This small mountain in front of Mount Uhud is where the Prophet (ﷺ) had positioned archers during the Battle of Uhud with the strict instructions not to move. It was the desertion of their posts by many of the archers on thinking the battle was over that led to a reversal of fortune for the Muslims in the war.
- The Prophet (ﷺ) appointed 50 archers under the command of Abdullah bin Jubair (may Allah be pleased with him) and said to him, “Drive off the horses from us, lest we should be attacked from the rear. Whether we win or lose the battle stand steadily at your position. See that we are not attacked from your side.”
- Seeing that the battle was going in the favour of the Muslims and the polytheists were retreating created a zest and fervour among the Muslim archers hearts to chase the escaping enemy and to collect the booty left behind. Many began to leave their position. Abdullah bin Jubair (may Allah be pleased with him) tried his utmost to check them by reminding them of the Prophet’s command and solicited them to stay on, but no more than ten persons would listen to him, arguing that the orders given by the Prophet (ﷺ) were only for the duration of the actual fight. The enemy cavalry then noticed the unguarded pass in the rear, made a flank movement, forced a passage through it, and fell right on the rear of the Muslims, who were pre-occupied with the booty. Abdullah bin Jubair (may Allah be pleased with him) was martyred on the spot. This sudden attack by the polytheists created a temporary confusion in the Muslim ranks and they stopped chasing the Makkan army. The chaotic condition of the Muslim ranks emboldened Ikramah bin Abi Jahl and Abu Sufyan to stop fleeing and they gathered their soldiers together to launch another attack on the Muslims while they were in the state of turmoil. This sudden onslaught only added to the trouble and losses in the Muslim ranks.
- It was in this state of affairs that Anas bin Nadhr (may Allah be pleased with him) saw Sa’ad bin Ma’az (may Allah be pleased with him) passing in front of him. He shouted to him: “O Sa’ad! Where are you going? By Allah! I smell the fragrance of Paradise coming from Mount Uhud.” Saying this, he threw himself into the very thick of the enemy, and fought tooth and nail till he met his martyrdom. After the battle, it was found that his body had been mauled and mutilated to such an extent that only his sister could identify him, and that barely from the finger tips. No less than eighty wounds of arrows and swords were counted on his body.
- To be cheated of victory over the Quraysh when it was within grasp was a great disappointment to the Prophet (ﷺ), especially as the archers had disobeyed a direct instruction . At this bitter moment, the holy verses of the Quran came down to console and guide him with the following words: “By the mercy of Allah you have softened towards them. Had you been rough, hard-hearted, they would have dispersed away from you. So pardon them, ask forgiveness for them and consult them in affairs. Once you make a decision, then trust in Allah. Allah loves those who trust in Him.” [3:159] The Qur’an ordered him to forgive them, as Allah in His mercy forgives the erring, and not only was he to forgive them, but to call them to him and consult them in affairs, thus restoring their self-respect.
References: History of Madinah Munawwarah – Dr. Muhammad Ilyas Abdul Ghani, Fazail-e-Aamal – Sheikh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalvi, The life of Muhammad – Tahia Al-Ismail