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Masjid al-Shaikhain

Exterior of Masjid Shaikhain
Front view of Masjid Shaikhain

Masjid al-Shaikhain (Arabic: مسجد الشيخين) marks the spot where the Prophet (ﷺ) prayed salah on the eve of the Battle of Uhud. This took place on 14th Sha’ban 3 AH (625 CE). The preparations for the battle were made here.

Preparations for the Battle of Uhud

  • After performing the Jumma (Friday) prayer, the Prophet (ﷺ) set off for Uhud and performed Asar, Maghrib, Isha, stayed the night and performed Fajr where Masjid al-Shaikhain is located.
  • During this period, all the Muslim inhabitants of Madinah were called here including the women and elderly. The Prophet (ﷺ) planned the battle, inspected the troops and selected those to participate. Several tender-aged boys had come out with the army with the zeal to fight for Islam but the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered them back.

Boys compete to join the battle

  • Among the boys was Rafe’ (رضي الله عنه). His father Khudaij (رضي الله عنه) said to the Prophet (ﷺ), “O Prophet of Allah! My son Rafe’ is a very good archer.” Rafe’ too, stood on his toes to show himself taller than he actually was. The Prophet (ﷺ) permitted him to stay on.
  • When Samrah-bin-Jundub (رضي الله عنه) learnt about this, he complained to his step-father Murrah-bin-Sanan (رضي الله عنه) saying,“The Prophet (ﷺ) has permitted Rafe’ and ejected me, while I am sure to beat him in a wrestling contest and, therefore, I was more deserving of the Prophet’s favour.” This was reported to the Prophet (ﷺ), who allowed Samrah to prove his claim by wrestling with Rafe’. Samrah did actually beat Rafe’ in the bout and he too was permitted to stay in the army. A few more boys made similar efforts to stay on, and some of them did succeed.
Interior of Masjid Shaikain
Interior of Masjid Shaikhain

A setback for the Muslims

  • There was a great setback to the Muslims when in the morning Abdullah bin Ubai, the leader of the hypocrites, broke away with his three hundred followers pretending that since his opinion of fighting inside Madinah was not accepted, he and his men would not take part in the battle. This reduced the Muslim army from around one thousand to a mere seven hundred to face a Quraysh army of three thousand.
  • Surprised and alarmed, other tribes reacted badly to the news and also considered retreating but the counsel of the Prophet (ﷺ) and Allah’s (ﷻ) grace renewed their resolve and shortly before dawn they made their way towards Uhud.
Sign outside Masjid Shaikain
Sign outside Masjid Shaikhain

Revelation of the Quran regarding the hypocrites

  • Narrated Zaid bin Thabit (رضي الله عنه): When the Prophet (ﷺ) went out for Uhud, some of his companions (hypocrites) returned (home). A party of the believers remarked that they would kill those (hypocrites) who had returned, but another party said that they would not kill them. So, this Divine Inspiration was revealed (in the Quran):

“Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties concerning the hypocrites.“

[Quran 4:88}
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Madinah expels the bad persons from it, as fire expels the impurities of iron.” [Bukhari]

Masjid al-Shaikhain name

  • Masjid al-Shaikain is named after the two hills it stands next to. It is also known as Masjid al-Dar’a and Masjid al-Bada’i.

References:  Muhammad – Martin Lings, Fazail-e-Amal – Sheikh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalvi