The Holy Prophet (SAW) orders his companions not to answer Abu Sufyan in Uhud
Source: Al-Nass Wal-Ijtihad, Text and Interpretation
By: Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi
On the day of Uhud, the Prophet (S) and his companions stopped at the bank of the valley and they let the mountain behind them. The polytheists were three thousand and seven hundred armored warriors and two hundred knights. There were fifteen women with them. The Muslims were two hundred armored fighters and two knights.
The two armies got ready to fight. The Prophet (S) (and his companions) turned his face to Medina and left the mountain of Uhud behind him. He made the archers, who were fifty men, behind him and appointed Abdullah bin Jubayr as their emir and said to him: “Keep the knights away from us by the arrows. Do not let them attack us from behind. Keep on your places whether we win or lose for we will not be attacked except from this defile (shi’b); the defile of Uhud.”
Talha bin Othman, the bearer of the polytheists’ banner, came out calling: “O companions of Muhammad, you claim that Allah will hasten us to Hell by your swords and He will hasten you to Paradise by our swords. Let some one of you, who wants to hasten me to Hell by his sword and to be hastened to Paradise by my sword, advance!”
Ibnul Atheer said in al-Kamil: “…Ali bin Abu Talib came out to him and struck him and his leg was cut. He fell to the ground and his private parts appeared. He begged Ali and Ali left him alone. He weltered in his blood until he died. The Prophet (S) said: “Allahu akbar - Allah is great. The (ram) of the battalion!” The Muslims began crying: “Allahu akbar” after the Prophet (S). The Prophet (S) said to Ali: “What prevented you from finishing him off?” Ali said: “He begged me by Allah and kinship. I felt shy to kill him after that.”
After that Imam ‘Ali (as) withstood. He killed the bearers of the banner one after the other. Ibnul Atheer and other historians said: “The Muslims killed the bearers of the banner and it remained thrown on the ground; no one approached it. Then Amra bint Alqama al-Harithiyya took the banner and raised it and then Quraysh gathered around the banner. Then a slave of Bani Abd ad-Dar, who was very strong, took the banner and he also was killed. He, who had killed the bearers of the banner, was Ali bin Abu Talib. Abu Rafi’ said that.”
People fought severely. Hamza, Ali, Abu Dijana and some of the Muslims had done well in the fight. Allah granted them victory and the polytheists were defeated. The women of the polytheists fled to the mountain. The Muslims entered the camp of the polytheists to rob their properties. When the archers saw their fellows robbing, they left their places in the defile and hastened to rob too forgetting what the Prophet (S) had ordered them of.
When Khalid bin al-Waleed, who was with the polytheists on that day, saw that the archers in the defile were a few, he killed them and attacked the Prophet’s companions from the rear. The fled polytheists came back again with activity and fought the Muslims and defeated them after killing seventy of Muslim heroes, among whom was Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib, the lion of Allah and of His Messenger.
On that day the Prophet (S) fought severely until all his arrows finished. His bow was broken and he was injured in his cheek and his front. One of his teeth was broken and his lip was cut. Ibn Qam’a attacked him with his sword and was about to kill him.
Imam ‘Ali (as) and five men of the Ansar, who were martyred then, fought before the Prophet (S) and defended him. Abu Dijana made himself as armor for the Prophet (S). The arrows stuck into the back of Abu Dijana while he was covering the Prophet (S) with his body. Mus’ab bin Umayr fought bravely and then he was martyred. He was killed by Abu Qam’a, who thought that he had killed the Prophet (S).
He went back to Quraysh saying: “Muhammad is killed.” The people began crying: “Muhammad is killed! Muhammad is killed!” The Muslims fled aimlessly. The first one, who recognized the Prophet (S), was Ka’b bin Malik. He shouted at the top of his voice: “O Muslims, this is the Messenger of Allah. He is alive. He is not killed.” The Prophet (S) asked him to keep silent. 204
Then Imam ‘Ali (as) and his companions took the Prophet (S) to the defile, in which he protected himself. Imam ‘Ali (as) and his companions surrounded the Prophet (S) defending him.
Ibn Jareer and Ibnul Atheer in their Tareekhs and other historians said: “…the Prophet (S), while he was in the defile, saw some polytheists. He said to Ali: “Attack them!” Ali attacked them, killed some of them and scattered the others. The Prophet (S) saw another group of the polytheists. He said to Ali: “Do away with them!” Ali attacked them, killed some of them and scattered the others. Gabriel said: “O Messenger of Allah, this is the assistance!” The Prophet (S) said: “He (Ali) is from me and I am from him.” Gabriel said: “And I am from you both.” Then a voice was heard saying: “No sword save Thul Faqar 205 and no youth save Ali!”
Imam ‘Ali (as) began bringing water with his leather shield to wash the Prophet’s wounds but the bleeding did not stop. 206
Hind (Abu Sufyan’s wife) and her fellow women went to the martyrs of the Muslims and began mutilating their bodies. They made from the ears, the noses and the fingers of the martyrs necklaces and rings. She had given Wahshi her rings and necklaces for his killing Hamza. Hind cut open the chest of Hamza and took out his liver. She chewed it but she found it unpleasant and then she emitted it.
Then Abu Sufyan came near to the Muslims and said: “Is Muhammad among you?” He repeated that three times. The Prophet (S) said to his companions: “Do not answer him!” 207 Abu Sufyan said: “O Umar, I adjure you by Allah, have we killed Muhammad?” Umar said: “By Allah, no, you have not. He is hearing your speech.” 208
Umar preferred his opinion in answering Abu Sufyan to the order of the Prophet (S) when forbidding them from answering Abu Sufyan.
Spying and its prohibition
Allah has said: “O you, who believe, avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful” (Qur’an 49:12).
The Prophet (S) has said: “Avoid suspicion! Suspicion is the falsest speech. Do not spy on each other, do not hate each other, do not envy each other and do not oppose each other. Be brothers…”
But Umar, during his rule, found that spying brought benefits and goodness to the state. He patrolled at night and spied at day. One night, while he was patrolling in Medina, he heard a man singing in his house. He climbed the wall of the man’s house. He found that there was a woman with him and a bottle of wine. He said to the man: “O enemy of Allah, have you thought that Allah protects you while you are disobeying Him?”
The man said: “O Ameerul Mo’mineen, do not hasten! If I have committed one sin, you have committed three sins; Allah has said: “Do not spy” (49:12) but you have spied, and He has said: “..and go into the houses by their doors” (2:189) but you have climbed the wall and He has said: “When you enter houses, greet each other” (24:61) but you have not greeted us.” Umar said: “Would you do me good if I forgive you?” The man said: “Yes, I would.” Then Umar forgave him and went out. 209
As-Sadiy said: “One night Umar went out with Abdullah bin Mas’ood. He saw a light of fire. He (with Ibn Mas’ood) followed the light until he entered the house. There was a lamp inside the house. He came in and left Abdullah bin Mas’ood in the courtyard. There was an old man drinking wine and there was a songstress singing for him. Suddenly Umar attacked the old man saying to him: “I have never seen a scene uglier that a scene of an old man waiting for his end!”
The old man raised his head and said: “In fact, your doing is uglier than what you have seen from me; you have spied whereas Allah has prohibited spying and you have entered the house with no permission.” Umar said: “You are right.” Then he went out biting his garment, crying and saying: “May Umar’s mother lose him!”… The old man avoided to attend the meetings of Umar for some time.
One day while Umar was sitting in his meeting, the old man came hiding himself not to be seen by Umar and he sat at the end of the meeting. Umar saw him and asked some of his companions to bring him. The old man thought that Umar would scold him. Umar said to him: “Come near to me!” Umar still asked him to be nearer until he seated him beside him. Umar said to the man: “Bring your ear near to me!” He said to him: “I swear by Him, Who has sent Muhammad with the truth, that I have not told any one of people about what I have seen from you even Ibn Mas’ood, who was with me…” 210
Ash-Shi’bi said: “Once Umar missed one of his companions. He said to Ibn Ouff: “Let us go to the house of so-and-so.” They went there and found that the door of his house was open while he was sitting and his wife was pouring something into a cup and giving it to him to drink. Umar said to Ibn Ouff: “It is this thing that has kept him away from us!” Ibn Ouff said: “How do you know what there is in the cup?” Umar said: “Do you fear that this may be spying?” Ibn Ouff said: “Yes, it is spying.” Umar said: “Then how do we repent of this?” Ibn Ouff said: “Do not make him know that you have seen what he has done!!...” 211
Al-Musawwir bin Makhrama narrated from Abdurrahman bin Ouff that one night he (Abdurrahman) and Umar were patrolling in Medina. While they were walking, a lamp was lit in one of the houses. They went towards the house and found the door closed. There were some people inside the house making loud noises. Umar took Abdurrahman’s hand and said to him: “This is the house of Rabee’a bin Umayya. They are drinking wine now. What do you think to do?” Abdurrahman said: “I think that we have done what Allah has prohibited; we have spied.” Then Umar went away and left them alone. 212
Tawoos said: “One night Umar went out patrolling. He passed by a house, in which there were some people drinking wine. He shouted at them (from outside): “Are you committing sins?” Some of them said to him: “Allah has forbidden you from doing this!” He went back and left them alone.” 213
Abu Qulaba said: “Umar narrated that Abu Mihjan ath-Thaqafi drank wine in his house with his friends. One day Umar broke into Abu Mihjan’s house. Abu Mihjan said to him: “O Ameerul Mo’mineen, this is not permissible to you. Allah has forbidden you from spying.” Umar asked Zayd bin Thabit and Abdurrahman bin al-Arqam and they said to him: “He is right, O Ameerul Mo’mineen.” Umar went out and let him alone.” 214
He, who followed the traditions about Umar’s spying, will find clearly that spying has been a part of his policy. As if he thought that legal penalties would be annulled when the ruler committed mistakes; therefore he did not punish any one of those sinful people. Yet he did not harm any one of them. We do not know how he was satisfied to finish his spying in this way without any effect on those sins! He encouraged the sinners to commit more sins when they saw this leniency of their imam!!
204. That the enemy might hear him and might attack the Prophet (S) again.
205. Thul Faqar was the name of the famous sword of Imam ‘Ali (as).
206. After that Fatima (sa) burnt a piece of a straw mat and put some of the ash on the wound and then the bleeding stopped. She had attended the event. She embraced her father while he was wounded and she was crying.
207. Ibn Jareer’s Tareekh, Ibnul Atheer’s Tareekh, Ibn Sa’d’s Tabaqat, al-Halabi’s Seera, ad-Dahlani’s Seera, al-Bidayeh wen-Nihayeh by Abul Fida’ and all the books of history that have recorded the events of the battle of Uhud.
208. As if the Prophet (S) was not safe from Abu Sufyan and his men to attack him if they knew that he was still alive; therefore he ordered his companions not to answer Abu Sufyan and as if Umar, when answering Abu Sufyan, was not afraid and did not think that the caution of the Prophet (S) was justifiable!
209. Makarim al-Akhlaq by al-Khara’ity, Kanzol Ummal, vol. 2 p.167, Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 3 p.96, Ihya’ul Uloom by al-Ghazali, p.137.
210. Al-Qat’ wes-Sariqa (cut and theft) by Abu al-Sheikh, Kanzol Ummal, vol.2 p. 141.
211. Kanzol Ummal, vol. 2 tradition no.3694.
212. Narrated by Abdurrazaq, Abd bin Hameed and al-Khara’ity in Makarim al-Akhlaq, Kanzol Ummal, vol.2 tradition no.3693, Mustadrak of al-Hakim, vol.4 p.377, Talkhees of ath-Thahabi.
213. Kanzol Ummal, vol. 2 p.141.