Battle of Ohad was a day of mixed fortunes in the history of Islam
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
Battle of Ohad was a day of mixed fortunes in the history of Islam. Congratulations for the valour of Imam Ali (AS) in saving the life of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) in the Battle the Arab infidels had imposed upon Muslims, and condolences for the martyrdom of the Prophet’s valiant uncle, Hamza, in this armed encounter that occurred outside Medina near Mount Ohad in the year 3 AH.
"When you were fleeing without paying any attention to anyone, while the Prophet was calling you from your rear, He requited you with grief upon grief, so that you may not grieve for what you lose (of booty) nor for what befalls you, and Allah is well aware of what you do.”
What you heard was ayah 153 of Surah Aal-e Imraan of the Holy Qur'an. It refers to the day when most of the "Sahaba" or companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) fled the Battlefield of Ohad. The ayah is a clear pointer to the fact that the Almighty Creator is well aware of what oneactually does and harbours in the heart. In other words, this ayah, along with the preceding and subsequent ayahs of the same Surah, means to say that there were many amongst the companions of the Prophet who hid disbelief deep down in their hearts, despite claiming to be Muslims. For this reason, those afraid of their life listened to the words of the ever-tempting devil instead of heeding the words of Prophet, and decided to desert the Messenger of God, ignorant of the fact that death is unavoidable and could come any moment – even in the safety of the home or the comfort of the bed.
As all exegetes of the Heavenly Scripture – whether Sunni or Shi'ite – say with one voice, these ayahs describe the tumultuous scene during the Battle of Ohad, when one of the pagan commanders, Khaled bin Waleed, ambushed the Muslims from behind the mountain pass. Although several years later, on the eve of the surrender of Mecca to the Prophet in 8 AH, Khaled, realizing that the pagan plots against Islam were a lost cause, came to Medina and said he had decided to become a Muslim; he or one of his heathen accomplices, could have martyred the Prophet on the Day of Ohad, if not for the valour of Imam Ali ibnAbilTaleb (AS). Thus, there are lessons to be learnt from this armed encounter between truth and falsehood by contemplating on the events preceding it and its aftermath, as well as in the heat of battle on the battlefield itself. It is for this reason God has preserved till eternity some of the happenings of this particular battle, although the Holy Qur'an is not a biography of the Prophet. To be more precise, every time we recite these ayahs our minds open up to crucial facts of faith that could help us cleanse the rust of the false notions that sectarian prejudice has accumulated over the centuries.
As those who have visited Hijaz, the Land of Revelation know,the Mountain of Ohad and the plain of the same name lie 5 km north of Medina. It was here that a decisive encounter took place on 15th Shawwal in the year 3 AH,corresponding to 625 AD, when a three-thousand-strong force of Meccan infidels imposed a battle on the Prophet to avenge the surprising defeat they had suffered a year earlier at Badr. The Prophet could assemble only 1,000 able-bodied defenders, but of these, 300 of the so-called "Sahaba"deserted him before the start of the battle. When the battle ensued and the Meccans were repulsed in the initial encounter, there was again disobedience in the ranks of the 700 remaining "Sahaba" as most of them – including those whom the Prophet had entrusted to guard the mountain pass –went for the booty left by the retreating infidels. At this juncture, the pagan warlord Khaled bin Waleed, who lay in ambush, seized the opportunity and burst upon the Muslims, martyring several of them and forcing most of them to flee the battlefield. The Prophet himself was injured and lost some of his teeth.However, thanks to the valour of Imam Ali (AS) the day was saved for the Prophet and for Islam. Thus, without the least doubt, Islam is indebted to the valour of Imam Ali (AS), in whose praise on the Day of the Battle of Ohad the angels chanted: “There is no sword except Zu’l-Feqar; there is no brave youth except Ali.”
There was a sad note to this crucial event in the life of Islam. Among those who attained martyrdom at Ohad was the Prophet’s brave uncle, HazratHamza (AS), who cruelly martyred and after death mutilated. The pagan Arabs were accompanied by their women of loose morals, such as Hend, the wife of one of their chieftains, Abu Sufyan. She beat wildly on the tambourine and sang lewd songs to rally the infidels against Muslims. A rancorous woman, she seduced the black Abyssinian Wahshi to creep unaware near to the Muslim combatants and kill Imam Ali and Hamza (peace upon them). Wahshi, an expert spearman couldn’t dare approach the ever-alert Imam Ali (AS), but managed to place himself in the rear of Hamza on the rocky battlefield. The moment he found the chance this wretch hurled his appear the Prophet’s uncle that pierced the back of the valiant warrior and brought him to the ground. On the instructions of his mistress, he pounced on the martyr’s body, tore out his victim's liver and handed it to Hend, who chewed it in a savage manner – similar to the savagery of the present day Salafi terrorists, who despite their claim to be Muslims, are committing the most inhuman crimes in Syria and elsewhere by slicing the bodies of their dying victims and eating raw their organs, to the shock of the civilized world. Hend also chopped off the ears and fingers of the martyr’s corpse and strung them around her neck as a necklace. God Almighty, however, made Hamza’s liver as hard as a stone so that any part of the blessed body of a man of paradise should not be absorbed by an evil person destined to enter the fires of hell.Hend produced offspring as evil as herself, in view of the fact that she was the mother of the charlatan Mu’awiyya, and grandmother of the Godless Yazid, the perpetrator of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala and the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain (AS).
Among the immortal scenes of the Battle Ohad is the rushing of HazratFatema Zahra (SA) to the place of the encounter to nurse the wounds of her father, the Prophet, when many of the Muslims were fleeing in the other direction. It was at Ohad, from the clay of the grave of her martyred grand-uncle, Hamza (AS) that the Prophet's noble daughter made her famous rosary of earthen beads.Alas, the holy mausoleum of the noble Hamza, along with the sacred graves of the 70 martyrs of Ohad, was destroyed in 1925 by the Godless Wahhabis when they seized the holy cities of Medina and Mecca.