situation immediately, they would have rushed on the spot and would not have left him sustain these wounds. Unfortunately, they got there after the Messenger of Allâh PBUH had been wounded and six of the Helpers killed, the seventh was staggering under the brunt of wounds and desperately militating in defence of the Prophet PBUH.

 However as soon as they arrived they encircled the Messenger with their bodies and weapons and were alert enough to prevent the enemies from reaching him. The first one who returned to give help, was his cavemate Abu Bakr As-Siddiq - may Allah be pleased with him - .

In a version by ‘Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - recorded in Ibn Hibban’s Sahih, she narrated that Abu Bakr had said:

"When it was Uhud Day and at the time that the Prophet PBUH was left behind, I was the first to go back and see him. Before him I saw a man fighting to shield him from the enemies. I said to myself: ‘I wish he were Talha. Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you.

(O Allâh) Let him be Talha! Let my parents be sacrificed for you!’ On the way, I was overtaken by Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, who was then moving as swiftly as a bird. We both rushed to dress the Prophet PBUH’s wounds.

 There we found Talha suffering from serious wounds before the Messenger of Allâh PBUH The Prophet PBUH said: ‘See to your brother. His deed entitled him for an abode in Paradise.

’ I noticed that two rings of the iron-ringed helmet had penetrated his cheek. So I set out to take them out; but Abu ‘Ubaidah demanded: ‘By Allâh, O Abu Bakr — I beseech you, let me do it myself.’ Fearing to hurt the Prophet PBUH he started pulling one of the two rings out very slowly and carefully with his mouth. Then he pulled the arrow out by his mouth, too. Consequently, his front tooth fell. Then I proceeded to pull the second out; but Abu ‘Ubaidah besought me to leave it:

‘O, Abu Bakr, I adjure you by Allâh to let me do it.’ He pulled the second ring very slowly and carefully with his mouth — till it came out. The Messenger of Allâh PBUH said: ‘See to your brother. He has proved to be worthy of being housed in Paradise.’ We approached Talha to cure him but found out that he had had some ten sword-strokes in his body.[] (This showed how efficiently Talha had fought and struggled on that day)."

At those awkward moments of that day, a group of Muslim heroes gathered around the Prophet PBUH forming a shield to protect him from the idolaters. Some of them were Abu Dujana, Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Sahl bin Haneef, Malik bin — Sinan the father of Abu Sa‘îd Al-Khudri, Umm‘Amara, Nusaiba bint Ka‘b Al-Mâziniya, Qatada bin An-Nu‘man, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, Hatib bin Abi Balta‘a and Abu Talha.

The number of idolaters was steadily increasing; and their attacks, naturally, got severer. Their press had increased to an extent that the Messenger of Allâh PBUH fell into one of the holes dug and designed by Abu ‘Amir Al-Fasiq to be used as traps.

 His knee scratched and ‘Ali helped him by grasping his hand up. Talha bin ‘Ubaidullâh took him in his lap till he could stand upright. Nafi‘ bin Jubair said:

I heard an Emigrant say: "I have witnessed Uhud Battle and watched how arrows had been hurled from all directions at the Prophet PBUH. None of them however hit him. ‘Abdullah, bin Shihab Az-Zuhri said: ‘Guide me to Muhammad PBUH! By Allâh, If I didn’t kill him, I would not hope to live.’ Although the Messenger of Allâh PBUH was next to him, alone — but he did not observe him. Safwan, a co-polytheist of his, blamed him (for not translating his words into deeds), but ‘Abdullah swore that he did not see him (the Prophet PBUH) and added that he might be immune to our attempts on his life. He also said that four of them pledged to make a fresh attempt and kill him, but also to no avail.[]

The Muslims showed unprecedented rare heroism and marvellous sacrifices. Abu Talha — for instance — shielded the Messenger of Allâh PBUH by his body and used his chest to protect him against the enemy arrows. Anas related that on Uhud Day when people dispersed off the Prophet PBUH, Abu Talhah was a skillful sort of archer who would pull arrows so much that he broke two or three bows that day.

 When a man passed along with a quiver full of arrows, the Prophet PBUH would say: "Spread the arrows to Abu Talhah!" Then when the Prophet PBUH watched people shooting, Abu Talhah would say: "I sacrifice my father and mother for your safety. Do not go too close lest an arrow of theirs should hit you. I would rather die than see you hurt."[]

Abu Dujana stood before the Messenger of Allâh PBUH and used to protect him from the arrows by his back. Hatib bin Balta‘a followed ‘Utbah bin Abi Waqqas — who broke the honourable incisor (of the Prophet PBUH) — struck him with the sword, cracked his head and took his mare and sword. Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas was so keen to kill his brother ‘Utbah, but he could not; however, Hatib could.

Sahl bin Haneef — a hero archer — who had pledged to die in the cause of Allâh, also played a prominent part in Uhud hostilities.

The Messenger of Allâh PBUH himself was involved in shooting arrows. In a version by Qatadah bin An-Nu‘man that the Messenger of Allâh PBUH shot so many arrows that the two ends of his bow were flattened. So Qatadah bin An-Nu‘man took it to remain with him for good. On that day his eye was so hurt that it fell down onto his cheek; but the Messenger of Allâh PBUH reput it in its socket with his hand and it became the better and the more sharp-sighted of the two.

On that day ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Awf kept on fighting till his mouth was hurt and got broken. He sustained over twenty wounds, some in his leg, and that lamed him.

Malik bin Sinan, the father of Abi Sa‘eed Al-Khudri sucked the blood out of the Prophet PBUH’s cheek till he cleaned it. The Prophet PBUH said: "Spit it!". But Malik said: "By Allâh, I will never spit it". Then he set out to fight. The Prophet PBUH then said: "He who wants to see a man of the people of Paradise, let him look at this one." No sooner had he resumed fighting than he was martyred in the thick of the battle.

Umm ‘Amarah participated in the fight too. She encountered Ibn Qami’a in combat, and sustained a slight wound on her shoulder, but she herself also struck him with her sword several times but he survived because he was wearing two armours. She, however, went on striking until her wounds counted twelve.

Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair, in his turn, fought fiercely and violently defending the Prophet PBUH against the attacks of Ibn Qami’a and his fellows. He was carrying the standard with his right hand. In the process of fighting, it was cut off, so he grabbed the standard in his left hand till this was also amputated so he knelt down and shielded it with his chest and neck. Ibn Qami’a then killed him, mistaking him for the Messenger of Allâh PBUH on account of resemblance in appearance. Only then did Ibn Qami’a shout ‘Muhammad PBUH has been killed.’[]

No sooner had Ibn Qami’a uttered that ominous sentence than consternation spread among Muhammad PBUH’s followers, and their morale was drastically reduced. Consequently, confusion and a miserable state of disorder prevailed amongst them. Whilst the rumours managed to adversely act amongst the Muslims, it alleviated the sharp impact of the assaults of the polytheists who came to believe that they did really achieve their final objective and so they turned towards mutilating the dead bodies.

When Mus‘ab was killed, the Messenger of Allâh PBUH delivered the standard to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. ‘Ali, in conjunction with the other Companions, went on fighting bravely and set marvellous examples of heroism, courage and endurance in both defence and attack.

Then the Messenger of Allâh PBUH made his way to his encircled army. Ka‘b bin Malik, who was the first one to recognize the approaching Prophet PBUH, shouted as loudly as he could: "O folks of Muslims, be cherished! The Messenger of Allâh PBUH is here." But the Messenger of Allâh PBUH signed to him to stop lest his position should be located by the idolaters. Upon hearing the shout, the Muslims immediately raced towards the source of the shout which brought about thirty Companions to gather around the Prophet PBUH. With this assembled number of his Companions, the Messenger of Allâh PBUH started drawing a planned withdrawal to the hillocks nearby.

Hostilities of the enemy grew fiercer than ever with the aim of foiling the plan of withdrawal of the Muslims. Their attempts however proved to be fruitless due to the heroic steadfastness of the lions of Islam.

‘Uthman bin ‘Abdullah bin Al-Mugheerah — one of the enemy horsemen — progressed towards the Messenger of Allâh PBUH while saying: "Either I kill him (i.e. Muhammad PBUH) or I will be killed." The Messenger of Allâh PBUH moved to encounter him but his mare tripped into some holes. So Al-Harith bin As-Simma combated with the enemy, and struck him on his leg so he went lame, then he finished him off, took his arm and overtook the Messenger of Allâh PBUH.

But later on another Makkan horseman, called ‘Abdullah bin Jabir, attacked Al-Harith bin As-Simma, and struck him on the shoulder with his sword and he was carried to the camp of the Muslims suffering from serious wounds. Anyway that very idolater did not escape death, for Abu Dujana — the red head-banded hero and adventurer — struck him heavily and cut his head off.

During this bitter fight, a desire to sleep overwhelmed the Muslims — that was a security and tranquillity to help His slave Muslims as the Qur’ân spoke in this context. Abu Talhah said: "I was one of those who were possessed by a desire to sleep on Uhud Day. On that day my sword fell off my hand several times. Again and again it fell down and again and again I picked it up."[]

In a regular withdrawal and with great bravery and boldness, the Muslims finally retreated to the cover of Mountain Uhud. Then, the rest of the army followed them to that safe position. In this manner, the genius of Muhammad PBUH foiled that of Khalid bin Al-Waleed.

Ibn Ishaq related that: "When the Messenger of Allâh PBUH was going up the hillock, he was followed by Ubai bin Khalaf who was saying:

‘Where is Muhammad PBUH Either I kill him or I will be killed.’ The Companions of Muhammad PBUH said: ‘O Messenger of Allâh, do you mind if one of us combats with him?’ But the Messenger of Allâh PBUH said: ‘Leave him!

’ So when he drew nearer, the Messenger of Allâh PBUH took the spear from Al-Harith bin As-Simma. He shivered violently in such a way that made all of them scatter in all directions violently and impulsively. Then he faced him, observed his clavicle through a gap between the wide opening of the armour and the part of his neck enclosed by.

He speared him in that spot. The effect of the stroke was so strong that it made him roll off his horse over and over. When he returned to Quraish, they found that he had only had a small scratch in his neck. So when blood became congested he said: ‘By Allâh, Muhammad has killed me.

’ Hearing him say so, they said: ‘By Allâh you are afraid to death. By Allâh, you are possessed by a devil.’ He replied: ‘He had already told me when we were in Makkah: ‘I will kill you.

’ By Allâh, had he spate on me, he would have killed me.’ Eventually, the enemy of Allâh breathed his last at a place called Sarif, while they were taking him back to Makkah."[] In a version by Abul-Aswad, on the authority of ‘Urwa: He was lowing like a bull and saying: "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if (the pain) I am suffering from now were distributed among the people of Al-Majaz, it would cause them to die."[]

During the withdrawal of the Messenger of Allâh PBUH up to the cover of the mountain, a big rock blocked his way. The Prophet PBUH tried to mount it, but having worn a short heavy armour, and being seriously wounded — he could not ascend it. Readily enough Talha sat in a position that enabled the Prophet PBUH to stand on his back. Then he lifted him up till he stood on it. The Prophet PBUH then said: "Talha, after this job, is eligible for the Garden (Paradise)."[]

When the Messenger of Allâh PBUH settled down in his head quarters in the hillock, the idolaters started their last attack upon the Muslims. Ibn Ishaq related that: "While the Prophet PBUH was on the way to the hillock, a group of Quraishite elite ascended the mountain. They were led by Khalid bin Al-Waleed and Abu Sufyan. So the Messenger of Allâh PBUH implored his Lord saying: ‘O Allâh, they (i.e. the idolaters) should not be higher (i.e. in position or in power) than us (i.e. the Muslims). Therefore ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab and some of the Emigrants fought the idolaters till they drove them down the mountain.[]

In Al-Maghazi — a book by Al-Umawi — it is stated that the idolaters went up the mountain. So the Messenger of Allâh PBUH said to Sa‘d:

 "Drive them off." "How can I drive them off by myself (i.e. without anyone to assist)." But the Messenger of Allâh PBUH repeated the phrase three times. Sa‘d then took an arrow out of his quiver, shot it at one of them and killed him. He said: "Then I took another one I know (to be good) and I shot with it another man. Then I took a third I know and killed a third one. Consequently they climbed down the mountain. I said to myself, ‘this must be a blessed arrow.’ I put it in my quiver." He kept it with him till he died. His children kept it with them ever after.[]