Series on Islamic History Battles & Expeditions of the Prophet (saw)
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Series on Islamic History

Battles & Expeditions of the Prophet (saw)

After the migration to Madinah, the Quraish were determined to exterminate the Muslims. As a result several battles were fought in defence of Islam.

 

The Prophet (saw) had nine swords. He inherited Ma'thur from his father, and it was the first sword he ever owned. The Prophet (saw) had seven pieces of armour: Dhatul-Fudhul, which he later on pawned with Abu ash-Sha'hm, a Jew, in return for some barley. The Prophet (saw) owned six bows, az-Zawraar-Raw'ha,as-Safraal-Baydhaas-Saddad and al-Katum. The Prophet (saw) had a quiver called, al-Kafur, and a strap (belt quiver) for it made from tanned skin, as well as, three silver circular rings, a buckle and an edge made of silver. The Prophet (saw) had several shields, az-Zaluqhal-Futaqh and another one that he was given as a gift. The Prophet (saw) owned five spears, such as al-Muthwiand al-Muthni. He had a lance called, an-Nab'ah and a bigger lance called, al-Baidha. He had a short lance like a staff called, 'Anazah. The Prophet (saw) had a helmet made of iron, called al-Muwash-Sha'h, which was adorned with copper, and another helmet, called as-Sabugh or Dhus-Sabugh.

 

Some of the significant battles are summarised below

Badr: The First Battle in Islam

The Quraish had begun grand-scale preparations to attack Medina. 
With an ill-equipped body of three hundred and thirteen persons, having among them only two horses and seventy camels, the Prophet (saw) proceeded to Badr, about eighty miles from Medina, to meet the Meccan army. The forces met on the 17th of the month of Ramadhan, 2 A.H. (624 A.D.). After individual combats according to the custom of the Arabs, between Hamza, 'Ali and Ubaidah (all Hashimites) on the side of the Muslims and Utbah, Shaibah and Walid ibn 'Utbah (all Umayyads) from the Meccan ranks, a pitched battle ensued. The stakes were high. Both forces fought valiantly but the Muslims were animated by holy zeal. In the thick of the battle, the Prophet (saw) prayed to Allah (swt), earnestly beseeching Him thus: "O Lord, forget not Thy promise of assistance! O Lord! If this little band were to perish, there will be none to offer worship unto Thee."
  
The Muslims got the upper hand. The Meccans were driven back, leaving seventy dead, including a number of their notable chiefs. Out of 70, thirty-five were killed by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib alone. It was his first war. Seventy others were taken prisoners. The Muslim force had lost fourteen men. The prisoners were treated with exceptional kindness. 

 
The battle of Badr had far-reaching consequences. Till then, the Muslims were a harassed band avoiding any major conflict. This victory gave them confidence in their physical power. They could now meet force with force. They were soon recognized as a power to be reckoned with and smaller tribes were cautioned against joining forces against them.

The Battle of Uhud

The chagrin and fury of the Quraish at their defeat at Badr knew no bounds. Their whole energy was aroused and they commenced preparations for another attack on the Muslims. The tribes of Tihamah and Kinanah joined them. Their united forces numbered three thousand well equipped soldiers under the command of Abu Sufyan. This army marched towards Medina and occupied a vantage position near the hills of Uhud, a short distance of three miles from Medina. Muhammad (saw) marched out with only a thousand men. On the way, 'Abdullah ibn Ubay with three hundred of his followers, the munafiqun, deserted the believers, and the Prophet (saw) was left with only seven hundred men. Only a hundred of them had coats of mail, and between them they had only two horses. 
The Prophet (saw) took up his position below the hill. The army was arrayed in fighting formations and fifty archers were posted, under the command of 'Abdullah ibn Jubayr, at a pass between the hills to guard the army from any attack from the rear. They had strict orders not to leave their post, whatever the outcome of the battle might be. 

 
In this battle, seventy Muslims were martyred and an equal number of them were wounded. 'Ali received sixteen serious sword wounds. The Meccans lost 30 (or 22) warriors twelve of whom at the hands of 'Ali.
 
With victory almost within their grasp, the Muslims had suffered a heavy blow. They were shaken in body and in spirit. But the Prophet (saw) preached to them fortitude and endurance. For those who laid their lives in the way of Allah, the following glad tiding had been revealed:
 
And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay, they are alive (and) are sustained by their Lord. (Qur'an, 3:169) 
  
The victory of the Muslims over the Quraish at Badr had overawed nomadic tribes but their defeat at Uhud emboldened them to show their hands and a number of skirmishes followed.
 

 

To be continued with Event Timeline in next issue……….

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