THE BATTLE OF OHOD
11th Shawwal 3rd H / 26th Jan: 625 A.D. Saturday.
For the Muslims the victory of Badr was indeed most auspicious, they saw the hand of Providence in their success over idolaters.
The idolaters were burning for revenge and in this third year of Hijra, they made formidable preparation for another war.
They sent out emissaries to different tribes, and soon a formidable force amounting to 3000 well equipped soldiers, of whom 700 were fully equipped warriors assembled, their sole motive, that of revenge and complete annihilation of the Muslims.
Marching under the command of the relentless Abu Sufiyan, and meeting with no opposition from any side, they took up a well chosen position to the north east of Medinah, where only the hill of OHOD and a valley separated them from the devoted city. From this safe vantage point they ravaged the fields and fruit groves of the Medinites. Mohammad (S.A.) marched out with a thousand men.
The Jews saw an opportunity and the leader of munafikin Abdullah Ibn Ubayy deserted the Muslims with 300 of his followers, thus the Muslim force was reduced to 700 who only possessed 2 horses amongst them, but nonetheless marched ahead on to challenge the idolaters.
Advancing quietly through groves of fruit trees, they soon gained the hill of Ohad. Mohammad (S.A.) took up his position under the hill, posting a few archers on a height behind the troops, giving them strict injunctions not to abandon their place whatever happened, their job was to harass the cavalry of the enemy and protect the flanks of the Muslims.
The idolaters, confident in their numbers, marched down into the plain with their idols in the centre of their army, and the wives of the chiefs chanting their war songs and beating their timbrels.
The first violent onslaught of the Koreish was bravely repulsed by the Muslims, led by Moulana Hamza (S.A.) who taking advantage of the confusion of the enemy, dashed into their midst dealing havoc on all sides.
Victory for the Muslim was clearly at sight, when the archers posted on the hillock, forgetting the injunction of the Prophet, and seeing the enemy in flight, left their position in search of plunder.
Khalid bin Walid one of the Koreish chief, at once perceived their error, and rallying his horse, fell on the rear of the Muslims. The infantry of the Koreish also turned, and the Muslim troops taken by surprise from both front and rear, had to renew the battle at fearful odds. Hamza (S.A.) and several others became martyrs.
The efforts of the idolaters were, however, directed towards Mohammad (S.A.) who, surrounded by a few disciples and separated from the main body of his warriors, became the chief object of their assaults. He was wounded and blood oozed from his forehead.
But rescue was near at hand. Moulana Ali (S.A.) who had been fighting in the centre retreated to the hill and shielded the Prophet by driving away the enemy, who was then taken to the safety of the height of Mount Ohod.
Ali (S.A.) fetched water in his shield from the hollow of a rock. With this he dressed the wounds of the Prophet, who with his companions then offered noon prayers.
The Koreish were too exhausted to follow up their advantage, either by attacking Medinah or driving the Muslims from the height of Ohod. They retreated from the Medinite territory after barbarously mutilating the slain Muslims.
The wife of Abu Sufiyan - Hind, the daughter of Otba, with other Koreishite women, showed greatest ferocity in the inhuman and savage work of vengeance, tearing out the liver of Hamza (S.A.) and trying to chew it. She finally vomited the entire thing. The barbarism practised by the Koreish on the slain, created a feeling of exasperation.
On his return to Medinah the Prophet directed a small body of the disciples to pursue the retreating enemy, and to impress on them, that the Muslims, though worsted in battle, were yet unbroken in spirit, and too strong to be attacked again with impunity.
As in the battle of Badr, so once again in Ohod notwithstanding the enemys large number and the Muslims marked weakness in manpower and resources, the latter displayed unprecedented heroism. But the Prophet of Allah made it very clear to the Muslims not to attribute the routing of the enemy to their bravery or some superb tactical manoeuvre. It was owing to Allahs blessings alone that they came out victorious. They real power lay in their faith and trust in Allah, and when forced to war they should look forward to His help rather than count upon their striking capability or material resources.
Compiled by : Asgar Fakhruddin - Calcutta.