Who is hamza? Who is king of all martyrs?
The swing of fortune towards the way of Quraysh saw the martyring of Hamza –Allah be well-pleased with him-, the gallant warrior of Islam running to and fro in the ranks, by the spear of Wahshi. Still a slave, Wahshi had executed the task only to gain the freedom promised him by Hind. Burning inside with malicious feelings of vengeance for a while now, Hind was brutal enough to take out Hamza’s liver and dig her teeth into it. She was thus labeled akilat’ul-akbad, the liver eater.
The fall of Hamza -Allah be well-pleased with him- sent the Muslim ranks into a wave of mourning. Already in turmoil, the Muslims now entirely disintegrated, a scene described by the Almighty in the following:
“And certainly Allah made good to you His promise when you slew them by His permission, until when you became weak-hearted and disputed about the affair and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you loved; of you were some who desired this world and of you were some who desired the hereafter; then He turned you away from them that He might try you; and He has certainly pardoned you, and Allah is Gracious to the believers.” (Al Imran, 152)
Allah, glory unto Him, admonishes the archers who deserted their spots, referring to them as ‘desiring the world’, praising at the same time those who stood their grounds, referring to them as ‘desiring the Hereafter.’
The idolaters, that day, martyred many Muslims. A group of them even undertook an onslaught that only had the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- in mind and not long after, attacks targeting the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- became more frequent. Talha ibn Ubaydullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- says:
“When the Companions disintegrated, the idolaters mounted an onslaught and surrounded the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- from all sides; so much that I did not know whether to defend him from the front, the back, the left or the right. So I swung my sword both to the front and the back, relentlessly, until they ultimately withdrew.” (Waqidi, I, 254)
Malik Ibn Zuhayr, the idolaters’ sharpshooter, shot an arrow at the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. Instantaneously realizing that the arrow would collect the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, Talha ibn Ubaydullah –Allah be well-pleased with him- stuck out his hand. Piercing his finger, the blow ended up leaving Talha crippled.
Certain Companions of both the Ansar and Muhajirun encircled the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, vowing to defend him until death, to be human shields in protecting his life and never to leave his side. (Ibn Sad, II, 45; Waqidi, I, 240)
Abu Talha -Allah be well-pleased with him- was a powerful archer, who could put great force behind his arrows. Two or three bows were smashed through the sheer force of his arms that day. Whoever he saw pass by him with a bag of arrows, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was telling them to:
“Empty the bag next to Abu Talha!” Each time the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would raise his head to catch a glimpse of the idolaters who had them ambushed from behind, Abu Talha -Allah be well-pleased with him- would plea:
“May my parents be sacrificed in your way, Messenger of Allah; do not lift your head, for an arrow flung by the idolaters might strike you. Allow my body to act as your shield…Let whatever is bound for you, strike me instead!” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 18)
To protect the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, Qatadah ibn Numan -Allah be well-pleased with him- stood in front of him and shot arrows at the idolaters until his bow was disfigured. More still, in the process he was struck with an arrow right in his eye; his eyeball began to slide down his cheek. Moved, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- took Qatadah’s eyeball and inserted it back in its place. That eye, thereafter, had a clearer vision and looked distinctively better than his other eye.
The female Companion Umm Umarah -Allah be well-pleased with her- is among those who gallantly repelled the enemy with her bow and arrows. Upon returning to Medina after the Battle, the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- is known to have stated:
“Whenever I looked to my left and right during the Battle, I saw Umm Umarah fight alongside me.” (Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah, IV, 479)
Heartened by the many praises and prayers the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- said with regard to her, Umm Umarah furthermore insisted him to:
“…pray Allah so we can be your neighbors in Paradise!”
So the Prophet of Mercy -upon him blessings and peace- prayed, “Allah…make them my neighbors and friends in Paradise!” Excited, Umm Umarah -Allah be well-pleased with her- then said, “I could not care less, from now, whatever kind of troubles were to come to me in this life!” (Waqidi, I, 273; Ibn Sad, VIII, 415)
At the heat of the Battle, during one of the violent attacks aimed at the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, Utbah, Saad ibn Abi Waqqas’ -Allah be well-pleased with him- idolater brother, threw a rock at the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. The impact sent two loops from the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- helmet flying forth, piercing through his cheek and breaking his tooth; an incident that shook the earth and heavens. To make matters worse, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- fell into a ditch dug by the sordid Abu Amir to ensnare the Believers. Ali -Allah be well-pleased with him- took the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- from one hand, Talha ibn Ubaydullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- from the other and they pulled him out of the ditch. Abu Ubaydah ibn Jarrah -Allah be well-pleased with him- pulled out one of the loops that had punctured the Blessed Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- cheek, with his teeth, and in the process broke one of his own front tooth. In pulling out the other loop, he broke yet another. That sight was enough to depress and demoralize the entire Companions, even the angels. The Companions were deeply hurt in witnessing something so difficult to bear, and urged the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- to:
“…curse the idolaters of Quraysh!”
But the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- replied:
“I have not been sent as a curser, but as a mercy and an inviter to the path of truth. Allah…Guide my tribe for they do not know!” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 24; Haythami, VI, 117; Waqidi, I, 244-247; Qadi Iyad, I, 95)
The moment he became wounded, the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- remarked:
“Allah has become very angry with the people who have wounded the face of His Messenger!”
Saad ibn Abi Waqqas -Allah be well-pleased with him- has said:
“By Allah, the moment I heard the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- say those words, I never felt greater anger, neither before nor after, in wanting to kill my brother Utbah for what he had done.”
Saad -Allah be well-pleased with him-, in fact, repeatedly did break through the enemy ranks vying for his brother’s blood, only to be prevented by the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- from carrying the execution through.
Saad ibn Abi Waqqas -Allah be well-pleased with him- was meanwhile showering the idolaters in arrows, with the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- persistently encouraging him with the words, “Shoot your arrows, Saad; may my parents be sacrificed for you!” Ali -Allah be well-pleased with him- who had witnessed the scene, later on remarked:
“I have never heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘may my parents be sacrificed for you’, for anyone, except for Saad.” (Tirmidhi, Adab, 61, Manaqib, 26; Ahmad, I, 92)
Even amid this whirlwind of turmoil, relying on the Almighty with an irrepressible fortitude of iman, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was, on the one hand, wiping the blood of his face, and on the other, seeking refuge in Allah, glory unto Him, was continuing to pray:
“Allah…My people are ignorant; they do not know what they are doing…Guide them!”
Sahl ibn Saad -Allah be well-pleased with him- recounts:
“When the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- became wounded at Uhud, Fatimah -Allah be well-pleased with her- began to wash the blood of his face, while Ali -Allah be well-pleased with him- was pouring water for her. Seeing that the water was only increasing the blood flow all the more, Fatimah -Allah be well-pleased with her- got hold of a piece of cane, burnt it until it turned into ash, and then began to dress the wound. The blood eventually stopped.” (Bukhari, Jihad, 80; Maghazi, 24; Muslim, Jihad, 101)
The Battle of Uhud thus became a stage for scenes of such sorrow. The upper hand the Believers had at the outset had switched over to the idolaters, for defying the instructions they were given. Only fourteen people remained around the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. To the others, who had now found themselves in a deep state of panic, the Prophet of Mercy -upon him blessings and peace- began calling out:
“Servants of Allah…! Come to me, I am the Messenger of Allah!” (Waqidi, I, 237)
The Quran presents a picture of the scene in the following words:
“When you climbed (the hill) and paid no heed to anyone, while the messenger, in your rear, was calling you (to fight). Therefor He rewarded you grief for (his) grief, that (He might teach) you not to sorrow either for that which ye missed or for that which befell you. Allah is Informed of what you do.” (Al-i Imran, 153)
Another portion of Muslims, who had heard the fast spreading rumor that the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was martyred, were rattled to their marrows; such that some of them, thinking ‘…there was no point in remaining especially after even the Prophet of Allah was martyred’, began leaving the field. They only had the protection of Medina in mind as they were turning back, though they were nonetheless dissuaded from doing so by the women of Medina.
Another group, thinking ‘…even if the Messenger of Allah is dead, Allah is immortal’, lost none of their composure and continued fighting. One certain Companion belonging to this group was Anas ibn Nadr -Allah be well-pleased with him-, the uncle of the more renowned Anas ibn Malik. After receiving the horrible rumor that the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- , too, had been martyred, from certain Muslims, who had given up all hope, not knowing what to do in a state of utter despair, Anas ibn Nadr -Allah be well-pleased with him- shouted the following words, personifying the immense fortitude and reliance in Allah he had deep inside:
“What is the point of living after the Messenger of Allah? Come on, fight like him and be martyred!” He then plunged towards the idolaters, moments after which, inflicted with over eighty wounds, he ended up a martyr. (Ahmad, III, 253; Ibn Hisham, III, 31)
Anas -Allah be well-pleased with him- explains the following:
“My uncle Anas ibn Nadr could not take part at Badr, something he found very hard to cope with. He even told the Messenger of Allah that ‘…Allah will surely see what I will do if granted opportunity to fight in a battle against the idolaters!’
So he took part in Uhud. Once the Muslims began to disintegrate, implying his fellow Believers, he said, ‘O my Lord! I apologize to You on their behalf’; and implying the idolaters, he said, ‘…and I am distant from what they are doing, Allah’. He then advanced forward and came across Saad ibn Muadh, to whom he remarked, ‘Paradise is what I am after, Saad; and by the Lord of the Kaabah I can smell its scent coming from the skirts of Uhud!’
Later, when recounting the incident to the Messenger of Allah, Saad confessed:
‘I was not able to do what he did!’
We eventually found our uncle martyred. His body carried over eighty sword, spear and arrow wounds. The idolaters had mutilated their body. Many of his parts were missing, for which reason nobody could identify him at first. Only his sister was able to, and that from his fingertips. This ayah was revealed in celebration of my uncle and those alike:
‘Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah: so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least.’ (al-Ahzab, 23)” (Bukhari, Jihad, 12; Muslim, Imarah, 148)
An overwhelming majority of those, who began fleeing from the battlefield once the tide of victory turned, had the intention continuing the battle away from the field. Allah, glory unto Him, addressed them in the following:
“And certainly you desired death before you met it, so indeed you have seen it and you look (at it).” (Al-i Imran, 143)
Those, who despite assuring they were ready to die, turned away after hearing the unfounded rumors of the death of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, were more sternly rebuked by the Almighty:
“And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful.” (Al-i Imran, 144)
In defiance of all the adversities, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- unwaveringly stood his ground like the North Star and resisted the onslaught with a prophetic resolution; a heroic courage that set an exemplary pattern for his Companions, in virtual echo of the words of the Almighty:
“Faint not nor grieve, for you will overcome them if ye are (indeed) believers. If you have received a blow, the (disbelieving) people have received a blow the like thereof. These are (only) the vicissitudes which We cause to follow one another for mankind, to the end that Allah may know those who believe and may choose witnesses from among you; and Allah loveth not wrong-doers.” (Al-i Imran, 139-140)
By the grace and mercy Allah, glory unto Him, extended to His Messenger and His Believers, in spite of all the turmoil that emerged on the day of Uhud, the idolaters could not reach their aim. The Companions, in the meantime, began regrouping around the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and warded off the idolater assault, protecting the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- with an epic defense, soon inflicting the idolaters with great casualties as before. Taking advantage of the regained stability, the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- retreated to Mount Uhud. Although Abu Sufyan, this time tried to mount an offensive from the upper end of the mountain, his effort proved fruitless.
At that very frightful moment, the Almighty overtook the Believers with a calmed feeling of drowsiness and they soon found themselves dosing off, on the spot, into a peaceful sleep. They were hardly managing to even keep a grip on their swords, repeatedly dropping them on the ground. Only the Muslims were overcome with sleep; the few doubting hypocrites among them could not blink an eye, faltering from one state of fear into another, terrified that the idolaters would then come and put them to the sword.
There was a brief war of words, at one stage, between Abu Sufyan and Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him-. Making a move to withdraw afterwards, Abu Sufyan, disgruntled at not having achieved the decisive result he had wished for, shouted:
“Let’s meet again next year at Badr!”
Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- waited to see what kind of a response the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would give. He then told Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- to say, “Allah willing, that shall be our meeting place next year!” (Ibn Hisham, III, 45; Ibn Sad, II, 59)
The idolaters were turning back for no other reason than that the seeds of fear had, once again, crept up their spines. One of the miracles the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was blessed with, after all, was that he would cast fear into the hearts of the enemy, regardless of the extent of their distance away from him. Allah, glory unto Him, says:
“We will cast fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust.” (Al-i Imran, 151)
Thus the idolaters, affected by the fear cast into their hearts, could not even dare to invade the defenseless Medina, in spite of the temporary upper hand they enjoyed against the Believers. Moreover, they were returning with not even a single Muslim captive. This was surely a blessing of Allah, glory unto Him, upon His Messenger and the Believers.
As the idolaters were retreating from Uhud, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- commanded the Muslims to line up in rows, so he could ‘…praise and pray to Allah.’
The Companions lined up in rows behind the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, who then prayed:
“Allah…All thanks and praises are for you! Allah…There is nobody to constrict what you have extended and prospered and nobody to extend and prosper what you have constricted! There is nobody to straighten what you have deviated and deviate who you have guided! There is nobody to give what you have withheld, and prevent what you have given! There is nobody to bring near what you have banished, and banished what you have brought near!
O my Lord! Sprinkle us with Your mercy and abundance, Your grace and benevolence! O my Lord! I ask from You eternal blessings that will never change and wither away! O my Lord! I wish from You blessings in the day of poverty and security in the day of fear! O my Lord! I seek refuge in You from the evils of both what You give and what You have not given!
O my Lord! Endear iman to us; adorn our hearts with it! Make us hate kufr, transgression and rebellion! Render us among those who know what is beneficial for Here and the Hereafter, those who have been guided to the right path!
O my Lord! Take our lives as Muslims and make us live as Muslims! Incorporate us into the group of the righteous, without us loosing our honor and dignity and becoming subject to tribulation!
O my Lord! Crush the nonbelievers who deny Your prophets and distract people from Your path! Engulf them in Your tribulation and punishment! O my Lord! Crush the nonbelievers whom You have given Books, too! The Lord…who is the True and the Real…Amin!” (Ahmad, III, 424; Hakim, I, 686-687/1868; III, 26/4308)
 Ibn Saad, III, 217. Hakim, III, 334/5281; Haythami, VI, 113; Ibn Saad, III, 453. The front teeth of all the offsprings of the treacherous Utbah ibn Abi Waqqas, as a Divine sign, came out naturally broken. (Ramazanoğlu Mahmûd Sâmî, Uhud Gazvesi, p. 26) Waqidi, I, 245. Bukhari, Maghazi, 18, 20; Waqidi, I, 295-296. Ibn Hisham, III, 45.